Murano and Castello

Vaporetto on Canal Grande

Breakfast is served at eight. I am up 6:45 and after the bath I go out for a smoke.

The Grand Canal is some 30 metres from the hotel. A multi-coloured cat is sleeping in a flower box on a garden wall. The cat wakes up, yawns and begins its morning toilette still sitting in the flower box.

By the canal a big seagull has managed to pick a hole in a black plastic bag and messes with the garbage. Pigeons keep a respectful distance. By the baker's on the corner of Calle della Madonnetta locals are having espresso and cappuccino before going to work. They all seem to know each other. An espresso enjoyed standing costs 80 cent.

Murano, the glass island

Glass workshop on Murano

Vaporetto #1 sails slowly to Ferrovia from where the DM-boat ("Diretto Murano") goes to Murano. Murano is the island of glassmaking and has many glass workshops. We get off at Faro and enter a big glass shop.

Most artefacts have no price tags, but one rather simple carafe costs 450 €. A soprano could splinter a fortune's worth with one dedicated aria. Next door workers are blowing precious air into new artefacts.

The way along the canal towards the centre is in shadow, but when we cross the bridge the sun strikes with no mercy. We return to the shaded bank and cool off with espresso and water.

In a window we spot a nice glass pendant and inside yet another one. 16 € is reduced to 15 because the lady has no change. We had planned to have lunch on Murano, but it is so hot that we cannot bear the thought of even looking for a place.

Lunch in Castello

Bridge in Castello

Vaporetto #42 returns to Venice by the eastern route towards St. Mark's. We get off at S. Elena in Castello. There's a park, and compared to central Venice this district is amazingly spacious.

Osteria al Granghelo on Via Garibaldi has tables in the shadow, and we order spaghetti for lunch. The portions are small and explain the waiter's surprise that we did not want anything else. The ragú is tasteless, and the spaghetti is overcooked and overpriced. For this plus a Coke and a beer we are billed 28 €.

Evening in San Polo

The area by the Rialto bridge is an anthill of tourists and souvenir shops. Back in our own neighbourhood in San Polo we cool off outside Bar ai Nomboli. Just across the street is a shop with Murano glass and souvenirs. Helle goes on a quick raid. Later we make a reservation at da Ignazio in Calle Saoneri.

Trattoria da Ignazio

Da Ignazio is recommended in the book "Chow Venice", and we want to try it. I ask for a table at 20:30, but somehow the young waiter talks me into eight o'clock instead. He asks for the name, and instead of "Bentzen", which always creates problems, I say "il danese" (the Dane).

The young man in his spotless white jacket writes slowly: "il Danesi", and I get a smile from his older colleague.

We return at eight. It is just five minutes walk from the hotel. The older waiter takes us to the atrium and steadies the table with a wedge.

A green pergola covers the atrium. White plastic chairs and tables with yellow tablecloths. Nice. In the corner below the kitchen window a woman is cleaning small fishes. Her glasses balance on the tip of her nose, and looking over the rim she watches silently.

The waiter is kind. He looks spent, but I don't think he is really old. A bit crooked he shuffles about with a closed left eye behind the glasses. We have a glass of prosecco and the first course, ham and melon. The ham is delicious and the melon super. Helle has ordered a steak, and I have liver Venetian style (Fegato Veneziana). With this a salad and the house red.

Helle's steak is thin and dry. The liver is tasty, but on the dry side. The two tiny cubes of white polenta are bite-sized.

Most of the guests are Americans, but at two tables close to ours are single Italian men. One of them has brought a dog with curly grey fur. It lies peacefully under the table most of the time. The breed is unknown to science.

The older waiter is kept very busy in the American corner, and his younger colleague tries do to as little as possible. When I catch his attention and ask for a dessert menu, he points at his colleague and puts on his invisibility cloak. Two abandoned tables are not cleared. He does nothing to help his busy colleague and should be fired on the spot.

When the older waiter gets a free moment we order strawberries with ice for Helle and sgroppino (lemon sorbet with vodka and prosecco) for me. The bill says 83 €. Venice isn't cheap and I ponder the fact, that the size of portions is usually inversely proportional to the price.