The best ever surprise gift I received from my husband, i.e., “EUROPE TOUR” booked with “KESARI TOURS” on 14th February 2012. I couldn’t ask for more. A BIG THANKS to him.
We started our journey on 25th of April with the blessings of Almighty “GANAPATI BAPPA” reaching London Gatwick Airport on 26th early morning. It was unbelievable for me to realize for a moment, that, I was in a different country, the name which I have been reading in books and seeing in the map. For me it was a dream comes true.
We visited 10 countries, out of which I would like to narrate the most beautiful ones that is still lingering in my mind.
Our first destination was LONDON EYE i.e. Europe’s tallest ferris wheel, situated on the banks of the river Thames. London Eye is 135 meters tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 meters. This moves in slow motion, so any person, from small children to an old person can enjoy this ride and see full view of London from top. Other attractions of London were the famous London Bridge, the statue of Eros at Piccadilly Circus, Westminister Abbey and Trafalgar Square. In London, it takes nearly two years to learn 400 routes to become a thorough taxi driver. The city is very neat, clean, safe, disciplined and costly, even one bottle of mineral water costs Rs.200.00 to Rs.250.00 in Indian currency.
Next day we visited “MADAME TUSSAUDS” wax museum. Here there are wax figures of celebrities from all over the world, like Hollywood and Bollywood film stars, sports persons, politicians and historical figures. Apart from all these wax figures, the most important wax figure is of Madame Tussauds herself which is at the entrance of the museum.
The Buckingham palace of Queen Elizabeth/Prince Charles is worth seeing with lush green garden on all the four sides and their alert security guards who stand without moving an inch and are changed after each two hours time. London is 4.5 hours behind India and the temperature is minimum 3 degree and maximum 19 degrees during April – June.
From London we proceeded to Paris, the capital of France, by EUROSTAR train, under water tunnel drive, having speed of 240 km/hr, reaching Paris Station GARDE DU NORD. Paris was born 2000 years ago. It is built of lime stone. In the modern world, Paris has become synonymous with fashion and architecture.
From Garde Du Nord, we left for DISNEYLAND PARK which is spread over 184 acres of land. I enjoyed some spectacular games, particularly like “It’s a small world, Alice Curicrus Labyrinth, Disneyland Railroad, Space Mountain and Space Shuttle.
While in Paris, how can one miss the magnificent “EIFFEL TOWER”, near to Seine river, which was built by an Engineer, Mr. Eiffel, in the year 1887 and was inaugurated in the year 1889. This entire structure, 320 meters tall, was built with 7000 tons of iron with four pillars and three lifts. Eiffel Tower is best to see with glittering lights during night time. We could see this after waiting in the serpentine queue and drizzling rainfall for two hours. Paris is very famous for its perfumes.
In Brussels, we visited the monument of “Manneken Pis” Statue, a charming fountain of a little boy urinating into the fountains basin. The legend behind this statue is of a soldier’s small son who was lost when he went to wash room and was never found. So his father made a monument in his memory. Brussels like London is a very disciplined and clean city. The dark and highest quality of Belgium Chocolates and Beer are famous all over the world. Lady Godiva is the best brand and most expensive amongst the chocolates. I bought some !!!! Belgium is also famous for Diamonds which is considered as the most expensive in the world. Guess what I did !!!!!????
Our next stop was Netherland (Holland). Here we visited a Cheese factory. Veg and Non-Veg cheese is made here which lasts for up to 10-15 years due to the cold temperature. The aroma of the cheese still lingers on.
The next day we set out for the beautiful “KEUKENHOF – TULIP GARDEN” spread over 128 acres of land. The eye catching tulip flowers are of thousand varieties and colors. This garden is open for visitors from 22nd March up to 20th May. The famous song “Dekhaa ek Khawb to ye sil sile huein”………….. From the movie “Silsila” was picturised in this very beautiful garden.
Our next halt was in Germany, travelling through the famous Black Forest of alpine trees to the City of Cologne. The very popular Black Forest Cake derives its name from this very beautiful landscape. We saw the Cologne Cathedral / Roman Catholic Church which during World War II, suffered 70 aerial bombs, but it did no collapse. It is said that some repair and maintenance work is always being carried out in some sections of the building throughout the year.
This was the part of the tour which I was most excited about, to be in the ‘heaven on earth’. Yash Chopra has made us Indians dream about this through his movies, and today I was going to realize it. I was in Switzerland. It’s quintessential beauty just takes your breath away. I actually had to pinch myself to believe it. Picturesque lush greens & snow capped mountains in the same view, it was a view to die for. Travelling through forest region by road, located in scenic Alps Mountains, gives you a feeling of never ending serene journey. In Switzerland milk and milk products are produced in large number. Also swiss watches and soldier’s knives, with many different kinds of blades are famous all over the world. Tourism industry of Switzerland has contributed a lot to the economy of this country.
The Rhine WaterFalls is the largest horizontal plain waterfall in Europe. It is located near Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland. To reach up to the Rhine, first we took a boat ride and then climbed the steep and narrow stairs to get the eye catching, and mind boggling view of Europe’s most powerful waterfalls. After we came out of this wet-wet world, I will not be exaggerating if I say, “Mumbai-ki-Khushboo” and mouth-watering “Batata Vada”, was served to us which was rather a surprise and a welcome change.
In Lucerne - Engelberg, Mt.Titlis is one of the most visited spots. This is 10,000 ft.above sea level. To go to the top, we have to travel by Titlis Rotair which is world’s first revolving cable car. On top, I enjoyed the thrilling Ice Flyer ride, saw the ice caves and snow sliding. It was an unforgettable experience, a place one would never like to come back from.
The next attraction of Switzerland is JUNGFRAUJOCH, located at the height of 3,454 meters, also known as – TOP OF EUROPE. To reach there you have to travel by Cogwheel train from Lauterbrunnen, a 45 minutes journey, which was a mind-blowing experience. All the four sides were covered with snow and the train travelling in between, it was, as if, the train was finding its way through the snow. It was some sort of a fairy tale ride for me. There is a travellator for the transportation of people to the Ice Palace where there are sculptures made of ice and also a 3D movie about them worth watching. One can also be a proud sender of postcard to friends and relatives from Europe’s highest altitude post office. The temperature at the highest altitude was then -5.37 degree. We were literary shivering with cold, but were lucky enough to be there at that time as Jungfrau Railway was celebrating its ‘Centenarial’ 100 years (1912-2012) of completion.
Trummelbach Falls in Switzerland is located at Lauterbrunnen district of Interlaken. It’s total height is 140 m. These are a series of ten-glacier waterfalls situated inside the mountain and is made accessible by tunnel lift, elevator and lights. This credit goes to the Swiss Engineers who have made it possible. One has to only see, to believe this stunning experience.
Then we visited the Dynamic SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL WORLD at Wattens, Austria. Mr. Daniel Swarovski was the founder of this colorful, glittering and glamorous world. The magnificent collection of jewellery and souvenirs in different designs are on display in the museum. This exhibition will truly take you to a fantasy world. Anybody in the world will get attracted to these crystals like a magnet. Our Tour Manager took a group photo of our group of 37 people at this mesmerizing place.
At Salzburg, we came across something very strange, i.e. colorful beggers begging in the air (Stumped!, So was I). These beggers color their full body with silver/metallic color, like a robotic statue and when sit on a chair fixed on to a pole, it gives a view of him levitating in the air. He also has a small box for the people to put money into it. After the person puts the money, he gives a greeting card to the person as a sweet gesture.
Throughout our tour, we were privileged enough to have continental breakfast and delicious Indian food for lunch and dinner.
Our travel concluded on 11th of May. Under the guidance and leadership of our Tour Manager, we thoroughly enjoyed the sixteen days ‘WONDERS OF EUROPE’ and shall cherish these beautiful moments and pleasant memories for ever.
So guys, what are you waiting for? It’s time to capture attractive locations before it is too late.
KEEP TRAVELLING, KEEP EXPLORING!!!
Ms. RASHMI R. SURVE