Gondolas of Venice

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There is no escaping the elegant beauty of the gondola in Venice, whatever the time of day. Here I found them resting in their stalls like horses in the early morning. Still covered up against the night air, they begin to get restless as the sun rises higher above the water. Their noses rise and fall impatiently with the rolling waves, eager to be uncovered and released. They have roamed the canals for hundreds of years, carrying everyone and everything imaginable between docks and buildings, palaces and churches, shops and home. Like the black cabs of London they epitomise the city, and sweep us back into history even as they move us forwards and through the canals and backwaters of this enchanting city.

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The gondoliers themselves were also known as secret keepers, because they were renowned for revealing nothing about what happened aboard their boats. My imagination runs wild with tales of secret rendezvous, sweeping cloaks and masks, intrigue and mystery on the water. Watching the gondolier at work is an essay in mindfulness, as he reads the currents and waves of the canals and navigates the tightly twisting passages of the city’s heart. Balanced perfectly on the wildly rising and falling stern of the gondola, his oar sweeps and stirs the hidden depths of the green waters. You can be transported unnoticed from one watery doorstep to another, without stepping foot on a pavement. Nothing says mystery like Venice, and nothing says Venice like a gondola.

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About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home with my husband, my son and a collection of cats and dogs. I am forever snapping shots of things which catch my eye. I love art which is here now and gone tomorrow...like food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist, and run the Maggies Highlands Cancer Centre, in Inverness, Scotland.
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36 Responses to Gondolas of Venice

  1. I love the imagery of the gondolas ‘resting like horses in their stalls’. The photo is beautiful and thank you for sharing with all of us.

  2. They are very elegantly built, gondolas. I agree with other readers – nice to see you have found new angles and new light for them and the city.

    My own experiences of Venice contains heavy rain and thunder and lightning. A leaking vessel in this weather and …well, this has happened twice…I don’t know if a third time in this city will restore some kind of feeling for it…But, I do want to come for the festival and to see the masks once in my life!

  3. Very nice. I’m enjoying my time in Venice (many thanks to you) … keep the views coming. Did you venture a Gondola ride? There are no people in this view and, if I recall, very few in your last post. Either you get up very early in the morning … or were out with your camera while the city was at work? D

    • Thanks David, glad you’re enjoying Venice ๐Ÿ™‚
      The last set of shots were taken in the morning, around 10, before the big crowds of day trippers arrive, but there were already big crowds in the main areas around St Marks Square and the Rialto Bridge. As soon as you step off into the back streets it gets nice and quiet though.
      These shots were taken around 8:30 am, and it is really peaceful and quiet almost everywhere at this time. I liked the atmosphere and the light better in the morning and the early evening ๐Ÿ™‚
      We didn’t ride a gondola, as I thought the โ‚ฌ80 charge for 30mins was too steep to justify, when we had use of a private water shuttle. They are beautiful to watch though, and so evocative of times past.

  4. Hanna says:

    Absolutely Marvelous, Seonaid.

  5. Lucid Gypsy says:

    It’s really nice to see an unusual image of gondolas ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, it took me a while to figure out how I was going to capture them.
      Then I took lots of shots from this sort of angle at different times of the day. The light changes a lot in Venice over the course of the day, I guess it’s all that reflecting water which makes it so noticeable. These were earlyish morning shots.

  6. adinparadise says:

    I absolutely love Venice, and gliding along by water ‘taxi’ is so much more romantic than on four wheels through noisy road traffic. You can also cajole your Gondolier to sing you a song as he skilfully negotiates those relatively peaceful waters, which is something I’d never ask a cab driver to do. ๐Ÿ™‚ Lovely post, Seonaid.

    • I’ve fallen in love with Venice too, and am already planning a return trip in the future:-)
      We didn’t actually ride in a gondola, but in a private water shuttle…..the driver didn’t sing ๐Ÿ™‚ You are right about the romance of water travel though, there is something wonderful about it.

  7. Suzanne says:

    What wonderful photos of Venice. You capture the magic of the place well.

  8. Paula says:

    Nothing says Venice like a gondola :). Inspiring read and fabulous shots Seonaid. Did you go for a ride?

    • Thanks Paula, they were interesting but challenging to figure out how to capture ๐Ÿ™‚
      We skipped the ride, at โ‚ฌ80 it was too steep for me to swallow. We had use of a private water shuttle which gave us the on the water experience, and I was content to watch the gondolas from bridges and canal sides. I discovered they are purely used by tourists, never by locals! I suppose it’s like going for a horse and carriage ride in Marbella ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Maria M says:

    Great photos and as you stated that little gem of information sparks the imagination.

  10. ladyfi says:

    Sigh – how very beautiful!

  11. Elegant vessels and, as you mention, carrying the mysteries of centuries around with them…

  12. icelandpenny says:

    Splendid word-imagery and wonderful photos, love the low angle, strong verticals (with complementary spire in the distance) and splashes on the pavement… what a treat, Venice canal photography that isn’t a cliche!

  13. colonialist says:

    Lovely scene. They have an interesting design, actually. I find myself wondering how well the hulls would work under sail.

    • Not sure Colin, but one side of the hull is longer than the other, like a banana, to counter the one sided rowing, so that would be interesting under sail, and they ride high off the water ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. restlessjo says:

    I love your analogy with horses. So strange that we should both be focussing on gondolas (gondoli?) – could they be more different? ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. adeptula says:

    Well written and great pictures!

  16. Your post was a very nice read….The photographs are stunning as well….
    http://globalsafari.wordpress.com/

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