As a grumpy New Yorker, I (understandably) hated Segways. I hated anything that crossed my path, actually. Now that I think about it, I am not sure if I've ever even seen anyone on a Segway in New York, but in theory - I hated them. So there's that. Delusion for the sake of continued grumpiness.
Then I found "the light". I found my peace and realized the only thing I hated was myself and my inability to do activities other people were enjoying. All that good stuff. Instead of hating I needed to join the (Segway) party!
New leaf. New experiences. And lot's of fun doing it.
Alex and I hooked up with Italy Segway Tours to make the most out of our short trip to Milan, Italy a few weeks ago. While I was initially nervous to try the Segway, Alex was anxious for the thrill and couldn't wait to get there.
Anticipation meant anxiety for me.
Then fate struck and right before we got to the airport in Brussels, I sprained my ankle - BADLY. Like tumble-over-with-two-backpacks-smack-on-the-floor type of bad.
Walking tours in Milan weren't going to do. Segway it was.
When we arrived at our Segway meet up spot, just a short walk from our Airbnb rental, we met our guide Mirella and three other guests. The secluded area we met at was perfect for an overview of how to ride a Segway and a few practice runs. Mirella was a great instructor and really sensitive to our inexperience.
The instructions were simple:
Lean slightly forward to advance. Lean into your heels to reverse. Pull back slightly to slow down. Rest the Segway against a stable structure to get on and off the platform. Within moments Alex and I were chasing and racing each other, looping figure eights in the back alleyway, feeling like pros.
We were ready to go.
We opted for Mirella as our in-person tour guide, instead of an audio guide, and were so glad we did! She has such great insight to life as a Milanese in addition to the history of Milan and its culture. She provided us with headsets for easy listening as she spoke (in perfect English) about the historical sites and fashion district.
We were quite lucky because it was August and most people were on holiday - giving us lot's of pavement to burn! Mirella was great about offering to take photos and providing the insider's scoop on the best gelato, restaurants, and activities.
On the 3-hour tour we saw a number of sights and sites, including:
- Peace Arch
- Sempione Park
- Sforzesco Castle
- Scala Theatre
- Mercanti square
- Duomo square
- Fontana square
- Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery
The Duomo was one of the sites saved for last and the experience turning the corner and seeing its silhouette glow before the afternoon sun was chilling and tear-jerking! By far my favorite, after the castle. Here are some photos:
Fun Facts Learned Along the Way:
- Mirella told us about the Expo and that we could score 5 euro tickets in the evening, if we went after 7pm. That beat the 35 euro day price so of course we went, and loved it!
- Our guide also showed us a nearby restaurant (along the ride back) where all the students ate and reassured us that if students eat there, that means it's good and cheap!
- We learned McDonald's lost the fight to renew the lease to their fast food chain restaurant in one of the world's first shopping malls, Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery, losing it to Prada Men. In true corporate kiddie fashion, Mickey D's threw down a $24M lawsuit in a fit but later renounced.
While I haven't ridden any other Segways to compare, the entire group felt safe and comfortable with the quality, speed and safety features of the equipment. We were supplied with helmets, a thorough safety tutorial and driving lesson, time to practice, and Mirella stayed close by and attentive.
Do it! You'll have so much fun and before you know it, you'll be getting scolded for going too fast!
To learn more about the tour or book your adventure, visit Italy Segway Tours online. They even tour in Florence and Rome, too!