Thursday, June 29, 2017

Twenty-Two Degrees from Above

A while back I posted a head-on shot of this same gondola
and called it "Twenty-Two Degrees to Port".

Since I rarely come upon an angle of the gondola that I haven't seen a thousand times, that photo really captured my attention.

As I went through the other images from that day, I discovered this shot.
The boat is still leaning to port at twenty-two degrees,
but this view is from a somewhat higher vantage point.

Like a fine wine, or a mysterious woman - you can spend years, decades, even a lifetime obsessing over her - looking at this remarkable boat.
She is beauty, she is grace, and she has captured the heart of nearly every man who has ever rowed her. 
And yet she has issues, baggage, and imperfection in the form of asymmetry.

Is she perfect?
Can you stop thinking about her?
Didn't think so.

I'm convinced that for as long as man inhabits this earth,
he will never build another boat that matches our beloved gondola.
She is the genuine article, and all of her contemporaries will be measured against her - never to measure up.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Gondolas in Prague

photos by Mark Mohr

You never know where you might see gondolas.
These two were photographed last week by my brother when he was in Prague.

I've heard from my friends at the GSVVM rowing club that they've seen this operation when they brought some of their club boats to the city of Prague.
Here are a few interesting links on the servizio:

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Summer Nights

The seasons can sometimes sneak up on you.
Days go by, and suddenly you realize that a new season is upon you.
That's how I feel about summer - which has certainly made it's presence known lately.

Friday, June 23, 2017

High Tide in Ventura

photo by Mark Schooling

The moon swings around us wildly,
orbiting our sphere in a predictable but incongruent pattern.
Sometimes it's closer and sometimes it's farther from our surface.

depending on that distance, our tides react accordingly,
because as crazy as it seems - that cold stone satellite of ours has a field of gravity of it's own, which brings it's magnetism to bear on our oceans.

Lately we've seen some noticeable high tides here in California.
Mark at Gondola Paradiso sent me this cool shot, taken last night at around 8:30pm in Oxnard (a city in Ventura County).

Normally Mark can stand and row with confidence under this bridge, but last night, the moon and it's gravitational influence had some additional input.

Mark may have had to duck, but it made for a really striking image.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tübingen Today

A friend of mine was in Tübingen, Germany today - it's a little ways south of Stuttgart.
There , on the waters of the Neckar River, they have some unique boats.
These are long, narrow vessels, which are piloted by solo captains who push them along with poles, with passengers relaxing.

Here are a few snaps taken of these gondola-like boats.

This photo is my favorite.
Notice the on-board grill with bratwurst cooking.

Only in Germany.

The guys who drive these boats in Tubingen do an expert job with passengers aboard, but like American gondoliers, these pole-pushing pilots also have an annual competition to look forward to each year.  It's called "Stocherkahnrennen", and you can read more about it in my post "Stocherkahnrennen 2011".

As it happens, the annual race took place last week, and there's so fun footage on YouTube now.
Here are a few for your viewing pleasure:


Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Loaded Six-String On My Back

Photo courtesy Allison Images

Not all gondoliers sing,
and even fewer carry an instrument with them on their boat.
Here we see Jimmie in Irving, Texas - ushering his passengers into a perfect state of relaxation, pausing from time to time to serenade them with his soulful voice...and his six string.

Thursday, June 15, 2017