We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Vogalonga 2013

One of my favorite Venice events is the Vogalonga, a 30 Kilometer rowing event that starts and ends at St. Mark's. It's a non-competitive race open to just about every rowing type boat imaginable from one man kayaks to 16 man boats, canoes and drum boats. This year's event began, unfortunately, in a light rain, that progressed to a heavy rain at a few points during the day.  Not a good day for the rowers. The good news is the sun came out towards the middle of the afternoon, just as rowers were finding places to pull up their boats to rest at the end of a long, wet 30 kilometers.

This year 1,700 boats and 7,000 rowers from all over the world participated.

Between 9 am and 3pm, the Grand Canal is closed to all motorized boat traffic, so no vaporettos available. If you needed to get somewhere today, you were walking, or taking a very long route around the outside of the city, or- worse case, renting a private water taxi that was also taking a long route to your destination as they also were not allowed on the Grand Canal  during the regatta. I have to say, while  we were waiting for the first of the boats to return to the Grand Canal, the silence on the canal is almost eerie. It's something you don't see too often, so when you do, you can't help but be awe struck by how just how grand this canal is.

Here's a look at the Vogalonga course, beginning at St. Mark's square, down around Sant'Elena, past Certosa Island, Sant Erasmo island, Burano, Mazzorbo, Murano and back through Venice down the Cannaregio canal to the Grand Canal ending at St. Mark's.

 I positioned myself at the waterfront at Sant'Elena at 9:00 am this morning, in the rain, and was able to get some great photos.

Later in the morning I was at Rialto, watching as rowers were making their way down the Grand Canal. Right in front of me I saw a man swimming. At first I thought he had fallen overboard off one of the boats. I looked closer and noticed he had flippers, a wet suit and swim cap, and was being accompanied closely by a gondola with 2 rowers front and back. This man hadn't fallen in, he was actually SWIMMING the Vogalonga!!!!  Made me think of Lord Byron!
 The next few photos are post-Vogalonga, after the rowers had completed the course. These colorful kayaks were stowed at the Rialto fish market. All of the participants who came with these boats were changing out of their wet clothing under cover of the fish market.
 Here a group of rowers were pulling their boats up at Campo San Trovaso, and headed to the wine bars across the canal for some spritz's.

And this guy pulled his boat up at the memorial in front of Giardini. A little unorthodox, but hey, it's Vogalonga. 


Anonymous said...

You definitely had a ring side seat for the Vogalonga! Those are great photos, thank you. I can't imagine swimming all that way, brave (or crazy) man!

Ntsiki Biko said...

Ciao! I too am a fellow expat in Italy living the dream. I am in Torino with my Italian husband and our 10 month old.

I just stumbled upon your blog while trying to figure out how to get my eyes checked here in Torino. But now that I am here I am going to look around and see how your experience in Venice has been. Always great to find a fellow expat! Ciao!

karen said...

Yvonne- it was such a nasty morning, lots of rain!! Thankfully by mid-afternoon we saw some sun. Yesterday I met three women who participated in one of the dragon boat teams.. they all said it was their first Vogalonga, and their LAST! They were exhausted and hurting. Glad they did it, but once was enough! I loved watching,and thanked them profusely for their efforts!!

karen said...

Ciao Ntsiki! Thanks so much for reading and taking time to leave a comment. If you are ever in Venice, let me know!! We can compare our adventures in Italy!

Dianne said...

Thanks for the photo of Campo San Trovaso. I discovered it when I was lost one day coming back a different way from my fast morning walk. I have a number of pictures of it and the gondola workshop nearby. Looks like you had a good time even in the rain.

Helen_Schrader said...

I was part of the Dubai Sea Dragons an all woman team from the U.A.E. who completed the Vogalonga this year in 3 hours 15 minutes. We loved being part of it - it was exhausting but exciting too.
Helen Schrader

karen said...

Helen- Complimenti, as the Italians would say!! Congratulations!!!! I am in awe! Your time seems incredible to me.will we see you next year???

nancy22314 said...

Hello Karen,
It took a while but I just finished reading your entire blog. I found you because I was researching how to ship furniture to Italy and came upon your moving day arrival of your furniture from Baltimore blog. My husband and I plan to move from the Washington DC area to italy next year - probably Umbria. All information I can glean now is most helpful. Thanks for your interesting blog.

Nancy said...

karen said...

Ciao, Nancy! Wow- you read the entire thing? Complimenti!!! If you have questions, please ask away. Always happy to help newcomers. Good luck with your move, I'm excited for you!!

Vada said...

This is cool!