Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Ten Years of the Gondola Blog!

photos by Nereo Zane

Ten years ago today,
I stepped off of a gondola,
and sat down to write my very first blog entry here.
A decade has passed, and as of now there are 2,800 posts on the Gondola Blog.
I didn't expect it to happen.

As some of you already know, the Gondola Blog started as a short-term web journal that was to follow the preparation and progress of a gondola expedition down the Hudson River in New York.

I was excited about this adventure, and thought it would be a shame not to write about it and post photos as we made our way from the state capitol of Albany, all the way down to Ground Zero in Manhattan.

The gondola arrives in Albany, New York
 A proud arrival in Manhattan

We covered 150 miles in six days on my gondola The Phoenix,
rowing in tribute to the "Fallen Heroes of 9/11".
The memories, and experiences were invaluable,
and thanks to Nereo Zane - so were the photos.

John Kerschbaum of Gondola Romantica, Chris Harrison of Gondola Adventures in Texas and I represented the US, while three legendary Venetians rounded out our six man team.
Chris, John and I were lucky enough to row with Vittorio Orio, Bepi Suste, and Enzo Lizska - who were all in their sixties, and rowed circles around us. 
We learned a lot about rowing that week.

Group shot at Ground Zero

After the expedition, I posted photos and wrote about various details and experiences on and around the Hudson River.
My thinking was that eventually I'd run out of expedition content,
and cap it off with a nice closing post.

But there were other stories to tell,
and a wealth of photos that begged to be posted.

Several friends encouraged me to keep writing.
Again, I thought
"I'll just keep posting until I run out of things to write about".

Ten years have gone by, and there are still stories to tell,
still photos to post, and thanks to the efforts of some friends in Providence and Huntington Harbour - there are some fantastic events to report on.

Friends in Boston, Minnesota, Coronado, and New Orleans have sent great photos and content.
More recently Oxnard, Lake Tahoe and Gig Harbor have seen new operations launch on their waters, and those boat owners have allowed me to post about their servizios.

In the last ten years, I've been blessed with so many new friends in and around this crazy, romantic, unusual business.
I've lost a few as well - my rowing coach Arturo Moruccio and most rerecently, expedition rower Enzo Lizska passed away earlier this year.

In the last ten years the gondola world has changed.
several operations have opened, dozens of new boats have been launched in various locations, and a few servizios have closed or relocated.

As of this writing there are thirty gondola operations in the United States, with dozens of Venice-built boats, and lots of US-built craft as well.
We have an annual competition called the US Gondola Nationals, which has strengthened friendships among gondoliers all over the country. 
This annual event has also changed the way so many of us look at rowing, and has turbocharged our enthusiasm.

Of course there are so many other places around the world where gondolas or similar boats are operated, and then there's Venice herself.

With all of this and so much more to write about,
I have kept going with the Gondola Blog.
I owe each and every one of you a debt of gratitude for reading,
contributing, and commenting.
Every day I am thankful to have fallen into this unique business,
and there is nothing I would rather do.

The Gondola Blog is ten years old today.
Here's to many more great years on the water for all of us.

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