Saturday, November 14, 2009

Orlando Swan Boat = Venice Gondola ?

One of Orlando's great public spaces is Lake Eola. It's the perfect place to go for a jog, to people watch, stroll the Farmer's Market, feed the swans or sit at an open air cafe enjoying live music or the Big Game. There's one thing I have yet to do though, take a ride in a swan boat! Apparently, it's kind of like WDW for the locals...only the tourists do it. But it's just so kitsch that it's hard not to want to indulge your inner child, pay the 12 bucks, and bask in the Florida sun with a loved one paddling by your side. It sounds rather divine to me, but I cannot convince a certain someone to forfeit his ego for a 30 minute jaunt across the lake (this fight isn't over 'til it's over).

In Venice, a similar, though not parallel, occurrence is the gondola ride. Yes, there is a great tradition of gondolas in Venetian culture, I'm not undermining that. They are beautifully crafted, historic works of art (unlike the kitsch quality of the swan boat). But today its primary use is for tourist transport. And I was the first to suggest we take said opportunity. After all...we were in Venice. As tourists, you are obliged to do certain things.

For instance, you can't go to Seattle and not go to the top of the Space Needle. You can't go to New York and not go to the Empire State Building. You can't go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower. You can't go to Florence and not climb the dome. And you can't go to Venice and not take a gondola ride.

But that's exactly what we did. Because upon my suggestion I abruptly found out that it costs 100 Euros to take a gondola ride. 100 Euros! For. A. Boat. Ride.

I'll take the $12 swan. I have a good imagination.

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