THE SEA REBEL Gondolas and Castagnas – Part 1
Dwain Crum “The Sea Rebel”, was born in Pasadena, CA and a lifelong resident of Rosemead, CA. Retired after 29 years as a history teacher at Rosemead High School. Dwain is fulfilling a lifelong dream of traveling around the world.
When I first arrived in Italy, I arrived in Venice. I would be staying in this city, famous for it’s canals for the next three nights. Then I would remain in Italy for almost a month. After spending 107 straight nights on a ship (The Pacific Princess), staying on land at a hotel was quite a change. George, my travel agent, had booked me a stay at the Hotel Rialto. The Hotel Rialto overlooks the famed Rialto Bridge. The Rialto Bridge is one of the landmarks of Venice and is also one of the most famous bridges in the world.
My journey around the world had taken me 37,882 statue miles so far. The cruise on the Pacific Princess was 30,647 nautical miles (35,004 statute miles) plus the 2,878 miles crossing the U.S. by train and car. Italy was the 32nd country that I visited on this trip (and 45th that I have been to).
The first thing that I did was take a ride on one of the gondolas. These narrow black boats, which originated in Venice, can be seen throughout the canals. My Gondolier had a typical Italian name but his gondola did not, she was named Natasha. It’s not cheap to ride a gondola (the going rate is about 80 Euros) but it is certainly something someone must do when in Venice. I was glad that I did it the day that I arrived in Venice since the rain the following two days made a gondola ride impossible.
Even with the rain, Venice became my favorite city. I had a cup of hot chocolate at Florian’s (called a Casanova) on St. Mark’s Square, saw glassmaking at the Isle of Murrano and the Lace Museum on the Isle of Burrano. The sights and sounds of the city were wonderful.
My Italian cousin Bruna and her husband Fabio plus their son Marco then picked me up in their car, an Alfa-Romeo Giulietta, to begin my adventures in Italy outside of Venice.