Luckily for our gondolier, after 9 minutes and 59 seconds, a friend of a friend brought 5 more people for the trip and we were off, albeit rather slowly. The gondolier was using just one of his two oars and was keeping close to the shore, as he was still looking for more business from the passers-by on the lakeside. After looking hopefully at all and sundry for a further five minutes, he eventually engaged both oars and we started to head towards our wishing bell moment.
As we moved out on to the lake, the waters stayed as clear as it had been by the shore. We were rowed past the castle, which was becoming highlighted by the gradually setting sun against the mountains, past the expensive hotels with their patrons enjoying the views from their balconies and past the heavily-wooded shoreline, towards the island that was almost in the shadow of the Julian Alps. The only discernible sounds were the oars splashing in and out of the water as we progressed.