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The Solo Scooterist

Documenting my travels on a Vespa

Month: October 2014 (page 1 of 2)

Egypt to Eilat

It was time to  move on again , the streets of Dahab even more disserted  than usual , the morning air cool , the sun still hiding behind some of the buildings , I packed the last few smalls onto Victoria . We rode out and into the Sinai , with the mountains on both sides , we were transported  in a tunnel of rock , sand and sky with the sun not high enough to penetrate , all around shrouded in cool grey  air . As the sun climbed so the light changed the landscape ,  the gaps in the range  allowed us to cast our shadow briefly into the desert .

 

My morning riding partner courtesy of sunrise

My morning riding partner courtesy of sunrise

Early morning scootering on the Sinai felt incredibly special and I suppose with only just over a hundred kilometers left before crossing into Israel , I became even more aware of the beauty , for I did not have much time left here .The mountains turned cinnamon on pankake as the light ignited the colours . The blue of the sea started to dance in the flickering light , the coves like hidden sancturaries half covered in desert dusk , half the soft  light of  dawn , with the water providing the  serenity  . I rode in this  trance of calm and colour taking in as much as possible knowing that I was on borrowed beauty .

 

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The ride up to Eilat

The ride up to Eilat

 

Pausing to take it all in .

Pausing to take it all in .

I had left early knowing that this was to be a long day , I had heard about the border procedure at Taba so I was prepared for a long crossing . I arrived at the border  around nine in the morning and started the process of exiting  Egypt , which involved de registering Victoria and returning her foreign  plates , which would be sent back to Aswan to cover another traveller as he or she made their way  North . I then had to get immigration to stamp me out and the final leg to leaving , was to unpack the scooter and carry everything to an X ray machine inside the immigration bulding , then once cleared re pack and was waived out of Egypt.

You can feel and see the difference as you approach the Israeli border , the buildings modern and clean , the security impenetrable , the barrier large and looming . I jumped off Victoria passport in hand and was immediatly sent back to stand and wait at the scooter . I think Israeli borders are the only crossings in the world were beauty comes so well armed and dressed , her eyes smouldering , her features soft  and speech seductive  . It was the first time that I would have preferred to be having dinner with the border official than being questioned . That been said with GI Joe only meters from us I kept my answers short and sweet , thinking to myself I wonder if I should do an annual calendar of beauty at borders , would it rival  Pirelli ? So with the initial step done I was ushered along to start my entry into Israel .

The long , meticulous and very thorough  process started , The scooter inspected , I unpacked everything to have it  X rayed and then it was my turn to  clear immigration while Victoria was taken to be checked and cleared . It was to be a long process , I would finally arrive at my hotel in Eilat after 16h00 . At one point I thought there is no way I was getting in , this vagabond on a scooter arriving from the desert , I was bound to attract a little extra scrutiny  . The officials very professonal in every sense doing a very thorough job but at the same time polite ,  offering me conversation, coffee and hydration .

I had adopted a very relaxed approach to crossing countries from my very first border and it had served me well to date , every one had their procedure and what I had come to realise was , it would be followed irrespective, so no point in allowing frustration to ruin your day . So I waited and eventualy I was cleared to enter what a relief it was , I had my moments of panic thinking what I would do if I was sent back to Egypt , doing all that paperwork again , but with passport cleared and stickered ,  Victoria and I rode into Eilat .

 

Eilat .

Eilat .

I booked into my hotel exhausted from a long day , unpaked Victoria for the third time in less that 12 hours , took a long and welcomed  shower and then it was  off to enjoy people , prams and a bustling promenade wide and pristine . Eilat has a wonderful holiday feeling , with families out and about , dad trying to catch junior before his gelato goes flying , mothers praming  along burdened by only having two hands yet so many balls in the air , this place felt so different , safe and secure with a freedom I had not felt in people for a while .

 

The promenade just before the night life transforms it.

The promenade just before the night life transforms it.

Was Eilat the promised land , a place that the burka has traded places with the bikini , a place that seems to champion individuality and freedom to express , sushi , sashimi , steak and gastronomic choice anxiety ,  welcome to Europe surrounded by sand . The mall a sensory overload with so much on offer , lights , camera , action , my head spun , my eyes rolled around in my head like that of a  cartoon character , just so many people , so much movement , glitz and glamour , all too much for this desert fox , so after sushi it was back to the hotel to find sanctuary .

I took a shower and stood looking out of the window at this Red Sea Vegas , realising with a heavy heart Africa was gone , I was in a brave new world , lacking the skill to acclimatise this fast , I was still filled with the stars of Africa to light my way . Neon not yet please !

 

The beach at dusk .

The beach at dusk .

 

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In the morning we would leave for Jerusalem , meet David in Beer Sheva and ride together into the city . It was to be the first time since leaving Johannesburg that I would not be solo on a scooter and that Victoria would be in the company of another Vespa. Wow !

I lay in bed images of Africa rolling on retina , then sleep came , covered me in a dense fog before transporting me back to dream in the desert.

Until we meet again .

 

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Jerusalem A Glow

After a lazy start and a breakfast that would make Marie Antoinette blush I followed the signs towards Beer Sheva en route to the city of Jerusalem.

 

Vic heading for Jerusalem.

Vic heading for Jerusalem.

The ride up through the Negev desert was a warm welcome to Israel , the drivers cautious , using signals not passing on blind rises ,  not cutting into quickly or passing on solid lines , is this why it is called the promised land? The beauty aside the ride up from Eilat to Beer Sheva is nothing short of breathtaking especially as you make your way up through the passes to the higher plateau .

 

White hot

White hot

 

Riding the rise

Riding the rise

 

There is something about desert sand.

There is something about desert sand.

The roads good , fuel prices that shock but the ride was fast and smooth . I called David on arriving at the biggest mall I could find and he directed me to our rendezvous point , two Vespa riders meeting for a afternoon run , on scooters of course . I always say how my trip has been made so special and incredible by the people I meet and this was to be no exception , I was to be the adopted family member and honoury Jerusalema resident , thanks to the Bogner’s . A bit of background , David had come across my ride through the modern Vespa forum and had offered me the option of his parents apartment in the city or to stay with him and his family while in Jerusalem . Being on the road all the time , these offers are so appreciated and grabbed with both hands once offered , So I was to meet my good  Samaritan and we rode tandem into the city .

David found me easily , not that I am hard to miss and we rode straight for Jerusalem and to meet his scooter surgeon Nir who was to give Victoria the once over , and fortuitously so . Nir has a masters in precision , with a hospital like workshop , hoist lift , tools and surgical gloves . With  tools and pedigree in hand so he set to task . He gently rolled  Victoria on to his operations lift  to begin the pre op . I had laughter all over my face as I recalled some of the conditions that Vic and I found ourselves in while undergoing maintenance through Africa , very hard to reconcile the different working conditions .

 

Victoria in the promised land.

Victoria in the promised land.

All seemed fine until we stripped the transmission to check the belt , at the last service under my supervision mind you , one of the rollers had been put in the wrong way round , so the metal casing had been worn almost through , very lucky to have made it this far and to have the spare part on hand . Other than that we changed the belt , the oil and cleaned out the filter , just routine love I call it .Victoria caused quite a stir at the workshop which I have become fairly accustomed to , yet it is good to be reminded on occasion that this Vespa literally crossed Africa , so vast yet here we are alive and well, she is truly amazing .  What usually took three hours to complete  was done in less than one  and David and I set off for the apartment .

 

David and Vic

David and Vic

Jerusalem  glows with a gentle golden hue at dusk and dawn as the sun sets the lime stone a smoulder , something that words fail to describe but your eyes are forever thankful to have witnessed , Jerusalem the warm , the kind , the gentle that is how it felt as I followed David and his yet to be named Vespa into town , my eyes taking in the twinkle , my excitement growing as I arrived in this spiritual  city that has seen civilisation in all its forms ,the stories this place could tell ,  buildings representing the various  religions stand tall and in such close proximity they all blur , to smudge the lines that for centuries held the divide  , what was I to discover while here?

As I walked into the apartment and felt that space my spirits lifted , David helped me offload Victoria , settled me in and then treated me to an entrecote , done to perfection . With flavours running amok across my taste buds , steak and wine made  for a fantastic accompaniment to meeting a brand new friend  . So was my introduction to Jerusalem.

David had taken time off work to show me around his city , so as we said our goodnights we made plans for our tour of the old city in the morning . As luck would have it I had arrived in Jerusalem just days before the Jewish new year Rosh hashanna and what was going to make the experience even more special was that I was going to spend it in the company of David and his family at their home  just a short  scoot  from Jerusalem.

 

Jerusalem

Jerusalem

Jerusalem was going to be a very poignant and important stop for me and one that  unbeknown to me was going to be a place that would allow me to distil some of Africa , rest , reflect and get some kind of understanding and clarity on what had been my life for the last months .

First thing in the morning it was down to the bakery across the road from the apartment for cappuccino and a pastry selection to stop you in your tracks , I ordered and sat overlooking the street that was now a buzz with activity. I sipped my coffee and sat in silence immersed in this city life.

 

Old and new .

Old and new .

 

Lime stone town

Lime stone town

 

Victoria in the Old City .

Victoria in the Old City .

 

Jafa Gate

Jafa Gate

 

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Team Vespa

Team Vespa

I was excited about today and more specifically going to the Western wall , the reason being  I had a photograph of my grandfather standing at the wall  in 1942  . I had asked my mother to email me the photograph so I could stand as close to were he stood all those years ago , to connect in a small way in  this very spiritual place . David loaded the photographs on to his phone and we spent a while lining up the markings  and then there I stood  while the shutter allowed the light and me to be absorbed , taking a photograph that was 72 years in the making , it felt absolutely incredible .

 

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The Western wall

The Western wall

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So my exceptional day started viewing the old city , the Western wall , all the quarters in the old city , the gates and  the surrounds As you walk around the old city you have or get the sense that you are walking amongst and between the pages and manuscripts of books both holy and ancient , just an amazing feeling .

David as my tour guide took me around Jerusalem and we spent an incredible day together culminating in a vist to a market in the city to rival Borough in London , I walked around like a child trying everything I could lay my hands on from the fresh lime and mint juice , halva , hummus , freshly ground coffee , rows of  sensory delights to long to list and yet still we prowled the market searching for ingredients to further cater our needs for the pending  celebration but a day away.

 

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Gastronomy pure and simple .

Gastronomy pure and simple .

The day ended with me meeting David’s wife Zahava and young son the  soccer star Yonah  and what would a day be without an introduction to  Lulu the family  Labrador with a bark that luckily did not rival her bite. Then back to the apartment to do some shopping because everything would be closed for the holidays , I walked the streets bouncing on a cushion of Israeli kindness and hospitality . A great day.

The next morning back to my now local bakery to be greeted with a wide smile and will it be the usual for you ? To some that might seem like  nothing , but after road vesparing for so long , to suddenly  feel a little local and not just in transit was great . Then off to David’s to meet the rest of the family Ariella and Gilad and yes Lulu once again . David and I then set off for Herodium , King Herod’s palace just outside Jerusalem that would also be his final resting place . From there we rode on an ancient Roman road and tried to find one of the original mile markers , no luck though.

 

Herodium .

Herodium .

Back to the apartment to freshen up for Rosh hashanna and back to David’s home . The evening was  nothing less than heartfelt and warming , Zahava’s cooking a celebration in its self , the warmth of family and festivity touching my heart . I sat eyes filled with a warmth and admiration , this kind and gracious  man surrounded by his beautiful family and friends . What a privilege ,  I sat  part of this family on this very special occasion. celebrating the beginning of a new year  .

The next morning I shared breakfast with David and Ariella enjoying her passion , dedication and enthusiasm while we spoke  , then back to the apartment for two days of stillness , quietness  and time to reflect on the journey , something I felt I needed to do . The next two days took me from long sleeps to a longing for Africa an emotional journey like the physical one I had ridden . On one of the mornings  I felt like a thief in the night that I had stolen out of Africa without a proper goodbye or like one of those lovers who wake before dawn , collect their belongings ever so quiet  take their clothing dress in the other room and disappear into the dawn . I had been so focused on getting through Africa I did not realise I had not  thanked her appropriately for the safe passage , a continent  so unselfishly shared  , the experiences , the memories , the gifts , I felt I had left without a proper goodbye . Strange how ones mind reacts and the thoughts that flood it when you have time out to process things . It was overwhelming , suddenly being in a place like home for the first time in months , free of worry , confused by so much choice , everything so easy and accessible . It felt like all has just been a beautiful , colourful dream , from which I did not want to wake .

After my days of reflection , it was time for the dead sea to offer her remedies , so off Victoria and I rode to go and bake and bob in the sea were you can never sink , the salt your life jacket , the dark black mud your rejuvenation , and yes my skin did feel  brand new , soft , silky and smooth but the mud did provide me with those youthful bumps just under my forehead  called pimples . For the rest ,  mud and salt liberated body and mind  allowed the  months of road to wash away with the black  mud that had  covered me head to toe .

 

Vic at the dead sea .

Vic at the dead sea .

 

Rejuvenation , salt ,sludge and a little vanity .

Rejuvenation , salt , sludge and a little vanity .

 

Dead sea beach .

Dead sea beach .

Then back home to Zen myself . The freighter was almost upon  us , the next couple of days would be spent either walking the streets or hanging out with the Bogner’s. The weather mild , the evenings enjoying hummus and gelato while taking in the city on foot or scoot , what a great place to have spent my time , the experience and city made richer by David and his family , my time here  precious and a way to decompress , touched once again by the human spirit of kindness and generosity .

 

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Monday we take the freighter to the place that gave Victoria life and through that me an adventure beyond my wildest dreams  . I will hold my time in Jerusalem in a special place to resonate with me for life , that said

Until we meet again .

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Freighter Incarcerated

The day had arrived it was time to board ship and sail to a new continent and  the last leg of our journey . I was up early to pack , then I rode out of Jerusalem , enjoying that golden hue that the sunrise brings ,  down to David’s for breakfast and then he and I would ride to Ashdod and the port , the place of  departure .

 

Riding to Ashdod

Riding to Ashdod

Eggs and fresh piping hot sour cherry muffins courtesy of Zahava was how I  kicked my day off . Now that I think of it , sour cherry could be a groovy name for David’s vespa , let me think on it . Then it was the road to Ashdod , rain threatened but it was only that , we arrived at  the port just after 9 and so the process would start . The amount of time and paperwork to get Vic and I out was astounding , that been said you have to use a clearing agent at the port so they did all the work I just followed and filled in what they put in front of me .

 

The vessel

The vessel

 

Vic sizing up.

Vic sizing up.

I was to have company on the ship in the form of Leon who had just spent three months touring Israel in his camper van . Jeroen  and Sonja who had just finished a two year over land adventure in their land cruiser , Vic just cant escape those trucks . They had started in Holland from their home  , crossed into Morrocco , down West Africa to the fairest Cape , just cant keep the Dutch away from the Cape , up the East of Africa and they would end their journey by driving  back home after just over two years in Africa . Spectacular , and I was glad for the company.

 

About to board

About to board

After hours of up and down , we finally parked dockside waiting for the order to board , the freighter was still being offloaded so after about an hour we got the green light and on we rode into the jaws of this metal seafaring giant , 11 stories high , a capacity to transport 5000 cars and other really big stuff you only ever see on those abnormal flatbeds or on mines. Victoria has a 278 cc motor the freighter 1 550 000 per cylinder , Victoria carries just under 9 litres of fuel the freighter 50 tons , we had just ridden into the bowls of a monster .Victoria was given a parking spot and once unpacked she was strapped down to spend 5 days in bondage ,  deep in the dark pit of this monster freighter .

 

Bondage spot .

Bondage spot .

We all got settled into our cabins 9 stories up and were told that our meal times would be 07h30 for breakfast , 11h00 lunch and 18h00 for dinner , other than that our safety briefing would be in the morning and that was that , we stood alone  . We all met for our first dinner at 18h00 , it was great to chat Africa and share  experiences and stories  , then off to bed while the ship still expelled cargo onto the dock far into the early hours of the morning , all the  while I slept in my safety deposit box . Once done she  fired up those engines navigated the darkness to the open seas and set sail for Italy .

 

Safety deposit box

Safety deposit box

The next morning breakfast and our safety briefing , as well as an outline of the rules and regulations . Adhere to meal times , if on deck follow the yellow lines and don’t cross the barrier , which was another yellow line that halted your progress to the bridge . If you wanted to move around the ship other than the top deck or the immediate sleeping and dining area , you had to call 100 to get an escort , to see the bridge dial 100 , to go down to the scooter dial 100 , to change the channel on the TV , just find the remote . We had been briefed . The vessel was extremely well run and in pristine condition so I knew we would not share the Titanic’s fate .

 

Those yellow lines

Those yellow lines

Freighter time is governed by meal times , the food actually a lot better than expected and the portions huge with a three course meal followed by fruit every lunch and dinner . One big advantage of taking an Italian freighter was the high powered coffee machine to keep you well oiled in espresso essence , that smell , that creamy after taste heaven  . It was a real adjustment  sleeping in a place that was never exposed to the sun , the only light for the cabin came from the switch at the door or the overhead reading light with  those off  total darkness reigned , an eerie cocoon my cabin was . All that space in Africa ,  your ceiling the stars , your movement endless with possibility , in comparison this felt like jail , just without the communal showers and that man called Baba  . It was going to take some adjusting . So my days took on a routine that had  me  reading , sleeping eating , reading , sleeping ,  eating and very little else .

 

Top deck

Top deck

 

Powering through the blue.

Powering through the blue.

I loved sunrise and sunset up on deck , the wind fresh and cool all around and welcome after  nights cooped up in that safety deposit box . The ocean vast , the sun bringing with it another day and fewer nautical miles to Italy. I would go up on the deck at sunset with some good music thanks to Tim and watch the bow break the waters , it would send up a magnificent spray that would turn the colour of champagne as the setting sun caught it before it returned to the deep blue . Nothing around one except sea , sky and me . I revelled in those moments on the high seas , as this metal giant carried me with size and safety, allowed for time to change and disengage , allowed for a different  pace and purpose.

 

Favourite time of day

Favourite time of day

 

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Initially this time felt strange to me , there was no preparation or  planning , no packing or unpacking no stopping to stretch , nothing but freighter food routine , Victoria strapped stories down in the dark waiting to be liberated to ride the Amalfi coast ,  but it was a good time to mentaly prepare for Euro Europe , the changes that come  with a totally different continent and country , damn exciting , Italy the land of swine and wine was almost upon us .

I listened to music mixes that took me back to rides and reminiscing of Africa , I read books that did not involve sights , top choices or the not to miss stuff , so I reconnected with the world through  words  written, lyrics sung  , music and mind , a time of peace , tranquillity and days endless with no purpose , A good time for me , my world had time to find scale .

 

Arriving in Salerno

Arriving in Salerno

The freighter found her mark early in the morning , I loaded up Victoria , enjoyed my last breakfast with my fellow travellers and prepared to disembark , both Vic and I could not wait to ride free once more .

Until we meet again.

 

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Buongiorno from the land of Olio, Balsamico & sooooo much more

A quick hello from Italy , my journey has taken me from the Amalfi coast , through Napoli , the rural roads of the Italian wine country , to that leaning tower , on to Firenze , the Vespa factory and four spectacular days spent with my sister who arrived in Pisa to welcome and surprise Victoria and I to Italy .

 

Victoria firmly on Italian soil.

Victoria firmly on Italian soil.

 

The blog has taken a back seat since my arrival , so much to see and do , so this is a quick hello and apology to boot , I will get the blog up to date as soon as I find rhythm and time . Other than that both of us are extremely well , I have to find Victoria a new indicator lens and a barber for myself .

 

My sister and I in Pisa .

My sister and I in Pisa .

 

Until we meet again.

 

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Back in time , touring the Amalfi

Getting Vic an I out of the port took some doing and a couple of hours of pillar to post ,  I had my passport in hand , no entry stamp though ,  no documentation for  the  temporary import of the scooter into the EU , and I could not really tell customs , Victoria was returning to her country of birth to visit and had no intention of staying , for she to is an African .  Italy  bore her teeth  sharpened by years of  bureaucracy and yellowed with age and lack of will , so we settled into the great cog and let it turn . Little did I know all the paperwork had already been done by the shipping company , and only once I went back to the ship and they called the agent was all sorted out in seconds after waiting hours .

The time had finally arrived after months of travel , Victoria and I about to put foot and rubber on the country of origin and the last boot of our journey , I am sure  I heard her say lets Ride , lets  Ride Italy . I can not be sure it is hard to say , she seems to have picked up a very heavy industrial Italian accent . Yes lets ride ! Lets scooter Italy .

Out of port and into the town of Salerno , I could immediately feel the difference , this was scooter and coffee country , two wheels and high on caffeine , riders and drivers alike  jousting for their place on the tar , bumpers used for their intended purpose , scuffed and cracked from all the contact , the only sane way to travel here is scootering , nothing else make any sense and gridlock is not  good for your health. It was time to get that third party insurance and fast , between these Senna types and those tourists not from the European school side of  driving , all hell had just broken lose on Vic and I , She was loving it , taking and making her gaps,  using all that overland body armour to scare her way into town.

 

 

Bridging the gap in Salerno.

Bridging the gap in Salerno.

I found the equivalent of the automobile association , happily pulled over , parked Vic on some cool cobbles and started to enquire with the man at the desk about third party cover in Italy ,  nobody in the  entire office could understand me or my very foreign language ,  English . So I  walk the streets outside the office trying to politely find a translator , not much luck down here in the South.  so after spending time on the street with people thinking I was begging for E euro and giving me a wide berth  I eventually found a couple in the office buying some cover for themselves , who could translate . In the end they did not offer this kind of cover , so I tried two other insurance companies in town , still no luck . It is amazing , at every border crossing in Africa you get mobbed by vendor’s of this simple paper product , but here in the land of wine and many fruits , no cover could be found.

It was getting late and I did not want to spend a night in Salerno but rather somewhere down the Amalfi coast , which I had heard so much about and was itching to ride , we took the gamble and set off , eyes on storks , mind focused , lady luck would just have to work a little harder until we found our security blanket.

 

Touring the cliffs .

Touring the cliffs .

Riding those cliff roads was a brand new experience , very , very narrow with all kinds of oncoming , Victoria and I took on the Amalfi drivers . The coast is not that long in miles but takes hours and chess master like concentration to navigate . The almost single lane that ferries everything from coaches  with on board loo’s , mobile homes , scooters , bikes , pedal power , public busses , the chauffer controlled black Benz and the ever  lethal indecisive  hire car vaguely steered by periscope peering people . They all come at you using as much of the tar as their size or speed dictates .

This malnourished and confused  strip of tar , does not curve like those found  on an Italian Bella Donna , but rather has the appearance of  a brawl between two intoxicated , axe wielding  giants , who took to these cliffs centuries ago to settle a dispute  as to who has the biggest club . Axe to stone they bombarded mother earth to their will , steep and sheer cliffs , this dramatic coast line was born . Those that followed built their lives , hanging on to the rock  between mountain and sea .

 

Amazing Amalif .

Amazing Amalfi .

 

No cure for vertigo .

No cure for vertigo .

 

The lane to Positano .

The lane to Positano .

I stopped often to take in the  views like none I have seen and to count my lucky stars that no bumper had found home , unlike poor Leon from the freighter . I found him running up the road with his camper van stationary except for those fierce flashing hazards as he set off in hot pursuit after his hit and run incident that left metal passing stripes all the way down his left . He had stopped to exchange details , the guilty driver said he was going to move his car and get his details . Leon should do the same , on turning around , Leon found  car and driver gone .

The coast is lined with homes , hotels and coastal life  that burst at the seems in peak season and threatens to burst in the low season , it  felt very high season to me . Positano a very worthwhile stop , if I had not been on the scooter I would have sat all day under sun ,  crisp white napkin around my neck , clutching garlic butter , lemon sauce smothered shell fish with both hands and washing it all down with a bottle of local white , while dreaming the day away , so I will have to return , by bus , by cab , by any means to Positano the village of views .

 

All the while I was enquiring as to the elusive third party insurance , still no luck , I was told that I should have better luck in the town of Sorrento as it was the largest of towns and had many companies that might offer me a solution , so off we rode . The going slow , turns and traffic , we eventually found our way into Sorrento and tracked  down the  information office . My requests fairly routine I thought , good central accommodation with off street , preferably undercover parking for Victoria  and third party cover . This is where I met the star of Sorrento, Fabiola for the first time , who found me a camping ground on the sea with parking for Victoria . Parking comes at a premium in these parts , especially off street , it would remind me of Clifton in the days to come as I wondered the streets of Sorrento. Fabiola also found me a couple of insurance companies to go and see.

So we set up home in the campsite , I hired one of those mobile homes with no wheels built into the ground , unpacked and set off into town . As it turned out I would not be able to buy cover in Italy or any other European country for that matter and it would take me 5 days of internet search and secure to eventually get the cover I was required to ride with .  Canada of all places  came to the rescue through a insurance company I found on the HU website.

 

 

Streets of Sorrento.

Streets of Sorrento.

 

Looking across the bay.

Looking across the bay.

I would spend the next five days here , relaxing walking the streets , sampling the coastal delights , enjoying the old city before the crowds flocked in carried by coach . On some days I would go to the local market get fresh produce and spend  the early evening in my not so mobile home kitchen preparing pasta delights or simply get a bottle of Chianti or a Brunello , pick up some cheese , cold cuts and some bringals  lustfully smothered in olive oil and enjoy the camp at the sea . It was just wonderful , this life on the coast.

 

Pool with a view .

Pool with a view .

 

Not so mobile home.

Not so mobile home.

 

As I strolled the streets I often wondered about  the Amalfi coast of old , the sophisticated Sorrento , where my mind ran old movies , of  the young couple in the  red fiat 500 racing the coast with a wicker basket full of romance , the elegant retirees  walking arm in arm back from dinner and a show , her evening dress moving with the gentle sea breeze , the strong scent of his cigar clashing with her perfume as their Italian shoes strike the cobbled streets , the Alfa spyder 1750 , dark blue , cream interior , he drives faster than he should , his hair in every direction , she sits enjoying the wind on her sun in Sorrento tan , her scarf keeping her hair in place , just a few strands escape the  protection of the silk , a near miss causing him to slow her to smile as they drive off along that coast of dreams. Couples on classic vespa’s trying to have a conversation above the scooter sound , smartly attired waiters bringing fresh Italy to the tables , the patrons pairing wine and food to open the door to 5 hour dinners , produce bursting with  natural flavour , the Amalfi coast bringing with it health and holiday .

 

Old city.

Old city.

My minds moving pictures now blurred by lumbering  motor homes , coaches and croc’s , that make no sound as they coast the cobbles . Bars with names like the  Englishmen , pub life served with a dark long ale to those who just flew in from Heathrow , others with  skin pinched pink from the sun , Sorrento a place that allows couples to enjoy coffee and croissant with breakfast , and he sips on his  chianti at 9 . A cold beer or a misty gin seem a fine way to start the day down here while soaking up the sun , the English pub hours forgotten , so life passes me by as I sip on my espresso .

 

My walk into town.

My walk into town.

Then my day saved by a horse drawn carriage coming through the old town , a glowing bride on her way to the church , the spectacular architecture comes alive , the streets full of smiling faces as she passes , the sound of the hooves , the wheels on stone , once again lets your eyes appreciate this beautiful town , I make my way to the tourist centre to find out were I can get some printing done  for my insurance application .

 

Sorrento Artist displays his works .

Sorrento Artist displays his works .

 

Once again Fabiola comes to my rescue  , onto flash drive and off to the printer , I have time to look around and observe  , the  centre full of questions , the staff so patient , so calm , I watch Fabiola jump between English , Italian and French with the ease that one turns the pages of an exciting novel , her eyes kind , her smile sincere , the silver in her hair not showing her age , but holding in it’s strands her beauty,  a continuation  from her youth . Was she the Bella Donna in the sports car ? the scarf holding her hair , so Sorrento of old returned to my minds eye to once again roam the Amalfi coast.

 

Cliff hanger.

Cliff hanger.

Until we meet again.

 

 

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