Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bastille Day!

To most Americans, July 14th is just another day, but for the French it's the "4th of July". In fact while the holiday is officially known as "Bastille Day", many in France simply refer to it as "le 14 Juillet" - just like we call our Independence Day the 4th of July.

Laura K. Lawless ('s French Language Guide) has a good, concise page on the subject here.

Last year I was able to visit Paris for the first time.

The Eiffel Tower, Arch de Triophe, and Versailles were all on the must-visit list, but there was one more place I had to go, and yes, it involves gondolas.

Richard Winckler is the guy to talk to and row with in Paris when it comes to voga-alla-Veneta. He's a member at Diadora and has rowed numerous times in the Vogalonga.

In August of 2008 Richard teamed up with Nick Birch of England to provide gondolas for a promotional event on the Seine, put on by That week Richard and Roger were at the top of my "people I'm jealous of" list. I published a post on it entitled "Paris" (there's a nice piece of video linked there for your viewing pleasure)

Nick got me in touch with Richard before I left California, but we only communicated briefly via e-mail.

Showing up at a train station along the river one rainy afternoon, I had no idea what kind of person I'd meet in Richard - he was great. It was like meeting a distant relative for the first time.

Richard gave me and my family a tour of the Vogaveneta Paris facility, told us all about the many interesting boats there, and treated us to a picnic lunch filled with French delights.

With the rain falling intermitently, it wasn't a day for rowing, but my daughter and I shot many post-worthy photos during our visit to Vogaveneta Paris.

You can expect to see them here periodically in the days to come.

Vogaveneta Paris keeps their boats in this waterfront facility.

The Vogaveneta logo combines the base of the Eiffel Tower with an artist's interpretation of a gondola ferro.

A close-up of the only gondola in Paris.

For now, I would just like to express my thanks to Richard Winckler in Paris for his hospitality.

Maybe next time I'm in Paris we'll get to row together.

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