May 20, 2008

Tradition

Gondolas

Throughout the City that Seems to be Slowly Sinking Back into the Sea, young men dressed in black and white striped shirts could be seen expertly steering gondolas through the quiet side canals. During lulls, we'd see them at edge of a canal, talking with each other or flirting with potential customers. Their self-assurance as they maneuvered the boats reminded me of the boatmen I've met in the American Southwest on whitewater raft trips, although the setting could not be more different.

From what we could gather, being a gondolier is often a family tradition, passed from father to son. One gondolier told us that he was the fifth generation in his family to practice the craft. We didn't see a single female gondolier: women are apparently still barred from this particular boys' club.

Gondoliers

9 comments:

jar said...

And what woman would want to wear horizontal stripes? :-)

Anastasia said...

i love the comparison with the whitewater guides.

my15minutes said...

I'm so jealous you're there! When we were there, one of my sons was about 7 and the vaporetti driver let him take the wheel. He commented then that he wanted to learn to speak Italian so he could grow up and be a water taxi driver himself. His ambitions have since changed, as he's 17 now, but being on the water in Venice is one of my fondest memories.

Anonymous said...

These two look a bit longer in the tooth ...

Thank you for sharing with us all - like a tiny vacation for the homebound.

Gawdess said...

I like hearing about the people who are water taxi drivers - not something I have ever known much about!

The picture of the boats is very good.

YourFireAnt said...

For a minute there, when I saw the title.....

;-D

FA

Yankee, Transferred said...

I've said it before-I love traveling with you!

jo(e) said...

FA: My sisters are flipping a Euro now to see which one is going to pose naked ....

Sarah Sometimes said...

I vote for the one on the left! He's hot.