Today we visited the three islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. I was very much looking forward to this trip from seeing photos before we left, but was shocked at the crowds we met once there. The day began fairly quietly and I was thrilled to finally escape the madness, shop around, and visit the museums of the classic trades on each island, but as the day progressed we were met with more and more tourists and sardine-packed streets. It was so busy on Murano that we were unable to board the first vaporetto to Burano! We had to wait an additional 20 minutes for the next scheduled vaporetto and push our way on to avoid getting stuck a second time. Once we arrived in Burano, almost the entire boat unpacked and took over the island. It was heartbreaking to me to see it this busy, especially after having done research on the lace and admired the colorful houses and quaint lifestyle of the island. At times it was even hard to move around, and being unable to walk a few feet without a souvenir shop was very overwhelming. Venice the mercantile has most certainly transformed into venice the dying and venice the appropriated because even I as a tourist can see the culture slipping away. Having only two hours on each island did not help this feeling either, and each stop was only a brief glimpse and then hurried boarding on the next vaporetto. I did find a touch of solace on Torcello: the crowds were full, but once we stepped inside the church and got to admire the incredible mosaic, we had a few moments of peace that sounded louder than the chaos of the rest of our trip. I appreciated the reverence our group had inside the church, and it made me proud to be a part of Imagining Venice.