Freaky Location Friday 
Venice, Italy (sublocation, Murano) (http://www.vacationidea.com/venice/gallery/venice_train_station_Gallery1.html) 

I’m going international again today.  August and I did a semi-whirlwind swing (three weeks) through central Europe when we were stationed in the
Azores, so I think I’ll be writing about the cities we visited.  This trip was basically our honeymoon (even tho we’d already been married for over five years by then), and because there’s basically NOWHERE to spend your money in the
Azores, we did it up right.  Sooo, to start with, we have the absolutely GLORIOUS city of
Venice, Italy, specifically, the Murano glass blowing factory.
 My dad, who worked for 20th Century Fox back in the 80s, visited there when he was working The Love Boat, said
Venice was dirty and gross.  By the time we visited in ’96, the city had undergone a major revitalization.  The canals were clean (well, as clean as canals can be *g*) and I was thoroughly impressed with the city as a whole as we stepped out of the train station, especially by the first sight to greet you as you leave the building, a basilica that looked freakin’ COOL in the setting sun.
 

We were fortunate enough to hook up with a guy trying to hawk his last hotel room for the night.  The price was reasonable (for
Italy, at $175 per night), but was a family room (sleeping 8).  By then we were exhausted and just wanted a bed *g*, so followed him to the hotel, about ¼ mile off the
Grand Canal.  We woke up the next morning and ventured downstairs for the free continental breakfast, and lo and behold, the same dude is behind the counter.  Turns out he’s the owner, and was thrilled to have two young Americans staying for several days.  He offered to move us into a standard room while we were out and about (same price) and then asked what we had planned for our first day in
Venice.  When we kinda shrugged, he asked if we’d be interested in touring a blown glass factory on Murano.  Um, HELL YES!  So we got to take his private boat over to the island at a whopping cost of 4,000 lire/person (a little over $2.50/person round trip…holy CRAP), and then had a personal tour of a family-run factory, which of course led us into their showroom, where we promptly plunked down $135 for a gorgeous ice bucket and set of six shot glasses (which we STILL own, thank you very much).  Of course, the stuff that I liked best was the clear, not covered in gold stuff…which was more expensive…go figure.  This was a very in depth experience…we’re not talking about ten minutes in the factory, then come on in and spend your money…nope, we were there for at least three hours, maybe longer, and it was fascinating!
 Okay, that’s it for today, more on our trip next week!

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