Watching scrappy club races is exciting, witnessing the "best of the best" duke it out with all of the Veneto watching from the windows and shores of the Grand Canal - amazing. Even the casual for-fun regatas can be great fun to watch, but the seed that it all grows from is what tugs most at my heart.
The "Little Fish" are coached masterfully by Bepi Suste, and photographed equally as well by Nereo Zane.
Best image of a traghetto:
"Traghetto in Winter" by Chris Clarke
Boat I'd most like to row?
C'mon, this one was the obvious choice.
Sure, there are so many other boats I'd like to row, but if I had to pick just one this year, the decision would be an easy one.
Now choosing three friends to bring with me to row this amazing four-person craft...that would be a much more difficult decision to make.
Thanks to Tamás Fehér for putting this boat on my radar, and Nereo Zane for helping me identify her accurately.
For "Most adventurous people", I had to choose two:
Bart de Zwart - he may not be a gondolier, but the guy's got guts. Rowing the entire Hawaiian island chain on a stand-up paddle board with no support; yeah, that's adventurous. Search his name on the net and you'll see that he's well known in the SUP world. I reported on Bart in June, in my post "SUP Expedition in the News".
Tommaso Luppi - This guy makes his living as a gondolier in Venice, Italy (insert your jealous remarks here). And while many of us may have a dream of doing what Tommaso does one day (if only for a day), he had a dream of his own...and he accomplished it. No, it wasn't on a gondola, but he did sail across the Atlantic singlehandedly. Adventurous!
Many thanks go out to Marie at "Italy to Los Angeles and Back" for bringing this story to our attention and keeping us posted on Tommaso's progress.
When the story first appeared, I posted "Gondolier Sails Across the Atlantic? Oh Yeah, I'm Following That!", and then when he completed his solo voyage, I posted "Gondolier Lands in Martinique".
Coolest punts - "Narrow and Fast".
I think if I had to give up Venetian rowing (you know, like if I had to go into the witness protection program), I might consider taking up punting. Of course if I did need to go into hiding, punting would probably not be the most low-profile choice for a profession.
We've seen passenger punts, big barge-like punts, and the crazy punt races in Stocherkahnrennen. This year Chris Clarke introduced us to the gondolino equivalent, and I can't wait to try one someday.
While going through the posts of 2011, I realized that I could come up with many more categories to post about here.
Instead, I'll invite you to comment about any "favorites" or "bests" that you would like to share.
And as always, with the new year approaching, I encourage you to send photos, videos, and content that you think might be of interest to Gondola Blog readers.
Thanks for reading, my friends.