There are many ways to explore a city. You can ride the buses, walk the streets, or take numerous tours. But my alltime favorite way to explore a new city is by segway.
I first discovered this fun and interesting way mode of transport a couple of years ago when in Madrid, Spain.
I met up with Antony Bruce, the owner of the Madsegs Tour Company, at the Plaza de Espana in front of the statues of Don Quixote and his faithful servant Sancho Panza. And under their watchful eyes, I learnt the two basics of Segway travel: lean forward and the segway moves forward, lean backwards and the segway moves backwards. Then it was a short practice around the Plaza and we are good to go.
First stop was the Templo de Debod, an ancient Egyptian temple given to Spain in 1968. The Temple once stood in the Valley of the Nile but it’s continued existence was threatened by the construction of the Aswan Dam. So the Egyptian government dismantled the historic site and freely gave it to Spain in 1968. Stone by stone, the Spanish government reconstructed the ancient Temple, opening it to the public in 1971
A brief stop at the Temple and then we zoomed off to the Palacio Real (Royal Palace), Plaza de Oriente and the adjacent Almudena Cathedral. In the courtyard of the Almudena Cathedral, we were given advanced lessons in segway ‘gliding’ and the opportunity to re-key the segway to a faster speed.
Weaving through the small streets and plazas, we received a running commentary about the history of Madrid. We passed by churches, statues, and Sobrino de Botin, the world’s oldest restaurant made famous by Ernest Hemminway in his book The Sun Also Rises.
Arriving in the Plaza Mayor, we stopped for a well deserved break. We are served food and drink and allowed to glide around the Plaza for one last play. Then it was time to return to where we started. No one could believe that the three hour tour was finished. No one wanted to give back their segway. Some even considered booking another tour…
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