Rowing a gondola sounds very simple. You stand facing the front of the boat, one foot parallel to the oarlock that juts from its hull and the other set back a bit for stability. Then you push the shaft of the oar forward, moving the narrow blade back through the water. When your arm is as outstretched as it can get, rotate the shaft, lift the oar out of the water and swing it forward for another stroke. But as I learned during my first lesson, it is far easier said than done.