Murano is the next island over from Venice, right on the Vaporetto (water bus) stop. It’s know for its blow glass, and the blow glass factories bring in their share of tourists. At the factory, you are brought in and shown a craftsman working for a few minutes and then quickly usher you into the gift shop.
While it was beautiful, I had heard from the locals that much of what is sold on the island is not authentic blow glass, but made in China. Given that I didn’t know how to tell the two apart and it was fairly pricy, I didn’t buy any. And Venice was the first stop on my trip, so carrying around fragil glass for 10 more days through 3 more cities seemed risky at best. There is blown glass on display literally everywhere. Just walking down a back alley, we stumbled across this Chihuly – which is also not from Murano.
There is a lot of buzz around the Pope’s visit to America. Huge crowds are expected for all the events and the Northeast practically shutdown, as the Pope gets a rock star welcome. Last weekend, I even saw this t-shirt commemorating the Pope’s visit. While I don’t have a t-shirt to show for it, I was reminded of the Sunday Mass I attended in Rome. The unexpected surprise was that the mass was led by Pope Francis!
I had joked with my friends before my trip, “When in Rome on Sunday, go to Mass in St. Peter’s Square”. In general, I am drawn to the beautiful vibrations at places like this. I have found this to be true across every religion. I get goose bumps just thinking about the millions of people that have come to these places for centuries with such faith. It feels like the energy, the love, of all those people still resides there. And to truly experience this powerful energy, you can’t see it like a tourist. This energy doesn’t open up to outsiders. You have to experience it like those millions before you, with an open heart and with faith – and preferably attend whatever prayer is happening there. It really changes the place from a photo op to spiritual experience.