Today we started off the day travelling to Murano. This is an island very close to the main Venice Island and only 3 stops from where we are staying on the "metro" of Venice. We were lucky to have a beautiful clear day. The sun was shining and we could see the Alps clearly off in the distance, snow glistening in the early morning light.
Murano was asleep when we arrived, but it was fun to watch it waking up. We went into the glass museum and looked at lots of shops, buying a few souvenirs, which we just don't do!! But the best time on the island was watching the glass-blowers. We found one furnace working and they were making light shades, or beakers. There was no talk going on in English, so we weren't quite sure what the finished product was supposed to be, but the hot blob of glass was rolled in broken coloured glass and then re-heated and then blown into a tumbler shape. It was fun to watch and they just knocked up 6 or so in no time before they changed the colour of the broken glass.
We kept looking around and this time found a more touristy furnace. We had to pay and they had seats set up to watch and a commentary going on in about 4 or 5 languages. This guy blew a tall thin vase with twisted glass around the stem and then also made a glass horse in no time at all. He started with a small blob which he blew a little bit and coloured with some powdered mineral and then he added more molten glass around the coloured glass and worked it so fast. Legs and head, mane and tail just appeared while he was turning it constantly and readjusting the angles of things. It was really clever. We watched him do all that again. He handed around the horse on a wooden long handled tray so we could feel the heat coming off the glass. Very interesting. We ate a nice lunch that we had bought earlier (salami, tomato and bread) on the steps of a bridge and then came home.
Ryan was then in charge of leading us to the Rialto bridge. It was a nice walk, down canals, over bridges and past lots of shops and alleys. The bridge was in full sun light. Very nice, but full of tourists.
We then caught a boat to see another big domed church Santa Maria della Salute. It was very nice inside. The dome is huge and the paintings on the walls from the late 1600s were lovely.
We then caught a ferry up the main canal and walked via a supermarket and dinner at a lovely restaurant + gelato for dessert, then we walked home. Out for a lovely 12 hours and now ready for bed. Off to Florence tomorrow afternoon. Bit more to see in Venice in the morning. Can really recommend the monastery stay. The room is great and it is very quiet!