While on my adventure to Italy this past year I visited Burano. This is an island outside of Venice that is an easy ferry ride from the city. However, when there are an extra 100 tourist at the stop in Murrano who want to also visit, the ferry is PACKED and everyone is hanging on as we hit the waves. A quiet visit to this charming village becomes a massive tour group. It makes you wonder what it is like to really live there.
Burano is a disney world-like village with multi pastel colored houses along a small canal. I expect tourism is an important part of the economy and many of the regular home fronts had tables set up with handicrafts or souveniers for sale. I would have been happy to speak with a resident and share a coffee for a fee!Who needs another plastic gondola?
But to get on to my story: It is often difficult to find public bathrooms while traveling. there are limited fast food restaurants so you can not always expect to find a McDonalds. I have been told by Italians that they usualy use the facilities at a bar (cafe) after ordering a drink. But I find Americans do not like to ask "where is the toilet".
So I was pleased to see signs in Venice for WC. The European symbol for bathroom. I expect with the millions of tourists in Venice, they had to do something! Of course you have the facilities at the train station, near the tourist office in St. Marks Square (this is a two story one!!!) and signs in the maze of streets leading from St Marks to the Rialto bridge. I felt like I was a live piece in a monopoly game following the sign for the WC, sent to dead ends, down dark alleys that I would NEVER take in any city in the USA.
There were stickers attached to the pavenment in Burano saying WC ! Yeah. I followed ! Only to find this handmade sign delaring this the MOST expensive bathroom I found in Italy.
A euro at the time was between $1.37 to $1.45.
But there was no other alternative.
I did meet a few of the "locals". A very intersting woman who has a clothing store. It featured hand made tops and sweaters that were very unique and outside the budget of someone not on vacation.
As we talked in Italian (I understood about 40%) she very patiently told me she designed all the one of a kind items. Of course she showed me each one. And her daughter worked upstairs in the studio. This was the last month of the season and they would be closing down the store the next week until the 2011 season.
Even though I said several times I would love to see them (in my Italian I could have said, who want to see them?) I did not get an invitation to the design studio. Maybe next year.
She did tell me her sister rents an apt in Burano so if I decide to move to an island outside of Venice, I have a connection!