Let me start by letting you know that gondola rides cost 80 Euros for a 30 minute trip (April 2014). You’re thinking to yourself, “OUCH! Damn the Rand!” Yip. The pain is real. But let me ask you this – how many times in your life are you planning to go back to Venice? And if you do make it back, do you think it will be cheaper? Hell no.
But is it worth doing? Considering you ride on boats a lot in Venice, is a gondola worth the money? I like to do things once in life. I think it’s silly to fantasize over a location, go there and not then NOT do the things that you fantasized over! You’re probably only going to be in Venice one, just do it! Consider it 40 Euros per person, it makes the fee a little sweeter to swallow. As a side note, this is why I think South Africa really need to up it’s tourist fees! Locals should get “locals rates” and tourists must PAY!
When visiting Venice for the very first time, we decided to catch a gondola after our visit to the Penny Guigenheim museum. Gondolas are terribly cheesy! And after riding vaporettos (water buses) in Venice, we did worry that it would be a bit redundant, however, I didn’t feel I could return to South Africa without saying I had gone on a gondola! I mean, it’s what Venice is famous for! So we happily caught one.
It gave us a different perspective as we able to travel all through the “backstreet” canals and under mini bridges. It was a true adventure and loads of fun to see all the secret canals and door ways of Venice. It starts by cruising up the main, Grand Canal and then slipping into the “side streets”.
Off we set. Passing under bridges (I’d love to know how many photographs we ended up in!) and past famous sites, like Marco Polo’s house!
MARCO POLO’S HOUSE
We made our way towards the Grand Canal, passing by backdoors, front doors and secret passages. It’s truly magic in Venice.
We turned onto the Grand Canal, which was a little frightening as there are so many other boats that are more powerful! I was praying I didn’t get splashed or fall in but the ‘driver’ was fantastic. He had total control of the boat and I’ve since learnt that not just anyone can be a gondola driver, it’s an art studied and often passed down from generation to generation.
The trip feels longer than 30 minutes and it’s really joy to see all sides of Venice – not just the pathways you can walk. We ‘parked’ at the Gondola main stop and made our way home again, passing Mr John’s favourite church:
As they say, “when in Rome”, well when in Venice. I LOVE that I can say that I went on a gondola. Our driver would sing as he rowed away and he even answered his mobile and had a PHAT conversation LOL! No worries about falling in then! It was a very cool experience and something I will remember for life.