If there’s one positive to be taken from the blazing Hyderabad heat, it’s that is serves as an excellent excuse for people to reach for those travel brochures and plan a holiday far from the scorching
summer. That was exactly the case for Sameena Poonawala, who was on the lookout for a long due getaway with her family. After a few short days and a couple of conversations with their travel agent, the family was well on their way to a fabulous trip across Europe. From losing themselves in the melodies of Mozart’s compositions to literally getting lost while sightseeing, this week You & I gets a taste of the Poonawalas’ short yet sweet European vacation.
“While the initial plan was to just get away from the heat for a few days, we were looking for plausible holidays within the country and outside too,” said Sameena. “Thankfully when our travel agent suggested this tour, let’s just say she made us an offer that we couldn’t refuse!” she added.
On the family trip that had been pending for quite some time, Sameena was accompanied by her parents and elder brother. Taking into account the travel period, the Poonawalas’ trip lasted nine days and included stops at Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Hungary. “We reached Munich on May 25 and then set out for Prague, bright and early, the very next morning,” she recounted. It was then followed up by Vienna, Salzburg, and Budapest.
“The highlight of our stay in Vienna has got be the Mozart concert that we were able to attend,” shared Sameena.
“I was aware of the fact that this virtuoso’s compositions were enchanting, but being able to experience some of it live was truly out of this world,” she added.
After this musical flash from the past, the family’s night out in Budapest had them enjoying Hungary’s famous goulash soup. They were also treated to a performance of native folk songs and dances. “Peppy music and paprika made a great pair!” said Sameena.
As they made their way to Salzburg, the family had the pleasure of discovering Mondsee or the Moon Lake. The place was so serene that one could sit and admire it for days, and for Sameena – who’s a copywriter by trade with a passion for writing poems – the lake was beautiful enough to rouse one’s creativity. As one of the Austrian cities brimming with history and culture, the Poonawalas even visited the locations in Salzburg where the classic film, The Sound of Music was shot. On this visit they also learned a whole of lot of history about the real von Trapp family.
“Being able to travel in coach was a plus because we got to see a lot of the countryside, which was no less beautiful than the cities we visited,” shared Sameena. “The people that we met throughout the tour were very warm and extremely helpful. And that was a relief because we actually got lost twice!” she reminisced. The family found the European cuisine delightful as well. With no overpowering flavours but a whole lot of cheese, they experienced the local cuisine when they had their fill of the cheese schnitzel in Munich on the last day of the tour.
Sameena also recollected the time when they sailed across the Danube River in Budapest. “The view was breath taking because we could see the many bridges that connected Buda with Pest in succession, including the Széchenyi Chain Bridge. When the entire town lit up at night, cruising across the river seemed so dreamy,” she said.
When the family finally made their way back home, Sameena resolved that she would definitely return to Vienna. “We were only there for a day and this city deserves a week,” she shared. “I’d like to go back and attend some more concerts and just wander about the city staring at its architecture. Every structure had a neo-Gothic or old Roman history; it gave the city its own charm,” she remembered.
For Sameena, this was a holiday that truly calmed the senses, as every location had something ethereal about it. Moreover, the perfect weather, with its occasional showers and accompanying rainbows, was a welcome relief from the Hyderabad heat.
“While the people had a certain ease in the way they went about their daily activities, the cities brimmed with heritage sites, history, and culture, and are sure to attract and impress all kinds of travellers,” she shared. – as told to Roshni