WhatSUP! It’s almost 40 degrees (104 fahrenheit) outside and there’s nowhere else I rather be but in the water, ideally with Gelato! Discovering new beaches and beautiful places in Sicily with my Stand Up Paddle Board!
I decided to drive to Scopello, I was there last year with work colleagues and remember it as one of the most beautiful places on earth. I was so excited, last year we went there by boat we rented from Castellammare del Golf and today I would take my SUP and spend all day at sea. It was suppose to take me forty minutes but with a little wrong driving here and there and my Google maps not being updated it took me around an hour.
But things don’t always get as planned and it started with the parking, that in my opinion was over priced, 7 euros (!) Which compared to Sweden is nothing for a full day but this is Sicily, where a coffee costs 1 euro and parking is free most of the year. Parked my car, packed my board and started walking the twenty minutes walk from the parking to the beach (in 40 degrees!).
When I arrived at the barriers for entry(!) to the beach, I was told that air mattresses and all kinds of inflatable mattresses, including my SUP, were not allowed. I tried to explain that I was not going to stay at the beach, that I could even inflate it some else where and go into the water where I promised not to disturb anyone, but instead I was badly treated by just a finger and an arm pointing in the direction I came from.
When I got back to parking lot they laughed at me as they were fully aware that I wouldn’t be allowed to have my SUP with me, but without saying anything let me walk 20 minutes in gusting sunshine and full packing. I gave them a little smile and disappointed shrug my shoulders and tried to laugh my disappointment away.
Packed it all back in my car and decided to find another beach, never in my whole life did I think they would charge full price (!) for the barely half hour I was parked there!!
I used Google Maps and found a beach that did not seem to be too far away and thought I’d give it a try. Actually, most of it I felt like going home, sweaty and in some way a bit humiliated, usually in Sicily everybody are so friendly and I’ve been spoiled not used to have anyone talk to me this way, obviously not their fault, they were only doing their job, but I suppose there are different ways in doing so and to run a place in such tourist popular location you loose track and the importance of treating every guest equally important.
I drove to Cala Mazzo di Sciacca five minutes away (Tripadvisor and directions here) I was met by the world’s nicest parking host who, despite our language barrier, tried to understand when I asked if I was allowed to use my SUP, he laughed and said SI, SI in the friendliest way as if it was the most obvious answer in the world. ´It’s a beach, of course you are allowed to bring your toys´. Meanwhile, as I was inflating my SUP he walked passed gave me thumbs up, I don’t think he had ever seen an inflatable SUP and seemed rather curious about it.
As I’m writing this I’m sitting ten minutes away from the beach, balancing on a small rock in the water eager to write down my feelings for this blog, if I don’t write it down straight away I lose the emotion and it wont be as real, I always keep a `word document´open on my phone (and yes, even if my phone is water resistant I keep it in a waterproof case that my dad gave to me, he wanted me to be able to enjoy the sea even when on reserve call at work ;)) This is also how I do with most my captions for my Instagram @pilotmaria to keep it as real as possible.
That host, at Cala Mazzo di Sciacca friendly smile turned my whole mood to the better, the importance of a strangers smile. I have a feeling that this will be one of the best days in a long time!
I thought I paddle to Scopello, to be honest I didn’t really feel like it anymore, founding this new beach just gorgeous, but it was my original plan and I want to show them that even if they did not let me through their stupid beach barrier I can go there anyway!! Haha Rebel!!
All in all, I give a big thumbs up for Cala Mazzo di Sciacca! They have a small restaurant, bar and toilet facilities near the beach, the water is amazing and the staff super friendly. At entrance you will get a menu for the café, good business plan 😉 This is the kind of place I will definitely take my mom to the next time she visits me in Sicily, and guess what, in the end I paid two(!) Euro for a full day parking which is totally worth it, if you ask me.
My SUP is from @supboardsnorway and is of the brand Boga boards. It´s a full body workout at the same time relaxing and during the hot summer months I skip the gym and do this as exercise! www.supboards.no
See full YouTube video from this day here: www.youtube.com/pilotmaria 🙂