I intended to write a lot sooner, but we haven't had internet access and it wasn't until yesterday that Robert found a cafe with Wifi. So I have a lot to update.
Day 1, Monday
We arrived in Venice after a lovely business-class flight across the ocean. It takes all of the scary away from flying when you have people waiting on you and your seats are really comfortable. We collected our luggage to find that one of the suitcases didn't make it to Italy; it was still in Spain. Luckily it wasn't one with our clothes in it. It had all kinds of electrical chargers and machines, so probably they held it aside to examine and subsequently it didn't make it onto our plane.
So we took the Alilaguna boat from the airport to Murano to go to our apartment. We were pretty tired but were determined not to go to sleep during the day. We met Lucia, our landlady who gave us the key and showed us around and how things worked. Then we went to the grocery store to buy a few things for dinner and breakfast. We bought pasta and cheese for dinner and some yogurt and rolls for breakfast.
Then we unpacked and read for a while. As we sat on the couch, my eyes kept closing and I'd force myself to open them to find Robert's were closed. I tried to stay awake but it wasn't easy. So I ended up making dinner pretty early and we went to bed around 6pm.
We woke up again around midnight, but were able to get back to sleep an hour or two later and sleep through the night.
Day 2, Tuesday
Today was kind of a bust, at least for Robert. We had a tour planned of the gold leaf factory but he couldn't come because he had to stay and wait for the suitcase.
So I went with the group to see how gold leaf is made in Venice. Factory isn't really the right word, because it's definitely a small family-run operation. I bought some silver leaf for my beads. The gold leaf is made in Titian's palace, where he lived at the end of his life. The building is really old and the marble stairs are all worn down. The process is pretty fascinating but I won't describe it here except to say that it involves hammers; heavy, heavy hammers.
After the gold leaf factory we went to see Vittorio Costantini at his studio. He makes beautiful glass animals, birds, fish and insects. They are incredibly lifelike. In front of his bench are lined up a library of field guides from which he takes his inspiration. I'm lucky that I own a hummingbird of his.
At this point I wasn't feeling very well. I hadn't eaten any breakfast as we got up late, so I bought a gelato and headed back to Murano to see if Robert had gotten the suitcase. He hadn't. So I took a nap.
Finally the suitcase arrived around 5:30 pm. At that point we went out together - which we hadn't been able to do all day - and walked around and found a restaurant for dinner. It was a pleasant evening; we sat outside next to the canal and enjoyed the ambiance.
Day 3, Wednesday
My first day of class with Lucio Bubacco. I can't describe the excellence of Lucio's work. It's simply amazing. He makes it look easy and it is so not. I tried it. I was not too successful, but at least my later attempts were always better than my earlier attempts, so I have to say the class did its job.
While I was gone, Robert explored Venice and got us monthly Vaporetto (water bus) passes, so we are free to come and go without having to worry about buying a ticket on board. I took it home from class one night just one stop, across the canal, because I could.
Class went pretty late - until almost 7:00 pm, so I met Robert and we went out to dinner. This time to another restaurant on the canal, outside.
This morning we got up extra early and went to visit a friend of Ofilia's who makes blown beads at the torch. They were beautiful and the process was interesting to see. I may buy myself a mini blow-pipe just to play with.
Then more class. I'm not going to show my work but I'll tell you that the Italian-renaissance-style-goddess-head I was trying to make ended up looking like George Washington.
Robert went to San Marcos square, and went to three museums.
Another day of eating dinner at a restaurant along the canal.
The good thing about being in an apartment is that I can choose to cook or not. Monday I cooked because we were so tired, we didn't want to have to go out. But the next three nights we ate out just because we wanted to. I didn't come to Murano to cook dinner every night, but if we want to we can. We have breakfast in the apartment every day, which is very nice.
Day 5, Friday
Today was the last day of class with Lucio. Like yesterday, the day started off early with a visit to Ofilia's friends. The first visit was to a father and son team who make beautiful, heavily encased pendants. The next visit was to a hot shop. Robert and I left the hot shop a little early to go get a cappucino.
Then I went to class where I made a horse and put it on a bead, in the Lucio style. I haven't seen it yet, but I think it came out really nice, for a beginner.
After class I called Robert and had him meet me on the Vaporetto and we took a cruise around Venice and Murano, including a cruise down Venice's grand canal. We saw the hotel where we'll be staying next week; it looks really nice.
We got back around 8:00 pm and I fixed dinner; a store-bought roasted chicken, fresh asparagus and mushroom ravioli. It was yummy.