Five Reasons the Las Olas Gondola Is Keeping Romance Alive
Before you shove those flowers down the garbage disposal, throw the candy hearts in the microwave, and send that passive-aggressive text message, there's something you need to hear: Romance is not dead!
No. It's alive and well, and you'll find it floating merrily down the New River right in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale. Yes, you heard me: Fort Lauderdale. The same nipple-piercing city that at times can seem like the antithesis of a Nicholas Sparks novel actually houses one of the most wonderfully mushy things New Times has seen since we caught Rick Scott spooning with an alligator in the Everglades.
It's called the Las Olas Gondola, and your girlfriend wants to know why you haven't taken her on it yet.
Las Olas Gondola has been running tours on the New River, right across from the Downtowner Saloon, for seven years now, but it was a handwritten letter mailed to New Times that got our attention.
Written by either the sweetest old lady in the history of the elderly or a Gondola passenger with a gun to their head, the letter starts off, "Recently I was pleasantly surprised by a thrilling discovery." Rather than getting all Fifty Shades of Grey, it goes on to talk about how much Sharon -- the letter's author -- enjoyed her ride, and how it reminded her of her previous vacations in Venice (Sharon is apparently quite the traveler).
At $150 a ride, the experience isn't cheap, but can you put a price on romance? (How about $150?)
The ride lasts for about an hour and 15 minutes and can fit up to six people, but there are plenty of other reasons why it's the most romantic thing you can do in Fort Lauderdale.
This is Sal. Sal is from Venice, and he's a better aphrodisiac than a chocolate-covered oyster.
He sits along on every ride, emitting a pheromone that mimics the emotional experience one has the first time he hears Beethoven. Sal is discrete and adventurous. And just look at his hat. Look at it!
Sal is a silent, inanimate little Barry White, and he doesn't wear pants because they only get in the way. In short, he's the best third wheel a date could ever hope for.