Amy and Steve on the Gondola

How many people over the centuries have written about the incredible experience of Venice gondola rides? All the writers, all the world leaders, all the great thinkers who were inspired by gliding slowly along the waters of this historical city? So here I was with Amy, retracing the route many of these great people had also traveled, soaking in the city from a perspective you don't get by walking on dry land. Getting the ambiance, the feeling, the . . . ah, who am I kidding?

Do you know how much these gondola rides cost? $100 for 20 minutes. We tried bargaining, but it had rained the day before so the gondoliers probably figured they had a captive market that day. They charge the same whether there's two passengers or five. And they don't take credit cards. So I'm part of that 3 percent of American tourists who go all the way to Venice and are too cheap to pay for a gondola ride. I would have paid for it if Amy had never had a gondola ride, but she had had done it before on a previous trip.

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