Europe; The Take aways

Cool vibes , happy streets, fine bier 🍻; with speciality of every nation, every area. drink till you drop in a very civilised manner.

Families , children and happy summer with everyone under the sun.

Queues and reading and the vintage trams, the kissing couples and love in the air

The happy pubs, dancing divas, neon lights and the chatters.

Cappuccinos and the sparkling glasses of wine going along the fine dine.

Smartly dressed men and women, enjoying the breaks , the teens just out of the school, having a fine exposure to the world of travelling, touring with their sparse beard and hormonal rush.

You don’t have to be something to deserve the break and the fun, everyone deserves it.

English not the centre of the universe, the chateau de France 🇫🇷 and many more are there with more hold than the English breakfast.

Any work , anytime, anyone , no gender is more equal then the other, if it’s for you, it’s for me.

Beautifully preserved and restored architecture, museums and the superb connectivity.

Homogeneous world , having met a lot of solo travellers, we are all more similar than we think we are.

Nature meets tech and lovely people aka Switzerland 🇨🇭. Proud people of a small mountainous nation.

Walk, walk, walk and walk, if not you can ride a bicycle to almost anywhere. Biking culture through out the Europe with roads made to suit the bicycle riders is amazing.

History was never made so fun and enjoyable with such importance to preserving it.

Beautiful way of recon and rebuilding, even the covers matches with the beautiful facade being repaired, with state involved in full force.

Paved streets and stumbling stones telling stories of the era bygone in its full splendour, giving feeling of stepping into the shoes of the geniuses of the times and at times feeling the horrors of the times too.

Beautiful flowers adorning the balconies, the bridges and streets, making it all so colourful and beautiful. The aesthetic sense of people from Paris ,Amsterdam, Switzerland is unparalleled.

Not Out of bounds

One delightful sight through out the Europe was, no work is out of bounds for any age and gender.

An evening in Paris

#Disclaimer: Long post and Bad pictures alert 😉

Day 1 of Paris and whaat a world it is ❤️

Paris is Regal, a marvel of 16th to 19th century, being home to merchants and artists from all over for 100s of years. Grand mansions still standing tall, Gothic to renaissance to haussmannian in architecture, carrying in them stories of centuries passed. King Louis XIV to Napoleon bonaparte ,Marie Antonio and the guillotine, the stories and the history go far and wide. Arc de triomphe which had been a symbol of victory for French people since French Revolution, a witness to the gory details of World War II is now a door way to Grand street champs-Ellysees.

Built in late 1889 for a world fair by Gustave Eiffel, Eiffel Tower who has become synonymous with Paris and needs no explanation. Paris is anyway Surreal ,vintage where every lane is picturesque. Depicting the history of French empire over the centuries with its well preserved architecture, Paris is indeed the romance and fashion capital of the world. Paris means life as how we expect it to be; happy, fun, full of grace, an Alive piece of art. Words won’t do justice, just few pics to attempt and rest for the people to go and feel it.

Disneyland is dreamy, It feels a parallel world.

It’s imagination let loose , it’s magical. Disney land is all fairy tales roped into one. Its a world of Walt Disney characters brought to life and more around us . It’s the Colors, the vibe and magic the whole time.

Paris is incomplete without louvre, one of world’s largest and most visited museums since 18th century, housing art and artefacts since 4000 BC, from Egyptian antiques, Greek and roman figurines to MonaLisa of Leonardo da Vinci collected over 700 years via expeditions, victories, gifts and purchase. Louvre is an art and a history lover’s paradise not a thing of one day, it needs multiple visits to see and absorb.

Belgium is the next door neighbour of france and so we do a quick visit of the medieval town of Brussels, with the grand city market aka grote markt, which was a market since medieval times for the merchants for a long over the globe, the famous mannequin piss and yummy waffles. The palace, grand opera and the music school give a sneak peek into the history of the the Bruges, a city of prominence during Holy Roman Empire. rPaved streets with colourful cafés and see of humans enjoying the summer, Brussels was worthy of more than a day.

As our time to move from the town comes close, I relax in this church in Brussels after tiring last four days, it gave me the needed respite.

Amsterdam a city of crazy parties , canals and architectural delight 17th century buildings, also The Anne frank .

How would you not write about this bank of Amstel ,a port since the Dutch east India company.

Famous for its streets and party hubs this is a place for anyone wanting to drown himself in beer and the vibe 💜💜.

Anne frank; a 14 year old victim of the holocaust, whose memoirs dating April 1942 to Feb 1944 while hiding in Amsterdam after being fled Germany ,tells story of a vivacious young girl full of dreams describing her days in nazi occupation being hidden, whose life ended in a concentration camp painfully ,after being caught. She represents millions of victims of nazi horror.

Beautiful flowers, trees ,wooden blocks and canals along the way, surreal to say the least. Built in a planned way by the wealth brought by the prospering business in 17th century; the golden era of port of amstel, with merchants building villas along the canals, which are well preserved as yet since 1500s telling stories of its glory back then.

The city on the port prospered by selling cheese and butter reached its glory in 17th century, being top centre of commerce in Europe.

A Dutch land famous for its cool 🚴‍♀️ bike culture,tulips, laid back vibes, and off course red light street.

Robust public transport is the USP and the vibe to drown it all and dance till you drop attitude. Amsterdam surely is a place to not miss in Western Europe.

Berlin : The historic (in a very recent as well as old sense) city witness to what not of the most tragic and mind boggling events of the history; the Holocaust and World War II and events that follows, the division of Germany between US , soviet, UK and france, East and the west Germany 🇩🇪 and the story of the ordeals which Germans keep very close to the heart.

The Berlin Wall; built in 1960s and got broken in nov 1989, the wall is the story in itself that can be told over days, May be insignificant to eastern world,it’s a big deal in itself.

How can you forget hitler when you write Germany and it’s very capital Berlin.

A city that displays the brutal past with no remorse, but message to never repeat the horrors again all over , from topography of terror, Berlin Wall, holocaust memorial to say the least of the places with display of that horror,the museums and exhibitions.

Night of the broken glass; marked the beginning of horrors to come, the persecution and then execution, laced with conspiracies of various kinds; it is still tough to believe, in modern time humans can unleash such horror on another group of humans.

The Brandon-berg gate which has been the witness to all the wars, revolts and uprisings in history of Germany ,including the famous Franco- german conflicts in times of Napoleon, the NAZI Germany and world wars, is a place to feel the hell of the times gone by.

City whose love for art and music is unparalleled , housing open air concerts ,exhibitions every fortnight ; featuring a magnificent piece of art in form of eastern side gallery, housing wall paintings of various artists spanning more than a km.

City full of graffiti in every nuke and corner; Berlin truly is a package for history , art lovers as well as the party hoppers. The bars and night clubs are an in thing too !

Prague :

The city in Central Europe which transports you in time to 17th century and before, with it’s medieval vibes. Part of Autriohungariain empire for a long time post 13th century to habsbargs to communists till 1989, now a full blown republic, Prague has a lot to offer.

As we landed in the city with drizzling rain at middle of night , the city landscape with dim yellow lights welcomed us to another era. Tranquillising to say the least with its lanes spanning centuries old buildings, theatres and places of importance. Powder tower to The old town square which is the beating heart of the city with tapping of horses ; the church of lady tyn standing in its glory like a crown to the head of Bohemia.

With Prague; there comes a name whose work makes head go dizzy, his depth is mind numbing and difficult to decipher at first. Franz Kafka got recognition posthumously but was known amongst the literally giants even then. Been a part of intellectual club of Prague with likes of Albert Einstein being one, he was a loner with nothing but love for literature.

As I been around the museum fantastically made considering his work in mind and influences on his lives, With Shiv Batalvi vibes, enigmatic aura, it in turn leaves you kafkasqued.

Prague is incomplete without the talk of the iconic Charles bridge, 650 years old made by Charles the 4th, Beginning with a humongous gate, adorning 15 statutes on each side of the bridge railing , depicting various stories from folklore. It used to be the only bridge for centuries to connect old and the new side. If there is one structure that identifies with Prague that is Charles bridge.

Walking along the lane down from the middle of Charles bridge, along the lanes of older canals is another story linked to the beginning of the republic of Praha, The Lennon wall. Assassinated on 1980s after a successful bid as “ Beatles ”he became the symbol of rebel against the communist forces in the city, Where the artists and the commoners demonstrated their anger by wall paintings, messages and graffiti all over the wall. Till today since then , it’s a site for the rebels, currently having thousands of poems hanging, written by people under the #westandwithukraine .

Budapest :

One of the most awaited destinations of our trip for me, budapest was indeed a full package. Again a part of AustrioHungarian Habsburg empire ,a bigger seat of power within it, with Hungarian as the main language and forint as the currency. Budapest had something to offer for all kinds of tastes. Thermal water bath from it’s natural hot springs is a famous tourist activity, with bathing hubs having multiple pools, sauna, spa and everything else from food to alcohol. It was indeed a very relaxing and fun experience from the tiredness of overnight journey, from Prague to Budapest.

A clubbed city made less than a century back clubbing the towns of buda and pest on either side of majestic “Danube The River” with old buda. Most famous cruise trip along the banks of Danube with beautifully lit iconic buildings on either side buda castle ,the chain bridge, one of the largest and beautiful Hungarian parliament was relaxing and refreshing.

I had planned 3 whole days for the place and still found it less with so much to do in the city, to go with a feeling of contentment. With a young girl rigi as our tour guide, and my brain itching for some more of history, we got along on a walking tour to the pest side, seeing the st. Isteven basilica largest roman Catholic Church in the city, to the liberty square having a German, soviet monument with American embassy on each side, truly a political master piece, with statues of senior Bush and franklin Roosevelt along the path.

With a political history resembling Prague, Hungary became the republic in 1989, after being a communist state for 40 years after the Second World War, due to the split of Soviet Union. By allying with nazi germany , Hungary also had one of the largest number of Jews deported to concentration camps, dying eventually with few thousand returning at the end of the World War II. The stumbling stones outside the homes along various lanes in Budapest tells the story of its occupants, who lost their lives to nazi fascism, leaving no one behind.

The parliament of Hungary built in 1902 is one of the most beautiful parliaments in the world, housing the crown with jewels of the emperor of the place and fantastic wall paintings and the art work. As suggested by a friend we had sumptuous meal at the Govinda restaurant near the parliament, saturating our Indian taste buds with fulfilling taste.

With a tram line parallel to Danube started in 1896, buda pest has one of the oldest intracity rail lines. Buda castle, the palace of the Habsburg’s which got destroyed multiple times, including in world war II, now has part of it repaired to a great extent but the castle district with st.Matthew church, fisherman’s bastion and areas of old Jewish settlements, giving magnificent views of the city from its height make for a delightful visit.

Ruin bars of budapest needs a special mention to say the least, party till you drop with its happening bars and dances open till early morning, with people slogging in never ending corners of the rooms with all colourful lights and feel of a ruin.

The last day at budapest was spent visiting a colourful sleepy town; Szetendre, on the out skirts of city with lots of pictures and lots of shopping 🛍, being a little less heavy on pocket, after all the trip ;).

The street side singers are a delight to the eyes through out the Europe , the why not the beautiful town down the Hungary ❤️.

Evening spent lazying around the Margret island, a piece of land bifurcating the Danube into two, forming a go to place of city folks for some fun and picnic.

To the amazement of tourists the night of our last day was the national day celebration for the Hungary, which got postponed due to bad weather from its original date 21st August. What a sight, half n hour of never seen before fire works lit the sky over the Danube ,along the castle, bridges and throughout the city sky, leaving thousands of watchers gathered on the bank of the river spell bound.

Vienna :

The capital of Austria , is considered the most beautiful city of Europe by many. With the famous empress sissy and her stories all around, this indeed is a town as beautiful as the Habsburg queen.

City of Sigmund the Freud, the Bavarian alps niche is scenic with the grand palaces depicting grandeur of the Habsburgs. Giant library housed in the hopsberg palace home to 10.9 million books since 13th century tells of the vision the empire had for its capital. Linguistically German, with a bit indifferent aka snobbish people Vienna in itself is different in its vibe from other cities.

Wien was home to legend of symphonies Mozart for a long time and thus comes the love for the opera and musical 🎵 concerts that continues till the day. Vienna proudly hosts the musical opera every evening in its vintage Opera House that partially survived World War II and fully restored post the war, demonstrating the love for the art and music weinese have.

Magnanimous hopsburg palace to the summer palace of the empire at schonbrunnen , all tell the story of lavish life of Maria Theresa; the Queen mother of Europe, as she is popularly known as and the kin.

During our stay of less than two days in Vienna , we saw a beautiful museum of ethnography, music and armoury only to find it enormous to be contained in few hours, the palaces houses a huge collection of them, apart from a huge library as I mentioned which we could not see due to restoration work.

The wanderland Schweiz : Suisse; land of picturesque mountains 🏔, breathtaking sceneries, Swiss watches and chocolates the Lindt 🍫.

Plush green grass fields with fine roads passing between them, clubbing nature with the tech in a serene way; smoothly, without disturbing a bit.

The splendid Swiss offers you finest high tech to the last mile of its difficult terrain, making going to the peak of the mounts walk on cake, with its fantabulous cable cars and vintage cog wheels 🛞 like icing on the same.

Variety of options for all kinds of travel from ferries ⛴ to smooth SBB trains running like wind, to cable cars and steep terrain trains 🚂, smoothly covered in the passes offered hassle free for the seamless experience ,the thing probably Swiss specialises in.

As I wrote a separate light hearted post on how it is DDLJ that came in my mind in Switzerland as I landed. It is not absolutely wrong to say it is them who made it famous for india, seeing sooo many of us there, from couples to families, somehow I found the most number of Indians in Swiss land in whole Europe trip.

Cow grazing the lush green fields, with mountains echoing the sounds of their 🔔 Treichel; the bell in neck, that feels utter melody to the ears in the serene silence of nature.

The zentralbahn SBB; the Swiss central network of rails, which covered almost all our travels in and around the city of Lucern, We went from the Mount pilatus ;on the base of which the city sits, with the steepest train track in the world almost 75 degrees to the ground , to Lauterbrunnen the most picturesque town at base of the tallest peak , the top of Europe;janfraughn.

From the Marvellous Brienge based rotherhorn with steam engine 🚂 train giving awesome view of the lakes the bringe and thun to the town of interlaken , as the name suggests , town between the two lakes with three peaks of the alps surrounding it ; also the town where some of the scenes of iconic DDLj were shot( the famous flower prank scene )

The mount titlis; best of Swiss alps with snow capped mountains, glacier lakes to the highest suspension bridge, giving goose bumps and the breathtaking view of the range.

The mount also boasts of a DDLJ cutout at the peak, see this is what success looks like 🥰.

This post can go really long if I go on writing , so just going with what comes to my mind the most, not trying to cover it all as it would be pages and pages without a doubt. Last but not the least, the aesthetic sense of the Swiss and all Europeans is worth a mention, beautiful window displays in shops , multicoloured flowers adorning the balconies and what not, leaving it here with some pics …

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