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Spellbinding Romance: Gondola Adventures Brings Old World Sensibility to Irving, Texas

By Paul Rowe

Originating in Venice, Italy, the first written recording of the word "gondola" dates all the way back to 1094. Gondolas, considered luxury coaches for the social elite, were primarily used as transports for the rich and powerful. Nowadays, they are known as the most romantic boats from the most romantic city on Earth.

Gondolas have captured the hearts of Venetians and tourists all over the world; for this reason, gondolas can be found in other parts of the world: even Texas. Located in the heart of Irving by the most serene waters Texas has to offer, Gondola Adventures brings florid European romanticism to the people of the Dallas/Fort Worth region.

"Our cruises can come with everything from a beverage and chocolates all the way up to a full three-course meal presented on the gondola, and everything in between from lunch, appetizer, to dessert cruises," says Vice President Elisa M. Mohr. "These come customized with selected menu options as well as specialty enhancements such as floral bouquets, scattered rose petals, and a personal photographer."

Whether launched on Venice's Grand Canal near the Basilica dei Frari or on the Mandalay Canal and Lake Carolyn in Las Colinas, Texas, the unflinching tradition of the gondola dictates that couples kiss under every bridge. Greeting others in Italian while drifting by and enjoying stunning sunsets on the water are also suggested.

Perfect for romantic proposals, special celebrations, fun and romantic anniversaries, date nights, special occasions, family gatherings, weddings, unique elopement ideas, or simply "just because," many guests opt to include a message-in-a-bottle, one of the most signature pieces of any Gondola Adventures experience.

"The message is sent to us via e-mail from the client ahead of the cruise date. After being printed on high quality parchment-style paper, it's rolled up and tied with a ribbon, then placed in a corked bottle in the back of the gondola," says Mohr.

"During the cruise, the gondolier discreetly places the bottle in the water, turns the boat around, and asks the intended recipient to retrieve it from the water," says an enthusiastic Mohr. "Of course the message-in-a-bottle is even more of a hit with our marriage proposal clients? After all, what lady wouldn't like to receive such a romantic message from her special someone in the form of a message, floating in a clear glass bottle?"

The company's Venetian-style gondolas are expertly rowed by professional gondoliers trained in the fine art of Venetian rowing, using the same oars and oarlocks used by Venetian gondoliers. Uniquely suited to Texan weather conditions, the company's covered gondolas can seat up to ten, are powered by quiet but capable motors, and come equipped with canopy covers providing protection from unexpected rain or the beating sun. The "Bellissima" is a quaint little boat, best for two: the perfect choice for bride and groom getaways.

"Believe it or not, the gondoliers in Venice don't really sing to their guests, but most of our gondoliers do- each in his or her own special way," says Mohr. "The mark of a good gondolier is often how they read their passengers and adjust accordingly."

Gondolas provide feelings of elated joy, romance, excitement, and oh yes, adventure. Thanks to Gondola Adventures, Old World romantic tradition has found a treasured home in the Lone Star state.

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