Thursday 23 July 2015

Venice: The Gondola Ride

Venice is totally pedestrianized. But believe it or not there are no roads, streets or alleys in Venice (meaning all walkways are not named).  Instead there is a maze of about 150 canals and more than 400 pedestrian bridges across these canals. Instead of cars, motorbikes and bicycles there are ferries, water taxis and gondolas.  These gondolas which are authentically Venetian are specially built to navigate narrow and shallow canals. They are the primary mode of transport for the locals but with 20 million tourists visiting Venice each year the gondolas have become a real demand.
Some say a visit to Venice would be incomplete if you do not experience the gondola ride. I suppose this is true as the only way to appreciate a city built entirely on water is to walk and to go on these... gondolas?
Our gondala ride started near Hotel Cavaletto & Doge Orseolo. Each gondola sits 6 people but for a "romantic ride" you can charter the whole gondola for your lover and yourself. The standard rate is 80EUR for a 40 minutes ride but you will have to pay more for night rides and for a serenaded one.
The gondolas are quite comfortable to sit on as the seats are padded. They are artistically crafted and are rowed with only one oar.
And here we go...a rowing. 
"Row,row, row your gondola, gently down the stream. Merily, merily, merily, merily , life is but a dream" Just humming this to the tune of "Row Row RowYour Boat Song"

Our ride is quite interesting as we floated beneath bridges and glided past restaurants cafes and shops. 
There are more than 400 gondoliers in Venice. The gondoliers have to wear  black pants, striped shirts (of whatever colour) and covered dark shoes.
 Our gondolier is a very quiet man. We didn't request for him to serenade as we will have to fork out extra and there is no guarantee he will sing in tune. LOL.

This is a very narrow canal that we glided through.

The gondola was navigated into Grand Canal, which is the main canal that snakes through the Venice islands.
This is an aerial view of Venice to show how the Grand Canal snakes its way around the tiny islands that make up Venice.
We rowed past Rialto Bridge.

And what a spectacular sight!

The gondolier rowed us back to the smaller canals.

And soon enough we were back at our starting point. That was one memorable and very delightful ride indeed.

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