Monday, August 22, 2016

Training at Sunset

top three photos by Ruben Jay
With Nationals just two months away, Kalev and I decided to take a jaunt
on the Contessa to work on our tandem rowing skills.
 Heading out,
and chasing down the sunset.
We met up with Simon as he was out with passengers.
The three of us circled around and sang "Santa Lucia".
What a perfect night on the water.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cowardly Sabotage

I'm a big fan of keeping things positive here on the Gondola Blog.
You won't see many things here that denigrate another person or group of people.

I will make an exception today,
and in a moment you'll understand why.

This coming Thursday there will be a blessing on the steps of the church of Santa Maria della Salute - a tradition that goes back a very long time.
All of the rowers in the upcoming Regata Storica will be there,
with each two-man team aboard the gondolino that they will compete on
just three days later.

Yes, it's that time again.
The Regata Storica is right around the corner.
Nine sleek racing boats which are used each year for this race have been stored and maintained by the Commune di Venezia to be used in the ultimate rowing race through La Serenissima.

So far all the things I've said could describe what happens each year at this time.
Nothing new.

And then it happened,
someone gained access to the gondolini that were stored and ready for launch on Friday, and amazingly, managed to chop seven of the nine boats in half with some sort of a saw.

Yeah, let that sink in for a minute.

Here are some images that have been circulating online.

For most folks, a series of questions come forth:
- What kind of person does this?!

- WHY would they do it?

- How in the world did they get away with it without being caught, or even seen doing it?  As of this writing, nobody seems to know who did it or why. 
There are many theories, but that's it. 
The police are investigating this,
so it's probably just a matter of time before the truth comes out.

And of course there's the practical question...
- What can be done in this short period of time?

Imagine if the Superbowl could only be played with one particular football,
and someone put it into a woodchipper.

Here's where, if I had less self control,
I'd launch into a blistering tirade of filthy language.
But since my kids read the blog I'll just say this:
Take the very worst insults and foul language,
spin it up in a blender of rage, and give it a Soprano's-style delivery...
and THAT'S how I feel about the person or people who did this.

The Venetian spirit, however, is remarkable.
From the time their forefathers began building the foundations of the city,
Venetians have shown the world that they are survivors,
they're resilient,
and they have a natural skill in adapting and overcoming.

See, at this moment, in a building on the island of Giudecca,
three masters of boatbuilding are working tirelessly to save the day.
Roberto Dei Rossi, Gianfranco Vianello "Crea" and Dino Tagliapietra have come together to put these remarkable boats back together in time for the blessing on Thursday.

And it won't just be a cosmetic patch job either.
The seven gondolini will be race-ready.

So on behalf of Venice and all of the fans of Venetian rowing around the world, there is one other thing I'd like to tell those cowards responsible for this disgraceful act:

You failed!

I hope you enjoy watching the Regata Storica this year.
I know I will.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Selfie Sticks are Welcome

photo by Mitchell Luckey

I know they can be annoying and in some cases unsafe in amusement parks and other places.  But on the gondolas here in Newport, selfie sticks are welcome, and photobombs by the gondolier are encouraged.

US Gondola Nationals 2016!

photo by Ignus Holm

It has been announced.
In two months, we'll be converging on Stillwater, Minnesota
to take part in the 2016 US Gondola Nationals!
Here's the message from John Kerschbaum of Gondola Romantica in Stillwater:

Hello USGN community,

Mark your calenders for the 2016 US Gondola Nationals being held in Stillwater Minnesota on October 22nd and 23rd.
I hope to see everyone at this annual one-of-a-kind event.

The more of you that can come the better.
If there is anything I can do to help get you here please contact me at 651-755-3002. If you need help with lodging let me know and I will see what I can do.
For lodging info go to Registration forms will be out early next week. It is best to fly into Minneapolis/St. Paul international airport.

Ciao for now,


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Palio di Siena

Last month in my post about Calcio Storico,
I mentioned the "Palio di Siena" - a wild horse race through the city square.

They typically have Palio races on two days each year,
and last weekend was the second one of the year. 
If you're like me, and you're saying "I've got to get out there to see it",
then you'll need to wait until next year.

Here's a clip of the race that happened just two days ago:

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sepia Stalking

photo by Cassandra Mohr
My daughter stalked me this afternoon and snapped this photo from the 38th Street Bridge. It seemed best in a sepia setting.

Buon giorno from Newport Beach!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Failure to Land in Venice

The Mayor of Venezia is understandably angry.
Not because someone jumped off a bridge,
not because it was the Rialto,
not because the guy was from out-of-town
and not because he was drunk.
The Mayor is angry because the drunk guy from New Zealand had the grave misfortune of landing on a boat.

Remarkably, this guy seems to have survived his failure to land.
I told Kiwi Andrew McHardy
(who alerted me to this story...and who is NOT the subject of it)
that maybe the guy survived because he was from New Zealand
and probably grew up playing rugby.

Here's the article:
Drunk Kiwi in hot water after big splash in Venice

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Steve Comes...and Steve Goes

Out on the waters of Newport tonight,
I caught sight of my friend Steve approaching. 
Fumbling for my phone, I managed to snap off two shots of him without dropping it in the water.
One shot of Steve coming towards us,
and the other of him going off into the distance.