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The Long Way to Murano

Posted on | April 9, 2009 | 9 Comments

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Murano

I’m using a photo from Flickr for Photo Friday today, much as I would love to be sharing the photos I took while we were in Venice 🙁 When I wrote about navigating Venice by Vaporetto, I ended by alluding to our crapo-vapo day when I goofed so gloriously that my kids will probably bring it up in their wedding speeches.

It was a hot day, like a really, really hot day. We should have just found a shaded piazza and spent the day lounging, reading and eating gelato by the bucketful, but that would be contrary to my native “I exist, therefore I must be moving” style of traveling – and living, if the truth be told. Instead, I thought we should go out to Murano to see how glass-blowing is done Venetian-style. To see the glass, of course, but also to take advantage of the fact that since Murano is an island in the lagoon we’d have to take a boat out there and – so my twisted logic went – the breeze on the boat would be cooling.

Also, taking my kids to a glass furnace is is less crazy than it might sound since thanks to Dale Chiluly, glass-blowing features heavily in the Pacific Northwest art scene and my boys have seen all parts of the process through visits to the Tacoma Museum of Glass . What’s not to like? A huge furnace, monster steel rods, glowing blobs of molten glass – all things which any child would find fascinating.

So far so good. And then it wasn’t. You see, as Jamie from TravelSavvyMom pointed out in her comment on my vaporetto post, vaporetto stops are confusing. The main reason is, unlike buses or trains or other, more common forms of public transportation, vaporettos going opposite directions (e.g. #41 E and #41 W) stop at the same vaporetto stop. The bigger stops have two gangways – one each for passengers going in each direction. The smaller stops, on the other hand, have only one gangway and while the number on the boat is large and easy to read, the direction is not. So you’ve guessed it. Yes, on this steamingly hot day, I took my poor husband and children onto a vaporetto going the wrong direction on a circular route. Which wouldn’t have been so bad, except that this particular route circumnavigated the entire island (of Venice). To add insult to injury, vaporettos don’t have air-conditioning or much cross-flow of air within the passenger area. Man, was it hot!

Within one or two stops, the WanderDad and I figured out the mistake, but we opted to stay on the boat thinking that our children – who, at that point were sitting underneath a window and quietly reading their books – might not even notice. That was while we were passing along the quieter, more industrial side of Venice. Once we hit the busier parts of the city, things went downhill fast. People piled onto that boat like it was the last lifeboat on the Titanic and consequently, my children articulated their discomfort at the tops of their voices – there are times when I dream of a little British Isles reserve from them, but it’s been noticeably lacking so far so I’m not holding my breath. At home, I refer to CAM as my ‘pet troglodyte’ because he genuinely prefers to be in our dark, cool basement on a hot sunny day. He has no tolerance for heat, poor guy. He berated me from about San Marco all the way back to the stop where we had originally caught the vaporetto and then some. I kept passing the bottle of water and hoping for an end to come soon.

But just to show the resiliance of children: within moments of stepping off the boat onto the island of Murano, (penitential monstrous gelatos in hand) we came across a small, family-friendly glass shop. The display items were glued to the shelves – how cool is that? The ‘horrendous crossing’ was immediately pushed out of the boys’ minds as they ooh-ed and ahh-ed over cute and colorful glass. I was forgiven, but, as I said, I don’t think this mistake will ever be forgotten.

Side Note: If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you’ll have noticed that my kids having a good book to read has helped a lot on many of our travels. To share the titles which they’ve enjoyed, I’ve added an Amazon widget to this page. Check out the books. Seriously, I will only show books which are reader-approved by CAM and BigB

Related Links
Navigating Venice By Vaporetto
Our First Wander In Venice

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Comments

9 Responses to “The Long Way to Murano”

  1. Lucia
    April 10th, 2009 @ 5:24 am

    Sometimes those mistakes make for the most memorable moments on a trip. Glad you eventually made it to Murano. Saving this post for our future trip to Venice. And thanks for the book suggestions. Will check them out because we are always looking for new books. And yes, isn’t it amazing how many times a good book has come to the rescue!

  2. Beth Whitman
    April 10th, 2009 @ 8:18 am

    This is TOO funny. I wish I had been a fly on the wall to hear you and WanderDad trying to make like everything was OK!

  3. Carolina
    April 10th, 2009 @ 8:33 am

    I completely understand. We had an unfortunate incident in the traffic maze that is L.A. that has become part of our family vacation lore. My son will never, ever let me forget it. But, hey at least it wasn’t boring!

  4. TravelswithBaby
    April 10th, 2009 @ 9:14 am

    You’ve definitely tapped into a travel nerve! For us, it was the trip back from Burano when we somehow got on “the local” vaporetto, first marvelling how we seemed to be the only tourists onboard for a change. The weather had turned foul and we huddled inside rocking and rocking for nearly an hour of fighting seasickness…slowly circling…figuring out what went wrong.

  5. Lorraine Akemann
    April 10th, 2009 @ 4:31 pm

    I think you nailed it when you mentioned the resiliance of kids. I joke now that my children are much better at traveling than me. They get through it and move on to the next distraction. Will go and take a look at that book widget now – thanks for the recs!

  6. Jen@Heading North after Naptime
    April 10th, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

    We have a saying in my family: You aren’t on a family vacation with us until you have gotten lost! We have seen some of the most interesting things because we got lost, missed our stop, etc!

  7. Mara
    April 10th, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

    I LOVE THIS STORY! Really, everything about it is fantastic. I’ve done just this kind of thing myself with the exact same results. And yes, I’ve also purchased the “penitential gelato.”

    Whenever you write about Venice I’m so sorry that you don’t have your pictures – but you did such a great job of telling this story that I don’t miss them here!

  8. Dominique
    April 10th, 2009 @ 8:57 pm

    Glass art is so fascinating. I had to laugh a bit about the Dale Chihuly reference because I just did a story about Michigan Glass Month at Urbane and talked about an art auction that features a couple of his works (at suggested bids of $15,000-$20,000!!). http://www.urbaneapts.com/urbanereflections-blog/?p=1335

    So Chihuly is pretty well known here, too.

    Sounds like your trip ended up on a good note. Glad your family enjoyed it.

  9. Venice, Italy for Kids | Venice with Kids | Ciao Bambino Blog
    August 24th, 2010 @ 2:31 am

    […] in the afternoon. And we should have been able to do so too had I not taken us on the long way to Murano. Our last full day in Venice was sadly, gone in a […]

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