Monday, August 31, 2009
Here's a shot through the door:
Then I shot this one through the side window as he woke up and looked at his cell phone.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
One gondolier was busy messing with the boats, while the other was stationed on the bridge.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
USA Today just published an article called "Ten Great Places to Stream Through Cities".
Not surprisingly, San Antonio's Riverwalk made the list. Oklahoma City's Bricktown Canal made the list - quite an accomplishment considering how new it is.
But my biggest congrats go to the gondola operation in Providence, Rhode Island.
Take a look at the article for yourself.
This postcard, circa 1900, is one of my favorite images. It’s one of the only ones framed and hanging in my home. The gondolier looks like he’s literally about to take flight. The original post for this postcard can be seen here.
8/23 – Disdotona
I shot this photo during Regata Storica in 2005. The boat is a one-of-a-kind vessel known as a “disdotona”. This 18-oar vessel is the pride and joy of the Società Canottieri Francesco Querini - a rowing club in Castello. The boat and the club are discussed in more detail in a post entitled “Holy Remo – Part 2”.
8/24 – Sunset Gondola Banner (ferro to the left)This photo was taken during a visit to Sunset Gondola in October of 2008. To see some of the other photos from that visit, go to the original post.
8/25 – P.O.V. in N.B.
A typical gondolier-point-of-view, taken while rowing in Newport.
8/26 – 1893 fair
This one comes from a large photograph from the World’s Fair in Chicago of 1893. I did an extensive post on it back on November 30th of 2008.
8/27 – May 7th “Hey!”
Shot by my daughter Cassandra in Newport.
8/28 – Piazza Quay at night
This began as an attempt to capture the full moon from the quay at Piazza San Marco. I was in a bit of a rush to catch a vaporetto, so I really didn’t know if what I’d shot was worth anything until I downloaded everything.
The photo ended up residing at the top of the blog for quite some time afterward.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Several excavations have taken place in this unique location. Most of the artifacts unearthed, date back to the third and fourth centuries BC.
There’s an island to one side, which we had to squeeze our boat past to enter the covered portion of the cave.
Other passengers in our boat learned that I was some sort of “gondolier” and asked me to sing. As I thought it over, and my kids pushed me to do so, it became clear that if I didn’t – the folks in the boat would think I was an awful dad.
Most of the passengers seemed to like the song, and more importantly, the boatman took notice and motioned for me to stand up and row.
This was a fairly wide boat, and the oars were so worn that they hardly had any paddle surface to speak of, but with no wind or current, they worked just fine.
And for a few minutes, I was an American tourist, rowing like a “Greek cave boatman” singing like a Venetian Gondolier, and truly,
Then I sat down, let the guy dock his own boat, and after the others had disembarked, I showed him my appreciation…with a handshake and a big fat tip!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
...a not-so-long-lens sniping shot,
taken from the dock at Alamitos Bay.
To my knowledge, these are two of the only three caorlinas in the US.
All have been built here, with modifications to serve as large party boats.
To see photos of the other one, check out my post from June 9th, 2008.
video by Elisa Mohr
As you might expect, I was determined to not only ride in the boat, but to row the boat as well.
My family and I waited until the present boat, which had a load of people in it already, had shoved off.
video by Elisa Mohr
The locals say that for the longest time it was an unknown cavern and then some say the roof fell in during an earthquake. Other islanders claim that it had been open for five thousand years, but the obscuring trees kept people from finding it. A cave of the same description was mentioned in a book by Dr. Joseph Partsh in 1890. The Melissani Cave was rediscovered in 1951. The entrance tunnel was made and the cave officially opened in 1963.
Once they found it, and the tunnel entryway was excavated, not long after, someone thought it might be fun to put a boat in there. I wonder if any of my readers here can identify with that.
In the middle of the day, when the sun is overhead, the rays of sunlight hit the water directly, illuminating the stone floor of the lake – turning the water amazing shades of turquoise and deep royal blue.
As we boarded, a few other people showed up and climbed in too. Our “gondolier” rowed us into the center of the lake and directed our attention to the “aperture” above, which is ringed by trees of the surrounding forest.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Shot in Newport, just after passing under the Newport Blvd. bridge, I took this of Newport Island.
The palm trees on either side of the tip of the island, and their reflections, give an interesting sort of optical illusion.
And the sunset aint bad either.
Some time ago, Sean Jamieson and I were talking about the Gondola Blog and he said:
"So basically you just go places, row boats, and write about it".
This wasn't exactly the way I'd envisioned the whole thing.
It seemed to downplay the significance of things.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was pretty much right.
I go places, row boats, and write about it.
Not very important, but not a bad deal either.
It's pretty darn fun, and as a gondolier, there aren't that many things I'd rather be doing.
So how does a guy who "goes places, rows boats, and writes about it" come up with a plan?
Yes, sometimes I put a lot of thought into it, say to myself: "I need to go to such-and-such-place, find the gondola I've heard about and row".
Sometimes I have to talk my wife and family into stuff.
Quite often, my wife (who is a travel agent) will say something like:
"Hey Greg, wanna go to (insert any random place here)?"
And I'll reply with either:
"Oh, yeah! Hey, we could visit the gondola that operates there."
"Are there gondolas there?" Either way, she will roll her eyes, and remind herself that she's a "Gondola Widow", and then count her blessings that I'm not hopelessly obsessed with Ferraris, gambling, or other women.
And while there are times when I build a trip around what I call "gondola tourism", or squeeze a visit to a boat operation into an existing trip, there are also times when something will just fall into my lap.
Such was the case with the Melissani Cave.
This was the third Greek port we'd visited on the cruise we took after Vogalonga, and aside from finding the best gyros on the island for lunch, I had little on my agenda for the day.
Then I heard about these rowing boats that gave a tour through caves.
Sound like something that would interest a gondola fanatic?
We talked to a few different cab drivers, found one who had a good command of the English language, and made a deal.
We drove across the island to the town of Sami, traveled a few kilometers further to Karavomylos, and ended up at the receiving area of the operation.
After buying tickets (7 euro for adults, 4 euro for kids), we followed a staircase down that brought us to the top of a diagonal corridor - at the end of which we could see the turquoise water of the cave and boats crossing in and out of view.
This wasn't my first "underground boat ride", we'd done this type of thing a few years back in Kentucky (see part one and part two), and of course the Blue Grotto in Capri was a highlight of a vacation to Napoli in 2006 (read my post from Jan. 3rd of '08).
Like Napoli, the boatmen stand and row with two oars, in a forward-facing position. It’s not unusual, really – I’ve even seen some guys do it in California.
Here’s a video clip of our entry into the location:
video by Elisa Mohr
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
In fact it was the exact same spot I observed Silvio Sibbezzi performing the same job in 2006.
Monday, August 24, 2009
A few readers posted comments, and I received some e-mail guesses, but nobody had the answer.
Nereo, the guy who took the photo, sent in the answer:
"The doorknob is on a door (hu!) in a narrow calle close the fish market / fruit market."
Thanks for the great photo, Nereo.
Anybody else out there have a good mystery photo?
Sunday, August 23, 2009
But other guys just set up shop somewhere and wait for customers.
You may have seen them "camping out" on or near busy bridges.
This guy and his buddy staked a claim along the fondamenta near the Pescheria in San Polo. They grabbed two careghini from a gondola, strapped a big yellow unbrella to one of those little chairs, and they were ready for customers.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Piazzale Roma is a prime example of that, because a lot of what comes in and out of Venice goes through there.
While sitting on a bus the day after Vogalonga,
I caught something out of the corner of my eye.
It looked like a canoe.
Now a canoe in Venice is not all that amazing, but a canoe on the curb is a bit less common.
Put it next to folks standing around with luggage, and I'm curious.
I suppose a canoe on the sidewalk just after Vogalonga isn't all that strange. What really cracked me up was the guy in a dress shirt and suit pants who was unpacking it, while the two women sort of stood around as if to say:
"it was your hair-brained idea to bring that stupid canoe, I'm not helpin' ya".