In these rainy autumn days we like to take a look back at sunny memories with the Vespa. Summer, sun, beach and sea; that’s what many are wishing for again. The team of SIP Scootershop had the pleasure to join the popular Giro dei Tre Mari (Tour of the Three Seas) at the end of May and could discover some landscapes and cultures during the road trip.
The tradition was revived
The Giro dei Tre Mari (Tour of the Three Seas) has a long history. In 1953, at the instigation of the Agnelli family, it was created and held as a competitive event. After the last Giro in 1964, the interest in this tour died out and it was in danger of being forgotten. If it hadn’t been for a certain Vespa club from Bari that revived this tradition in 2004.
The tour along the coasts of the Adriatic Sea and the Ionian and Tyrrhenian Seas lost its tough competitive character, but became a long and worthwhile ride on a Vespa or Lambretta to discover new areas along with gastronomy and culture. Five years ago the first Special Edition took place: the Giro dei Tre Mari went to Albania. The tour was so well received that there was a new edition in 2023.
The team of SIP was immediately enthusiastic and had immediately made the companions ready to ride. With a total of five men, including a cameraman, they prepared for the road trip. The adventure could begin, and then it was on 29 May: on to Bari, Italy, to cross from there by ferry to Durrës, Albania.
The organization on the part of the Vespa Club Bari was absolutely top class, everything went like clockwork. They were divided into small groups “squadras”, received a thick road book with all the information, race numbers, a SIM card for Albania and all kinds of goodies. Then they embarked and experienced a great sunset on board the ferry with a magnificent view of the sea and the coast. The next morning, the total of 150 participants went ashore with their scooters in Durrës, Albania.
Tuesday: World cultural heritage up close
The SIP team took a relaxed approach, heading purposefully for a bar at the harbor for coffee and a hearty breakfast. Meanwhile, the first squadras went to the official start, and at some point they also saddled up their Vespas and headed towards Pogradec, on the southern shore of Lake Ohrid. They rode on small roads that were in surprisingly good shape and got a first impression of the wild landscape. At the end of the drivers’ field were two so-called “broom wagons,” which offered help in case of need.
Lake Ohrid itself is located in the center of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Nature and Culture. It belongs mostly to Macedonia, is one of the oldest lakes on earth and is up to 288 meters deep. The hotel in Pogradec was right on the shore of this body of water, and the boys spent the rest of the day exploring the charming town, dining exquisitely, sampling cold drinks, and greeting fellow travelers from England, Italy, and France.
Wednesday: Culture and culinary delights
In the morning, the team was first taken in by Albanian radio and television, as the Giro seems to be a big deal and is also sponsored by the Ministry of Culture. Ralf, managing director of SIP, gave a few interviews, and when the media frenzy was over, they decided to tour north, always along the lakeshore, to get to the Kjafasan border crossing into Macedonia. The landscape was wild, tourism was not yet widespread, and the lake provided a constantly picturesque backdrop.
Eventually they reached the small town of Ohrid, the largest settlement on the lake with a population of about 40,000. They strolled through the old town, dined extensively, and drove back to their hotel in Pogradec around dusk. Culinary Albania was very oriented to the Balkan cuisine: Lots of meat, fresh salads and spicy cheese.
Thursday: Capital city feeling
On the partly known route they had a big goal: Tirana, the capital of Albania. They reached the metropolis in the late afternoon, and Ralf soon felt reminded of Athens. The city was decidedly lively and vibrant. Many bars, pubs and restaurants, on the streets a colorful hustle and bustle. They immersed themselves in the hustle and bustle and spent a happy evening in the capital.
Friday: The scene is alive
Actually, the Albanian folk hero’s name was George Kastrioti, but the vernacular reverently called him “Skanderbeg.” The man had rendered outstanding services to the country from 1423 until his death in 1468, and was named a “fighter of Christianity” by the pope because he held his own against the Ottomans on several occasions. A famous fortress and Skanderbeg museum in the small town of Kruja was visited on Friday, where there were all kinds of historical things to marvel at.
In the late afternoon we went to the big train station on the central Skanderbeg square in Tirana. The Vespa Fanatics Tirana and other clubs had invited and scooter fans from Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and elsewhere came. With the participants of the Giro there were about 800 scooters on the square, and finally the parade started through the capital. A seemingly endless band of scooters of all makes snaked through the rush hour traffic. The police gave escort, and the locals watched spellbound. The ride ended back at Skanderbeg Square, and the evening party could begin. Various bands played on the big stage, and the locals joined in. The scooter scene in Albania is very lively, it was impressive what was put on this day!
Saturday: Food is the greatest joy
After Friday’s big bash, they headed back to Durrës. They checked into the hotel on the beach, but Ralf would rather not say a word about the surroundings. Therefore, the troop quickly left and visited a merchant friend in Durrës. They spent a convivial afternoon together and for the evening he had an excellent culinary tip for the guys. In the midst of the architectural gloom, he showed them a restaurant where they dined quite exquisitely and ended the evening.
They spent the night on the ferry to Bari, and then it was time to say goodbye to old and new acquaintances. However, President Maurizio had organized a farewell lunch that was second to none. One delicacy surpassed the other, and with full bellies and all kinds of spiritual drinks in their heads, they happily made their way home.
Thanks to all the organizers from the Vespa Club Bari and to all the participants. What they had put on the wheels with the Giro dei Tre Mari, demanded high respect from them at SIP Scootershop. From start to finish, everything was well thought out, planned and executed. They definitely deserved a gold medal for leading this tour. On behalf of the Squadra SIP, Ralf said, “Mille Grazie!”
For all those who have got the desire for a road trip themselves, it is recommended to get the right equipment:
- Clothing for all weather conditions
- Everything suitable for the chassis of any Vespa models
- Accessories & attachments for all wishes
Source: SIP Scootershop