Breakfast at the hotel was not bad. Quite a nice buffet which the boys always enjoy. They tried just about everything but seemed to think the chocolate filled croissants were the best. They really didn’t like grapefruit juice.
And so to the water bus! We’d got a map and worked out that the number one bus would take us from Lido down the Grand Canal. The bus alternates from side to side of the canal. As do all the others. I was quite surprised we didn’t see any crashes while we were in Venice. On the water bus there was usually a place where you could sit outside so we managed to get seats with a good view and had a fantastic trip on what must be one of the best bus rides in the world, rivalled only by the T4 from Newtown going to Cardiff via the Brecon Beacons.
There were plenty of gondolas, mostly full of Japanese tourists, the prices seemed a bit steep to me. Seeing the tiny canals and the bridges, all the boats, the historic buildings and the everyday hustle and bustle was just fantastic. I think I could have spent hours and hours just going up and down the canal on the bus.
We got down to the water bus stop by the train station and hopped off. Murano is another island in the lagoon which is famous for glass. I’d remembered reading about it when I was doing my Masters research. We could hop on another bus and travel to Murano in a few minutes. This turned out to be a slightly different sort of water bus, a lot faster and a bit more suited to open water. Murano was much quieter than Venice. There was still an industrial feel about the place with lots of small factories still making glass products of all sorts. It had canals, but was much more laid back than Venice. Fewer people and less touristy rubbish. We saw some lovely bits of glass sculpture.
After Murano we got back on the water bus and went back to Lido and the hotel for a bit of a lie down. James was discovering his sea-faring legs at this point and was feeling to great. We probably had an ice cream at some stage, as we had a lot of ice cream because the boys saw some flavours they hadn’t yet tried.
I’d seen this marvellous looking tower on the map and eventually managed to track it down (http://www.euro-poi.com/venice-bovolo-house-italy-383.html). So we jumped back on the water bus and went to find it, hidden down back streets as it was. When we got there, there was just a few people taking pictures, it really felt like we’d discovered some secret part of Venice that the normal tourist never saw…
….until we got blocked into the little square where it was by the hundreds of French school kids that arrived (why are French school kids so obnoxious?) and then the bus load of Japanese tourists. We escaped and then we found a sports shop and Jacob bought an Italy rugby training top. He does like collecting his gear. Then we went and found the Peggy Guggenheim Museum…closed on Tuesdays. Yes, it was Tuesday.
When we go away we try and sneak in a McDonald’s because a) the boys still think it’s a treat, b) it’s a useful comparison, c) it helps get across the point that globalisation is everywhere. In Cherbourg we’d been really surprised that the people that prided themselves on good food were packed into the busiest McDonald’s we’d ever been in. In Venice it was mostly full of kids, no adults really, plenty of foreigners (like us) and one burger with that sausage stuff in it. Then it was back to the hotel to bed. We’d had a bit of a quick tour but it was good and I’d love to go back again – there was just so much to see.