Friday, May 18, 2012

Rowing a Dream

Spend enough time in London, and you’ll start to think that England is all red double-decker busses and black taxis.
With her intricate and extensive subway rail system (known as the “tube”), a financial district, and a large contingent of museums and historic urban attractions, it’s easy to see why London is often compared to New York City.
And again, the city tends to distract outsiders from seeing the rest of England, but spend a couple hours on the train, and you’ll see the other side of the country. Yesterday my family and I spent the day in Stratford-Upon-Avon – the birthplace of William Shakespeare. We enjoyed exploring the charming town, and had some incredible food.

It was all great, but the best part of the day was meeting Nick Birch, seeing his boats and workshop, and spending some time rowing one of the most remarkable gondolas I’ve ever seen.
I’ll go into the history of this little gondola in the future, and she does have quite a history, but for now I’ll just say the following:
She’s only 25 feet long,
was custom built in 1904 in Venice,
and is a working passenger gondola.
She’s also a heck of a lot of fun to row.
As Nick put it: “she sort of feels like a sandolo”, and I’d have to agree.
The boat is so responsive that she reminds me of a little sports car.

photo by Cassandra Mohr

Rowing in Stratford-Upon-Avon was a dream of mine for some time,
doing it on a boat like this made it even better.
Having my wife aboard, for me to sing to, and kiss under each bridge, made for a memory I’ll hang onto forever.
One more little tidbit of info: the gondola was named "The Dream".
How perfect is that?

My deepest thanks to Nick and his staff for their warm hospitality,
and for allowing me to row such a special boat.

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