Updated: Dec 6, 2021
For a storyteller, dreamer or traveller, Europe had material for everyone to cook with. What Europe does to people who return after their holidays is it gives them visual statements for a lifetime. You come back with frames in your mind which are unforgettable imprints. Clearly what can be caused by Europe cannot be recreated by any other destination. Like tall, dark and handsome makes for an ideal man so becomes Europe as the perfect fit for anyone seeking solace in travels.
How did I plan my trip?
How it started for me was with a conversion rate of rupee versus euro and then wondering do I have enough savings to go ahead and when it was a yes from my mind to my heart, there wasn’t a pause, it was just play. I zoomed into Europe on the world map and made my dream route of entry and exit. And further firmed up that I had to create my own fairy tale and it starts with a non-exhaustive list that ranges from Ipad to sanitary pad. The most demanding part of the logistics of course a large part of which is the money that flows a labyrinth of papers for the visa. Well, these were points of no escape- had to be done. So, after bundling up all lists, all concerns and a million question answers which are natural to girls who travel alone, I set out on the vacation of my dreams and landed in Vienna, Austria with the help of my Travel Agent. Something that stood out was how tourist-friendly and prompt information renders were the Europeans. Vienna was clinking clean and sparkling. Women dressed up like fashion dreams and shiny cars zoomed in and out. Roads were so disciplined but road signs were in languages they understand but you don’t. The entire city is Wi-Fi so one was never disconnected. I ate at Subways and walked into the chaotic sometimes yet magical alleys of the city. There was a story waiting to be told at every corner. I met some fellow travellers from different corners and we made some food with whatever we all absorbed through the day. I wasn’t alone then. The ice was thawed and the USP of these contacts remains no one judges or discriminates or seeks anything. You find your tribe even when there was no common thread, but and just the lust for wanderlust. I thought if anything was as incredible as Austria and then happened Prague and she took over the competition completely. There was no way I could articulate the slow cast of magic spells of the present, as Prague was unravelling one moment at a time, under the Czech sun. The cobbled roads and the crisscrossing of trains and pedestrians in perfect harmony. The gorgeous sunsets and the florals that hung on the walled portions of the entire city. It was too dreamy and seemed almost photoshopped. Lakeside cafes gave the most beautiful breakfast and lunch situations. The magnificent Charles bridge is view goals with jugglers, dancers, artists and mini orchestras making a regular day look like a carnival. I had the good fortune of looking at the Earth- sky diving and viewing this planet- rugged, handsome and extremely overwhelming. I ditched my fears and took this jump into the bottomless white sky to eat the clouds
What’s Different About Europe?
With the happiness quotient so high Europe looked like a huge world festival where everyone who looked so different and dressed differently was just happy to be a part of this huge gathering of constantly moving travellers. With a map and water bottle and bright umbrellas, the entire world was on a tour walk. The Prague palace, the Jewish quarters and the stunning guards of the Czech Army- everyone rolled up into my phone memory and little notes. My days were passing and I was melting into the newness of each land and of course, my mental struggle for food was parallel too. It seemed the show was nearing the end but this was just the curtain-raiser. The show had just begun.
What did I do in Europe? Time for some Germany. My target places as planned by my travel agent were the famous Berlin Wall and the infamous Sachsenhausen Nazi concentration camp. The city was spilling sumptuous history in every nook. These memories I was creating were warming me up inside lusting out for much more. Europe was endless and I was giving a very little part of me. The day ended in the pool rewinding this exhilarating day and varied emotions. I shoved it all in my little suitcase that says “Musafir hoon yaaron” (I am a passenger, my friends).
Entering the Netherlands was giving me butterflies, always thought the ones who lived here must be so uber cool. The sun was bright and my fellow travellers were a cute bunch of similar hoggers with whom I invested precious time to teach them Bollywood dancing and we were this tremendously energetic. The journey was endlessly mesmerising, listening to some mellow techno music interspersed with old school rock anthems. We just gorged on the views of the windmills and the Zans river picked mandatory fridge magnets and soaked in the sun. upon return to Amsterdam, we hustled our bicycles through the city with breath-taking views of roads meandering over the canals and little streams with countless dots of flowers. The Heineken Experience, the red-light district and the opera pretty much summed up my Netherlands’ brief but crisp stay. A loud horn of budget is blowing into one’s head always. However, Europe isn’t so dangerous- one can manage just about fine. But perfect planning is required beforehand. The key is to pick a perfect agent, who hides nothing. Public transport is plenty that passes spread over 48/72 hours depending upon your stay. Carry your own fruits and water bottles while walking around. One can clearly repeat clothes and get laundry easily than carrying bulky bags around. There are so many convenient ways to save and in that process, you have more to explore closely and much more to fall in love with.
As breath-taking as Switzerland was, it was also burning a hole in my pockets – I did a brief stopover at Zurich with 40 euros meals. A quick shuttle into my next place of stay was necessary now. Interlaken took my heart away and to date keeps it with herself. I felt you need nothing in Switzerland for your senses to devour over. The sky and mountains and the water just remain the right mix and the perfect spectacle for anyone and everyone.
I went into France thereafter and did the mandatory things which are so Paris. Surprised by how cosmo the town was. Also explored was the possibility of everything else too which was incredible in the city outside the handsome Eifel. Paris was about wines and river Seine and long walks through cool green alleys and reflections and other touristy routines. Found a galore of Indian restaurants and ate till my hearts fill. I clicked with others more than myself, you want to capture the moment and the beautiful and somehow everything is so magical about each city of Europe.
I saved my maximum days for Italy but only to realise that any number of days is less for this paradise. From the glorious walks into rich history to the magnificent architect to the liqueurs to the shopping to my rides to Vatican City to their food to stunning women and picture-perfect azures and the glistening blue of Venice to struggling with their language and then showing up at the wrong airport in Rome- I may be not served enough magic in words to be put on the table.
What Did I learn? Travelling to Europe will bring out so much in you- the rule-breaker, the risk-taker, the economist, the excess baggage avoider, the controlled shopper, the beer guzzler, connoisseur of sunsets, the adventurer, the self-appointed alarm clock, the in-built conversion calculator and a dream chaser to see the unseen and the lust to lust for more life with globe-trot. Also because I finished it from zilch to the T by myself, with of course the help of my travel agent- I just feel stronger, smarter, ready for more and readier to claim the sky.
P.S.- Only if bosses at work understood all of my drama and my love and my sugar and my spice.