...see me oar:
After a 10-year struggle, a German woman has breached one of Italy's oldest male-only clubs to become Venice's first female gondolier.
Alexandra Hai, 35, cannot sing and she has failed her basic gondola-steering exam three times. Nevertheless, a regional court has ruled that she can ferry guests to three one-star hotels in the city.
....After an 150-hour training course, there is a written test on the technical aspects of the boat, and a practical test.
In Frau Hai's case, the test involved steering with a single oar the 500lb, 35ft gondola about half a mile up and down the narrow Rio del Vin. In spite of failing the test three times, she found a job with a hotel but was caught and fined £92 for illegal gondoliering by the city's authorities. Her employer, the hotel chain JM International, helped her win her appeal against the fine.
"It was a matter of principle," said Franco Martini, her employer. "The male gondoliers were not stingy with their insults and disgusting gestures."