Moto Guzzi Malta Club

8 th November 2009

 

Dear Friends,

Today was a great day. We all met for a good cause and where quite a Number of us Guzzizti together with other friends from Falcons and RAW clubs.

It was the first time we met in such a big group and we also had some new comers. Big welcome to you all, Joe Azzopardi -California Stone, Charles Cortis- Nevada,  Ray Vella -Nevada, Gianni -T3 V35, Allan Callus -Nevada, Noel Fsadni- California Special and BoBo –Jackal.

We thank those members who came along  with their clubs as this shows unity for great fun and also helping out .

A nice donation was collected and given out to Dar tal-Providenza.

The event was a static show to help Id-Dar Tal-Providenza in their annual open day.

The Guzzizti who attended where:

Frans Scifo.

Rudolph Ciappara

Mario Borg

Philip Chircop

Joe Azzopardi

Charles Cortis

Allan Callus

George Taliana

Gianni

Joe Sciberras

Joe Dalli

Noel Fsadni

Ray Vella

BoBo.

Yvonne , Grace and Carmen where present as usual joined by Mrs Fsadni to make up the ladies team.

Last but not least our “Mascot”  James Scifo.

We met at about one in the afternoon on site of show and  grouped up to a nice Number.

Our friends from Falcons  and RAW (Guzzi Owners) joined later and we all went for a short ride to “wied Iz-Zurrieq” .

Photos  were taken to remember the day.

Well done and thanks for your co-operation.

Philip.

 

                                                              WE RIDE IN STYLE

Balzan Exhibition

 

It was during the Balzan Exhibition where we have been invited to show our bikes as a club, when we decided to go overland once more for 4 days.

During the Balzan show we had a good exposure have attended with a group of 7 nice bikes:

V7 Eldorado: Mario Camilleri

2 xNevada : Rudolph Ciappara and Mario Borg

California Sport: Frans Scifo

California 80th Anniversary : Ray Mamo

California EV: Philip Chircop

Joe Sciberras: Moto Guzzi 850 ex Malta police bike

Sicily Ride

 

Back to the Sicily ride, six riders in all, Joe, Ray, Philip, Mario, Frans and Rudolph.

We where based in Piazza Armerina in a beautiful hotel “ Villa Trigona” an “Agri turismo”.

Arrived at Pozallo on the 9th October having left Malta at about 7am ,a one and a half hour boat trip.

We stopped for Bfast at Pozallo, some a coffee with croissants others where more hungry and went for a full meal.

It took us till the early afternoon to arrive in hotel. We had 3 rooms, 2 in a room . Parking was no problem, very safe though the ground gravel makes the bikes a little unstable. Frans had a solution he came up with small metal circular plates to put under the stands for better support.

Piazza Armerina is the site of a world famous Villa Romana with wonderful mosaics. This place was our next target to visit hoping to go to Enna afterwards.

The villa was worth visiting and suggests anyone in the area not to miss this site. Back to the parking lot we had a problem My luggage case, simply could not open! And if it wasn’t for  Joe’s technical support Frans would not be able to Drive as his keys whe4re locked inside. Thanks Joe!!( even though you where with your Yamaha)

We then drove back to the hotel as time was pressing and where all very hungry.

An excellent meal awaited us, all home made with antipasti, primi and main course. Desert followed with a number of liquors to choose from afterwards to help us digest the food and wine we all helped ourselves to.

Some points to comment regarding the first day:

Always carry a map as satellite navigation can go bizarre some times.

Have a set of spare keys carried separately just in case.

 

Day 2.  10th October.

Etna was the Aim.

We left a little bit late that day for a long trip. We drove through small country roods. Having in mind to go a whole circle around the volcano.

 

I think it was far too much to do on these roads. We did make it up to Etna Sud. Great road for those who want some tight bends with a gripping tarmac. Some of us did test their skills here….. Well done boys!

Road back was fast via the high way. The hotel offered excellent relax having tea or coffee and we made the best out of it.

Some had dinner in hotel while others decided for a meal out all went well and we did help ourselves to the green substance from the bottle prior to bed which tasted great accompanied by a joke or two.

Points to note re this day:

Team work is a must. We helped each other when we came across obstacles, MUD, MUD and even some dunes. The storm of a week before still left its mark.

Going up Etna needs a good jacket!

Start early for a long trip.

 

11th October Day 3.

This turned out a very interesting day.

We were invited by our colleges of the “Le Aquile” Moto Guzzi club of Palermo to visit an Auto jumble sale of classic cars and bikes.

There where parts of every type, many of Italian make.

The nicest part was a show of classic cars and bikes, Guzzi had an excellent representation. We where even invited to go on Display and a TV station filmed our bikes and had a special interest in our emblem.

Good show boys.

We meet Franco Torpiani who is the president of the Palermo club. Exchanged some gifts and had a good time.

Way back we drove via the small roads it took a little bit longer but could see better landscape.

Points to note for this day:

Contacts are good and if you can plan by advice you avoid surprises.

 

Day 4 , 12th October.

This was our last day. We had to drive to Pozallo and took the long way via the highway , First to Catania and then Siracusa.

We went passed all these directly to Pozzallo.

The day had started with some fog and we all thought we will get some rain on the way. We where lucky and it stayed dry all the way. Close to Siracusa we met Pio and Maria who have forwarded us with details of their website. They are bikers like us common hobby, easy to make friends.

Having arrived early in Pozallo we went for dinner. Mixed fish grill or zuppa di mare was the best we got.

Virtu Ferries planned an early trip due to bad weather and we where the first to board.

Arriving in Malta early a heavy shower greeted us. We all arrived safe and sound but wet!!

 

Points to note for the last day.

Never slow down suddenly on a highway

Be early at port

Be prepared for bad weather, have easy access to waterproof clothing.

 

Many thanks to all and thanks to Mario for the photos.  And Ray for the organization and for carrying the FLAG.

Sicily Ride July 2009

ROUND-TRIP OF SICILY

 

Friday, 17th to Monday, 20th JULY 2009

 

 

Friday, 17th July 2009

 

The whole group gathered at the Terminal in Valletta at around 05.30 am where we all checked in and were given the necessary papers to be able to board the catamaran:  MARIA DOLORES.  We were all given the sign: POZZALLO to put up on our bikes so that the controller will know we will all be alighting at Pozzallo.

 

The Team ready for drive-off - from left, Joseph & wife Carmen, President Philip and his wife Yvonne, Frans, Mario and George.  Sergeant Rudolph was taking the photo.

 

Catamaran left Malta’s beautiful and picturesque harbour at 07:00 sharp.  The trip was pleasant, the sea very calm and time passed quickly spending it getting to know all the others and watching a good film:  Bedtime Stories. 

 

We were warned by the news that Sicily will be suffering a heat-wave during this same weekend and as sure as ever the heat was already almost intolerable as soon as we set foot and bike-tyres on Sicily’s shores at around 08:30.                           having a chat on the catarmaran

 

Till now, the Chircops and most of the men except of course, Joseph, were dressed in full bikers’ gear.  But by the time we arrived in NOTO, our first stop at toilets to empty our bowels and wipe our sweaty faces, at around 10:15, it was scorching hot and we were all terribly thirsty.  Frans and Rudolph were equipped with a very handy thermos as backpack so they could drink along the way.  However, all the others relied on stopping to satiate their thirst. 

                                                                                                 

From NOTO, we took the road towards Catania from where, instead of entering this city, we took the adjacent road heading across the centre of the country – on the A19.  Without knowing, we were heading into the hottest part of the island, with the prospect of getting out from this road to take a mountain road – through the PARCO DELLE MADONNIE – since all of us were looking forward in driving up and down a mountain road with their bikes.  For all of us except the Chircops, it was the first time overland with our bikes and every part of the way was a new experience!  At Junction Tre Monzelli, we took the mountain road through Monte San Giorgio.  The drive on the motorway was almost like going through the desert – the hot winds bit through our skins, scorching every little tiny bit of uncovered surface.

 

It was only just 5 minutes later that, at around 14:00, we could take no more!!  Yvonne, in full biker gear, was on the brink of exploding.  She had to take off her quilted bike gear or else she would have fainted.  We stopped in for some shade under some trees and some of us changed into lighter, more comfortable clothes and drank gallons of water!!!  The temperatures were at their highest and no water was enough to quench our thirst!                     Resting in a bit of shade on the mountain road

 

However, the breeze on these mountains was godsend – we could feel the temperatures were slightly better and the shade was relieving as well.  The roads across this mountain range are in very good condition and hence the ride fantastic.  We had a couple of shortcomings though – Frans’s bike was missing and would not start at times, Philip’s brakes were becoming slippery and at times, non-functional.  In fact, we had to stop in a shady area at 15.30 - BAITA DEL FAGGIO - until all bikes and drivers were back to normal.

 

A hundred metres and 1 hour later we arrived in a lovely small mountain town, ISNELLO – our life-saving stop:  petrol for our strained bikes, food for our hungry stomachs and cold beer and drinks for our never-ending thirst.  Rudolph’s idea of a snack was a Pollo allo Spiedo and we thought we were very near to it with the smell of food around, walking towards the snack bar.   But alas, it was only pieces of pizza which was smelling so good and on sale so we had to content with this type of snack instead.  Took a couple of good photos as well, inspired by the breathtaking backdrop of mountains and forests.

 

Rudolph kept counting how many litres of water he had already drunk, Frans’s face was white with sweat and heat but he kept trying to persuade everyone that he was ok under his spacesuit.  George says nothing – just laughs and drinks. 

As for us two women, we were having the best test of our change of lives status.  Our

Bike riders at Isnello: from front to back

Rudolph, Joseph, Mario, George, Frans and Philip

 

spasms of heat were leaving us breathless most of the time.  Yvonne had her facecloth ready for bathing emergencies at all time!!  Mario was not grumbling until now though he had already become like a piece of grilled meat, having to change into his long-sleeve shirt to protect himself during the last bit of the trip for the day. 

 

Philip was as hot but adamant at the same time, that for safety reasons, he would not drive without his padded jacket!!  At around 16:30, we started our descent towards CEFALU, 25 kms away, which was our night destination for today. 

 

At around 18:15, we arrived in the vicinity, with the first thing in sight being the big rock around which Cefalu grew in time.  The Cathedral is in fact built on the lower part of this hill. 

 

By 19.30 we had settled in our rooms at Casa Vacanze Villa Flaminia, five minutes away from the sandy beach which adorns Cefalu’ at length.  A nice setup where we were given the whole corridor at ground level, consisting of a family room (where all the rest of the men slept) and 2 matrimonials, where the privileged couples, Chircops and Dallis, slept.  2 bathrooms sharing could be found at the end of the corridor.  The sea was so warm that until 20.30, Philip, Yvonne, Joseph, Rudolph and myself were still on the beach.  Sunset was breathtaking.  George, Frans and Mario chose to stay in the room and just have a shower and rest.  

 

Tired as we were, at around 21.45, we were walking towards the old part of Cefalu to find the restaurant which Sicilian friends of Philip were guiding us to.  Al Vicoletto Ristorante restaurant turned out to be situated in a narrow, old street just adjacent to the Cathedral, where the tables were laid out on the low, uphill stairs making up this street.  A sumptuous meal, good company and a couple of good laughs to jokes cranked by our joker, Rudolph, was a guarantee to a nice, enjoyable evening.  Our loyal waiter, according to the sergeant, had experienced some sort of war experience as he had too many twitches!! 

 

It was already very late when we left the restaurant and we were all dead tired and dying to be in bed!  Our foreign friends thought a walk around the harbour would be a welcoming experience but guess the bed was the most welcoming prospect and we all slept like logs!

 

A day which as Phil himself admitted might have been dragged too long but which was definitely a nice experience of bike-rider teamwork.  We had made approximately 355 kms throughout the whole day through excruciating heat which was quite a challenge being our first day together as a team on foreign ground.  From our conversation, it seemed it was a very stimulating experience for all of us and we all enjoyed it!

 

All the team and Sicilian friends waiting for yet another helping of food!!


 


Saturday, 18th July 2009

 

It was wonderful waking up to sunny, yet somewhat cloudy skies.  Temperatures were not so hot anymore - they were much fresher and we could sense that some rain was on the way!  It was a matter of a bit of concern since driving a bike in pelting rain is not such a welcoming prospect but we all welcomed the fresher, crisper air from the sea.

 

We had a lovely breakfast on the terrace of the villa.  Our host took personal care of us:  the famished lot of us – while the four ‘single’ men recounted and described their experience of sounds and smells having slept together all night in one room!!

 

By 10:00 am, we had boarded our bikes and were leaving Cefalu’s coast-road, heading further north in the direction of PALERMO, taking the secondary coast road instead of the highway.  The clouds became quite dark but luckily for us, rain never came!  Wind favoured us as well since a fresh breeze, turning into quite a strong wind later on the A19, was quite a relief from the heat suffered the day before!

 

The drive first took us along a picturesque, scenic coast road, crossing through endless tunnels avoiding mountain roads in the process, passing on the outskirts of TERMINI IMERESE, TRABIA, S FLAVIA, PORTICELLO among others.  At least the boys could increase their bike speed considerably and definitely beyond Malta’s limits and could see how far on full speed (at times reaching 120kms per hour) their ‘baby’ could go!

 

At around 11:30, we arrived at our meeting place in PALERMO, a chaotic city indeed, and stopped waiting in the shade of a bus-stop.  The sun was by now up and scorching again.  Yvonne was again having one of her heat flushes again and as usual was wiping sweat from her face and keeping a wet facecloth around her neck in an attempt to lower her body temperatures.

 

Half an hour later, the first of our Palermitan hosts arrived, followed a few minutes later with another two Moto Guzzi bikes.  The President of the Moto Guzzi Club Le Aquile of Palermo shook hands with our President and introductions was made all round.  We were then all told to follow them through Palermo to the club’s premises.

 

And this was no joke!!  Palermo’s traffic was the biggest challenge for all of us not to lose sight of each other, keep our reflexes in place and act diligently to avoid ending up on someone else’s car bonnet.  It was such a relief to arrive at the club at last where we were welcomed so heartily that all of us felt we had known these persons quite well.  Their hospitality and gifts made us all feel part of a global club.  Even Joseph, though he doesn’t own a Moto Guzzi as yet! 

 

The club’s premises are a modest four rooms but a haven as meeting place for bike lovers.  A wall boasts of trophies and mementoes, which now includes also Malta’s.  An exchange of gifts, including T-shirts and coat-of-arms, was made between the

Group Photo in the Moto Guzzi Club Palermo

 

Presidents crowned with a group’s photo.  The club also owns a van which was parked on the other side of the road.  We were also told that the building just across the road is Palermo’s prison.

 

At 13.30 it was time again to face the mad Palermo’s traffic again hoping that sooner than soon, we are out on the open road again, this time in the direction of SAN VITO LO CAPO – our stop for the second night.

 

Though it was still as sunny as the day before, the temperatures were not so bad and a breeze could be felt all the day up and then down to San Vito Lo Capo.  The scenery uphill was cluttered with vineyards and forestry of pine and other trees.  Nearing our destination, the landscape changed into large marble quarries on the mountain slopes. 

 

We were all relieved when by 16:00, we were entering CAMPING LA FATA and were shown to our immobile homes/caravans – 3 in all – one for me and Joseph, one for Philip and Yvonne and one for the remaining 4 men.  The motorbikes could be parked just outside our caravans and the site was only a walking distance to the beach and its multitude of shops and restaurants. 

Our camps corner

 
 


We immediately settled our things and sure enough, in a couple of minutes we were down by the seaside – who decided on staying in and enjoy some drinks and who decided to go down and fresh up a bit in the sea.  The place boasts of a very beautiful, clean and scenic sandy beach stretching from the town up to the mountain which protects it from the wind.  San Vito Lo Capo seems very popular with local and foreign tourists, including those with their own caravans and tents.

 

Yvonne made it a point to remind us that Sunday Mass is held at 19:15 in the courtyard of the old Chiesa di San Vito.  And the whole group just followed suit! 

 

A meal was the last and most important activity planned for the evening, after going round some of the souvenir shops adorning this small resort.  Our choice fell on “Il Timone”, which had a diverse menu of meals, pasta and pizza.  This could only be concluded with a good ice-cream from the Gelateria at the corner. 

 

We were all exhausted but the Karaoke at the camping site tempted us to stay up a little longer and enjoy each other’s company, though some of us just slept on their chairs.  Philip was not feeling so well and, together with Yvonne, retired earlier than us.  Mario was sorry he had not taken some photos so he persuaded Frans to go with him to the beach again to take some photos.

 

It was a nice experience to sleep in this caravan site, and exhilarating at times as well!  Notably is the experience of some of us with the shower ‘gettoni’ – the men sleeping together could not get over it all night and woke up in the morning recounting how they could not stop laughing all night about it!

 

   

Sunday, 19th July 2009

 

Woke up to a drizzling rain which soon turned into sunshine again!  Philip, the President, thank God woke up ‘hadida’ and all of us had a good night sleep in preparation for the very long road ahead of us back to the east of the island. 

 

Our driving plan was to leave the camping site as early as possible so that we can make much of the road by noon, when as expected, the sun will be in its full force.  Not even the cafeteria was fully functional when we went for our morning coffee and some breakfast!  However, we managed to grab a toast, a croissant, and coffee, tea or chocolate depending on preferences. 

 


 

At 08:15, I was taking photos of the motorbikes leaving the site and this time round, managed to take a couple of nice photos of the other bay where some caravans had stopped for the night. 

 

 

 

Going up the mountain to ERICE, I kept taking breathtaking views of this promontory which is the farthest tip of Sicily in the north.  It took us about an hour to reach the top part of Erice – a medieval fortified town with a historical castle overlooking the valley and narrow, cobbled streets all around an ancient cathedral.  Being Sunday, all was so silent until the cathedral bells started to ring and the shops and cafeterias, with their mouth-watering display of almond sweets and other delicatessen, started to slowly open up.

 

I was immediately on the rampant to explore, Joseph following soon after entering the town from another entrance.  Mario went round taking photos from other perspectives while Yvonne and the rest indulged in a multitude of sweets in the nearest cafeteria where the bikes were parked.  Frans had an interesting encounter with a local, Bartolo his surname, which at first we thought was the parker but then realized he was a loner living in a big mansion just on this square at the very entrance to the town. 

 

This was the highlight of the day!  And it was definitely worth it!  We had planned to leave earlier but the place was so enchanting that we didn’t realize it was already past 11:15 when all of us were gathered again to start our drive down the very winding road up to the motorway which is practically all the coast road of North Sicily. 

 

By now the temperatures had soared, even though the sea was practically rough.  We stopped to refill petrol and empty bowels at 13:15!  And then we continued on our way stopping for some refreshments at ORLANDO in the north.  Leaving this place at around 17:15, it was still a long way to go but due to the prevalent heat, we decided to avoid the central motorway and continue on the coast-road in the direction of CATANIA, ACIREALE and ACICASTELLO.  Panic at times prevailed because we were going to arrive too late in the evening when it will be already dark!  However the President reassured us that since the camping is booked, we need not worry – Garmin will guide us!!!

 

At 20:00, and dusk already, we were still on the outskirts of TAORMINA, with its winding and dangerous roads (at least for the bikes), getting stuck in a terrible traffic jam in GIARDINI-NAXOS and making a couple of extra detours in Acireale trying to find our way to our sojourn for the night.  It was only at around 21.40 that our bikes rested in front of the reception at Panorama Camping site in Acireale, in the wishful hope that our beds are not so far away!  Had supper in a restaurant not so far from the camping and called it a day!!

Monday, 20th July 2009

Group woke up to a nice breeze in a lovely camping site with bungalows all around.  At least these bungalows had their own showers – except when water was not forthcoming!  But problem solved, we all went for a breakfast of coffee, tea and croissants and then relax!!  The men just chatted and the two women ventured to the sea – which was practically impossible to reach – opting instead to enjoy the pool for at least an hour before the group decided it was time to move on. 

 .

And this was only at around 11:30 – the group had decided we had had quite a long drive the day before, so today we will take it easy and start slightly later.  Anyway we were not so far from Pozzallo now and we will make it in time for the ship definitely.  The sun was already up and shining when we left the winding roads of Acireale on our way out to start on the road down to the port.

 

It was however soon time to fill our stomachs again and an hour later we were sitting in a fish restaurant overlooking the bay in ACICASTELLO.  Wine, fish and good company was all we needed to spend a couple of hours relaxing and making pigs of ourselves on large trays of ‘misto’ of fish and shellfish.  Definitely to be recommended!!!

 

The road to Pozzallo was not so easy due to kilometers of traffic jams.  And that’s where our bikes came handy and the agility and practicality of Rudolph and Joseph who directed the whole group out of every traffic junction all the way down to Siracusa.  We did lose Frans and Mario on the motorway when some of us followed Philip down the old road and these two were already far ahead of the whole group, enjoying their freedom of speeding on a newly tarmaced motorway and continued on this road down to Pozzallo.  The whole group reunited on the pier and prepared ourselves for the arrival of the catamaran and making our way back home!!

All things come to an end!!!   At 9:00pm the catamaran left Sicilian shores to take us all back to Malta.  

 

However, the whole group agreed that it was a fantastic experience together and though it was the first, it will definitely not be the last!!   We were already planning where next time would be – but this is news for another newsletter!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

                    

 

 

 

 

Sicily tour March 2010.

 


 

Friday 26th March.

We met at Valletta post. It was 5.30am. Ray Mamo, Frans Scifo, Philip Chircop and the youngest , Rudolph  Ciappara. Ray had made all the booking arrangements and we embarked onto the Maria Dolores which left Malta at 6.45 arriving Pozzallo on schedule at around 8.15am.

As soon as we landed we came across a surprise. A group of Moto Guzzi owners with a range of bikes from classic to the latest Stelvio where waiting by the quay to go to Malta.  They where from Caltagirone Moto Guzzi Club.

As planned we drove to Palermo going via a different route from our previous trips. Modica was the first to visit. We took the country roads via Lago Santa Rosalia route 194 past Giarratana into Monterosso Almo. Here we went via a beautiful pass with treacherous roads down into the valley and up the hills till Vizzini.  Continued past Francoforte on the 194 to Catania.

The first fuel top up was at Catania just before the A19. Franco Torpiani from “Le Aquile” had already contacted us by phone and planned to meet us at Palermo on the way into the city.

Franco and Iniazio where awaiting us and after a brief helo went strait for lunch. Totti met us in the restaurant where we had a  good top up of Sicilian food which kept us going till late evening.

The joli Hotel was pre booked by Franco on our behalf and was quite comfortable . We all refreshed and drove to the club. We exchanged greetings with a number of members who came to welcome us and exchanged some gifts. It was a site, all types of Guzzis, all with a history to tell, which was shared by their proud owners, including Luigi with his Nevada and il Generale, with a particular character of his own .

All the group drove down to Mondello for the evening. This is a lovely seaside resort area which become more beautiful when we lined up our bikes as on show, one by one next to each other. The Italians even carried a streamer to put along the Bikes. Quite a site for bike lovers.

Saturday 27th March.

We garaged the bikes for the night and picked them up before 9 am to meet our friends.

Started the day by visiting  Evola, a Guzzi spare parts stockiest . We all did purchase some parts and Ray had a battry change as well, even though not all required was available. Here we seen a number of new Guzzi’s in the showroom.

Next we went to our booked trail ride at Alessandro Facella . We could chose from the Stelvio or the V7. Ray and Rodolph did try them both while Frans had a go with the Stelvio and Philip a rather longer ride on the V7.

All loved this experience,  Frans still dreams of the Stelvio, while I can say that the V7 gives you a light feeling  as if you are driving a small motorbike not a 750, very agile and easy to handle.

All where hungry by now and off to the mountains we went, into a small place called “il Re del Carne” and a king he is …

He slices out fresh meet at the counter, wild bore, veal ,pork and lamb and roasts it there and then in front of you while you wait. Served with warm ricotta and house wine. What a pleasure it was to see us all enjoy an afternoon with our Italian friends as if we knew each other for years. This is the special feeling that bikers share, all with a common denominator the” Guzzi”.

After having a coffee at Vincent , we drove down to Palermo stopping for a photo of the panorama. And having a couple of surprises on the way back.

In the evening we went for an official invite by the Palermo club. A fish festa was set for us, and fish it was!!! All fresh and plenty.

After driving us to the hotel we had a good rest and a late Morning on Sunday.

Sunday 28th March.

Tiered after last night we all slept late and woke up for breakfast. Drove to the club and again had quite a morning there with a number of members who turned up to say good bye. Francesco help to fix an air hose on one of the bikes, there you could see how easy it comes for them to give a hand  he   showed that he is a expert on Guzzi’s where it comes to repairs.

At around 1pm we packed and started our trip back south. First tappa was to Enna, Piazza Armerina at Villa Trigona. The trip up the mountains was rather cold, as we rode up temperature went down.   We new this place from last trip and decided to re visit. La signora recognized us immediately and made us comfortable in our rooms. We had tea and later Dinner, excellent as expected at this Agriturismo. We spent the late evening comfortably in the lounge saying a joke or two in good company, the four of us.

 

Monday 29th March.

As morning broke we woke up for breakfast and prepared to drive down to Ragusa further south. Took a good road to Gela, past Vittoria and Comiso to Ragusa.

Ragusa is a very nice town. We satyed at the hotel  Monreale which has a safe garage for parking and is in the centre of the town. Emanuele was great, he is also a Guzzizta having a Beautifull  red Grisio. He works as a receptionist at the hotel.

Being all Moto Guzzi owners we asked Emanuelle to take us to the local Guzzi dealer. We  spent a couple of ours there and did make some purchases !!

We walked into town for the evening having been suggested to visit il Bocconcino tavern by Pippo another  Guzzi owner. He had a Norge. What a bike!  Food was good as ever, we had soup, pasta some had rabbit, meat or chicken.

We suggest you visit the local tourist information centre at Ragusa. The ladies there where very helpful and even gave us many details of the place with pamphlets, books and a CD. Ragusa has a twinning with Mosta in Malta.

Tuesday 30th March.

This was our final day and we had to catch the Catamaran from Pozzallo.

We drove slowly taking the coast road stopping at Santa Croce Camerina and Marina the Ragusa. On the coast road we came across many sandy beaches. It would have been ideal to stop for a swim if it was during the summer months.

Arriving in Pozzallo and having ample time to spare we went to fill our belly for the last time.

The Catamaran was on Schedule and the sea little bit rough as it was windy. We made it back home.

A big thank you goes to all who supported each other on this trip. It showed how team work can go far and achieve results.

A big thanks also goes to the “Le Aquile” they made our stay a memorable one.

Looking forward for the next trip!!

  

Southern Italy Tour 2010

A

News Letter

South of Italy Tour July 2010.

 

This year we decided to go a little further up north then usual. We already have visited the Beautiful Sicily 3 times,  so main land Italy became our target. Still visiting Sicily on both our out going and in coming routes.

We left Malta on the Maria Dolores early on the 22nd July. We met at 5.30am. the group consisted of 7 boys.

Me, Philip with my Breva,  Frans with the California special, Mario Borg on his Nevada, Rudolph also on a Nevada.  Ray Vella with another Nevada, George Taliana riding his California Jackel . We also had a guest, George Annati driving his 35 year old 4 cylinder Honda CB 750. 

We arrived at Pozzallo on Schedule at around 8.30 am and took the road to Messina straight away. Stopped for a drink and fuel just outside Catania, arriving Messina we waited for about an hour to take the ferry to Villa San Giovanni. We met a nice couple who also where interested in motor bikes and chatted while waiting for the ferry.

Our first night was to be at Vibo Valentia Marina. We arrived comfortably with ample time to rest, a dip in the clear blue sea, had a drink and an ice cream at the beach, later had a shower and went out for dinner. Alessandra at Villa Delle Rondini was very nice with us and recommended a couple of restaurants to choose from.  We opted for Sapori Di Mare and had a good Dinner there. Some had pasta, others meat, whilst wine flushed it all in. We walked along the promenade after dinner and had a couple of laughs on the way.

On the first day we covered about 320 km and were quite tired by bed time. All slept well except for Ray who had some problems with snoring coming from the rest of us sharing his room.

23rd July.

We started the day early as planned having a good breakfast at 7.30 am to be off by 8.30. Our target was Noepoli in the Pollini Natural park.

We Drove to Pizzo onto the A3. Going onto the E45 we turned left directly into the Pollini Mountains driving up and down the narrow roads, some covered with trees others showing the magnificent view from about 1500mts above sea level. We again come out onto good road near Francavilla in sinni on the S653. Here we drove by the Logo of monte Cotugno which is the largest man made lake in Europe and act as a water reservoir for the whole area.

Noepoli was close by by now and we drove via a small arch way into the area of this village.

Stopped  for a Drink of water from a fresh water spring at the entrance of the village and found our way to the Agriturismo  Gaudia Rure. This used to be a friary for Monks in the middle ages and in situated in the middle of lush greenery. A heaven for those who lose nature at it’s best.

One could see all types of birds of prey flying above and by night you can still come across wild boars, wolfs, foxes, badgers, hares and a vast range of flora and fauna.

After settling down in all seven sharing 2 linked rooms for the night we drove back to the town.

This is a place where time stood still. You can feel the gentleness of the people who live simple lives and their smile and welcome was outstanding.

The village is situated on top of a mountain and we could see miles away from the village main square. Here we met a young gentleman who gave us some information about the village and also took a photo of the whole group for us.

We than drove to a bar just outside town “il-Fosso”. Sitting down for a beer we where joined by a group of locals. We shared and helped ourselves to a couple of beers and had a good time.

I give my regards to: Flamingio, Guseppe, Domenico, Giovanni. Franco e Vincenzo . ( Ti saluti da Malta) and take a look at the photo album.

We finished the evening with a good traditional meal at the Agriturismo Where Lejla did her best to serve us with antipasti, pasta, meat and a nice desert.

After having covered about 250km, had an excellent meal we all slept like babies except for Ray who kept waking up, He said!

 

24th July.

Up early to prepare for a long trip down to Lecce. After a simple breakfast we took the road and drove by and over the lake off to the S653 and north to S.Maria Di Orsoleo.turned onto the S598 to Cannano del Monte. Passed Peschiera and San Mauro Forte where we stopped to take a couple of photos with the town up high on the hill as a background. After Massaeria San Benedetto we arrived at Matera.

We parked just by St Augustine’s church and seen the “Sassi”. Here the movie “Passion of the Christ” was filmed. It is a Unesco world  heritage site .

We drove down by the Sassi out to Altamura and stopped again at Santeramo In Colle. We had lunch at “il Dolce Forno” Where Antonella, Bruna and Guzeppe where very nice to us and even offered sweets for free. This is more like a village bakery where they also serve pizza and drinks. They do a lot of traditional pasties as well.

On we moved via Gioia Del Colle and Putignano stopping in Alberobello to see the Trulli.

After Alberobello we went past Fasano and took the highway to Brindisi. We where caught up in the rain here and it became too hot and humid after the shower. Stopped for a drink and a rest on the highway at a petrol station. Then down past Brindisi to Lecce.

Arriving in Motel Aloisi in via Taranto, we parked in an enclosed safe area and took our rooms.

All needed a shower and a rest before walking about 2km to down town Lecce. We had dinner in a restaurant in Via Taranto close to the old city. A range of antipasti, pasta meat and a nice panna cotta to finish with.

The old Lecce is  beautiful and baroque, with small narrow streets and fine details in soft stone buildings.

The piazza del Duomo is a site to remember all lit up for the night with a high tower from which both sides of the cost of Italy could be observed for military purposes.

Walking back the 2km to the hotel was never a problem although late and tiered. We where a great group and with a joke now and again and comments all the way it seemed just a few meters.

At the hotel we discussed the route for the next day with the hotel receptionist, who kindly indicated the best way to drive.

Trip of the day was about 270Km.

 

25th July.

We took the straight road down  to Santa Maria Di Leuca via the SS 16 and the S275.

We noticed a village festa at Alessano and stopped to have a rest and a drink.

This turned out to be a big surprise. One of the locals turned up saying that they had a Moto Guzzi Club.

In a Matter of time a goup of Guzzisti turned up and we all had a great time. They also invited us to a restaurant and had Lunch. We exchanged some gifts and set a target to make a  “Gemellagio” with them.

I Must thank the President Mr. Massimo Vasques and Mr. Luigi Torsello for the nice welcome they gave us. We look forward to see them again. (Please see photo Album for more details.) Massimo grazie mille per tutto che voi avete fatto.  E stat oil nostro grande piacere di incontrarvi. Saluti da tutti noi.)

We all both groups drove to Leuca and had a walk and some photos there. The Club of the Due Rote, Due Mari e Due Ali, drove with us to lead the way to Gallipoli from where we said goodbye and promised to meet again.

We stopped at Gallipoli for an ice-cream and continued our journey to Taranto. We stopped on the way to rest and re fuel.

After Manduria, The country of wine, where they produce the Primittivo, we headed to the 7Ter which is a fast road to Taranto.

Arriving at Taranto we where booked at the Hotel Europa which was recommended by Frans  Scifo’s  friends. It was comfortable place to stay,  right in the  city centre.

After a rest and a shower we met with Mr. Antonio Scilimati and Mr. Riccardo Zaccaria and drove to Martina Franca for Dinner.

These kind gentlemen are friends of Frans who picked a great restaurant. We ate a wonderful meal! Antipasti, never ending….. Pasta and a range of grilled meat. Then walked up to the old city which I really beautiful and had a coffee or ice-cream in the piazza. While I could not manage to finish my meal due to abundance, I was impressed by the apatite of others. Well done boys!

After a long day we drove back to Taranto.( Grazie mille Antonio e Riccardo. E stato un piacere  conoscerti. A presto)

We drove more then 240 km on this day.

 

26th July

We took the coast road to Catanzaro Via Crotone, Here we went past many small beach towns and stopped for a Pizza in one of them.

The plan was to arrive early at Grand Hotel Paradiso where we could rest and catch up with some relaxing moments after such a long journey. But the rain caught up with us instead and had to stop at a petrol station to change cloths and dry up.

Anyway we made it and did have time to rest. The hotel was of a high standard with a very nice pool and spa , even though we only opted for the pool.

We had a simple dinner at a pizza house right across the road and dropped like dead for the night.

Covered some 320km.

 

27th July.

We had a good breakfast at Catanzaro and took the E848 to the east coast of Italy our target was to try and reach Messina before noon. We than went out of the highway into smaller roads over the Appennino Le Serre into a vast area of olive tress and lush greenery in the mountains.

We come oto the A3 near round about Pizzo and drove the long way down stopping for fuel and a drink on the way.

We encountered bad weather here and got wet on the way. Still we drove in the rain as the asphalt was good and we managed well. Actually we even dried up on the road till we arrived at Villa San Giovanni to take the Ferry.

Rudolph led the way to the inner Ferry to avoid the Train and though we had to wait for some time it was quite faster boarding here then when we came up from Messina.

The boat trip was uneventful and we arrived into the hassle and bustle of Messina. One has to be very careful driving out here and it is important to keep as one group so that no one get lost or detached from the rest.

We tried to reach Milazzo to go shopping some motorbike parts but several mishaps delayed us.

First we come out of the highway from a wrong exit and had to wait for the rest of the group until they settled up the issue and then we had to pass true the small towns instead of driving the faster way to Milazzo via the highway.

With the help of a local biker we found our target but it was too late , closed till some 3.30pm. we could not affored all this waiting time so decided to go and meet our Guzzizti of Etna as planned at Acireale.

Here I must say thank you to Carmelo whom we followed until we found “Moto Giovane”

Grazie  Mille  Carmelo e spero di rincontriamo forse qui a Malta!

It took us about 2 hours to Acireale having stopped on the way to fuel, rest and have a drink.

As planned Gregorio and Guzeppe from the “Guzzisti del Etna” where waiting for us at the exit to Acireale. We drove to Aci Castello and unpacked at the “Casa Di Mary” where Mr. Grasso was very kind and organized.

Gregorio made it up for us and took us to Aci reale to by spare parts and we spent a couple of hours there. Every one bought something, either a part or an accessory for his bike.

A fresh lemon juice with sugar and salt (traditional to the area)was offered to us By Gregorio at a local bar, we set outside under the shade close to our bikes. Back to the BB for a rest and a shower we where called to follow Gregorio for a special event the club has organized in our honor.  

We drove to the club house which is situated on the outskirts of Aci Castello. To our surprise a large group of bikes was awaiting us mostly with partners. A wonderful BBQ was set up, and what a FESTA!!

We enjoyed ourselves to the outmost, where really made welcome and all showed the outmost effort to serve us.

Cheese, bread , meat, ham, salami, sausages, wine, spumante, cakes, sweets   mention it and it was there.

A show of Guzzis parked side by side was joined by our bikes. It was so great, and here one would appreciate the value of Clubs, and positive aspect of organization and common hobbies.

We exchanged gifts and shared our passion re bikes.

A big thank you must go to all the members who have given us not only food and drink but a lot of sincere friendship in there welcome.

We all went to sleep late and planned for the next day.

 

28th July.

 

This was our last day and planned  to have an Etna tour.

The morning was spent some getting parts with Gregorio. Ray went to see his V11 sport and we stayed at the printing press where George Annati suggested we make a T Shirt.

We followed Gregorio and Guzeppe close to mid day up the Etna. They took us up via a Strada di servizio which is very new and down the southern route.

Here some of us had the chase to test there skills. The road is great and the bends are demanding  on the driver some of them even up to hairpin turns.

A coffee up the mountain and dinner just beneath completed the day .

We must thank Gregorio who is the president of the Guzzisti Del Etna Club for his support and generosity.

( Caro Gregorio spero di rivederti presto. Saluti da noi a tutto il Club. Grazie) 

They lead the way to the highway and we said goodbye, drove down to Pozzallo to catch the ferry on the new highway at a constant speed having enough time for a drink and a rest before boarding.

I must thank all those who participated in this tour. We where able to show respect to each other and compromise to achieve a good final result to please all the group.

Thanks goes to Frans and Rudolph to help me organize the tour.

To Mario being the official photographer of the team.

To Ray for organizing the photos and videos.

To George Taliana for making available his bar to meet up and organize this tour.

And last but not least to George Annati who added his photos to those of Mario but mostly set our mind at rest should we have encountered mechanical problems, which luckily we did not.

 

Look forward for the next trip !

 

title Club outing on 7th June 2010

On  7th June the Club organized an  activity
We were Rudolph & Marthese on a Nevada, Paul Cassar on Nevada,Mario Borg on Nevada   George Taliana riding a California  Jakcal , and  France Scifo who used is new BMW instead of the usual special.
Ray Vella  proudly on his new  V11Sport, Philip Mifsud Honda Hornet 600 and the supportive  Jeffery Decelis Kymco 250.  Tomas Grima (a friend of Jeffry`s & me AFM member) also joined our team. We rode from Golden sands to B`bugia the long way round. When we got there George and France called there spouses to join us for lunch we had a good meal then we rode north till one by one waved our self from the group to return home great day in all accounts, weather ,bikes and company .  See photos of activity on photo Album.

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