Monday, November 5, 2012

Palermo After Dark

Sicily - last night

Our last night in Sicily proved to be very exciting. This adventure started when we left our lunchtime restaurant. There were several three wheeled taxis called "Ape" parked on the street.
While waiting for our bus to return one of the fellows struck up a
conversation with the drivers. We got on the bus and did not think anything more about it until we were having dinner. Romeo asked if we were interested in going for a tour of Palermo after dinner. Rather than the bus we were going to get nine "Ape" scooters to ride in. Each "Ape" can hold 4 passengers plus the driver.
We heard the buzzing of the "Ape" scooters before we saw them. Everyone got into a scooter, three in the back seat and one beside the driver.


Danna and I were lucky to ride in our own private scooter.

UntitledThe quiet sedated ride we were expecting never happened. From the moment we left the hotel everyone knew that you had to hold on and say the occasional prayer. The scooters travelled down the roads in typical Italian formation, all of the drivers wanted to lead.

Here you see all the passengers smiling or is that just fear on their face?

One of the scooters had a very loud sound system that was blasting out the music.
Several times the scooters came in close contact with one another. Our driver said they had lots of room and not worry. I now know that Sicilian's definition of lots of room is 25mm or less!

We must have been quite as sight as even a local bike rider made a video of our parade of noisy scooters.

"Ape" Scooter in Palermo, Sicily
This couple on the bike just looked at us and did not want to make eye contact with these crazy tourists.

Our ride took us through some back streets of Palermo that tourists do not see even in the daytime. The scooters bounced over cobblestone roads, kicking up dust on the gravel sections and as people on the sidewalks cheered. Is this how it felt to be riding a chariot in the Roman times?
"Ape" Scooter in Palermo, Sicily

It was a bit difficult taking pictures with all the bouncing around but you can get an idea from this picture of the narrow streets we were on.
How many moving violations did I notice? Here is a list, no turn signal, driving on the wrong side of the street, passing on the right, tailgating, speeding, driving on the shoulder of the road, blocking the street.
All of this in only three blocks!!!

Stopped at a red light ahead of us were two motorcycle police, I guessed that we would all be thrown in jail when they started yelling at one of the drivers. The only thing they warned him about was his loud music.
All the scooters stopped in front of the opera house for a short break. We walked across the piazza to a small shop were we had a chance to taste some gelato or granita.

After our treats some of drivers started dancing with the ladies. The Sicilians will take every opportunity to have a good time.

With everyone in the scooters, horns honking we raced across the piazza in front of the opera house with people jumping out of our way.

Our tour lasted about 90 minutes and happily we made it back to the hotel without anyone being injured.
What a way to end our Sicilian adventure!
Everyone walked into the hotel laughing about our "sedate" tour of Palermo Italy.

"Take only memories, Leave only footprints!"


  1. you'll never forget that adventure, will you? glad you're safe and sound, see you soon. p

  2. You two are just a couple of "moving violations", aren't you? As always, pictures are fantastic!! Looking forward to seeing you both!