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laundry day

A picture perfect postcard from Italy

Visiting Venice on a day trip, whilst on holiday in South Tyrol last September, was actually one of my highlights of the Pandemic-ridden year that was 2020. When planning the trip from the hotel we were staying in at Lago Di Caldaro, I was trying - true to style - to fit as much of Venice into one day as possible.

That was until I came across the images of Burano, one of the small islands in the Venetian lagoon. One of the blogs I came across read

Burano is a place that will put a smile on the face of the grumpiest person.

I was sold.

I figured out that this wouldn't actually leave much time for the rest of Venice but my mind was set.

The one thing I remember most vividly about the train rolling into Venice and getting out of the Stazione di Venezia Santa Lucia was that I felt like being in a movie - which is what travelling should feel like to me and I hadn't felt that all year. It is a bit like arriving at Gare du Nord in Paris - you get out of the train and you're right in the middle of it all. In Venice that means you can basically jump straight into a water taxi from the platform.

And so I did - it was a beautiful late summer day with lots of sunshine and Italian feel to it. Drifting through the canals of Venice watching the gondolas pass by put the biggest smile on my face (obviously hidden by my mask). The water taxi to Burano only runs a few times and hour and did get quite busy even though there were very few tourists around at that time, but I just stuck my head out of the window into the sun and the wind and was happy.

Arriving at Burano I was immediately greeted by the bright and colourful houses it is so famous for. I tried to get off the main tourist track as soon as possible and wandered through the little alleys and backyards of the side roads, listening to the sounds that came out of the Italian kitchens.

The bright colours of the houses are incredible, which is intensified by their reflection in the turquoise waters of the canals. As with most things that are pleasing to our visual eye, the choice of colour is not a coincidence here. Apparently you need to apply for permission at the local council if you want to paint the facade of your house and they will then issue you with a set of colours you may choose from. Rumor has it that it all started with the fishermen painting their house in bright colours so that they could distinguish it from all the others when returning home in the foggy evenings.

Whatever the reason - the result really lifts your spirits!

I kind of got the feeling that the clothes on the many washing lines that adorned the houses weren't a coincidence either. A single bright pink piece of clothing in front of a deep teal facade seems like a very deliberate placement to me and pastel coloured towels in front of a mint green wall also feel a bit like a Pantone colour book. But maybe you just develop a natural feel for that kind of thing when you live in this place.

Burano is actually a group of five islands that are connected via small bridges, which -to be fair - are lined with Insta husbands taking posy pictures of fairly overdressed women, but even that didn't bother me too much. At the end of the day it was probably only a fraction of what you would normally see here.

The colours of the houses and the clothes, the play of light and shadows that come with it, the pretty little flower pots and details everywhere - it all feels like one big picture postcard. Mix in the chatter that comes out of the windows in combination with the sound of plates and pots being arranged on some kitchen table and the kids playing outside in the shade and you have a pretty soothing scenery.

A perfect place to just wander off through the small little alleyways and discover the place that way. No need for Google Maps or Apple Pay - you can't really get lost and cash is always welcome in the small shops and restaurants.

I probably spent about 3 hrs there and even though I had to head straight back to the train station, I really felt like I had seen a place to remember as well as getting a small glimpse of Venice, which remains on my bucket list for a second visit.

Writing this blog post on a gloomy February afternoon is also the best kind of therapy, especially when going over the images. (None of which have been re-touched - I just wouldn't do them justice.)



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