Europe

Western Europe – A memorable trip

                                    Amazing Western Europe

I have been travelling to Europe and South Asian countries frequently and some times for long durations so I am aware of the problems which Indians can face while travelling as tourist in these countries. My all official trips were very busy and I could really not enjoy and visit the country as a full time tourist. Fortunately my company Samsung sponsored me with  family for Europe trip and seeing my past experiences I preferred to go through a branded tour operator.
The usual difficulties in Europe : Difficulties which a person can face while travelling in Europe with family is that these are highly expensive countries, Indian restaurant is scarcely available, taxi charges are high. If you know some Pakistani/else cook they can drop packed meals at your place for $8-$10 but as tourist it is difficult. Also in European countries there will be occasional fairs (Mela) and that time you may have to vacate the hotel on 1 day notice. There is no mercy by them in that situation. Also if by chance you travel to a country during these fair days, you may not get hotel at all. So need to be very careful and check fair dates if you are booking hotel yourself. On top of that we as Indian always convert dollar to rupee every time at back end.
Below is the comparison of expenses if we travel on our own and tour Operator.

Note : The costs are as per year 2016.

Head Comment  Personal trip expenses (17 days)
Rates Y2016
Trip with Tour Operators (Y2016)
Cheap hotels: $60 pd
Average hotel : $130 pd
Luxury hotels: $300 pd
Cheap hotels will be risky, not in good areas $2210
Taxi\Rail Average $120 pd including site seeing $2040
Lunch, dinner, breakfast If you use your own breakfast then minus $120 $425
Admission fee at tourist places average $10 pd $150
Emergency Expenses (Toilet charges etc) $60
Total $4885 = Rs. 3,17,525

Comparision of Own Customized travel and package tours

Own customized tour Package tour
Over all cost is more Cost is lesser as package operators get heavy discounts
Rail passes http://www.raileurope.co.in/ or http://www.eurail.com/
Pass of one country does not work in other country. I suggest to use local Europe bus service which will take you to most of Europe.
Air fare is comparatively less
Need to live on bread, pizza, ready to eat which is difficult for 15+days tour The Indian food/breakfast served is absolutely luxurious.No veg/Non veg issue.
They arrange for hotel stay in minimum 3 star hotels which will be very costly if we book on our own. Indian Breakfast/Meals  is served in hotel as Buffett.
Use tricks like museum free entry day,use lockers at rly st, Ask for student offers or discounts, travel just before season begins(Apr to Sep is season), cigarettes are very costly, search for hostels, use http://www.hostelworld.com/ Cost includes most of the entry fees, Boarding and lodging charges, major entry fee. Optional tours will be there. So keep additional dollars for this.Normally all optional trips can be done in $250.
Local transport costly, Low cost flights like Ryan Air, Easyjet do not operate from main airport. So catching flight by taxi is costly Not applicable
You can extend stay if you like the place Not possible
Since travelling only with your family, you do not meet new people from across different states Meet all kind of people from businessman, actors, share brokers, engineers, doctors
No one else entertains you In bus there are many other co-passangers who entertain and gossip.Indian songs/movies in bus
Not Suitable for families, senior citizens, ladies, children. Adventurous trip Suitable for families, senior citizens, ladies, children. Not Adventurous but memorable trip.

Tour Itenary:

Visiting City Train Journey   Hotel Stay
Rome Stay for 1 night Day1
Florence,Pisa Train Rome->Florence->Pisa Stay at Pisa Day2
Venice Pisa ->Venice Stay in Venice 1 night Day 3
Insbruck Venice->Insbruck(Austria) Stay at Insbruck in lap of Alps Day 4
Linkestien, Zurich, Rhine falls Venice -> Linkestien
Linkestien->Zurikh
Zurikh ->Rhine Falls
Stay at Engelberg in Switzerland Day 5
JungFrau,Local city visits Engelberg Stay at Engelberg in Switzerland Day 6,7,8,9
Black Forest Engelberg-> Black Forest (Drooba) Stayed in Heidelberg Day 10
Rhine cruise, Rhine cruise->Heidelberg Heidelberg->Cologne Stayed in Heidelberg Day 11
Amsterdam Cologne-> Amsterdam Stayed in Amsterdam Day 12
Brussels, Paris Amsterdam->Brussels->Paris Stayed in Paris Day 13,14
Paris->London London Stayed in London Day 15,16
London->Mumbai Day 17

 

25/4/2008 :  Blore->Mumbai :  9 PM flight> Met Bhappi Lahri and family at Mumbai airport. So start was musical.
Day 1 : Quatar Airways.

Flight was not so good but could manage.The tour guide also was travelling in same flight to help us. Reached Rome around 11 AM day time. Directly proceeded to see Rome. St  Peter’s Basilica : Started by Romans in 4th century -> dilapidated -> again build in 17th century afresh. I only used to hear about this church in news and really it was worth. Very good gardens around where Pope goes for daily morning walk under survillance camera, Swiss guards ( Must be bachelors, less than 25 yrs). I asked why Swiss guards only. Guide told that
because Swiss are assumed to be highly loyal :-). Saw Vatican Post office, the Pope speech dais, Pope house from outside.

Vetican Post Office

Vetican Post Office

Colosseum

Colosseum

Colosseum (A.D. 70-72) : famous for gladiatorial combats and wild animal fights. Guide told that Emperor Nero lived in 1st century at this place before great Rome fire took place. I had heard in childhood ” Rome jalta raha Nero bansuri bajata raha”.
This building shows the power and brutality and warriorship, royalty of Romans in their time. Amazingly the stones and materials of Colosseum were plundered for use in local buildings and even for St.Peter’s church till 18th  century.

Roman Forum :  Built in 700 BC. It was stunning to see this remarkable very old dilapidated structure telling its story.
Need to be very careful in this city against any thefts. Stayed in Rome for a night.
Day 2 : Started for  florence and Pisa, after lunch started for PISA, stayed in PISA
Florence was founded in 59 BC as a settlement for former soldiers who were allotted land by Julius Caesar.
Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers : 15th Century. Completed in 140 years. Amazingingly beautiful church. Florence history is very complex. Better to understand its history before visit.
PISA : About 13 feet displaced from center so far. Completed  in 1470 AD.

Pisa Leaning Tower

Pisa Leaning Tower

Stayed in amazing hotel in Pisa. I heard its breakfast ranked among the best in Europe.
Here one incident happened. One group of local girls came near to my one co-passenger when we were walking on road. One girl forcibly pushed her hand in his pocket and robbed and coolly crossed the other side of road. Seeing lot of Bangladeshis selling small -small items.
But overall Pisa was so beautiful that whenever if I want to dream of a good place I remember Pisa and in India Hampi.
Day 3 : At 8 AM started for Venice 1 PM reached Venice. Stayed in Venice
Need not describe Venice. Very old city. Reminded me of Banaras. Hoses surrounded by water. Take a ride in Boat “Gandola”. Do not miss that. Saw glass factory, Passed through Mussolini bridge the bridge where train and bus go together. Just walked in local streets, had coffee, gossips as if I was in Banaras/Allahabad….
Day 4 : Insbruck ( Austria). stayed.

Austria Insbruck

Austria Insbruck

We were in lap of Alps. Alps beauty was at stones throw.
In fact what i felt that I wasted my studies by not  coming for Higher studies to Austria. We stayed in Hotel Alpine. Saw Beauty of Austria
Day 5 : Linkestien, Zurich, Rhine falls.

Linkestien King Palace

Linkestien King Palace

Rhine Falls

Rhine Falls

 

Started from Venice in Morning and reached Linkestien,  Zurich in 3 hrs. It was amazing scenery between Venice to Switzerland.
Italy I will say is one of the most beautiful countries. Took Rhine cruise for 2 hrs.
Beauty wise Italy->Austria->Switzerland. Stayed in Engelberg hotel in Switzerland
Day 6,7 : JungFrau. Stayed in Engelberg hotel in Switzerland.

JungFrau-Top Of Europe

JungFrau-Top Of Europe

No need to describe. Many people  would have seen it. It is called top of Europe. Here a hotel is run by an MP who is one of the richest person in Switzerland. I heard he serves meals himself to customers.
Is wonderful place. There are chances of being lost here so be very careful if with children. Saw Ice castle, took coffee and all and felt like we are on honey moon 🙂  Cheers….
Really speaking I felt that what ever I paid for the trip it was worth over here. Rest all will be bonus.Really it is true.
Day 8,9 : Stayed in Engelberg hotel in Switzerland.

Switzerland hotel- Tterrace

Switzerland hotel- Tterrace

Engelberg Switzerland Local walk

Engelberg Switzerland Local walk

Some people went to one more place but we avoided that. In stead we too preferred to roam around streets of Engelberg. It was so so sweet day. Sitting on road side, eating ice cream, phot with locals there, going aroung shops. Rest where ever u like, photography and videos.The hotel name was The Terace, one of the oldest hotelsd in Switzerland.
Day 10 :   Black forest drooba, Heidelberg, Stayed in Heidelberg
Beautiful place. Many samsungers have already sent his.
Day 11 :Rhine cruise, Rhine cruise->Heidelberg-> cologne .

Rhine Cruise

Rhine Cruise

Heidelberg Germany -Cologne Church

Cologne Church

One more Rhine cruise today.Reached Heidelberg. Saw Steffi Graff fathers house. Heidelberg university. There are countless Nobel prizes from this  University. Saw Sanskrit department here. Saw the havoc caused by World war here. Cologne Cathedral:  Construction of Cologne Cathedral commenced in 1248 and was halted in 1473, leaving it unfinished. Work restarted in the 19th century and was completed, to the original plan, in 1880 The cathedral suffered fourteen hits by aerial bombs during World War II. Badly damaged, it nevertheless remained standing in an otherwise completely flattened city. The twin spires were an easily recognizable navigational landmark for Allied aircraft
Day 12 : Amsterdam : Country of flowers and canals.Stayed in Amsterdam

After Lunch in Amsterdam

After Lunch in Amsterdam

 

 

I thought if I have to settle abroad I will settle here or in Austria. In fact I felt I wasted life by not settling in Holland. Here some kind of drugs are allowed in cakes and come with some patented flavors. Saw the heaven on earth the KukenHoff garden and Mini
Amsterdam called Rotterdam , wind mill. Dairy factory etc.Had 2 hours cruise in river Amstel.
Day 13 : Brussels  on way to Paris
Beautiful city. Saw Atomium, Town hall
Day 14Reached Paris
Hotel was not so good but City was throbbing with youth. To me Paris looked a combination of old and new city but congested.The city was marvelous in Night and very fancy street lights,. I never imagined that I will see Eiffel tower in my life. I thank Samsung that at least I could think of this journey. Saw the Eiffel tower sparkling at 12 Night. Had cruise in River Seine.
Day 15 : Paris to London.

Paris- Seine River Cruise

Paris- Seine River Cruise

We were sitting in Bus and bus was in underground train compartment.
30 Minutes travel in English channel. Reached London. Saw Madam Tussadh Museum.
Took photo with Einstien, Sachin Tendulkar, Ameer Khan….. Took local trains for personal travles.
Visited some friends houses.
Day 16 : Left for India from Heathro Airport.

I wonder I did not see any proper security at this airport and was one of the most crowded airports seen so far.It was a regalia treat, royal treat, amazing and voluptuous lunches and dinners, amazing breakfasts, Amazing hotels, Tour guides, jovial co-passengers.
I still suggest to go by packaged tours to really feel princely and comfortable

Categories: Europe

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