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BANGALORE INDIA
18 days in Europe with Chariot World Tours
Mar 31, 2019 12:47 PM 2016 Views

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My wife and I visited Europe starting May.10 2018 for 18N/19D from Bengaluru. I used to send a very brief write up daily on the sights, food, rooms, attractions etc. to my family back in Bengaluru which I am reprinting here with some slight changes.


Hope it helps to give a proper day to day impression of our marvellous trip.


Overall it was an amazing trip and worth every rupee we spent making lifetime memories for my wife and I.


[10/05, 10:57] Narendra: My first impressions: London.


Am in a hotel near the airport in the outskirts.


Neat. and small hotel rooms compared to US and Asia.


Roads and surroundings narrow and clean giving the impression of a old culture with a civic sense.


Good Courtesy.


Well dressed.


Indian and other immigrants feel lonely and miss their country terribly.


Noticed the same in the US.


Going to the heart of London next couple of days.


Will try to give you impressions.


[11/05, 11:00] Narendra: London Day 2


Chilly day but pleasant.


Had a continental breakfast with scrambled eggs, bread, croissants, juice.


Visited Swaminarayan temple. Took 4 hrs and people from India really don't need another temple visit while touring.


Tower of London, formerly a dungeon turned museum.saw only the crown jewels part.saw the Kohinoor. and Culinnan 1 and 2. All Indians grumbled about treasures being looted from India!


Nice visit with lots of cute children on visits and more than half the visitors being Indian from all parts of India.


On to London eye.fabulous view.London is really beautiful!


It took us more than 4 hrs


A short 4 D movie on London was really nice .


On to Oxford street.lovely, more like Manhattan shopping


I love to see well dressed beautiful people moving around and a person singing with a guitar on the street.


Bought a London mug each for the Children.


Had dinner at Saravana Bhavan and back to the room.


Good day it was.


[12/05, 10:32] Narendra: London Day 3


Visited Madame Tussauds at 11am. Was good.


The pictures say it all.I desperately rushed out to visit the Sherlock Holmes museum which is only 4 minutes walk from Madame Tussauds but the guide didn't allow because of time.Missed it.


Went next to Buckingham palace while passing all the noted famous places on the way like Piccadally circus, Trafalgar S quare, Regent Street etc.It was all fabulous.we had an English guide for that particular time to explain some history of the places and royal family.Loved the British accent.


On to Lords cricket ground and made a tour with Mr.James a member of Lords and our guide.


Thoroughly enjoyed the accent and history again.The ground is 204 years old and Sachin has a flat bang opposite the ground where each flat costs around 20 crores!The flats Are called Lords 1 and 2 and the St.john woods pavilion.


Came back and had dinner at the hotel and declined a night tour since it was to the same places.


Mum and I went to a super market and did some shopping and went to bed.


On to Dover port to go to Calais and further to Brussels! ?


[13/05, 11:06] Narendra: Day 4 Brussels.


As usual got up early at St.Giles and we're ready for breakfast at 6.30am.There was not even an item of change in the breakfast all the 3 days.Potato cutlets in heart shape, baked beans, scrambled eggs and other meat items.Mum loaded extra cheese on her bread and had extra dessert for dinner!


Off by bus to Dover port. A 2 hour journey of greenery and meadows.Went through the immigration formalities in Dover since we were traveling from UK to Europe which means you need a Schengen visa.


Boarded the huge ferry at around 11 am and had lunch which had been packed in London and cold . somehow managed to down it since we had little option.


Went around the ferry on all 3 floors and finally the deck where you see the Seagull and feel the cold winds.It was an experience!


Finally docked in Calais in France and got in to another bus which took us to our own bus.


Mum met a French lady with two kids who had been in India for 7 years and couldn't wait to get back.They loved India and said Europe was boring!They loved Indian food and we're happy to see all the the Indians on the bus.


Finally Brussels!One of the loveliest cities!Per capita income$80000!


Wide roads, green, clean with trams, metro, buses.wow infrastructure!


Atomium was good considering the enlarged scale but the grand plaza was beautiful, historic and exciting.


The waffles were great.I bought a small statue of Menachem pis.The word pis comes from here.


Finally reached Leanardo hotel in Charleroi at 10 pm and promptly went to sleep.


Good Tiring day.


[14/05, 11:36] Narendra: Day 5 Amsterdam


Left Leonardo Charleroi hotel at 9 am to Amsterdam after breakfast.slept half the way and arrived.


About 40 Kms before Amsterdam visited Keukenof gardens after lunch at a Indian restaurant.Lively sights although much of it was removed since the season ended on 14/5/18, the day we visited.


On to a boat cruise on Amstel river(hence Amsterdam) .


There was a running commentary but was lost in the noise.Well, got glimpses of Amsterdam.


On to voldenham village and saw Cheese making and making wooden shoes called Clogs.


Left for the hotel, had dinner and slept soundly.


[15/05, 11:44] Narendra: Day 6 Cologne or Koln


Left Amsterdam Geldrop hotel at 8 am and proceeded to Cologne in Germany.


There are no border Checks between EU countries except in Switzerland.


Reached Cologne and saw one of the most amazing buildings I have ever seen.The Cologne cathedral built for Madonna .It was built for 632 years and the only big building to survive the world war 2. Fabulous!


Bought coffee for 1.79€ so that we could also pis.


Generally you can only visit a restroom if you spend money atthe cafe.


We then browsed cologne separately with mum spending more time at the cathedral and me in the markets where I found the headphones.


Went to lunch at a hotel called Ganesha!


On to a 2 hr cruise on river Rhine with a view of vineyards and forts on hills.Everything is beautiful.


Travelled to Frankfurt, had dinner and bed!


Bye uptil my next blog.


[16/05, 11:30] Narendra:


Day 7 Frankfurt to Innsbruck


Left Frankfurt at 8 am after a very bountiful breakfast and spent almost the whole day travelling.


The sights were generally very beautiful while passing black forest, the Alps and meadows with cows and horses grazing.very picturesque!


Our first stop other than coffee breaks was Titsee, a shopping centre where we bought the cuckoo clock and also had lunch.All the food until now has been quite good.


Our next stop was Innsbruck where the film's Yuvraj and Tiger Zinda hai were shot.


Whole of Europe s extremely beautiful.


On to our Chalet for dinner and sleep.


[17/05, 14:05] Narendra: Day 8 Innsbruck to Padova.


Left Hotel kroner at 8 am after an ordinary breakfast for Swarovski.It was only about an hour from the hotel.


We had 1 hour for the visit with 14 chambers to go through and at last shopping and billing.


Each chamber had something wonderful to do with crystals as in the photos sent to you and mum and I ran through them clicking photos at superspeed to spend more time in the shopping


area.


Mum bought 3 bracelets, earrings etc and finally we visited the crystal clouds outside the building.


We went from there to the pier of Puccini to take a boat to Venice!


Surroundings are amazing!


I can't stop being astounded as to how a whole continent can be so beautiful.we are accustomed to only reserved areas of beauty.


Venice is so different and historical but I felt that it was deteriorating because all the buildings in our gondola ride were crumbling and the water was also not so clean.


Our gondolier Mr.Antonio took us through the various turns and corners sometimes taking a turn by pushing his legs against the walls!


All said and done, a nice nice day.


Drove back to Padova for dinner at an Indian restaurant and further to Hotel Beri for a night's sleep.


[18/05, 13:28] Narendra: Day 9 Padova to Rome


Left Padava and an excellent hotel at 8 am and it was another day of long distance travelling.


Reached Ferrari museum at 11 am .It's amazing the variety of Ferrari cars and all the cars since around 1950 were displayed.Fascinating place.we also passed the Ferrari factory on the way.


The rest of the day was just travelling with a stop at Assisi and a brief bus tour of Rome in the evening with Indian dinner.Back to Hotel Selene and sleep.


[19/05, 13:12] Narendra: Day 10 Rome to Florence.


Left Hotel Selene after breakfast at around 9am and went straight to a 4 D show about Roman history.All of Rome is full of statues and monuments.


We did see a few monuments which Abhi had indicated like


Trevi fountain


Circus Maximus


Piazza Navona


Pallazo Venecia


River Tiber


Obelisk


Constantine Arch


Temple of Hercules


Colloseum


Victor Immanuel monument


We entered the Vatican which is within the city with a separate compound and is 0.44 sqkm area.we rushed through the Vatican museum, went to Sistine chapel where we saw Michael Angelo's paintings and St.peters Basilica .


You know Christianity came to Europe only in the 3rd century AD in the time of the emperor Augustine.


Other interesting things were the balcony and square from where the Pope makes an appearance.The balcony from where Mussolini declared Italy fascist etc


The Colloseum is amazing that it still stands after more than 2000 years.Built during Julius Caesar's time i.e 50bc. as mentioned in all Asterix's comics! .


Had late lunch 3.30 pm and early dinner 7.30 pm.


Went to bed very tired after around 6 hrs of walking and standing and slept straight for 8-9 hrs.


[20/05, 12:46] Narendra: Day 11 Rome to Pisa


Got up with bit of anticipation and excitement about going to Florence and leaning tower of Pisa.


Breakfast was average since there was no bread and only buns with hard crust.managed with fruits and cornflakes.


A pretty long journey to Florence with fields and meadows on the way.


Reached Florence and immediately went to lunch in a restaurant called "Gandhi".Good Indian food.


Florence is a very old city with narrow but clean roads.


They have covered sit outs in the parking lots in front of restaurants where people sit and eat.Imagine how clean things should be to eat between cars in a parking lot See the picture I have sent.


Saw the third biggest dome of church dedicated to Mary here, statues of David, Perseus and Medusa, A man dressed as Leonardo da Vinci etc


.Mom and I shared a ice-cream which mum immediately declared as made of essence!


Back to the bus and on to Pisa.


Reached Pisa after 2 hrs and walked around a kilometre to get to the tower.On the way two white girls tried to steal from a lady's bag from behind but they couldn't escape one of our group lady's sharp eyes!She immediately asked them what they were trying and they ran!


The road leading to the tower was full of shops for bags and curios.


The Tower itself which is around 1000 years old is amazing.


It weighs around 1500 tons of marble and leans 14 degrees.we didn't climb since it looked long and steep.


Mum then went inside the cathedral nearby and I went to the markets and bought all those souvenirs.


Pisa itself is a reasonably big town with old buildings.Again all clean and green!


Went for dinner at a hotel called Rajasthan. Good Punjabi food.


Ended by going to Hotel Euro for a good night's sleep.


[21/05, 12:49] Narendra: Day 12 Pisa to Milan to Switzerland.


Left Pisa at 8.30 am after another Continental breakfast for Milan.


It was lunch time by the time we reached Milan and we went straight to lunch at a Indian restaurant.Good food ending with Gulab jamoon.


Went straight to the St.Mary's and St.Peters Cathedral which you saw live!


The place is bustling with people and energy.The variety of dresses people wore was amazing!The colours, Styles .You can't have enough of all this.


To me the big brands meant nothing since all bags and clothes whether branded or not look the same to me.


Again a 4 hrs journey to Zurich, the highlight being the 16.5 Kms Gotahard tunnel!


There was a car breakdown on the opposite side and there was jam for 13 Kms!


Finally came to our hotel Seedham, the best so far.Its fabulous with an attached Casino.We will go there tonight.


We were so late that dinner was sent to our rooms by packets at 10.30 pm.


.[22/05, 13:00] Narendra: Day 13 Zurich hotel to Jugenfraujoch and Trummelbach falls.


Good hotel and good breakfast


Went to Interlaken first


Saw the place where DDLJ was shot, Yash Chopra statue and The chocolate chalet .


We were supposed to spend 20 minutes there but our bus driver went missing for 1.45 hrs deliberately because he had a fight with our guide.


Hence we had to forego the Trummelbach falls but made it there on our return from Jugenfraujoch.We had decided to go by train from Interlaken station but the driver arrived at the last moment!


On to Jugenfraujoch by train from lauterbrunne to a height of 12000 feet.


Jugenfraujoch has a wonderful view and included series of chambers like ice palace, lintl chocolates, etc


It was snowing on the top and all around were snow capped mountains.James bond movie "On her majesty secret service " was shot there.There were many cute stations like Welden etc on the way. We had only an hour to cover the whole thing and had to almost run.


Lunch was at a restaurant called Bollywood on Top!


Punjabi food.


The train back was at 4 pm and we were there at 3.59 pm.


On the way down we discovered that one of us Mr.Parker(Name changed) was left behind!


We all came down, went to Trummelbach falls and picked him up at the station on the way back!


He was in such a panic that he ranted for about an hour about abandoning him.


The ticket checker gave us each a Swiss chocolate after checking the ticket.


Came back to the hotel at around 9.30 pm had dinner at 10 pm and went to sleep.


[23/05, 14:23] Narendra: Day 14.Hotel to Mount Titlis, Lucerne, Geneva.


Had the usual breakfast of Croissants, bread, butter, fruits, cheese etc called continental but without the meat part and proceeded to Mt.Titlis.


At Titlis took a small rope elevator of 8 people to Level 2 and took another elevator of 80 people to the top.The elevator rotates 360 degrees so we can have a complete view.


Also spotted a snow wolf on the way.Too far to take a pic.


On the mountain there was a field full of snow in which we spent some time and took pics.we also walked in a shaking skywalk over the valley.I came back halfway since I felt the other half would be the same but mom went the whole way and came.Titlis is 10000 ft high whereas Jugenfraujoch was 12000 ft.Khardungla pass was 19000ft!


It wasn't terribly cold, except I felt cold in my hands since mom had forgotten the gloves and caps.


Came down in an hour and went for lunch.Our guide had arranged a south Indian lunch with idly, wada, rasam, sambar, appalam etc.


You could see a smile of satisfaction on everyone's face in the group!


Off to Lucerne or Luzern


Wow!


It's picture postcard pretty!


We stopped at a shopping street and promptly went to the first store having all kinds of small items including bags, clocks, victorinox stuff etc.


Bought some small things and chocolate which mum regretted later since the chocolates were cheaper in the next stop.


Went on a small cruise and got back in the bus to dinner at Jaipur restaurant where again a south Indian dinner was arranged with Aamras for dessert.


Reached hotel by 10.30 pm and slept by 11.30 pm.


[24/05, 13:10] Narendra: Day 15 Geneva to Paris.


We left at 8 am from the hotel at Brasserie in France for lake Geneva after the usual breakfast.


Lake Geneva and the surroundings were very similar to Lake Lucerne.Spent around 30 minutes and left for an 8 hour journey to Paris.


Nothing much on the journey. except video of Amitabh's " Bombay to Goa" on the bus and meeting the gorgeous Newfoundland dog.


Reached Paris around 9 pm and first impression was that it was as dirty as Bengaluru with a lot of graffiti.


Reached the hotel "Qualys" at 9.30 pm and had my first drink of the tour in the hotel bar.12€ for 60 ml!


Had dinner and went to bed.


[25/05, 13:21] Narendra: Day 16.PARIS


Left the hotel for Eiffel tower after breakfast which included Upma! The tray was empty in minutes!


Reached Eiffel after an hour of heavy traffic.


Amazing structure!Deserves to be among the wonders of the world.I wondered why anyone would imagine a steel structure in the 19th century like this?It's all riveted together.


Made by designed for the World expo in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel and named after him, it's 300 metres.It was supposed to be dismantled after the expiration but the people decided to retain it.


The base of the structure is about an acre in size.


It was eventually destroyed by the Cobra gang in GI Joe!


The view from the top is fabulous.We remembered Rush hour 3 when we saw the fountain from the top!


A must when you are here.


Went to lunch for a Punjabi meal and proceeded to Versailles where we had a French guide.


This was the biggest palace I have ever seen.built by LouisXIV during the 17th century, he had shifted the center of power from paris to Versailles because he found the palace very attractive.He expanded it to make it so big and artistic.


There are many weird stories and anecdotes about his rule.he ruled for 72 years and by the time he ended his sons were already dead.finally his great grandson became Louis the XV.


The ruling family and courtiers were so indulgent and wasteful, that common people suffered no end which resulted ultimately lead to a the French Revolution in which Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette including most of the ministers were gulliotined!


Full of art and paintings, not to be missed.


You know Lakshmi Mitral the Indian steel tycoon performed his sons marriage here?Even the French guide rolled her eyes at the amount spent!


We next went on a guided tour of Paris to some historical places like the French parliament, Arc de Triomph, Invalids etc.Interesting.


Went back to the hotel for dinner, immediately left for Eiffel tower lighting which was amazing and finally to Lido.


Just took a pic of Arc de Triomph since it was walking distance from Lido.


Lido started at 11.30 pm and ended at 1am.


I think we could not appreciate the dances too much since they were thematic and based on French culture


Overall enjoyed the show with a free glass of Champagne.


Got back and went to sleep at 2 am.


[26/05, 13:24] Narendra: Day 17 Paris


Upma with continental breakfast again!


Went straight to Disney Land.


We had a choice of Disney Studios and Disney rides.we opted for Disney studios.


Visited Hollywood hotel ride where the lift crashes from 5th floor to the ground floor!


Felt like I had left my heart on the top floor!


I am glad you did not see my picture they displayed in the panel outside about my body language while falling!


Went on a train ride which had a special effects, but nothing compared to Universal studios.


We had packed lunch from our tour operator which we had in front of a closed restaurant.


Went for a parachute ride and ultimately "The Mickey magic show", which was the best.


Some Europeans come in their own caravans with family and stay for a couple of days.


Went straight back to the hotel, had dinner and crashed into bed.


Another highlight was meeting the Bernese mountain dog.


Disneyland had a creche for dogs when go inside!


[27/05, 22:27] Narendra: Day 18 Paris


Got up with mixed feelings of it being the last day of our t


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