If you’re anything like me, when people say ‘Venice’ your mind goes straight to the water and gondolas. The idea of paddling through the heart of a city thoroughly excites me, and given the choice between seeing exquisite art collections, marvelling at historical buildings or floating round the ‘streets’, my immediate response is, “I’d like to ‘gondol’ please”.
But when I found out it would cost €80 to have a stranger push me around for 40 minutes in a gondola — it really wasn’t what I imagined. I wanted to do it myself, not be yet another passenger on the same old tour.
Well I found a solution. I took my money and gave it to Eliana Argine — Miss Super SUP’er (more officially known as the president of Surf Club Venezia)! For a similar price I hired a SUP board and paddle and our group went on a two hour guided tour of the canals of Venice — much better!
What an experience! True… a paddle board is not a gondola, but I really didn’t care. I was powering myself around Venice, kicking off walls like a true gondolier and even singing this advert from my youth.
And Eliana was amazing — she’s one of those people you meet, and within ten minutes you’ve struck up a friendship that feels like you’ve known her for ten years. She answered all our questions with ease and gave us a tour with the right balance of interesting facts and space to enjoy the experience ourselves.
After our SUP adventure we explored Venice on foot and saw loads of gondoliers — most looked thoroughly bored! None of them were speaking to their passengers and one was even texting his mates while paddling his guests around the canals. Which would you prefer?
Not only does Eliana organise brilliant tours, but she also organises Surfin’ Venice, an annual event where 100 paddle boarders get together and paddle up the Grand Canal. It’s not a race, but a big SUP meeting, a fantastic tour down the most beautiful street of Venice. How much fun does that sound?!
And if like me you feel peckish after your SUP session, I’ll let you in on a little Venetian secret. I’d go to Dal Moro’s — the world’s first fresh pasta takeaway. It’s on the hit list of things to do when you visit Italy — eat pasta (and obviously pizza and ice-cream). But I can tell you, this is where you’re gonna want to get your pasta fix from. At least you’re now in-the-know and won’t have to go on a wild goose chase, like we did, asking random strangers where ‘that amazing pasta takeaway place is’. Enjoy!
Note: I was gifted a place on this SUP tour in return for a review. All views are my own.