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Gondola - Things We Learn While Traveling #4

"The rule is that there are no rules."

Aristotle Onassis

Gondolas. If you have ever paddled a canoe or a kayak it quickly becomes very obvious that you have to paddle a couple of times on the left and then a couple of times on the right if you want to actually get somewhere. If you don't do this you'll just end up going in circles. Have you noticed that gondoliers don't row on both sides of their gondolas? They don't go in circles though? That's because one side of the gondola is straight and the other side is curved. Brilliant! What a great solution.

Someone, somewhere decided that the universal rule that boats must be symmetrical just didn't work for them so they did something different. Most people would have simply said, "Well, that's just how things are." and left it at that. How many times in life do we do this without even thinking. But how much cooler, how much more effective is it to stop and think, and THEN act? The fact is, that just because almost all other boats are symmetrical and that you know you're going to have that annoying person dogging you when they discover that you're doing something different, all those other people and that annoying person aren't going to be the ones paddling your boat around the canal. So do what works for YOU. What a great lesson for life!

You may have watched a gondola slip gently through the water in Venice and thought nothing further about the various elements of these beautiful boats but there is a lot that you may have missed. The ornamental blade on the front tells quite a story as each element of this piece of art represents the various islands, bridges, etc. From the particular arch of the Rialto Bridge the hat of the Doge to the glass blowing island of Murano, each part makes up a part of the beautiful entirety. If you want to truly understand Venice, do a search on any of the terms shown in this photo and you'll open a world of history that will blow your socks off!

It is also interesting to me that gondolas aren't built from a random stack of wood. Gondolas are made with 280 distinct parts that are built from fir, oak, cherry, walnut, elm, mahogany, larch and lime and the rèmo (oar) is made of beech. Obviously, some more intensive thinking.

There used to be about 10,000 in Venice when the United States was founded as a country and there are now only 425 gondolas in Venice but I still find them really intriguing. Whenever I have a project in front of me I try to remember the gondola and I try to analyze whether I am approaching this project "in the box" or if I am truly thinking it through like the original designer of the gondola.

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