The idea of taking a month-long break from the stress of routine life, and going about travelling is bound to appeal to anyone in a position to do so. Well, that’s just what Suhasini did. She tells You & I about all the fun, adventure and excitement she had on her Eurotrip.
This trip was long due, but picking destinations fitting into a month is never an easy choice. I travelled along with my parents and aunt. We decided to split the Eurotrip into two segments: the first was to visit places packed with history, culture and famous monuments; and the second was to go where we could enjoy activities like trekking, adventure sports, sailing, and scuba diving, among others.
The destinations we chose were Paris, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, London, Vienna, Nice, and Amsterdam. By day we took in the usual touristy sights, culture and architecture; in the evenings there was the nightlife.
We flew into Paris and the very next morning headed straight to the Eiffel Tower, after which we took a walk down the famous Avenue des Champs-Élysées and had a quick glance at the Arc de Triomphe. Over the next few days we covered the Musée du Louvre (if you are seriously interested in art, you should dedicate at least two days entirely to it) and the Notre-Dame Cathedral. The next day, we went for a walk at the Château de Versailles. I made sure I went shopping at the best places in the cities I visited; among them was Galeries Lafayette (suggested by my sister). I also went to the famous Moulin Rouge show and it was spectacular.
From Paris we took the TGV high-speed train; the world speed record-holder, it zips from Paris to Marseilles at up to 322 kph. As per our itinerary, we hired a car in Marseilles, as we wanted to go on a road trip to Aix-en-Provence, Nice, and Monte Carlo; these places were all very different from each other. Aix-en-Provence is an ancient town now filled with cafés, bookshops and fountains, while Nice was refreshing with all the beautiful beaches. I had a long walk along the Promenade des Anglais, and took a dip in the perfect warm and blue waters. While in Monte Carlo, I went on a drive on the F1 track, one of the most picturesque drives I’ve ever had.
Still, Barcelona was by far my favourite; it’s colourful, lively, and young. Some of the best things were a scuba diving day trip, Barcelona walking tours, and the long pedestrian La Rambla street mall, where you can savour specialities like sangria and cava, among many other things.
We then went to Vienna, which is packed with museums, castles and palaces, among which are the spectacular Belvedere and Schönbrunn palaces.
Everything you’ve heard about Amsterdam is true; whether it’s the coffee shops or beautiful canal rides, it’s worth all the travel. The Bloemenmarkt (flower market), the De Looier antiques flea market, the Waterlooplein flea market with over a hundred shops, and Dam Square (the town square of Amsterdam), were all magical. The city’s bars and hotels are lively and filled with young tourists from all across the world. You’ll hardly see any motor traffic as most people prefer bicycles as mode of transport. There are reportedly more than 10,000 cycles in the city.
Though Switzerland was the most expensive destination on our itinerary, it was worth it. We flew down to Lucerne – a beautiful little city sitting amidst snow-capped mountains and boasting a silvery lake. We bought a Swiss Pass that lets you travel freely across the country for a set number of days. In winters, Mount Titlis with its skiing and snowboarding is a popular destination.
The Golden Pass Panoramic was the best decision of this trip; the world’s first completely panoramic train, it connects central Switzerland with Lake Geneva. Its last stop is Montreux.
Our final destination of the trip was London, which is like the Mumbai of the United Kingdom. The walk by the Thames from London Bridge to Tower Bridge is long but refreshing. Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace were the highlights of the city. We also took in Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, 10 Downing Street, the red telephone booths, and the famous red double-decker tourist buses.
Although the trip stretched over a month, I still feel there are a lot more places that we didn’t cover. One trip to any city in Europe is not enough, and I’m planning my second trip this year, during which I hope to do Greece, Italy, Rome, and more of Spain.