Nobody photographs gondolas like Nereo Zane. I have a lot of friends who do a heck of a job with the subject, but I have to give Nereo top honors.
He's also really god at getting himself in the right place to take such photos.
As of this posting, the 2008 Vogalonga has kicked off, and thousands of people are rowing around the Venetian lagoon.
The Vogalonga started in 1974 by people who wanted to make a statement against the "moto ondoso" (waves caused by motorized boats). While there were many regatas taking place in and around Venice, the Vogalonga was different: it was non-competetive. The organizers sought to make their statement by fielding as many boats, with as many participants as possible. They achieved their goal by making it a non-competetive, fun event where anyone with a human-powered boat could join in.
It kind of reminds me of something I saw in the 70's when marathons and other running events were so popular: they had this event called a "fun run" where anyone could enter, and there was no score-keeping.
The comparison isn't perfect, but I think it's close enough. Everyone who participates has a great time, partly because the pressure of competition is removed.
The photos in this post are some of Nereo Zane's shots from past Vogalonga experiences.
The 14-man "quattordesona" from my rowing club in Mestre - the Gruppo Sportivo, Voga Veneta - Mestre.
Unfortunately, I can't be there this year, but I'm thrilled for those who get to experience it.
Congrats to all of you out there rowing the course, and living the dream.
Just do me a favor: don't come back the the U.S. and tell us that you won first place!