Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Part of History
On the morning after the U.S. Gondola Nationals, many of us were hosted by Mike O'toole at Gondola Getaway - an operation that started there over thirty years ago in Alamitos Bay. Looking back even further, gondolas actually operated there back in 1910. The canals there were designed with Venetian gondolas in mind and many were brought in shortly after construction.
Standing on the docks there, you can feel the history all around you.
A hundred years ago there were several gondola operations in places like this - many in Florida and California. Many decades later the fire was re-ignited by Mike O'toole. It was great to be invited for a breakfast cruise, seeing old friends who row there and meeting some of the new staff.
The operation recently added a few new boats to the fleet including this full-sized gondola which has been named "Erla".
I'd heard many things about this boat, so when I saw her being prepared for a cruise, I reached for my camera.
Gondolier Ben Landis was busily primping the boat.
I waited for him to finish and asked him to pose with the boat.
A hundred years ago, boats just like this plied these very waters,
rowed by guys with just as much pride in what they do.
Looking through the photos of that day, this image caught my eye;
it seemed so timeless, and then I realized that if I just dropped the color from the photo, we'd have a picture that matches the history of this place.
History - as gondoliers we get to play a unique part of it.