I dropped in on the gondola operation in Coronado, California today.
Located on the grounds of the Loews Coronado Bay Resort,
this is one of the best examples of "how to do it",
how to set up and run a gondola operation outside Venice.
I've been friends with Sean Jamieson (the owner),
and Eric Johnson (his former business partner) for quite some time,
and yet this was the first time I actually got myself in a car and drove down the the San Diego area and saw it all first hand.
I'd been on these docks before, but that was several years ago when another operator was taking passengers out on gondolas of a different sort.
The Gondola Company is a thriving operation, with beautiful,
well-kept boats and gondoliers who represent the company well.
I am friends with Sean and his guys, so I must admit a little bias,
but I don't dish out praise unless it's warranted.
Here are a few photos I shot while standing on the dock, chatting with Sean.
The tail section of a gondola that co-founders
Sean and Eric built years ago.
The bow of a gondola built by Daniele Bonaldo in Venice.
A closer look at the portela that Sean Jamieson carved to fit the boat.
The stern deck of that same Bonaldo gondola.
Part of a gondola built by Thom Price
under the instruction of Maestro Bonaldo in his squero.
Two gondoliers preparing the boat for a cruise.
I was happy to finally get down to Coronado and see the boats with my own eyes, shake some hands, and crack a joke or two with some fellow gondoliers.
Next time I hope to catch these guys when they're taking out the caorlina, and maybe even do some rowing with them.