The life of the gondolier may seem idyllic much of the time; slip on a stripy T-shirt, row a succession of generous passengers around a few sites that you can quote a fact or two about for half an hour, bump up your tip with a few bars of a barcarole, pose for some photographs and then repeat.

The reality is a little different.  From conversations I overheard, a gondola can cost between forty and sixty thousand Euros, so the price of each trip reflects the financing of the vessel rather than the gondolier’s disposable income.  Naturally with such an expensive asset, they take great care of the boats, and a rain storm such as that described in a recent posting will quickly leave the gondolier with a headache.

Just like any other boat, there’s a fair bit of baling to be done.




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