Siblings See Slovenia

Friday, May 2, 2014


There is a great Canadian band, Spirit of the West, whose lyrics actually reads: If Venice is sinking, I'm going under. Cause Beauty's religion and it's christened me with wonder. Couldn't help singing the tune as we walked into this fantastical island. This is how we did it:


Woke at 4:45 in Ljubliana. A.M. Ack

Knocked the fuzz out of our heads (we're all a wee bit bushed from the whirlwind pace of adventure).

We had packed up our suitcases and prepared our small carry ones, laden with a few necessities. 

Headed for the bus station and locked our suitcases up.

Boarded a small bus that whizzed us up into Austria and into Italy, plopping us in Mestre. 

Dianne, armed with the handy tips from Rick Steves (the guru of European travel), quickly got us our 48 hour bus/waterbus passes and we waited for the city bus. Great system here: the bus terminals have a digital readout of the ETA of the next busses to come. 

Finally in Venice!! 

             (Mapping out Venice)

With map in hand we managed to get to our hotel in Lido (staying in Venice would have cost us a small fortune!). As soon as we got through the crazy busy city and onto the very cool waterbus ("vaporetto").

       (Fancy hotel--best deal we could find)

Mike announced that he was done with Venice! He'd seen enough, thumbs down. I believe at that moment there was no sound, the world stopped spinning and there was a giant cosmic gasp. But Michael, I said, how can you say this? This is a city built that birthed: Vivaldi & Marco Polo; a city of great art, artists (Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto); a city of fabulous architecture; a city whose patron saint is St. Mark (look into the story of how his body hidden under pork fat reached Venice). 

This is when we banished Mike to the isle of Lido to wander the large, uncrowded streets streets alone, face time his family and find a sandy beach to dip his sore feet in. Wait a second...what kind of punishment was that? Meanwhile, Dianne and I reboarded the waterbus and headed back into the crowds and hot sun. We were baffled at how many young children there were, how many strollers (even a double wide) pushed through the frenetic streets as we moved like sheep along the passageways, ducking into various shops along the way.

It's a stunning place to visit. And Mike actually rejoined us for dinner near San Marco square. 

Day one in Venice was crazy. Taking the waterbus back to Lido was lovely. I felt just like a pirate since I didn't even realize the waterbus had departed. I officially had my sea legs, but then it lurched and I saw myself like Captain Hook running on the water as the tick-tock crocodile chases him. There was also a drunken  sailor--no, this is true, a man... In a sailor suit (striped blue and white shirt, hat and all) teetering but never falling until he fell into a deep sleep. I can't make this stuff up. We came to the end of our line but I did wonder: at the end of the boat's line, what do you do with a drunken sailor?


Awoke to the knocking of Mike's hand on the door, then the clap of thunder outside.  

Mom perched herself atop the window still and announced that it was indeed raining. But who brought her wellies to Venice? Yup, me. 

Yesterday the nice man at our hotel told us we could take a water taxi (provided at no cost by the hotel) to Murano, the glass making capital of the entire world. 

And, sure enough, after a "pretty" breakfast (we each had wee coffee pots), we were whisked away like rock stars to the island of Muano, lifting our noses just a tiny bit at the poor slobs drifting alongside in the plebeian waterbus (yes, today the waterbus was simply pitiful. Oh, who were we kidding? It was a treat though). We are still not sure which boats have right of way! I think the fancy taxi ride, the cooler temperatures and less people changed Mike's opinion of Venice. 

    (View from our taxi--boat careening toward us. Who has right of way?)

Then, exiting the taxi onto the glass isle, we were greeted by a host who offered us a tour of a glass factory. We spent A delightful hour watching a master (and his apprentice and helpers) create an incredible piece! Feeling the heat even from a distance, I can't imagine how they could tolerate it so close.

(This artist was literally swinging a 10 kg piece of molten glass at one point!)

I was a tad worried we'd be obligated to buy the piece he created! Apparently his creations sell for upwards of 2000 euros. They make 4 of each design, choose the best and smash the rest. They film the making if the glass and send it with the buyer. 

Murano...even in the pouring rain is one of the most beautiful places. I think Heaven will be laden with Murano glassworks--probably mixed into those streets of gold. Dianne was certainly in heaven. How wonderful to have had seen the glass piece being created right before our eyes. We one could truly appreciate the process and art involved. 

Popping in and out of glass shops, admiring the different styles of the artists and wandering the island at our leisure made for an unforgettable day for all three of us.

Glass installations outside. No hail here:

Beauty everywhere: 

   (How much is that horsey in the window?  22000 Euros!)

Venice in the rain was a completely different experience than yesterday. No crowds! We spent a couple of hours so off the beaten track that when we asked a local where we were on our map, she pointed to a point off it. Funny! 

    (Even the garbage cans are beautiful--enough said!)

Ended the day with our first taste of Italian pizza (inside the restaurant cause it was poring!) then headed to bed. 

Only 2 more sleeps till we're home. 

Today was a great day.

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