The next portion of my time in Venice was never dull. I can say that with absolute confidence. After seeing Ben and Nancy (not-so-happily) onto the bus, wandering a tiny bit and finding a bite to eat and some coffee, I ventured towards the vaporetto from Piazzale Roma (which actually was not at all where I anticipated, but on the opposite side of the canal and around a corner a ways). It was really a beautiful day and I had decided to go to the islands.
To be honest, I was most interested in the islands of Burano and Torcello, after all the wonderful things I had heard about them: the brightly coloured houses along little canals filled with boats and the one long, quiet path of Torcello.
The boat trip was really incredibly beautiful. It was very cold, but I couldn't tear myself away from the center outside deck. Watching Venice disappear little by little until we were surrounded by brilliant water and sticks poking out here and there, I felt like I was being transported to someplace much, much farther away than just the Venetian Islands.
After stopping at Murano (which, I confess, I did not visit), we finally made it to Burano, a quiet little Italian Paradise Island. Even away from the small network of canals, the light was so beautiful. But venturing in just a little bit, I found myself greeted endless brilliant houses.
I wandered a bit, taking photo after photo of doors, windows, curtains, boats, reflections... Until I was stopped by a girl asking me to take her photo for her. We spent the next 3 or 4 hours together exploring and shooting, shooting and exploring. She had come to Italy from Vietnam for only 2 days for a business conference and decided to take a train up to Venice for a single day. At 3pm she had to go catch her train back. But it made me really think about the people you meet while traveling. Maybe it's just that you don't always know them long enough to know them well, but it is a special friendship. This was particularly unusual, I thought. When I introduced myself, she jumped back in surprise and proceeded to tell me that at her work, everyone had been told to choose an English name, that clients would respond better to an English name than a traditional Vietnamese name. So Linh had chosen Elizabeth.
When "Elizabeth" left to start her long voyage home, I made my way to my next stop: Torcello. It had gotten even chillier by this point, but once again, stepping off the boat, I was overwhelmed. This time by the sensation of being home very far away from home. I walked down the path along the canal. The trees had no leaves and the air was crisp and calm. I was reminded of winter walks in Oaks Bottom with my family. Strangely nostalgic and comforted. I admit that I didn't spend very much time at the ruins, but was drawn to the grass field behind them, next to the water. Large stones lined the shore, away from the old piers where tourists captured the quaint beauty. Again, the light was too beautiful. Heartbreaking and invigorating. Strange.
After some time, the sun started to go down and I made my way back to the boat.
(Torcello photos to come.)