Monday, February 23, 2009

Arjen's New Addition

Our friend Arjen in the Dutch city of Utrecht recently bought and received his second gondola.
He bought her from a gentleman in Mestre, which is the mainland city at the base of the bridge to Venice.

She's reportedly 25 years old, and is receiving lots of attention right now as Arjen works toward getting her passenger-ready for spring.

Here's a shot of the boat when she was still in Mestre:
Yes, that's Venetian rain washing down the gondola.

As the boat is at what most Venetians consider to be "retirement age" for gondolas, Arjen is needing to do some wood replacement - especially in the deck area of the poppa. While Venetians might consider her old enough to retire, given the right restoration and proper maintenance, this gondola can remain in service for decades to come.

Nearly every gondola has something unique - setting her apart from others. Sometimes it's a design feature, or a story associated with the history of the vessel. While I'm sure there are other things that make this gondola unique, my eye was drawn to the deck carvings on the very end of the poppa:

They remind me of the original happy and sad masks from Greek theatre.

I have to wonder if the gondolier who commissioned this gondola operated her around La Fenice. Or maybe he was into theatre himself. He obviously preferred comedy, because the sad face is missing.

Like some gondoliers, Arjen has a day job which keeps him fairly busy, but each night he can be found painstakingly "serving the ship" that recently arrived in Utrecht from the Veneto.

A complete strip-down and sanding has been performed, filling and faring is in the process, and soon she'll receive the first of many coats of shiny black paint.

In the spring she'll grace the waters of Arjen's ancient city alongside his first gondola "Christina".

Hopefully we'll see some "after photos" soon.

An article in Venice's Il Gazzettino tells part of the story (in Italian) and also features some photos seen previously on this blog of Tirza in Amsterdam.


Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

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