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Italy (Venice) Travel Videos Uncategorized

Making waves in Venice: A gondola and a cruise ship

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Photo by Kit Suman on Unsplash

For Venice lovers: a video clip of each

I’ve been to Venice twice, but neither time have I ridden a gondola or disembarked from a cruise (or embarked on one, for that matter). On my first trip to Venice, I flew to Marco Polo Airport and then hopped onto an Ali Laguna vaporetto to hop off at San Samuele.

On my second trip, I took a bus from Marco Polo to the bustling Piazzale Roma where I met my daughter who was there serving an internship at the 2019 Venice Biennale.

So although I still have not ridden a gondola, they continue to fascinate me…

…as they snake through the labyrinthine canals, glossy and black.

It’s possible, as one walks alongside a canal, to glance up from your thoughts and be surprised by one gliding by, silent and serene, mere footsteps away.

It is also possible to be flabbergasted by the gargantuan size of a cruise ship as it lumbers through the lagoon.

These behemoths seem strangely alien in such a delicate cityscape.

Similar to New York  City’s new Super Tall skyscrapers, they appear gawky, out of place, and — with last summer’s near cruise ship collision, — dangerous and unnecessary.  This two-minute video shows the mammoth size of one of these cruise ships as it creeps along the Zattere waterfront promenade in the Dorsoduro sestiere. 


Thanks for reading! Check out my Italy (Venice) category for several more posts (Jewish Ghetto, the hospital, Calatrava Bridge, etc.) about Venice… a city I hope to visit a third time when travel opportunities return. I have a list of sights I still want to experience. Feel free to leave a like, make a comment and become a follower for more travel posts.


My next post: How to get from Delphi to Itea, Greece by bus

Categories
Greece (Skopelos)

The Flying Dolphin: A Need for Speed

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Riding Aegean’s Flying Dolphin high-speed passenger ferry

When we booked our return ferry tickets from Skiathos to Skopelos last week, the woman at the ticket office confirmed our booking by asking, “There’s a Flying Dolphin you could take. Would a Flying Dolphin be okay?”

That’s strange, I thought. Of course, a Flying Dolphin would be fine, I wanted to say. After all, we just need to get from Skiathos to Skopelos, and why not get there as quickly as possible?

But then the next morning, bags in hand, standing at the Skiathos port, we saw the Flying Dolphin pull in. Or should I say float in. Or ski in. Or jostle in. From a distance, this vessel flew fast above the water. We could actually see daylight between the bottom of the hull and the surface of the water.  Yes, the name “Flying Dolphin” described this vessel perfectly.

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Photo: Aegean Flying Dolphins

The Flying Dolphin is a hydrofoil passenger ferry operated by Aegean Flying Dolphins in Piraeus, Greece, a port city near Athens. According to the company’s website, it “offers daily service with two modern high speed flying dolphins from the port of Piraeus to Aegina and from the port of Volos (Thessaly region) to the islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos all year.”

Because of its speed, taking a Flying Dolphin will be a bumpier ride. (Ahhh… that’s why the ticket clerk made sure we knew what we were getting ourselves into.)

In addition, a Flying Dolphin will cost more than a traditional ferry, such as ANES Ferries’ Proteus or Blue Star Ferries’ Flying Cat. (But then again, like us, you may not have a choice: only one morning ferry left for Skopelos on our travel day.)

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A more traditional passenger ferry, ANES Ferries’ Proteus

Don’t expect a lot on the inside of a Flying Dolphin (and there’s no sitting outside either, by the way). Yes, it’s perfectly clean and adequate, but doesn’t have the top-rate feel of other ferries… no coffee shop, no lounge seating at tables. No flat screen TVs or fancy lighting.

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Fairly basic seating. Nothing fancy. A tray table if you need it. 

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Seating includes a large center section of rows and and a single column of double seating along each side.

However, what the Flying Dolphin lacks on the interior,

it makes up for with one thing: speed.

Once the Dolphin reaches full speed, it coasts across the surface of the water, skimming along on fin-like hydrofoils that lift the hull out of the water.

And with that speed, expect a bumpy ride… especially if there are higher than average winds on the water.

We saw the “flight” attendant, who also took our tickets as we boarded, deliver two paper bags to seasick riders about halfway through our fifty-minute ride, which made a stop in Glossa (another town on Skopelos) on our way to Skopelos Town.

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Notice the hydrofoils that become the “wings” of the Flying Dolphin, allowing it to go faster than other vessels. The tires provide a cushion for the vessel when it meets up to dockside.

The water splashes continually onto the windows of the Flying Dolphin as you ride.

At one point, a turn in the water and an especially strong gust of wind caused our boat to tilt right, surprising several riders on board. A few passengers called out with a holler when that happened.

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This photo shows the hydrofoils more clearly.

 

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The crew attaches a walkway to the Flying Dolphin as passengers wait to board.

We leave Skopelos Island tomorrow morning and are taking a ferry to the island of Skiathos where we will fly to Athens. There are winds forecast for the morning as a cold front is coming in. Passengers taking a Flying Dolphin should take warning (or even prepare for a cancellation, we’ve been told).

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The Flying Cat, a catamaran.

Luckily, we’re not one of them. We’ll be taking Blue Star Ferries’ Flying Cat, a catamaran ferry, instead.


Thanks for reading! I’ve been really surprised by the variety of ferries— and watercraft in general— on our Greek tour.  Feel free to click “like,” leave a comment or follow my blog for more.