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Archive for May, 2013

MADRID

Last week, while in the center of Madrid, I spotted a nice looking classic BMW motorcycle with a sidecar, that brought back memories of my childhood. I took a photo and continued my walk.Z-tours Madrid

The same afternoon , we saw this moto carrying a couple that were obviously tourists.  Back at our hotel, we asked the reception if they had any information about this kind of touring, but they could not help, so blowing up the photo I took in the morning, I read the name of the touring company. Soon after an internet search, I called David, the person behind the Z-tours company and at the same time driver & personal guide for the rides. We arranged for the half hour tour, and headed to the Grand Via spot that I had photographed the beautiful 1961 BMW.

We found David encircled by admirers taking turns to be photographed next to the shiny black beauty. We put on the appropriate era style helmets and set off.  Reaching the other end of Grand Via, we found the street closed by the police because of a demonstration of unhappy people, due to the economic crisis and the resulting high unemployment. As there were no alternatives for our tour, we took a break and  strolled about, waiting David to call us for the opening of the traffic.

Madrid demonstration May 2013Madrid street closing due to demonstration May 2013

One hour later, we were riding again with David, crossing Madrid up & down at a relaxed pace,  seeing monuments & neighborhoods, taking pictures while cordially greeted by many on our way.

We ended at a cafe, where David offered us a coffee, while we had a chat about how he started this unique classic motorcycle city touring business, after he lost his job some months ago, while working at the same time as a scooter-taxi driver. After our drink, David dropped us at our hotel and next time we visit Madrid, we will book him for a different route.

Z-tours Madrid May 2013 Z-tours Madrid information - classic sidecar moto rides

ROME

Although we have visited Rome many times, this city has a special appeal to us. During the spring of 2011, while waiting for some friends to join us for a trip in Tuscany, we noticed a cycle rickshaw strolling in Piazza de Spagna. I asked at the reception of our hotel, and they had all the details we needed to arrange our tour. Ecotaxi/Ecotour was a new combined project, under the auspices of the Municipality of Rome & the Ministry of Justice, which had been active since the summer of 2010 and aims to contribute reducing the noise and air pollution in the historic center, as well as the reintegration of socially disadvantaged  persons, who drive the vehicles.ROMA risco 2011

Our driver who’s name I apologize I do not remember, was right on time to pick us up from our hotel, and then a revelation tour started, with our cart going to places only pedestrians could reach, but covering the distance between sightseeing faster than a runner would, without sweat and under the protective shade of the tent. Just incredible!

At some point the gentle driver offered us a gelato Siciliano, and led us back to our hotel. We will absolutely repeat it next time in Rome. My only regret derives from the fact that the electrically assisted rickshaws are made in Great Britten and not in Italy which has such a great tradition both for bicycles  and coachbuilding…

Roma ricsoesAs I have found a facebook link with different Ecotour contact numbers, I’m including them without knowing if they correspond to the same scheme.

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