The Year That Was 2017:
I can’t believe another year is about to end in a day and it’s time again to stop and look back. To take stock of our journeys, not only in terms of travel but the journeys which opened a new horizon, a new meaning for both of us and helped us to see the world with diverse perceptions.
This year we decided to travel together more than we did in the past. We just wanted to do it. It was a joint decision. That doesn’t mean we do not travel alone, but less in number.
This year also saw us going on our epic trip of Central and East Europe spanning over 100+ days. On this trip, we visited a total of 11 countries and more than 40 towns. Most countries were new, some revisited. We did a lot of day trips also.
It was also the year when I was not really in the pink of my health.
This year we travelled abroad more than to Indian towns. Total of 14 countries and some part of India were explored. 🙂
So, without any further delay, we’ll show you a glimpse of our journeys. Only photos for each country.
My first international trip was to Finland and I loved being among reindeer and learnt a lot more about Sami tribe and their culture.
While I was in Finland, Vasu visited Sharjah. He was right in time for the Sharjah Light Festival when they have colored laser light shows on major monuments.
Our East Europe trip which we nicknamed as #NiVaEuro started from Germany, for the simple reason because we flew Lufthansa.
We explored Frankfurt, Trier, Cologne, Bad Homburg, Eltville, and Saxony region. We wish we had at least one month for Germany alone.
We flew in to Denmark where we spent 7 days in Copenhagen itself. We loved the countryside and the fact how important cycle is for the common man. The cyclists get a priority over vehicles everywhere. More on this later.
I had visited Poland earlier too but it was a first for Vasu. Out of all the countries that followed it, this was the most helpful, developed and charming country. Gdansk, Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, and Jelenia Gora were the cities that we explored.
Prague was our first stop. It’s a huge city with much history which, in our opinion, is not a task of 4-5 days. So obviously we weren’t satisfied with the time we spent here. We have to come here again. We also visited Brno for 4 days and Olomuc for another couple of days. Loved these comparatively smaller towns.
Hungary was next and we spent most of our time in Budapest itself. We were travelling slow, so spending time at one place made sense. Seven days in all, the beautiful Budapest needed more time. Besides Budapest, we also visited smaller towns like Szentendre.
Most of the time we were using Eurail Pass but we also had to keep count on our Schengen days. To make it more visible, we flew in to Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria from Budapest. Vasu will tell you why, in his post about Eurail.
Bulgaria was a completely different ballgame. Very different from other European countries, not that developed in terms of infrastructure etc but still it was Europe! And any European country is better than India when we talk about infrastructure. We did a round trip of Bulgaria starting with Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Madara and back to Sofia.
Next was Serbia and we took a train from Sofia to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. We will never forget this train journey for some reasons. We will also never forget the night train journey we took from Belgrade. We were singled out as Indians, our passports were seized at midnight while the train waited in the middle of nowhere and lot more. 🙂 Nevertheless, we enjoyed Serbia like any other country.
Slovakia had a lot more to offer us than expected. Again spent a week in Bratislava itself and also visited a few smaller towns like Pezinok and Tranava. We loved interacting with the locals and going to the same place at different time of the day.
Croatia was another gem though it rained a lot during our stay. I loved the trams juggling on zigzag tracks. We also visited some unknown touristy towns like Krapina, Sisak, Virazdin, Zabok etc.
If there is a country in which I would like retire, it is Slovenia. The country is extremely beautiful, full of natural beauty and very close to the Western Europe. I would like to go there again for a longer period to stay.
The first stop in Austria was Westendorff, a small comparatively non touristy ski town and it’s kind of a place where you can spend days together. Surrounded by snow-capped Alps, it has just around 200 houses. We visited this town to attend the Almabtrieb festival. We also visited other known cities like Innsbruck which we loved, Salzburg where we went to Sound of Music tour and experienced a few more attractions. We spent nearly a week in Vienna to round off and went to Munich to catch our flight back home.
Switzerland in December was for unveiling & inauguration of Charlie Chaplin’s ice statue on top of Europe Jungfrau, on his 40th memorial day. I was part of international media and was representing India. We visited Interlaken, Vevey, Grindelwald. It was a nostalgic trip as I was visiting the country after 19 years !
After the official tour got over, I stayed back and went to Geneva to explore the city on my own. I went to all those places where we lived and used to go and I found myself smiling all the time. 🙂
After coming from Europe, we made short trips to Delhi, and Lucknow. Lucknow was the first time for both of us. Lucknow has so much history and food that we could easily extend our trip by another week.
Next year, we are travelling from January itself. All domestic personal trips.
Now you decide for me, how the year 2017 treated us. 😀
If you want to travel places with us, I suggest you to join us on my Facebook Travel page.
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