Aly's Spain Adventure

Read about what I'm doing while in Spain so you can keep up with me!

Location: Des Moines, Iowa, United States

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Wed. Nov. 22 Day 6
So we tried to get up at a good time & had some yummy continental breakfast. The owner of the hotel also owns a big glass factory on the island of Murano which is a very close island to Venice and so he offers free tours of the glass factory & the trip is free to get there. It took about 20 minutes to get there on a private boat taxi so that was nice. So we arrived right at the door and went in. They actually showed us how they made the glass. It was really neat to see. The oven in which the glass is it extremely hot. They actually use sand like stuff to make the glass and when it is hot they have it on a pole and kind of roll it around and when they shape it they use like plier-looking things to pick at it and scissors to cut it. He made a horse and so used the scissors to make the mane of the horse. They also can blow into the pole on one end and then the glass on the other end expands after a second. They have to warm it specially because when it goes from such hot hot hot fire to the cool air it breaks very easily so they gradually cool it down in machines. The vase he made broke after about a minute (that's part of the "show"). After watching it we got to look around the whole place with the millions of different peices of glass and the beautiful and unique chandliers and such. The showcase guy was really trying to get us to purchase things (EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE >100 EURO) and when he finally gave up he showed us the cheaper trinket room. Teehee. After we left we went to a few more shops on the island and unfortunately realized the factory was much more expensive but luckily we hadn't bought much there. I got some beautiful jewelry and mom & Catie got a few things too. Then we headed back and tried to find a palace we wanted to go to. In our guide book it was called Doge's Palace but in Italian it's called Palazzo Ducale which ended up causing a problem. We got incredibly lost very far from where we needed to be and eventually found some lunch. We realized we were very close to the Geto (ghetto) in Venice where the Jews were so we went to visit that. It is where the word ghetto originated from in the 1500's when the Jews were all forced to go there. There was a league attacking all over and so all of the Jews fled to Venice for protection and because of their overpopulation they just stuck them all in one section of town. It's also when they developed their reputation as money lenders because that was the only job they were allowed. In about 1700 they were liberated and then were forced there again during the second World War. It was kind of sad/kind of interesting. So then we headed towards the San Marco plaza and ended up finding finally the Palace we were looking for. It was interesting to see. Lots of history there. It is where the ruler lived/ruled from (can't remember the name of the ruler) but actually was somewhat "imprisoned" always having to have people at their side and could only sometimes get special permission to travel and always with at least 8 other people. Kind of weird. So then we explored the San Marco square a bit & I think we then headed back. It of course rained the whole time so we never got to go on a Gondola. :-( We went back to our hotel to grab our luggage but first stopped by and took photos of the Rialto bridge which used to be the only bridge across the Grand Canal. We then headed to the train station and grabbed some dinner there and got on the train for our 20 hour train trip to Paris.


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