Sara Stiles, of Edina, writes: For your wonderful magazine: Giddy for Gondolas! I visited Venice, Italy in late September this year, on a tour with 46 other
people. I caught up on a little Rake reading before boarding my gondola,
and left my copy of the Rake at St. Mark’s Square for the locals to
appreciate. Our group went gondola riding as a group–we had five gondolas with seven
people each (not quite everyone went on the ride). We were quite a sight,
cruising the Grand Canal side by side, as one great mass of gondolas! The
gondola in the middle had a singer and an accordian player in their boat,
and they serenaded us down the Grand Canal, as well as many tiny, winding
canals (we had to ride single-file here!). Locals leaned their heads out of
their windows, enjoying the music, waving to us, and smiling at our
enthusiasm (we even gave them a rendition of “Roll Out the Barrel!” It was a truly magical evening, laughing and singing as the sun set on unforgettable Venice.

Sara Stiles