photos by Marlies de WitI've mentioned Amsterdam's Tirza Mol on the Gondola Blog several times, but recently I was contacted by another Dutch gondola operator named Arjen Heida.
He operates a beautiful Venice-built gondola in the ancient city of Utrecht.
Arjen's gondola is estimated to be between 75 and 80 years old.
She was imported from Venice when she was about 45 years old, owned and displayed by a few museums, and even a zoo, before Arjen bought her.
I've known about the boat for many years, and actually nicknamed her the "Zoo Gondola" because of her last location.
After Arjen acquired the "Zoo Gondola", a major restoration was performed, and now she is a working passenger gondola once again.
Looking at the gondola, you'd never know she was over 25 years old.
Tirza was very involved in the restoration, and Arjen credits her for teaching him to row.
This is precisely why I like gondola people so much.
They love the boats and the rowing so much that they'll gladly enable a potential competitor.
I've had a lot of fun getting to know Arjen via e-mail.
He and Tirza make me want to get on a plane and row in another canal city.
Arjen officially launched his business on 7/7/07 - a lucky number for both him and his gondola.
To visit Arjen's website, go to: