“How strange a vehicle it is, coming down unchanged from times of old romance,and so characteristically black, the way no other thing is black except a coffin–a vehicle evoking lawless adventures in the plashing stillness of night, and still more strongly evoking death itself, the bier, the dark obsequies, the last silent journey.”
I have always been fascinated with the gondola. It is such a characteristically unique vehicle associated with Venice. The red double decker bus of London or the yellow cab of New York comes to mind as similarly iconic features of a city . Anyway, Thomas Mann describes very well this timeless vehicle.