A few weeks back, I travelled to Europe. Europe has always been my dream destination and it kind of still is. I used to google pictures of different places in Europe and always wonder how would it be to see them with my own eyes. Little did I imagine, it’s going to be so soon. This makes the traveller inside me cry with tears of joy.
I think I’m too lucky as an individual to have it ticked off from my bucket list so soon. Well, thanks to my mum for independently sponsoring this entire trip and being such a great company throughout!
I am going to start writing from the day we actually left home, so you get detailed information on almost everything from the beginning. I am also going to include travel tips and suggestions wherever possible. Let’s get started!
Day 01: Our flight to London was at 4:20 am from Mumbai, so we left by 11pm from our house. The formalities took a hell lot of time, (trust me, people work slower at night) and there was a long line for immigration as well.
We were travelling through Etihad airways and the flight was via Abu Dhabi. It took us about 2 and a half hours to reach there. Few formalities at Abu Dhabi airport and we were all set for London.
The total time it took us to reach London was about 5 hours. My excitement level was at peak but I was equally tired because of the long waiting.
Travel tip: Avoid carrying too many handbags if you’re immigrating. A backpack with just one handbag should pretty much hold all the stuff you will need on board.
Etihad has pretty good service, the staff is polite. To kill time, I ended up watching Tamasha in the plane (I didn’t like it, honestly!)
I couldn’t believe the fact that I was actually flying to London so I was worried if we would really make it or if our plane would…
Anyway. Finally, after much waiting, we arrived in London! LONDOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!
To see green fields from the top was such a beautiful sight. This was, as I mentioned earlier, my first international trip. Hence, to just see a foreign country with my own eyes felt so dreamy. It was a gorgeous view.
By the time, we reached London, I was beyond tired. Took us a while to get the formalities (boring parts) done at the Heathrow Airport.
I was also stressed about the luggage. C’mon, of course.
We got out of the airport without much stress, and then straight into our bus. I remember getting out of the airport and realising how fresh the air felt. Best.
We stayed at Hotel Heathrow, which is pretty close to the airport.
That day we only ate and relaxed. And oh, of course, connected to Wi-Fi.
But boy, it was finally happening.
Day 02: The beginning of the tour itself included a lot of things. We ate our breakfast in the hotel at Smith’s bar and Kitchen. Love love love English breakfast!
We then got introduced to our bus driver – Mr. John! We then had to pick up our local tour guide – Melissa. She was waiting for us at the National Museum. From there, we started travelling towards Buckingham Palace!
I wasn’t expecting this, but it was too windy and cold in London. Like, of course, I knew it’s going to be cold but not this cold.
It was also the Queen’s birthday week, so there were a lot of preparations that were keeping the city busy. Few roads were closed, there were practices everywhere. It was insane!
|Our bus passed through the Hyde Park which was pretty crowded and then we reached the Royal Buckingham Palace. I was hoping we could see it but unfortunately, we couldn’t see the ‘Change of Guards’ ceremony. In spite of that, we spent some time around and clicked pictures.
After Buckingham, we went to the Tower of London Museum to see the Koh-i-noor (and other things too)! It is located on the north bank of River Thames.
Here, we got to see the guards as well and I did touristy things. (Read: clicked a selfie)
Melissa was kind enough to give us enough information everywhere.
The museum was pretty amazing but the highlight has to be the diamond. Mom literally couldn’t stop adoring it. We were there for about an hour.
You aren’t allowed to click pictures inside the tower. Apparently, there have been several ghost incidents in the tower too. I am not saying it. Google it.
Anyway, the entrance of the tower gives you a spectacular view of London Bridge as well.
We then proceeded to the London Eye. I was too excited for this. After having seen a bunch of crazy pictures of the Wheel on Instagram, I was going crazy.
It is insanely huge!
|Clicked from the bus.
Each of the passenger capsules can easily carry up to 25 passengers which gives you a rough idea about the size. It is placed on the South bank of the River Thames and is also known as the Millennium Wheel.
The London Eye has too many British feels for some reason. It gives you this entire view of the city, makes you adore it from the top.
I honestly couldn’t stop myself from clicking pictures and at the same time soaking myself in the feels. This was when I was in my best mood. This felt unreal after a point because I was seeing London with my own eyes. I might sound too excited, but trust me this was unbelievable.
|The view from the top.
The ride lasted for about 25 minutes. We went for lunch after that to a restaurant called ‘Bangalore Express.’
In the evening, we went to Madame Tussauds. Again, a super popular tourist attraction. I am not a fan of museums so I was just walking through quickly until my mother pointed out to
I couldn’t believe it. I had no idea about this! They looked so real.
The end of the museum also included a ‘pride of London’ sort of ride that takes you through the history of London.
Later, we grabbed a cup of coffee and walked through the streets. It was kinda windy.
|How do you like my shoes?
Oh, I also went to Baker Street and saw a bar named after Sherlock Holmes!
I loved every bit of London. The streets are so beautiful. The red buses, black taxies, gorgeous buildings, red phone booths and wide roads. Everyone’s dressed like a fashion blogger. The vibe is so chilled. There is hustle bustle but it still ends up looking attractive. It’s also quite calm and the air feels so fresh. Would love living here some day.
I remember sitting outside the museum just looking at the people, the roads. It’s just nice to absorb the city as it is. It doesn’t have to do something extraordinary to stand out. It just has to be what it is.
Day 03: I wish we could spend more time in London. However, we had to leave for Paris! Trust me, I was beyond sleepy. I had to get up at 4 am because we had to catch a train (the Eurostar) from St.Pancras to Paris Gare Du Nord! Eurostar is the fastest train Europe has. We had to finish some formalities at the railway station. Their station can easily beat most of our malls.
The train journey in itself was enchanting. I am the kind of person who doesn’t sleep on a bus/train because I am always admiring the view!
I somehow figured the weather in Paris is going to be bad and I was so right. It was raining cats and dogs!
It took us only 2.5 hours to reach Paris.
When we reached the station, we had to quickly pull our luggage out and run towards the bus. Run, because as I mentioned before, it was raining. It was a 10 minutes’ walk that turned into a 5 minutes’ run! LOL.Travel tip: Be very careful about your luggage at railway stations.
Once we got into the bus, we got introduced to our second driver – Andre from Greece.
We quickly went for lunch and met our next local tour guide – Katrina! She was upset because of the rain and kept complaining about rash driving in Paris. Honestly, she wasn’t the only one.
When you talk about Paris, you talk about Eiffel tower. It’s obvious.
This was also the time when the kids in the bus got super excited and made up their own song on the tower. Nice.
Our bus parked few miles away from the tower since there were some parking issues so we had to walk. All thanks to the fog, I couldn’t spot the tower from a distance. No kidding. I couldn’t!
Until we finally got real close to it and I was like DAMN. It’s BLOODY HUGE!
The fog covered it’s head but I could understand how majestic it is.
There wasn’t much crowd since it was drizzling and I don’t know if that was good or bad. However, we got in pretty fast.
Otherwise, on normal days, it takes almost 2 hours in the queue.
In the elevator, a French man started talking to me in French. AND I DON’T UNDERSTAND FRENCH! Because my school was nice enough to teach us Sanskrit. Hmm.
Anyway, when we reached the top, I was so excited. But, to my surprise, we saw pure white windows!
Person 1: Kya chal raha hai?
Person 2: Fog.
It was too funny, but we still had a great experience overall. Luckily, the first two levels gave us a good view.
While we were coming down, we got stuck in the elevator for about 20 minutes. Our Seine river cruise also got cancelled because of the heavy rains.
This day was clearly jinxed.
After the tower, we went to Champs Elysees, Place de la Concorde and L’Arc de Triomphe.
|Arc De Triomphe
It was still raining! So, we didn’t spend much time there either.
Paris has narrow roads, a lot of wall art and cafes. I was told that people here smoke a lot and are really particular about what they wear. It was also in Paris, where I saw few Syrian refugees.
Day 04: This day was so much better! Why? Because, Disneyland! No matter how old you are, Disney excites the hell out of you.
We had an amazing time here. The place was so cute and merry! The staff was also really friendly. The vibes were great! People looked so happy. There was this happy music that was playing everywhere.
Imagine having a job at Disney land!
In one of the train rides, I met this family with a really adorable kid. The kid kept telling us there is a duck outside, and none of us could really spot it. Later I realised, he was fooling us. But, cute kid.
We went for a couple of rides, had pizza for lunch and were there till evening.
Post Disney, we went to our hotel to chill for a bit.
Late evening, we went for the Pardis Latin Cabaret! Yes, Cabaret!
Boy, the show was so entertaining. We were served Indian food along with red wine and champagne. The staff here was awesome! They called us ‘our friends from India’. Delightful experience! Great music and a very different atmosphere. I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. It was nice to see people from different parts of the world, come together and appreciate a wonderful show. People were clapping, cheering, laughing. It was an experience of it’s kind.
When the show got over, we were very tired but we still decided to roam around the city at night. And, I am glad we made this decision!
Paris at night is like a different city altogether. There are lights everywhere. The roads are empty. It begins to feel like an another world. It was drizzling and was getting colder than the day. We reached Eiffel tower 10 minutes before 12 to see how it lights up. We were standing right in front of the tower, waiting for the moment. It looked so pretty and then it turned magical! At 12, it started sparkling. And trust me, suddenly Paris was worth it. It was now raining but I didn’t want to miss the view. So, I was standing there with my hands shivering, trying to get one decent picture of this magical beauty. And, here’s what I got.
|The quality sucks. But, I will never forget this moment.
Day 05: After spending two nights in Paris, we left with mixed emotions for Brussels. On our way, we had to wait for an hour or more because our driver had to pay some fine. I wouldn’t tell you why and how huge the fine was, but please don’t mess around with traffic rules and police in Europe. Just don’t.
It took us about four hours to finally reach Brussels. The entire journey was damn beautiful. Green fields with so many cows. It was kinda gloomy and windy.
We stopped for a photo stop at Atomium.
After this, we headed to the Grand Place, Town hall, Guild houses, Serclaes Monument and the Manneken Pis Statue of the little boy.Grand Place is one of the most important places in Brussels.
Here we bought ourselves some dark chocolate and ate waffles. You can’t miss out on dark chocolates when in Belgium.
I liked Brussels more than Paris. It was calmer. The buildings are so beautiful. People were cycling. There seemed no hurry. After this, we proceeded to Schiedam, Netherlands for our night stay. We were super exhausted.
Day 06: Our day started with Madurodam which is in the Hague district of Netherlands! It was amaaaaaazing. You feel like a giant invading a city but it feels good. Every object in Madurodam has been built at a scale of 1:25.
After this, we left for Amsterdam city canal cruise. It was peaceful and was full of TFIOS feels. Hahaha.
We even got to see Anne Frank’s house from outside. In the cruise, they give you earphones that you can plug in to hear information about the city as you travel through it.
The city is amazing. There are small cafes, bridges and houses have long windows. People were waving at us from other cruises.
In Amsterdam, you will find a lot of bicycles. The city has a huge parking space only for cycles. Google it, it’s insane!
I loved Netherlands! It was just too beautiful for the eyes. It seemed like a happy place where you would want to settle. I am definitely going back here.
After this, we left for Cologne, Germany for a photo stop at the Cologne Cathedral.
We went to our hotel. This was also Andre’s last day with us!
Day 07: In the morning, we bid goodbye to Andre and met our new driver – Laslow. I remember Andre telling us, “The journey from here is very beautiful.” He was right! We left for the Black Forest region and had lunch there. The hotel had specially prepared Indian chats with a lot of black forest cake. It was a surprise!
Then we visited the Cuckoo clock factory. We were shown a quick demonstration of how the clocks are made by a Punjabi guy who worked there. He kept us all hooked by cracking some desi jokes. Interesting!
The weather was cloudy and we knew what to expect. But, this day was too exciting as we were getting close to Switzerland. The journey to Switzerland was the best. Vast green fields, some sunshine, some dark clouds, cows, a lot of cows and pretty roads. I am going to be honest. Switzerland felt like a dreamy place. It doesn’t seem real. It feels heavenly.
Switzerland as a country is known to be tourism friendly. You will see sign boards at tourist spots in different languages too. In the evening, we reached Rhine falls – the largest plain waterfalls in Europe. There was a board that said ‘Aapka swaagat hai!’ in Hindi.
We did a small boat ride that lets you take the stairs to reach the top of a mountain. The view becomes better! Though the stairs were really steep and people couldn’t stop clicking selfies at the top. But, we finally made it there. I quickly clicked some pictures and got down. The stairs were slippery too. I had my camera bag (it’s HEAVY) along with my backpack. Coming down was an adventure in itself!
After the Rhine falls, we headed over to this stall where we got to have masala chai and vada pav. Yeah, Indians are apparently everywhere.
Then, we headed to our hotel in Zug. SwissEver. I loved our room!
Finally got some time off this day to chill and make Whatsapp calls.