By Mohammed Salim Patel

“Ciao for now”… These were the parting words from Damiano at the airport in Sicily. Although, in essence it was bye in person; in reality it would never be bye not only to Damiano but all of those who I spent nine days with in Sicily. This is because of all the memories, photos and videos we made on this break.

Mohammed and Olga learning to make papyrus

Reflecting back on my trip a few months ago, in October I can’t help but smile. This was my first ever trip with VICTA and I was very nervous before the trip because of the travelling aspect of getting from Blackburn to London Gatwick but my nerves were soon put at ease thanks to the reassurance  of the VICTA staff and disabled rail assistance staff. I also agreed to meet one of the participants at London Euston.

The group harvesting olives

In all honesty I found myself worrying about a lot of things before going away but I actually had no reason whatsoever for my worries. Both the VICTA and Seable staff were out of this world. I couldn’t have asked for better staff who understood all the needs of blind and visually impaired people and were a general joy to be around. During the times where I needed help the assistance was already provided before I even had to ask, this is how good they were.

Mohammed at the top of Mount Etna

All of the other participants were also magnificent. There was no awkwardness because we were all in the same boat in terms of being blind or partially sighted. The fact that we were of similar age also meant that we all got on like a house on fire.

All of the activities were completely accessible and truly authentic to Sicily, which wouldn’t be experienced by general tourists. The biggest bonus has to be the heavenly and orgasmic ice cream flavours.

Enjoying the local ice cream

Overall, I had the time of my life with VICTA and Seable and I eagerly anticipate my next trip with them.