Europe says, ‘Hello!’

Where next? What can I expect there? How to get there?

These were three questions I found myself asking strangers and new friends often, in the month I spent travelling solo in Europe recently. I only had my return flight ticket sorted in advance – Mumbai (India) to Geneva (Switzerland) and back – and gave Europe a chance to surprise me. It led me to gorgeous Swiss villages, lively towns in France and a bustling city in Spain, and Lichtenstein and Monaco.

I met several interesting people along the way, a lot many locals helped me, I assisted some travellers with directions myself, and a few asked me out for drinks! I stayed in a fancy hotel, couchsurfed, shared dorms with 30 other travellers and was offered a bed by friends of friends. I had an extremely unplanned trip, with the liberty of spending as much time as I wished in whichever place that caught my fancy.

A gorgeous evening in Nice, France

A gorgeous evening in Nice, France

I practiced broken French, have brought back some Catalan words and discovered that there actually are places where people absolutely do not speak English. I ticked off many items from my bucket list, which include wearing a bikini to a beach and setting off on an unplanned trip. I would consult the map, the hotel receptionist, my Couchsurfing host and people on the street, and come up with a place to go to, for the next day. I spent 3 days in Nice because I loved the French Riviera, a whole week in Barcelona and yet couldn’t get enough of the city, and merely half a day in Lichtenstein, because well, there’s not much to do.

I ate the best croissants in France, drank pitchers of spicy Sangria in Spain and sampled some of the best cheese in Switzerland. I saw impeccably dressed grannies smoking away in French cafes, snazzy cars in Monaco, sunsets in Switzerland that made me appreciate clouds and some insanely cute boys in Spain. I caught my train to France in the nick of time, almost missed all my luggage in Barcelona merely a day before my flight back to India and kind of ran out of money toward the end of the trip!

But I did have an exceptionally excellent time and would urge everyone to visit these parts of Europe and let them dazzle you. I am in the process of pitching stories about my travels to editors of various magazines and I’ll have some stories surfacing here, on the blog, too. Between that, we should have a complete picture of my experiences and the culture of the countries I visited.

Also, due are many thanks to my Schengen visa (I didn’t know Lichtenstein existed until Swiss locals told me about it), EuroLines buses and the French train system. I don’t know what I would’ve done if they weren’t in place.

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9 responses

  1. There is a new freshness to your writing, a spirit and ease that wasn’t there before. It seems like you’ve grown in ways I’ve always wanted to .This journey has really cleansed your soul and opened your mental and emotional horizons and I’m really, truly happy for you. Someday, I hope to do something as unplanned and crazy as this someday.

    1. Ah, thank you! Yes, this trip was indeed mind-blowing for me. And hey, I’m sure you’ll get to plan a similar trip soon, maybe with your friends, once you’re done with college! Good luck!

  2. I envy your life. >_< Where do you get all the free time from? what'd you do when you ran out of money? 😛 haha anyway sounds like a great trip! ^^

    1. Hey, Sharvil! I don’t need ‘free time’ for my travelling, because I count it as part of my work. I’m a freelance travel writer, so visiting places and writing about them constitutes my job.

      When I realised I was REALLY running out of money, I frantically sent out SOS emails to friends and later stayed over at a friend’s friend’s place.

      It was a great trip, yes!

  3. U DA GIRL!!! Everything sounds absolutely perfect! Even the running out of money part! 😛 I guess that is an experience as well! : ) Sounds like the ‘Eurotrip’ one would want to undertake! Good Stuff!

    1. Tushar, running out of money sounds adventurous and all that now, but back then, when I was only left with one 100-euro note in my wallet, I was alarmed!
      Yes, you must do one such trip, man.

  4. There’s something so unbelievably romantic about unplanned trips and just going along whatever crazy adventures that come your way. It’s about having fun and letting go and maybe just following your heart. I hope to do something like this- but for now, it must remain my ‘someday’ dream..
    It’s great to hear of all the adventures you had as you romped around Europe. Can’t wait to know more! 🙂

    1. Mythreyi! Yes, such trips are good for the health. They make you happy.
      If you start putting away money dedicatedly in your ‘Europe trip fund box,’ I think you’ll manage easily in a few months, and your dream will come true! 🙂

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