Joe Deverell lives in upstate New York, where he has two Venice-built gondolas.
He doesn't really use his gondolas for passenger service - he just likes to row them.
And he sure can row.
When I was in Albany preparing to launch the expedition down the Hudson River, Joe had just finished an expedition of his own.
Today Joe will began another expedition, starting in Tonawanda and planning to end at Baldwinsville.
The trip will cover 150 miles on the Erie Canal.
A website containing more information can be viewed at: http://www.gondolajoe.com/
I just spoke with Joe on the phone this morning.
He'd been rowing since 9am and according to a guy on a bicycle who paced him, he was moving at about four and a half miles per hour, and feeling good.Go Joe!
Someday I'll own one just to row.
I've often told my wife that if we ever have to go into the Witness Protection program, that I'll need to bring just one gondola, or even a mascareta, because if I don't row, I'll go stark raving mad.
Actually Venice is a good place to hide for witnesses or pentiti. British aristocrats and ex-politicians targeted by the IRA in the 70-80s were instructed by the MI5 to relocate and Venice was a popular suggestion.
There are only two ways out of the historic city, by way of the Liberty landbridge or over water. The landbridge is constantly monitored by police and cameras and those who don't know the waters will run aground in the lagoon in a short time.
Therefore assassins would need extensive local help to escape from Venice after the job is done, they would risk being tipped off and captured. At least John Berendt's book says so.
Bringing your own gondola to Venice probably wouldn't attract too much unwanted attention?
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