One of my favourite memories with dad would be our over dinner discussions,we spoke on topics from music,movies,food and even travel.Those were the rare free spells with school and homework for me,a 9 to 5 job for him, gave us only a little time together.It was only after his retirement,and when I had my occasional days off from duty that we got to lengthen the duration of our rendevous.
We even rushed to get passports done,in the hope that we could roam the world one day,one country at a time.His sudden loss though did become a setback in our travel plans,and a roadblock to generally everything around,and it was one of those gloomy days that i had a eureka moment.So what if he couldn’t fulfill his dreams,we dreamt then together,I most definitely could dream a little for him,and the best way to do that was to go visit our all time favourite destination…Europe.
Passport in hand,visas acquired,bags packed,and bucketlist in my pocket, dreams held in the palms of my hands,camera by my side I went all ready to live every moment on my first international trip.And boy did I have the time of my life!
To write about the whole experience as it was,would take pages,going through photographs would take ages,but I would sum up my most favourite moments from the trip to hopefully inspire you to try a bucketlist conquer like mine,maybe plan a vacation soon,and also take a step to follow your hearts desire too.
London eye ride,Madame Tussauds and Bakers street.
The London eye ride was one of my first checks,there’s a no better way to see a all of London in a one place,a breathtaking view awaits you there.
We also had an interesting city tour of Buckingham palace, Westminster Abbey,Piccadilly circus,Trafalgar square,Houses of Parliament ,Big Ben and Hyde Park.
Madame Tussauds wax museum was fun and I got to see some of my favourites like Benedict Cumberbatch,Shah Rukh Khan,Robert Pattinson,Audrey Hepburn and artists like Van Gogh and Micheal Jackson,here be sure to charge phone and camera to capture as many as you can,also running solo take a selfie stick with you.
The English breakfast-one of my favourites here,eat the whole deal baked beans,hash browns,grilled mushrooms and tomatoes ,eggs as you like and a wide assortment of breads and biscuits ,must have in London.
Also I finally got to see the home of Sherlock Holmes 22b Bakers Street,and shopped for souvenirs and saw the statue of the detective himself.
The city is one of the most romantic places I’ve been,all original architecture preserved the original Paris lies in taking walks or going by bicycle rides around the city,we visited L’Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysees,Place de la Concorde and passed the Louvre on our way.
Eiffel tower – Another one of the list I was surprised to find out that it initally was to be up only for a while,very happy to know they didn’t dismantle it after.I fell in love with the entire structure and waited for tiny peeks with our bus ride and then was enamoured with the full view.Overcoming my inane fear of heights I proudly went to the second floor and then to the summet and Paris in its entirety was beautiful,another love found.
Holland-Madurodam- definitely glad that I went to this miniature version of Amsterdam,it was another check on my list,and besides lots of pictures here I enjoyed my walking tour along the lanes here.You get to see working windmills,the efficient canal system and working bridges on a 1:25 ratio.I missed tulip season,but the wide range of flora fauna made up for it by heaps and measures.
Amsterdam canal cruise-I think with another check,the beautiful canals,architecture,and the canal cruise in the boat was a must do experience.For a romantic at heart this is another must do,pictures aside,the music,rippling waters,swish swash of the boat made it an enthralling visit.
We visited the Grand place,Guild Hall,Serclaes monument,Manneken Pis statue, Atomium and also discovered tintin and captain painted along one of the buildings.All beautiful in their own way,but I have to say favourite here was definitely the amazing chocolates which we gorged on and bought a few samples home and the yummy waffles the aroma and taste of which makes me want to go back and eat more.
Destination 5.Switzerland-Gersau, Engelberg, Lucerne,Rhine falls.
One of the reasons I’ve always wanted to go here was my fetish of a watching Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge again and again,if it looks amazing on screen it is a thousand times better in person,serene mountains,green landscapes,lakes I had found my new favourite place.
Here I got a chance to have different experiences Mt titlis and the cable car ride,ice flyer ride playing in the snow , mouinpick ice cream scoops,temperatures at minus 3,I’ve never had more fun before.
We enjoyed a boat cruise along the Rhine river with swiss folk music which i could also play for a while too,felt the lush waterfall at Rhine falls and then shopped to our hearts content in Lucerne where I finally acquired my cow bell😄.I also had the most delicious macroons here and enjoyed listening to the radio stations in my free time and just wishing time would stand still when placed at our lake side Hotel Rivera in Gersau.
Swavroski crystal showroom -I’ve always been a fan of the crystals and only wished I could have bought so much more,but a must visit here is to admire and relish all the sparkle and shimmer you can see at one place, from breath taking showpieces and displays to individual pieces and jewellery,a must see and another check off my list.
Must mention was our Hotel Olympia in Austria,where we dined in the mountains for a night,and woke up to the sound of musical cowbells from the herds walking the slopes.Living in the mountains for a night,check for me😃
It’s a small country,but one proud of its vineyards and stamps,enjoyed the tram ride here to explore the lanes,and was quite surprised when our tram driver even spoke to us in Hindi,and said he enjoyed India a year back too,this only teaching me how small the world is.
Here we passed though Cologne to visit the Cologne Cathedral and then went to visit the Cuckoo clock factory in Drubba Titisee.The drive through the black forest region was one for nature lovers and I also got to cherish a piece of the traditional Black forest cake here,verdict -so not like the Indian version,more rich with a decadent taste.
Venice-for a younger version of me romance began with gondola rides,and i was so happy with this check on my list!Enviably though my 30 minute gondola ride was cut short by rains ,but the city could have not been more romantic to a drenched me,along with the Morano glass magicians,more delicious gelato icecream ,boat rides,the beautiful city with Doges palace, St marks Square and basilica,Bridge of sighs,Bell tower made this place another one of my favourites in the world.
Pisa, Italy– Check on seeing a wonder of the world admired along with the Square of miracles,Baptistry ,Cathedral ,then was shopping along the streets of Pisa and surprisingly good Indian food added Pisa to my visited places.
Rome or Roma- Here we visited the Colosseum,Circus maximus, Piazza Venezia,Roman Forum and the Trevi fountain,I did wish at the Trevi fountain,relished more gelato to cool down in the heat.
Destination 10.The Vatican
Words cannot describe the beauty of this place,photos do injustice,and I wished I just had more time to just be inspired by the beautiful art around me,statues to the ceilings this place had me awestruck.
And so alas my Europe trip came to an end,I’ve collected fridge magnets,experiences photos and wishes to reexplore the place,and the hope that with me my dad got to see and enjoy the place as much as I did.
So despite weary,tired and even sometimes swollen feet, a happy heart allowed me to live and accomplish small bites at happiness by making things happen.And all I can add is that once the bug called wanderlust bites..there’s no stopping your love for travel.
I’ve been rejuvenated,refreshed,happy even euphoric on some days,and here I am waiting for another opportunity to travel.
P.s.I travelled with Veena World with those wanting to plan their trip soon,and I’m grateful for the experience to the planning team and our tour manager Kamlesh Devrukhkar,we had wonderful hotel stays and a very comfortable trip with people like family,we were kept well fed in a place far away from home,yet we didn’t lack any comfort,so here is a big heartfelt thank you.
A happy,well rested ,refreshed Esha.