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Report 1114: Bergamo, Venice, Lerici, Piemonte, Friends & World Cup Mania

By girasoli from Hawaii, Summer 2006

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Page 6 of 23: Murano & Burano

photo by girasoli

Burano

Wednesday, my day to visit Murano and Burano, two little islands that can be reached by vaporetto from Venice. Murano is famous for glass. Burano is famous for lace and the wonderful colored houses.

I took a vaporetto to the Ferrovia stop, walked to the Cannaregio Canal which was not that far, stopped for an espresso, and then took another vaporetto to the Fondamente Nove area, where I waited for yet another vaporetto to go to Murano. I was surprised that we arrived so quickly. I had been to Murano once before back in 1999 and for some reason thought the boat ride was much longer. Luckily the Murano stop was announced or I might have stayed on the boat and missed the stop. The weather was hot and muggy and the skies were overcast. I was hoping for a clear sunny day for better pictures but this was the day I had. After taking a few pictures of Murano, I headed to the vaporetto stop where the boats go on to Burano.

The ride from Murano to Burano was much longer. Burano is an amazing place. The houses are all painted various bright colors. This island seems to be filled mostly with tourists during the daytime. I imagine that it is quite a different place at night when everyone goes back to Venice. I stopped in a few lace shops and finally decided on one small piece of lace.

For lunch, I wandered off the main street to Al Gatto Nero. Most of the places in Burano were very touristy and I remembered reading about this restaurant. I noticed that mostly tourists sat outside at this restaurant except for one long table, which was reserved and later filled with a group of locals. Inside seemed to be filled mostly with locals. I thought this was a good sign. However, it appeared to me that the tourists were given much different service and perhaps the menus/prices may have even been different as the prices were quite high. Many of the locals looked like they were regulars who were on their lunch break and I could not imagine that they would eat at such an expensive restaurant daily for lunch. This of course was just a guess. I ordered a pasta dish with seafood. The food was just okay and I was not impressed with the service I received. I also felt that the waiter was quite rude to a few of the other customers who were also tourists.

After walking all over Burano, I returned to the vaporetto area and took the next boat back to Murano. I spent another hour looking in many of the glass shops and finally decided on one small piece. I then headed back to the vaporetto stop to catch the boat back to Venice. Both islands were great places to wander and shop.

When returning to Venice, I decided to walk from the Fondamente Nove stop instead of waiting for a second vaporetto. This is where I ended up getting really lost on my first visit to Venice. I did get lost again but this time I was able to find may way back after a few wrong turns. I was pretty tired from a long day.

Because I was gone all day, I had not thought about dinner and making a reservation. It took a little while to find a good place to eat. Many of the "touristy places" had lots of available tables, but the restaurants that were visited more by locals, and the restaurants that were recommended, were crowded. I tried twice to get a table, neither time with any luck. At the second restaurant I went to, it seemed to me that I was turned away because I was a single diner.

They say the third time is a charm. Well, my on my third try, I was successful at getting a table at Circolo La Buona Forchetta, a tiny little restaurant that was one of the Slow Travel recommendations. I was treated very kindly at this restaurant and had a wonderful meal! The man taking my order suggested a seafood pasta dish before I even looked at the menu on the wall. That sounded wonderful to me. I also ordered a salad.

The little kitchen where the woman cooked the food was right in the front of the restaurant. It was fun to watch her cook and take orders. The only bad thing was that this made the room quite hot. After a short while, four people from France came in and sat at the table next to me. We had a conversation about politics and then my meal arrived. Lobster, crab, and mussels with spaghetti ... very very delicious! Much better than my seafood pasta that I had for lunch. Although I was full after eating the pasta dish and a small salad with a superb balsamica and oil dressing, the owner insisted on bringing me some homemade biscotti with some vin santo wine for dessert.

When I was ready to leave, I was a little worried about finding my way back to my hotel as I only happened upon this restaurant by luck and had no idea how I got there. I asked the owner for directions. We looked at my map together. It became a little complicated and in the end, he pointed me towards the Rialto bridge where I then was able to find my way home after only a couple of missed turns.

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