Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Gondolas

The first word that comes to mind when you hear Venice is "gondola".  Yes, Venice is known for it's canals and certainly not to mention St. Mark's Square and Cathedral, but almost nowhere else on earth will you find gondolas.  A few hundred years back there were over 10,000 gondolas in this small city.  The aristocrats used these watercraft as their primary means of transportation.  Now there are only about 500 gondolas, and most are used for tourist "joyrides" and the remainder are used for quick rides across the Grand Canal and other purposes.

We did not get a chance to ride in a gondola during our short stay in Venice, and if we had I'm not exactly sure where we would have embarked or how much we would have paid.  Many tourists start their rides from the lagoon area near St. Mark's Square.  These gondolas begin their journey by steering into one of the canals that lead from the lagoon in towards the city, under the heavily traveled arching pedestrian bridges.

There are also a few places within the maze of streets and canals where you can begin your ride.  The photo below shows one of these crowded canal "intersections".  It was an amazing location bustling with activity, with regular tourists competing against a few hotel guests that were trying to get a short boat ride to their hotel.

As far as pricing we have read that prices can be high, but are flexible depending on your negotiating skills, also taking into account the demand level at the time (e.g. crowd size, time of year, time of day, etc.)  If you want to add a romantic singing accordion player to your trip then it will cost your dearly - up to $100 extra.

Hopefully on our next visit (if there is one) we'll be sure to make time for a gondola ride, but we'll probably skip the accordion player.

See more Venice images on my Etsy site:  http://www.etsy.com

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