As I walked through the City of Gondolas, I could see cameras everywhere, dangling from the necks of tourists or held up to snap pictures of canals and window boxes. I've got a simple point-and-shoot camera that fits neatly into my pants pocket, and I have to admit that I was quite envious of the expensive cameras I kept seeing all over the city.
When we took a gondola ride, we became the focus of all those cameras. Because of course, everyone likes to take pictures of gondolas. But soon we left the main canal, and began gliding through quiet side canals, leaving the other tourists behind. The gondola slid quietly through the deep shade of beautiful old buildings in canals that had no walkways at all. The gondolier, standing on the back of the boat with a single oar, had to duck and heel the gondola over as we went under some of the low bridges, narrowly scraping the sides of the canal as he turned the boat around corners.
As we made our way back to the main canal, turning the bend of a narrow canal and approaching a small bridge, I saw a group of tourists pointing lenses at us, cameras clicking like crazy. I felt, for a moment, like Princess Diana. Urban Sophisticate Sister gave me a nudge, "The paparazzi! They've found us!"
I couldn't help taking hundreds of photos myself. I just loved the curving little bridges, the hanging lines of laundry, the window boxes, the quiet side canals. And taking photos in this city just seemed expected. On one of our walks, we did wander far enough away from the Famous Bridge to find some docks that were more like the docks at home -- wooden piers, with modern boats. But even these modern docks, set against the canal and old buildings, seemed to me beautiful.