Here's the thing. While you're actually on vacation, you're walking around like a human sponge trying to absorb everything in sight and generally wearing yourself out in the process. But joyously, so it's OK.
Once you're home you have the leisure and the photos to focus on your trip. Plus you're usually not that thrilled to be home, so any distraction that takes you back to your vacation is like eating chocolate- a welcome relief.
Your friends will soon be bored stiff hearing how GREAT your trip was, so it's best to keep it to yourself and your computer. Often you'll have more intense experiences gazing endlessly at Google images then you had on the spot.
I didn't even consider riding in a gondola while in Venice. It's prohibitively expensive to ride around in one of these - $100 for an hour is it? And snobbism gets the better of you, since you don't want to do what "the tourists" are doing.
You can take a gondola traghetti for small change. It's used to ferry passengers directly across the grand canal (carrying up to 15 people all standing, some reading newspapers!). I tried this and was terrified the whole 3 minutes it took to get across. I rode in a gondola on my 1st "Grand Tour" of Europe when I was 18, but who remembers any of that.
There were 7-8 countries on the agenda and God knows how many cities and musuems and churches to investigate. BTW John Singer Sargent painted many of his watercolors while sitting in a gondola. How else could he have painted the views he did of the palazzos and bridges?
These watercolors (one is after a Sargent painting) are sitting on top of the best Turner in Venice book out there - VENISE, Aquarelles de Turner. Published by the Bibliothèque de l'Image in 1995, you can still find it on Amazon or in Paris book shops.
Turner's very small watercolors are blown up to 9" x 11 1/2", so you see the detail better than viewing the originals.
I took a magnifying glass to the exhibit at the Museo Correr, but the crowds made it difficult...They even offered a class in how to paint like Turner, but I was too late to get in.
An American, Tom Price in Cannaregio, got it into his head he wanted to learn how to make the traditional gondola, a dying art. He began his apprenticeship in 1996. When he arrived, Thom knew no Italian, had no place to live and had no idea who would teach him.
But the terms of his travel fellowship, required him to build and complete a gondola within 12 months. Tom is still in Venice 10 years later producing authentic gondolas.
Gondola Dreams, watercolor, 6 1/2" x 3 1/4"
If you happen to live in Newport Beach, California you can take a gondola ride in Newport harbor. This may be carrying gondola obsession to extremes or you can just waste time hanging out at http://www.venetia.it/ or http://www.gondolavenezia.it/
They've got everything and anything you could possibly want to know about Venice and gondolas. Charley Parker has a wonderful quote on his excellent site, http://www.linesandcolors.com/
I have learned that what I have not drawn, I have never really seen. - Frederick Franck
This holds true for gondolas.