Sunday, February 26, 2012

"The Dream"

It all started when I received these two photos from my friend Nick Birch in Stratford, England.

It's not always easy to tell dimensions from a photo,
but I could tell she was different.

I look at a lot of gondola photos.
I'm arguably one of the most severely infected "gondola addicts".
Nick told me the boat was Venice-built,
and he tantalized me with her length: 25 feet.

No, she's not a "half-size", she's a little bigger and more sensible.
The half-size gondolas are incredible in their own right, but I've yet to see one take any passengers over the age of, maybe twelve.

None of my friends have a half-size,
for the same reason I don't.
Sure, I've had opportunities to acquire one, but I can't make a living with a boat too small for paying passenger service,
and my wife, as of yet, is not interested in having an 18 foot "model" in the living room.
I'm not crossing my fingers on that to change either.

To read more about half-size gondolas, check out my posts:
In retrospect, I suppose I could have come up with more clever post titles.

I love my 36 foot gondolas, they are the real-deal, and possess centuries of history and development, geared to provide the greatest experience for the passengers and an optimum platform for the gondolier to do what he does.

But this boat has me thinking all kinds of things, and wondering what it's like to row her.
For one thing, looking at the first two photos, I could tell that she was a little wider than the half-size variation.

Here's a nice shot of the boat dressed and ready for some lucky passengers.

Nick's accompanying text read:
Here's a picture of our genuine 25ft long gondola from 1904 that we have recently restored - it was built in Venice for an Italian Fair in London.
Of course I was fascinated, probably as fascinated as some of you are now.  I wanted to see more photos, had a few questions and he sent me this photo of her on display:
Got a case of "gondola envy" now?
I sure do.
Nick wrote
Shes called 'The Dream', the name given to her in 1904 - she was owned by a famous writer called Marie Corelli.

We keep her under cover in our boathouse. She's very easy to row, being lighter than a gondola - more like a sandolo in size and weight.

When I get out there to Shakespeare country in May, I'm gonna do everything I can to try and get on that sandolo-sized gondola.
I can't wait to see for myself what it's like to row her.

Complimenti, caro Nick.
She's stunning.
Considering her smaller size, I might just try to smuggle her on the plane with me when I come home from England.


Tamás said...

> When I get out there to Shakespeare country in May

That should mean Festa della Sensa or Vogalonga for Venezia?

Unknown said...

I was thinking the same thing as you, how does she handle? The one thing that impressed me when I first started rowing a gondola was how easy they are to turn despite their length. A short one like this must turn fairly quick I would think

My wife wont let me have a gondola in our living room either.

Bepi Venexiano said...

Who the heck is Scheezo?
Where do you row?
Great name, right up there with
"Squeelio" "Rock Strongo" and "Roto Sorixo".