A couple travelling the world on a Vespa scooter have been taking in the sights of the UAE on the latest leg of their trip.
Italian Paolo Zambon and Canadian Lindsay Doig have clocked up more than 60,000km on the two-wheeler on their on-off journey, which has taken them to 12 countries as far afield as Italy and Australia.
The couple, who live in Vancouver, have been in the UAE for three months, taking in the sights on their classic Italian scooter.
“The Vespa scooter is an icon in Italy. It allows us to move freely and explore the country but without the physical effort of cycling, which was a previous idea,” Mr Zambon said.
“We go at a pace we enjoy, we can push ourselves for distances if we need to but the bike really puts some limitation on us as far as distance and speed,” added Ms Doig, 33.
“We were in Vancouver thinking of where we wanted to visit and how we could do a trip with the intention of returning to Italy and, after a few ideas, we thought coming to the UAE would be a great option. We could visit Oman and the UAE and then make our way up to central Asia before west to Europe.
“We travel for the love of exploring new cultures, the changing landscape, the variety of people and the different values, customs, and ways of living. Engaging with people is a large part of what keeps us inspired as we travel.”
The couple arrived in Dubai in December but the scooter was delayed so they had a couple of weeks to explore Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
“We have been impressed by the modern architecture such as the Burj Khalifa and the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi,” said Mr Zambona, 36.
“Overall, what strikes us is the pace of development and growth of the Emirates, which shocks the visitor when you see an image of the early 1990s and compare it to now.”
Ms Doig works as a nurse in Canada, while Mr Zambona has been working a freelance web programmer. They both work a lot when at home and try to keep their expenses low to save more for their trips.
“We have been doing our tour on and off since 2012. First we went from Italy to Australia, going through 12 countries – 40,000km in 14 months,” said Ms Doig.
“In Melbourne we shipped [the scooter] to Vancouver and stayed and worked for a while, then we went down through Mexico and Central America to Panama and back. We were gone eight months and did 23,000km.”
On returning to Vancouver, Mr Zambona wrote a travel reportage, called Inseguendo le ombre dei colibri, that was published in Italy and in which he talks about their experiences with the people they met, and the history and current issues they were exposed to along the way.
“We have been fortunate to not have any serious challenges. There are, of course, the normal ones with travelling such as visa requirements, weather conditions, small mechanical issues and shipping can be a bit stressful and costly,” said Mr Zambona.
“We do our best and have been very blessed and fortunate to meet many kind people who do what they can if we need some assistance.”
The Vespa adventurers are now getting ready to leave the UAE to fly to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
“We want to see what we can in the central Asian republics and then decide our route back to Italy, and park the scooter back in its home in Paolo’s home village,” added Ms Doig.