As the saying goes, a thousand-mile journey begins with a single step. Although life’s short and the world is vast, and those who don’t travel read only one page of the world’s book, when you travel, the whole world opens up. Each time we travel, we see the world with new eyes. The more we get lost in our travels, the richer our lives become. We began our journey as a group of forty people. It was a capsule journey, not an elaborate one, so here are few of the cities, let’s go.
Europe is the continent of hopeless romantics. A place that radiates warmth, happiness, and enchantment in the form of hot summer nights under the stars. I saw youngsters thronged in front of pubs with beer, vine, and cigarettes in their hands; when asked out of curiosity, it was customary during weekends. Each magical European city writes a love letter to the past through its customs and architecture.
Let’s visit the UK and Europe. My European Tour highlights.
Our start. The UK, comprised of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, is an island nation in northwestern Europe. The birthplace of Shakespeare and the Beatles is home to the capital, London, a royal city surrounded by a rush of modern life. The city is full of traditional heritage, contemporary culture, green spaces, and a few surprises, a city jam-packed with culture going on around the clock. Unfortunately, due to the unexpected sad demise of The Queen, the authorities shut the city down. Furthermore, they did seal off all tourists’ access to Buckingham palace and the surrounding areas. Unfortunate but understandable.
A ride through the London Eye offers the most beautiful views of London city. For example, London Bridge, which we hear as a nursery rhyme, passed through it. In my mind, the verse just kept playing.
London Bridge is falling down
London Bridge is falling down
Falling down, falling down
London Bridge is falling down
My fair lady.
A visit to the Madame Tussauds wax museum was a magical experience. We met Indian celebrities and enjoyed a photo shoot with legendary figurines. A ride through the magical world with light and sound was enjoyable to both young and old.
Our next stop was from Heathrow to Amsterdam by Eurostar. The train journey was fascinating. We travel under the tunnel through the sea. We didn’t feel anything unusual, only darkness everywhere.
Famous for cheese and vine. A city and port in the Netherlands known for its historical inducements, collection of excellent arts, and commercial and financial center of the Netherlands. About 1/5th of the workforce still relies on the honoured bicycle for transportation. Thousands of different types of cycles were seen on the curb-sides. All roads had red coloured cycle corridors, and both young and old were comfortable riding them. I do feel a need to appreciate this. The sight itself occurred, rejuvenating the eye.
Amsterdam is famous for its Asian restaurants. I noticed marijuana in numerous varieties sold in every small and prominent shop. It is legal, and people are seen relishing smoking marijuana or, as we call it, ganja after a sumptuous banquet. Tourism accounts for about 1/10th of all jobs, and local people appear friendly. The major attractions were canal cruising. We enjoyed it very much.
A very intriguing happening on the train trip shows the typical South Indian trait. The train canteen offered unlimited ingredients for a cup of coffee. Our fellow tourists used milk, sugar, and coffee powder to make self-made coffee. The fun fact, no one bothered to take a spoonful of hot water. The person in charge’s watchful eyes turned red with anger seeing the mess they made with the empty packet of milk and spilled milk on the ground. Soon he put up a board showing canteen closed.
Getting anything for free is a weakness for us. We grab as much as possible; whether we require it or not is out of the question. Frittering food is considered an offense in Europe. The authorities may have thought we were seizing someone’s food and wasting it. Take only what we need, and respect another person’s right to survival—something we need to learn.
Our next journey was towards Belgium. It is the most densely populated and prosperous region in Belgium. La.grand Palace in Brussels is a remarkably homogenous body of public and private buildings. Mannequin piss and Atomium were the most significant attraction in Brussels. Mannequin, the lucky charm of Brussels, pisses beer during festivals. Yes, one could enjoy unlimited beer from him.
When it comes to food, the world is so diverse, and each country has its specialty. Unlike us, European prefer to eat cold foods. They didn’t drink tea. Belgium is famous for its Waffles and the tastiest ones in the world.
Transfer to Paris from Brussels took about 4hrs to 320kms. Going through the highway on either side, we saw Birch trees, maple trees, and cedar trees. The leaves were falling. The same tree holds different colours of leaves, like green, yellow, brown, and golden. The beginning of Autumn. It was so beautiful to witness.
We should also learn to shed our ego by gathering together, unbundling what is undesirable to our inner self, and forgetting about what we are or who we are. Explore the Autumn in splendour, and even the trees began relieving their coverings, so metamorphosis yourself into a new one.
Apart from “Baguettes, Croissants, and Eclairs, Paris is “The city of love, fashion, and chocolates. Love birds flocked together and flooded the Seine river with love locks, a mad belief that by doing so, one could get your love forever. Unable to hold it anymore, the river was recently cleaned, and the city banned people from dropping love locks into the river.
Your love could exist in every object you pass through, not limited to one person or one entity, and bearing the burden of proving its worthiness is not at all a good idea. Love to be bloomed and its fragrance to be spread everywhere you exist. Let’s love unconditionally.
We missed the opportunity to visit the famous Louvre museum, where the beauty queen Monalisa mesmerised the whole world with her ever-charming smile. However, we are satisfied with the photo in the gallery.
Eiffel Tower is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel. The wrought iron lattice is a powerful and distinctive symbol of Paris, impressed by its stature and daring design. We were lucky enough to ascend to the entire third level and enjoy the panoramic view of the city.
In the evening, we saw the wholly rhetorical Eiffel Tower under much pomp and vigour, and its beacon reached 80km at 360 degrees. The Tower had witnessed and sometimes been an actor in important events, both sumptuous and tragic in France’s history.
The water cruise through the river seine also gave us some refreshments for the mind and body. The roads were well maintained, and it was said every six months, roads were repaired. Whether it requires or not was out of the question. No trace of waste was seen elsewhere, and there was no foul smell. An interesting thing I noticed was that the seat behind the driver was always kept unoccupied. It was a precautionary measure to avoid the driver’s attention, if any, from the action of people sitting behind. Unlike us, the drivers had a specific duty time. Working beyond that was not permitted. I wondered whether the whole of Europe was a no-horn area. Yes, blowing the horn means they were reprimanding. People were crossing the road only through zebra crossing and walking through the walkway. Even though no one was crossing, the driver stopped the vehicle at the pedestrian crossing. The disciplined way of following the road rules was to be learned.
The Tower of the 18th-century palace offers views of its fan-shaped layout. From the city of Zurich, a global center for banking and finance, we proceeded to The Black Forest, a mountainous province in Germany bordering France. It was known for its dense evergreen villages, associated with the Brothers Grim Fairy tales. The place has been renowned for the Cuckoo Clocks factory since the 1700s. A visit to the factory was a memorable one, and there was a presentation on how the clock was taking shape practically handmade. We saw Titi See (lake), and the Rhine falls on the way. Shopping inside was perplexing because each one occurred better than the other.
There are many other places and cities and stories to share, and I will share them other time. I was really in a trance. Words are not enough to explain. More to come soon.
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