There is nothing more British than going punting in Cambridge on a hot summer evening as the sun sets across the River Cam, and the glistening water under long drooping trees surround you. Thousands of visitors travel from across the world to go on a punting tour to hear fascinating stories about the renowned university that was once home to Stephen Hawking. A Cambridge punt will always bring out the proud magic of England because it is a rich historical experience. Going on gondola rides in Venice while listening to “When the moon hits your eyes,” is also a lot of fun, but you should never confuse these relaxing favourites. Here are the main differences between punting and gondola rides.
The best place to go punting is on the River Cam in Cambridge, where you will cross the shallow, narrow waters that surround the colleges. You will hear vivid stories about all the famous people who graduated from Cambridge University and went on to change the world. The most notable alumni members are Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, Prince Charles, Emma Thompson, Stephen Hawking, Sylvia Plath, and many more.
Although a Cambridge punt is suitable for large groups or couples who want a romantic ride, you can hear a lot of historical facts about all the colleges, and even some funny stories involving students. A gondola ride is famous in Italy. Although gondolas have a reputation for Italian romance, you can also ride one in groups with friends or other tourists. Since most of Venice consists of waterways, it is the best way to explore the city.
Gondolas used to be a symbol of power for Venetian families, which is why they all decorated gondolas differently to represent each other. The final shape of the gondola reached around eleven meters, and the stern and bow were lifted higher. This gave it a stronger symmetry and made it easier to control. A gondola operator would propel the boat by rowing a type of oar that is unique to Venice, and they do not need to be in shallow waters. A Cambridge punt, on the other hand, is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow. It is designed to use in shallow water or small rivers. The punt is propelled by pushing the pole or quant against the bottom of the lake. Punts are usually the colour of the wood that is used to make them, whereas gondolas are all painted black for uniformity.
A punt boat operator in Cambridge is called a “Chauffeur.” Most chauffeurs who ride on the River Cam are students from the university, and you should pick their brains for interesting titbits that are not mentioned in any brochures. Since they are British, they might sound a lot like Benedict Cumberbatch. Gondola operators are called “Gondoliers,” and they wear regulated clothing that consists of a striped red or navy t-shirt, or a white sailor’s shirt. In the movies gondoliers often serenade romantic couples with classics like “That’s Amore,” but they are not forced to sing anything in real life, so you should not expect them to. While punting in Cambridge, anybody can sing if they want to, if it they do not disturb other passengers during the ride.