I rode a gondola in Venice and I loved it! Yes, it’s a very touristy thing to do but you’d never fully experienced Venice if you’d pass up this experience. You’ve got to explore the city’s canals by taking a gondola tour! I can assure you that no matter how long the tour is, you’ll love it! Going through the narrow canals and passing under the arched bridges is like going on an adventure in itself. I couldn’t help the feeling of getting excited, really. I’ve been on outrigger and paddled boats, ships and makeshift rafts but it’s a different level of joy when you do it in Venice.
What’s a Gondola? Well, just look at the photo below. Someone who mans the gondola is called gondolier. It’s easy to spot them with their black and white/red stripe tshirts.
Sharing a Gondola with Strangers. Ok, I didn’t plan this but this happened. I was in a cafe when I heard three young Chinese tourists talking about riding a gondola. Despite having lived in China for almost 8 years, my Chinese still sucks. 😀 But, I did understand some of the words they said: how much, money, expensive, time, now, maybe/not sure, each. Seeing it was an opportunity for me to share a gondola with them, I interrupted by greeting them in Chinese. I introduced myself in English and they asked how I knew they were talking about planning to ride a gondola. So, I shared my story – and their eyes sparkled when I told them that I used to work in Beijing – where they are from. They had no problem with me going with them. In fact, they were happy that they, too, can save! We choose a 30-minute ride for 20 euros each!
Tips to Save for Solo Travelers. If you’re really on a tight budget, stand near where the gondolas are. If there’s a group of three or a fellow solo traveler, strike up a conversation and ask if you could join. Don’t be shy. Just do it! 😀 Yes, you can ask a couple, too! They might be willing to accommodate you so they can have someone to photograph them! 😀
Narrow Canals. The tours brings you through narrow canals and corners the city is known for. There’s traffic, too! But, lucky for us, our gondolier brought us somewhere where we could even hear the echo of our own conversation.
Not only for Lovers. I must admit that it’s romantic to be on the gondola with your loved one. While the gondolier rows, you both are exchanging sweet nothings while admiring the century-old, colorful house along the canals. But for this to be extra sweet, do it in the morning before hordes of tourists share the water canals. If you sit on a cafe by the water, you’ll see that gondolas are for everyone – families, friends, strangers (in my case), and all types of lovers.
Again, Venice isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s the most expensive city I’ve been to in Italy. And that shouldn’t be a surprise to any visitors
Well, you know, solo travel is not for everyone. Should you decide to go on with a tour group, go with – Intrepid Travels. They have a wide variety of tours for all ages and different kinds of travelers, including solo, seniors, teenagers and family.