Friday, August 12, 2011

Gondola Ride on Lake Merritt

Good morning!

Yesterday was a rough day.  It was actually a good day, but a bunch of time was wasted waiting for our car radio to get diagnosed, and many of you may not know this, but I don't deal well with wasted time (at least not when I don't have much time to waste!).

All that to say, the first part of the day was rough, but then I got a couple important things done and headed out to Lake Merritt in Oakland for a complimentary Gondola ride!  And oh, how we like complimentary things!

Lake Merritt is such a strange and fabulous place.  It is a smallish lake in the middle of Oakland that hosts not only this authentic Gondola service (more on that in a moment), but it is the home of Children's Fairyland, a place Walt Disney allegedly visited and gained inspiration for Disneyland.  On the lake there is also a little ship yard that holds a children's sailing camp during the summer, and a children's arts and science camp!

The proprietors of Gondola Servizio are April and Angelino - the parents of a little girl, Bea, a tall girl fir six who spent four weeks at Children's Fairyland and just LOVES Ben.  Her parents were so pleased with the program and the work of the staff that they offered all of them (and their spouses/significant others) a complimentary ride!  April and Angelino met on a gondola ride in Venice (how romantic!).  Gondolas are apparently VERY difficult to get out of Venice, but Angelino was able to obtain a couple through some friends who live in Italy.

On to the pictures!

The inside of our Gondola - pretty chic, no?

The "Party Boat" Angelino is their Gongolier, with Bea as their self proclaimed "Tour Guide." She was really upset when her mom didn't assign her to Ben's boat.

Alesandro was our Gondolier.  He's Venetian and was quick to tell us that it is very difficult to become a certified Gondolier in Venice.  When asked if he was certified he laughed and replied "No!"

This is a video of our Gondoliers singing an Italian song.  It was just so peaceful with their singing in the background.  The video sort of cuts off because I started to feel awkward filming.

Ben came straight from work so I brought some bread, cuties, and this DELICIOUS blueberry covered goat cheese from Trader Joe's.  April provided the Pellegrino :)

The Gondola deck and neighboring restaurant, Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill.

Bea ultimately did climb onto our Gondola mid-ride.  She mostly want to eat some of our cuties :)

Angelino out on the lake after our departure.

It was a wonderful end to the day - beautiful and romantic!  Definitely not a waste of time :)

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