Saturday, May 21, 2005

VOGALONGA - long stroke - Venezia
Last Saturday - throughout Venice - you could see rowers from all over the world practicing for Sunday's Vogalonga - a non-competitive boat race open too all types of rowing boats - each rower who completed the course - of approximate 30 kilometers - from the Basin of Saint Mark's - the islands and back up the Grand Canal to the point of the Salute - received a certificate of participation and a commemorative medal - a souvenir of the day.
In the past, we recall with a certain fondness the group of German Grand-fathers in a canoe with ten oars, the Chinese and their characteristic Dragon Boat, the English rowing crews from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge with their typical "straw boater" hats, the university students from California who learned to row alla veneta in just a few days, and the Venetian contestant who, in the last two editions of the race, has swum the entire length of the race course.
This picturesque race has been held for the past 31 years on Ascension Sunday the 5165 participants and 1462 boats - this year - after the singing of hymns to Saint Mark and to Venice - the "start" is given by a fatidic cannon-shot that indicates the competition begins, everyone is proud to shout the serenissima's ancient words: "Viva San Marco"!
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