Kaushalendra Singh –
SALALAH, March 10 –
Paolo and Lindsay are two travel enthusiasts who love to do adventure tourism that too on a Vespa scooter. They have already covered a distance of 40,500 kilometres in countries including Greece, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, East Timor, Australia and Oman.
Paolo has a book written by him dealing with interesting details of his journeys done so far. Paolo is an Italian and his travel companion Lindsay is a Canadian.
In a freewheeling interview with the Observer the travel enthusiasts called their third trip very interesting particularly Oman where they covered its length and breadth. “This is the third trip we have done with the same Vespa scooter.
In 2012 we left Italy going east and 12 countries and 40,000 km in 14 months we finished in Australia. We shipped the bike to Vancouver where we lived and worked for nine months. Then we left with the scooter going south through Mexico and Central America to Panama and back up again, 23,000 km in eight months.”
“We returned again to Vancouver and lived and worked for over a year before shipping our scooter to Dubai. We flew to meet it and started this journey. We were in Oman for almost two months and driven over 6,000 km. We came from Al Ain into Oman, to Dank, Ibri, Bahla. We even made it up the magnificent Jebel Shams, Lindsay actually had to get off and get a ride, but it was worth it for the beauty of the area. Then from Nizwa we went towards Salalah, coming down to Haima, Thumrait way. It was three days of driving,” said Paolo.
Despite the limitations of size and speed of their small wheel scooter, Paolo and Lindsay received the pleasure of travelling with the scooter “that allowed us to explore at a speed where we could try to absorb as much of the surroundings as possible but also the flexibility to take unplanned roads and go to out of the way locations.”
The longest distance in one stretch here in Oman was 285 km while coming to Salalah. Driving like that in the desert could not be interesting for them but the novelty of it kept them engaged. They maintained an average travel distance of 120 km. They often had short days, usually when exploring an area visiting a fort, neighbourhoods, different attractions or archaeological sites.
“Travel is a huge passion for us, central to our life. We met travelling six years ago and have chosen to incorporate it into our life since. The scooter brings a level of freedom to our movements, and you really feel to be a part of the environment you are visiting. We feel accessible to what we are seeing and appreciate and value the contact with the people. There is no physical barrier between us. Here in Oman we are stopped often with questions of what we are doing… The history and value of hospitality in Oman is still strong. People are always ready to offer assistance, wanting to give water, dates and share food,” Paolo said.
The last years when they were not travelling, they lived in Vancouver, Canada. Lindsay works as a nurse and Paolo’s background is IT, and is a newly published writer. Alpine Studio a publisher in Italy just released his first book in Italian titled ‘Inseguendo le ombre dei colibrì.
“It is travel reportage from our journey in Mexico and Central America. Only available in Italian for now but maybe one day if we can find a translator it can be in English as well.
Salalah, according to Paolo, is a five-star place to visit. “For driving it has been an immense pleasure. Going towards the Yemen border the scenery is breathtaking. The road from the mountains to the views of the sea is stunning. Going around Salalah and the surrounding villages has been a highlight of our trip.”
“Everyone told us we came to Salalah at the wrong time and to come back in the summer for the Khareef (monsoon). We see Salalah as a top tourist destination. The fruits and banana plantations, the historical significance of the city, the diverse people and welcoming attitudes, the sea location, Salalah has so many positive attributes,” they said.