segway

There are so many ways to explore the cities of around the world. You can ride the buses, wander the streets, or take a walking tour. But for a truly unique way of exploring a city, take a Segway tour. Not only can you cover a much larger distance, you can do it with minimal effort and with a whole lot of fun.

The Segway, a two wheeled, rechargeable electric ‘personal transporter’, will have you gliding effortlessly down cobblestone streets, along tree-lined boulevards, and amongst historic monuments with the greatest of ease.

Safety, of course, is paramount. At the start of every tour, tour guides hand out protective gear and teach the basics of Segway travel – lean forward and the Segway moves forward: lean backwards and the Segway moves backwards – and then allow pretty of practice time before heading off.

It seems a little scary at first, using a machine that is entirely dependent on your ability self balance and utilize your center of gravity to not only move but also stop. But the fear is soon replaced by exhilaration as you start moving first in a straight line and then weaving in and out along the path, grinning from ear to ear.

People will stop and stare but you’re having so much fun, you simply won’t care.

I first discovered the joys of Segway tours in Madrid when I meet up with the Madsegs Tour Company at the Plaza de Espana. There, in front of the statues of Don Quixote and his faithful servant Sancho Panza, I learned the basics Segway moves, took a few practice laps around the Plaza and then was good to go.

Pretty soon we were gliding through the streets of Madrid, stopping both traffic and tourists in their tracks. People pointed, smiled, waved, and even took photos as we zipped and weaved along the sidewalks, heading for one of Madrid’s lesser know attractions, the Templo de Debod. An ancient Egyptian temple that once stood in the Valley of the Nile, the temple was given to Spain in 1968 and now overlooks Madrid’s Casa de Campo recreational area.

A little history and a few photographs later, we then glided through the narrow streets and plazas in search of some of Madrid’s better known attractions – the Palacio Real (Royal Palace), Plaza de Oriente, the adjacent Almudena Cathedral, the Sobrino de Bolin, and then, finally, the Plaza Mayor. And throughout this fun run, the tour guide has been providing an entertaining and fact filled commentary on the cultural, social, and architectural history of Madrid.

Three hours later it was over but no one wanted it to end.

Since then, I’ve ‘segway-ed’ to up hills in Athens, through vineyards in Sonoma, and around the gardens of Christchurch.

It’s like an addiction.

And I can’t wait to get my next Segway fix. I’m just not sure where that will be.

Any suggestions?

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