Sicily and a Vespa

The famous Vespa trip in Italy. For more than 3 years I have seen this ad on my Insta. Casually driving with a cute Vespa during summer discovering the beautiful Tuscany. The dream, but up to spring of 2021, I didn’t really make an effort to look into it until I saw the ad again but this time a Vespa trip in Sicily! I talked to my partner about it, made some research looked for dates, and before we knew it 5 days in Sicily were booked just after our trip to Rome. Little did we know how this trip would have become the coolest, the most adventurous, the most dangerous, and traumatizing travel experience.

July 13, wouldn’t come soon enough! I was so excited. Everything was organized for us which was ideal and we even booked half an hour to practice our driving. We couldn’t wait to start exploring the west side of the Island. But things didn’t happen as we imagined. Do you believe in signs? I do. When things are going wrong there is a reason… The first sign: we paid the taxi driver way too much to get to the place our trip was starting: Castellammare del Golfo. But we were still very much excited to get this kill our vibe. We arrived at the hotel Cetarium, very cute with a nice view of the marina. our driving lessons were starting a couple of hours after our arrival, so we quickly got ready. Second sign: Tom forgot his license. We had ordered 1 Vespa for two, thinking we could take turns. I have to admit, F-U-C-K, was the first word that came to my mind. I was starting to get annoyed but I thought let’s not get angry about this. Nevertheless, my brain couldn’t stop thinking fuck. Not because he didn’t have his license, but because I was thinking something is telling me we shouldn’t do it. Anyway, we met our guide a young very bubbly girl. She was nice. We did all the admin papers with her and off we were to get our lesson. I was the first one to try it. The first round was fine, slow but fine. And then the moment arrived when I had to break. for some reason, I was breaking and at the same time giving more gas. I abruptly stopped 2 cm away from a parked car and B-A-M I couldn’t hold on to the Vespa and the Vespa fell on me. Third sign. I got hurt but I thought I need to get on the Vespa again. So that’s what I did.. but I think that my brain was already saying no. I fell 2 other times. And I thought ok no I’m not doing this. Tom did great though. Unfortunately for him, he became the person in charge of driving us around for the whole trip. We went back to the hotel, tried to clean myself up and we went for a walk through the Marina. We found a little beach area and I decided to go and put my legs in the cold water to help with the swelling. I started feeling really annoyed by then. This wasn’t how I imagined it. I had to think positive, there was no going back.

Day 1 of the actual trip: we left pretty early. By then my legs were covered in huge bruises but I had a good night sleep and decided to enjoy the day nevertheless. We met the rest of the team we were going to drive with and off we were for our first adventure. The tricky part was to get out of the center. Tom did such a good job. I was so impressed. Off we were through the landscape of beautiful Sicily. Our first step was the Temple of Segesta. It was so pretty, we did have to walk a long way to get to the theater of Segata. We were in a rush we just arrived, took 1 picture, and had to go back. With a bit more time I would have loved to enjoy it a bit more. Our second stop was Marsala, to visit the Salt pans. The trip was long and hot, but it was easy. The day passed by very fast. In the end, yes we saw a lot of landscapes but didn’t really visit anything much. The guide told us that the first day was the longest but the easiest drive. The next two days were going to be heavier. Anyhow, the day went pretty uneventful until one of the people driving with us, needed help because his Vespa broke down. Our guide had to stay with him and we had to go back home alone. Thankfully we had our GPS so getting back to the hotel wouldn’t be a problem, but unfortunately, the wife of the person with the broken Vespa was scared to drive fast, so Tom and I kept paying attention to her, making sure she was following us. We were finally entering the center of the Marina when crossing over the road our Vespa slid on the concrete and half fell. I was able to hold the Vespa this time. But still, let’s count this as the 4th sign. We were mentally exhausted. we got cleaned up and decided to have a quiet night, had dinner, and went back to the hotel.

Day 2: The winery. I was looking forward to tasting good Italian wine. but first, we drove to a cute little village Alcamo. We had little stop and Tom and I enjoyed having a quiet walk and enjoying the view. The enjoyment stopped abruptly when going out of the city we got stuck in a downhill in traffic and BAM before I know if I was on the ground feeling the hot motor on my leg. I pushed it away got up as quickly as I could stopped the motor and put myself on the side. It’s only after that I realized that the 2 girls fell too. Tom was with them to see if they were fine. I think I couldn’t stop smiling from the shock. I was fine, I just didn’t understand what had happened nor did Tom. It was bad luck I guess, it was hot, there was traffic and we were going downhill. Sign 5. I could sense Tom starting to feel uncomfortable… But there was no way for us to stop as we were in the middle of our day trip. So once we felt better we went back on our Vespa and we were off again. That trip was awful… We had to drive through lands that were just covered in trash. People just dumped their trash. I was disgusted. The roads were full of holes, half dangerous. I knew that Sicily was poor but I have to admit that I did not expect to see it that bad. The beautiful landscape I had imagined, where clearly only in my imagination. The truth is that Sicily is far from being clean. After this horrible drive, we finally arrived in a beautiful place. All green and full of vineyards. It felt so good to be off the Vespa and enjoy an actual visit with people, food, and wine. I think that was probably my favorite time and my favorite activity. The wine was so good and the food, no words! after a couple of hours being in the vineyards learning about the wine process, enjoying the culture, the sun, the people, and the animals. It was time to take back our Vespa and go to the beach! We were 2km away from the beach when suddenly we were starting to go downhill. I thought: we are going to die. And I’m sure Tom thought the same because we stopped at the top and when we started going again we were going too fast for our liking and Tom decided to break. we fell from our Vespa, and this time it was falling hard. I managed to fall on my back but with the speed, I slid over the concrete road burning my arm. Tom fell headfirst and hit his chin. It was over. We were done. We tried, we failed and we will never do it again. I think our guide felt really bad for us, but hey she was not very reassuring. We still had 2km to go to arrive at the hotel. So I ended up going on our Guide’s Vespa while Tom took his courage and hopped back on his and drove safely back home. I never felt so scared in my life, but my brain couldn’t stop thinking about Tom. I was worried, he was quiet and upset. After going to the pharmacy where they gave me ozonized water, we finally got back to the hotel. There again we cleaned ourselves up, I took care of my burn and we decided to go to the pool and figure out what we were going to do. Driving the next day was a big no-no. We decided that we were going to stay and try to figure out how to get to the volcano Etna. But there were no cars available and after seeing what happened to us, I thought: If no cars are available it means we are not meant to go. I didn’t feel comfortable climbing a volcano with a burn on my arm and feeling pain all over my legs. We ended up deciding to go for dinner and deciding tomorrow what we were going to do.

Day 3: We both woke up after having horrible dreams of falling and never stopping. We were clearly traumatized. We decided to take it easy and join the rest of the group with a taxi at Tonnara di Scopello. I really enjoyed it. It was a bit too packed, but I wasn’t going to complain. There was the sun, water, and good company. After doubting myself I also decided to enjoy Sicily and ended up going for a swim in the cold water. My arm was itching but I thought the salt water was going to help. It was also the last evening with the group and we ended up having some drinks at the bar which we enjoyed a lot. Tom finally got a little braid in his hair which he was very proud and we finally felt like we could enjoy our vacations. And so we ended the 3 days of the Vespa trip. In the meantime, we had booked another night at the hotel and booked a boat trip de next day to enjoy our last full day in Sicily.

The boat trip was very nice. The weather was not in our favor, but there was good music and the people were so friendly. Everything was in Italian so I got to practice. We got to swim and visit some caves while enjoying the beautiful landscape and the beautiful Italian music and atmosphere. I have to admit that for a second I regretted having booked the Vespa Trip, I was thinking we could have enjoyed it better by driving and visiting the island in our own space. But this only means that after all the traumatizing experience I still enjoyed the place and thought this just means we had to come back. Also, I need to climb the Etna! It’s on my list.

Oh My God. I Didn’t even discuss the food. PEOPLE, the food was so much better than in Rome. The fish was delicious, the pulp was exquisite and their couscous divine! And I’m still dreaming of their amazing gelato of chestnuts. That was our dessert every evening. here are some names of the restaurants we went to:

  • Melandrino Cusina & Bar: you will find delicious cocktails and their grilled octopus was exquisite.
  • Ristorante Del Golfo: Their tuna was out of this world and their cannolo was divine.
  • Mirkos Ristorante: delicious but split the food, they are very generous.
  • Gelateria Vernaci: The chestnut gelato was so good!
  • Pi-co-lit: nice bar, where we enjoyed our last evening with the group.
  • There wa a restaurant with a very good sicilian couscous, but unfortunately can’t remember the name

Anyhow, Sicily was as I mentioned before the coolest, the most adventurous, the most dangerous, and traumatizing travel experience. At the end of the day, we did drive a Vespa in Italy. How cool is that, right?! And I have to give Tommy boy a big shout-out. That man drove me around and he did so well and we survived many falls together and I guess we can say we still trust each other so that at least is a good sign.

To end on an interesting note: You will notice that on the site of the Vespa Trip they took out Sicily… I guess we probably were not the only group with issues… just saying.

Ciao Sicily, see you soon.

With love,

Brenda

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