Posted on | April 9, 2009 | 9 Comments
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