Thursday, July 16, 2009

Eurotrip Diaries - The Trip

The wife and I had always talked about visiting Europe, but after visiting San Francisco and the West Coast of USA last year, the intent became stronger. So it was that this March I decided that this was it - the summer of 2009 would be the summer we visited Europe. It would be our proper 'tourist' honeymoon.

It was hard not to be tempted. As the school year drew to a close, most of my friends started to visit Europe. My facebook was filled with albums titled "Eurotrip". They showed the movie Eurotrip twice on late night tv.

Note to the wise: not a movie to be watched with the wife.

Can you spot my name?


Journals were gathered, previous blog entries of past visits by other bloggers were perused, travel companies were called, brochures were procured - and finally - amidst the many destinations that Europe has to offer - a plan, limited only by time and funds, was formed.

We would fly to London. From there it was rail all the way. And so, the cities we visited were: London, Paris, Basel, Lucerne, Zurich, Venice, Florence, Pisa and Rome.

We were in a quandary as to whether go as part of a package tour, or make our own arrangements. In the end, we chose to go by ourselves, and frankly, I think it was the better option for us. A package tour takes you around a bus while we got to experience Eurail travel, first class. Package tours do get you to more places, but we chose to really explore the places we were in, and in the end, the only experiences we missed from most packages we saw was a night in Amsterdam, and an evening in Cologne/Munich. And unlike package tours, we could do Paris, London, Rome for more days, and see everything in detail and up close, rather than just driving by it.

It took energy though - package tours take you direct to your destination on an air conditioned tour bus, whereas we had to negotiate the subways and underground and public transit, but I think it adds to the experience.

It was quite frankly, one of the best 17 days of my life. The trip was everything we wanted and expected it to be, and more. It was so culturally refreshing to visit as a tourist sites that are NOT North American, and do not follow the North American model of trying to milk you out of every penny you got. It was fantastic to meet proud people who actually knew a bit of where you came from. It was great to see things we had seen only on TV, or go to places whose beauty is not artificial, but natural.

I did keep a journal when I visited, so over the next couple of weeks, I hope to revisit those days here on my blog, and hope someone else gets inspired to go on a Eurotrip of their own.

20 comments:

boba said...

Looking forward to it :)

TahaManiac said...

yea.....i'm inspired to go on a Eurotrip. i remembered that during the last days of my Civil Engineering undergrad days, many of my Civil classmates embarked on a month-long vacation to Europe before convocation...damn, sux that i never gotto be on these trips....pressure's building on me now ....grrr >=G

Rezwan said...

I also detest all these package tours. It takes away all the adventure and freedom from you. You can never experience a country in a short span. But if you properly plan, you can choose things you like to do or see.. not being bombarded with lot of commercial tourism infos..

mystic said...

You bought a package or planned your own trip?

mezba said...

Boba: thanx! Hope to get on to it today.

Taha: Europe is something everyone has to do. Do it now!

Rezwan: ya I saw package tours mostly for seniors or families. It's for those who want the organization done for them.

Mystic: We did/planned our own trip.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Bengali:

So, where did you all go? Which package? Looking forward to your posts about it.

I'm happy for you and your wife!

Em said...
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Em said...
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Em said...

Salaam
Bro, you're married?? Mabrook! Ma sha Allah :). I must've missed this. Welcome to the "other" side.

Glad you had fun, btw. I (mostly) love Europe!

mezba said...

Saffiya: As I said, went to London, Paris, Basel, Lucerne, Zurich, Venice, Florence, Pisa and Rome. I did not choose a package but instead planned our own trip. Thanks for the comment.

Em: thanks for the wishes, thrice!

Bengali said...

I'm going to London at the end of August after visiting Bangladesh =D

Your trip looks fun! i hope mine goes well.

mezba said...

Bengali: you can read about my London trip on this post.

Safiyyah said...

Salaams Mezba:

Duh, that's what I get for posting late at night (yeah, 9:50 is late for me, lol). Glad you had a good time!

mezba said...

late night posting...lol... been there, done that!

youngMuslimah said...

did u do a post on getting married? i dont recall reading one..anyway, congrats! may Allah bless your marriage with love and mercy, ameen.

mezba said...

YM, thanks.

nadia said...

I've purposely didn't go through your Eurotrip posts until now because I wanted to read them in my free time - when I'm in my room with my laptop and tea, and no phone calls or visitors. That's the only time when I can truly enjoy Europe :)

I've seen the fabulous pictures, and I'm looking forward to reading the experience as well :)

mezba said...

Nadia: they are all up now! enjoy... I enjoyed putting them up and reliving my time there... only Rome is still left to be put up.

Aisha said...

They didn't try to milk you of every penny? I got hit up in London and Paris constantly though can't speak to Italy. I'm glad you had such an amazing time, it makes the experience worth every penny!

mezba said...

Aisha: London was an expensive city. The attractions cost a lot and so did the food and transportation. With the exchange rate London is really expensive.

With Paris, the attractions and food wasn't that expensive. To me, London and Venice were the most expensive.