Saturday, September 20, 2014

Thursday and Friday - Murano, St. Marks and San Polo

Thursday was beautifully sunny and warm and we had decided to get up early and head for the islands - viz. Murano and its glass!
We walked to F. te Nove, which saves a lot of boat time and were actually on Murano quite early. With the aid of Lonely Planet we enjoyed a wander, a gander and the chance to buy genuine (hopefully) Murano glass as gifts for some of those at home!
The day was particularly warm and pleasant so we just took our time. Coming home again around 2:30 for a snooze makes it all quite relaxing and, after trying a much better cafe for "Free Wi-Fi" and catching up with the internet - we managed to "skip the queue" for St. Mark's and book "Learn to be a Gondolier" for Sunday morning (rather than forking out for what seems like a rather tacky ride around Central Park in a horse and buggy!!) - we bought some steak and vegetables and had a lovely meal "at home", for a change!

(A couple of Mick's reflections that we wouldn't want to lose ...
- You could almost  leave your camera on automatic - everywhere you look there is something unusual and usually beautiful. The colours and the light are amazing. The challenge is to really look and to be present here rather than trying to hold it in your hands for later!
- Mick loves the bidet!! As the Don used to say: "I never enjoy batting on a sticky wicket"!!)

Friday was up earlyish and out to St Mark's for 9:45. The ticket swept us through and we really enjoyed a couple of hours here - it is amazing how many people are in and out in around half an hour!
We happened across a simple Mass, celebrated by an old priest who seemed a nice man! This was in the "Blessed Sacrament Chapel" an extraordinary, very small area with exquisite mozaics! While all the aspects of Catholicism may no longer appeal, it is wonderful to be "a part of a tribe" and we joined in the "Celtic Alleluia" and Mick led the troops with "Ave Verum" (in Latin thank goodness) luckily with the music to guide us!

A "Venetian ship" exploit for Mike Britton led us to San Polo and Gilberto Penzo's shop of Venetian nautical models and plans. Gilberto was most helpful (Elaine felt that he understood much more English than he was letting on!!) but he didn't have the models that Mike wanted. Still this exploit led us to investigate the area a bit more and we dropped into "Santa Maria Glorisa dei Friari" to pay homage at the tomb of Titian and to be awed by his an Tintoretto's paintings. As it was just next door, we dropped into "Scuola Grande di San Rocco" to give thanks to St. Roch for delivering Venice from the Plague - again in some pretty exalted company!!

Being rather weary by now, we put our masterplan into action and headed home on the Vaporetto for beer, salad lunch and a snooze! 

Out again around 5:30 for provisions and free wi-fi (you only have to pay for the beer!!) where we spent an hour catching up with the world and making sure that we have the next few days organised. Copying the maps for the rowing, writing to the kids about family Friday etc. A sudden thunderstorm cleared the decks quickly and we just beat it home! Again we cooked ourselves and enjoyed some wine at home. When we went out for a Friday night walk afterwards things were very quiet indeed!
We wandered around Arsenale for an hour or so and came home to bed around 10!

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