I first met Nan in 2008 and we just hit it off. Knowing that the traditional, Venetian style rowing is her passion led me to “need” to try it. So through rowvenice.org we set up a lesson.
Nan met us on the bridge just outside of the marina:
We got there a little early so we watched the people before us coming in:
First Nan explained some of the history of the boat–It’s called a shrimp tail batella and has a totally flat bottom. There used to be many but now there are only about 6 of these boats left in Venice; the row Venice group is doing a great job of keeping them alive. This style of rowing, standing up with one oar is called “voga veneta’. (I hope I got this all right) So we got into the boat and started to learn the stroke. Before we knew it we were rowing! Ken and I took turns in the prow at first and Nan steered us from the back. After we got out into the lagoon she taught us how to do the back as well and for a time we were both rowing together.
I loved it! It’s a full body/mind thing and I could see how someone could get totally hooked on it. Plus, it’s beautiful being on the water in Venice. People on the streets stopped to call out compliments; they love these traditional boats and the fact that a woman is rowing one.
As we came back into the canals I got to row in front and Ken rode. Nan looks so in her element on the boat:
Here’s Ken riding like a prince while we do all the work:
After the lesson we stopped for some great sandwiches at Bar Zanon and then rowed back to the marina. What a great experience!
We walked home from there, through the back of Cannaregio, over the Ponte degli Scalzi and stopped at the Billa on rio Marin. Even though the rowing wasn’t really tiring we both felt pretty pooped. So we came home and read for a while.
For dinner we had the ravioli from Treviso tossed with some butter and speck, and a salad. Then we walked over to San Barnaba for gelato.
I stayed up late to watch the USA soccer but we didn’t get it on our TV. We just get Rai and I think it was on Sky. Bummer! I watched the live blogging for a while but it’s just not the same.

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