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Sunday, May 20, 2007

CRUISING THE ISLANDS

SATURDAY, May 19

19 Euro got us a ticket for a 3 island tour. Venice is composed of 118 small islands ina lagoon connected to the mainland cityof Mistre by a thin causeway. There are shipping lanes marked off withpilings betwen the islands as in places the lagoon is shallow and boats will run aground (one of the reasons Venice ws saved from raiding navys in the past)

First stop was Murano, famous for its glass since 1292. The glass blowers came here from Venice because their kilns started fires. (note there are interesting chimney pots on all the buildings here built so sparks wouldnt fly and start fires)

Burano is a traditional fishing village with beauitufl coloured houses. The women of Burano are noted for their skillin lace'making.

Torcello was once home to 20,000 people but due to plagues, malaria and other epidemics, whichkilled off most of the population, and silted in canals, now only about 500 people live there. Itàs most famous for the very old church, onf of the first built with the skills of Greek stone masons who did the beauitufl mosai tiles of the interior. We wanted to looks around thee§ Basilica of Santa Maria Assencta and spend some time on the islands so we opted to catch a vaporetto back to Venice. The island is pastoral and green, a myriad of singing birds trill from the trees. There are signs of renewal and restoration. We splurged on a gourmet lunch at the beautiful new Ristorante Villa 600. A most charming, handomse waiter recommended the mmenu for us ' campari starters, sea food antipasto, ricotta with scampi, a bottle of excellent red wine and creme brule that was unbelievable. We paid 50 euro a piece for the meal but it was worth every delicious mouthful. Then we took our time browsing the church grounds before catching a boat back to Venezia via the Lido, Veniceàs pleasure island where there is a bathing beach, casino, horseback riding stables and a famous gold club.

That evening, we wandered the labyringh of alleywash just folowing our instincs across the canal bridges. We set out for Castelli, the Greek community at San Georgio Dei Greci. Once about 4000 Greeks lived in Venice (in the 15thC) now little more than 100 remain. Most of them were merchants, book publishers, artists, scribes and literary scholars.)

We walked whevered our feet took us, through the maze of fairly well'lit narrows lanes. Eventurally came to The Arsenal with its two great lions brought from Greece in 1687. Here is where Veniceàs naval ships were built and maintained. We plan to return to tour the naval museum on Monday.

It wasnt far from there back to San Marco piazza and our hotel. We had actually walked a circular route. Its so much fun to explore. You just never know where you will end up. But thats half the adventure here in this amazing city.

Sunday, (today) at last I found this web cafe where I can post my blogs. Today we had another interesting walk about and vaporetto trip which I will post in my next blog THE GHETTO and an unexpected cruise back to The Lido.

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