Wednesday, July 11, 2012

2012 SFC - Wearing Pigeons

The trip to Murano was timed perfectly to end with us ready for lunch.

Jane had investigated the situation, and had a most delightful restaurant ready for us...Ristorante da Raffaele.

After lunch, we headed to Piazza San Marco.

(You know there's one showoff in every bunch).

If there's one thing our family must do in St. Mark's Square....


(Thank you Alix, for taking over camera duties whilst I made a total fool of myself...yet again!)

Move over Tippi Hedren!!!  It's time for my closeup!!

Julia enjoyed a pigeon perched on her head.

Looks like a fancy English hat!

Modern day pirate with a parrot?

Celie tried the bird chapeau look on as well!

It's all become quite natural.

Yep, we're in Venice, folks!

Geez, these darn Hutchinsons......what a weird flock.

And a little lion taming!

2012 SFC - Venetian Glassblowing

I could watch glassblowing all day long.  It is such a beautiful process seeing a molten blob of sand turn into a work of art.

We were fortunate that Crystal Cruises Venetian representatives selected Linea Murano Art for our tour.  The company only opens for tours on Monday, and we were the first group of the day.  They let us stay for the whole process and it was fascinating.

Our guide showed us an example of the commission the artisans were working on that day.

This particular factory works in teams.  These teams evolve over the years to the point where the fabrication of the glass pieces resembles a dance- each artist moves in his own pattern, but working together with ease and skill.

One lays out the colored glass canes in the proper pattern.

The initial molten glass is picked up and the handle is cooled a bit.

And shaped to the proper thickness.

The glass is rolled over the canes to pick them up and they are smoothed together.


Next, the colored glass must be transferred to a different tube for blowing.  To accomplish this, the new tube is coated in a small amount of glass.

A small hole is made in the colored glass.

And the blowing tube is affixed,

It requires a great deal of concentration.

Once trimmed and smooth, the glass is heated in the furnace, then coated with a layer of clear glass.

The blowing tube must be cooled.

Before the master glassblower (you can tell by his protective asbestos sleeve) can begin to blow.

It takes teamwork to work the molten glass to the desired shape.

These artists obviously enjoy working together.

Small holes are made for the glass eyes to be inset.

Excess glass must first be cut.

Before being trimmed away.

They begin to form the fish tail.

And then flair the tail fins.

Hutch really enjoyed the process.

The glass must be heated to the same temperature throughout to prevent cracking.

And then finished work of art is placed in a lower temperature furnace to slowly cool for 24 hours to prevent shattering.

It was absolutely fascinating.  I could have watched them all day, but it was time for a few purchases.....not tens of thousands for magnificent chandeliers, but we spent a FEW euros...well, enough  to make their tour worthwhile.........

One last look...

And our water taxi arrived to take us back to Piazza San Marco.

The whole experience had worn Julia out....or maybe it's just jetlag???

2012 SFC - To Murano

We had a whole day in Venice before boarding Crystal Serenity. The Hancock's had not been to Venice before, and so the Crystal Cruises hospitality desk was kind enough to arrange a trip to Murano's glass blowing factories.  CruiseGran decided to stay at the Hotel Bauer, and cousins Suzanne and Bill decided to take the train to Padua, so we were a merry party of 12 in the water taxi over to Murano.

Our water taxi pilot waves a greeting to a friend.

(are all Italian men gorgeous?)

The views from the water are simply stunning.

And breathtaking.

And wonderful.

Winding our way through small canals, we glimpsed a view of everyday Venetian life.

So THAT's how garbage is handled.

One way is one it street or canal.

I wonder how old this doorway is?

Glad we didn't need this service!

Construction work floats in Venice!

Then it was onto Venice's version of the autostrada.

Hello Murano- the home of centuries-famous Venetian glass!!