ride in a gondola!
Sure, it may be one of the most cliché, touristy things to do in entire world, but there really is something magical in gliding past ancient palaces and marveling at magnificent Venetian engineering and architecture. A gondola ride through the narrow canals of the floating city has long been romanticized, and rightly so in my opinion. I felt the amore of the beautiful city at sunset while nestled in the arms of the one I love, seated comfortably upon a blue velvet couch on a sleek black pimped out gondola.
There are a few places in the world that I have said I only want to experience with a partner. Venice was a city I had saved for someone special.
The gondolier hummed a tune as he rowed the boat through the Grand Canal. He tore our gaze from each others eyes when he insisted we admire yet another beautiful palace constructed in the 16th century in a classic Renaissance style.
“This gondola has been in my family for many generations, my father rowed it before me, and my son will after I retire.”
Quite a good living can be made as a gondolier, with a 40 minute ride set officially at a fixed rate of €80. A steep price in the name of love, but I am happy I paid for the memory.
We had not actually planned to visit Venice when Thomas and I had set out on our European motorbike tour. From atop the Timmelsjoch mountain pass on the border of Austria, I realized we were about to descend into Italy. Venezia in bold caught my eye. I am horrible at gaging actual distances to scale on a map, but the city didn’t seem that far away. I asked Thomas if he could take us there. He said sure why not, but worried that I might be disappointed as his brother had recently described the city as “smelly” and told him not to bother visiting.
With discerning noses we wandered into the city at dark having failed to book a room in advance to the amusement of the receptionist at the first hotel we entered inquiring about availability. We were told we would be hard pressed to find a vacant room as weekends book up weeks in advance and to make matters worse there was an international rowing competition happening that weekend. I am historically lucky, and my luck did not fail me as we landed a room at a four star hotel courtesy of the person who booked and paid for the room but was a no show. I tried my best to logically explain that the room really should be free in that case, but happily accepted the room at half price with breakfast included.
As we strolled through the colorful city across pretty bridges we smelled the aroma of roasted tomatoes, pizzas and deliciousness drifting out the many cafes lining the endless meandering canals. Perhaps the city becomes more negatively “smelly” in the heat of summer, I have no idea.
Our time in Venice was short, only two nights and one day. “It really is a beautiful city, I just wish we could remove everyone and have it to ourselves” Thomas wished as we fought our way through the crowds at piazza San Marc. Gaging from the ridiculously long line outside the Torre dell’Orologio, climbing to the top of the clock tower was high on the tourist to do list. While I had no doubt the top would afford stunning views neither of us had the patience for the crowds and lines. Instead we decided to wander throughout the city wherever our hearts desired eating and drinking along the way. Gelato, wine, melons wrapped in prosciutto, pizza, lasagna and tiramisu filled our bellies with happiness.
Venezia thanks for the romance. XO
To see more photos from Venice CLICK HERE.