First things first, after all the Hullabaloo I created about this Blog turning 10 years old before it did, when it actually did, I did not even bother to wish it. Here I mean. Ofcourse I wished it multiple times in my head while we were worming our way through extremely incomprehensible amounts of traffic on the Mumbai-Pune expressway near Khandala around midnight (I mean who would’ve thunk?). But anyway, better late than never is our motto so here we are! To the blog which has survived almost a third of my life!
April was an amazing month otherwise. Other than crazy heat (which technically Pune is not supposed to have because hello, mountains and ghats and what not), it was a very anticipated month because it brought along our much anticipated vacation. To – wait for it – Europe! Yes! So we did three days each in 3 cities which we carefully picked based on location, interests, and costs. Brussels. Paris. Amsterdam.
Travel of any kind makes me ecstatic and like already mentioned is the only thing I would be ok indulging in. Not so much luxury, here I firmly believe quantity over quality, because if you say I can see 10 countries in the same budget economically, as I would do 3 luxuriously, guess what I would choose? Yes, yes, always greedy for more!
If you think I would atleast sort of a travelogue here, no, no, not happening. But I will definitely tell you which my favorite of the three places. I had a serious surprise winner in – Brussels! Loved loved loved the place. We even did a day trip to Brughes, an hour away and Oh my God was it the prettiest place ever! You know, like story book Europe with it’s small lanes, and pretty houses with flowers on the window sills, and beautiful old Churches, and streams, and flowers and ducks swimming around. The last bit made Zo one happy cookie.
Paris was lovely too, in the much hyped way I expected, and of of course I sat and stared at the Eiffel for a good two hours, no not because it was mesmerizing, but because it is Europe and it takes until bloody 9 30 PM for it to get dark and for them to light up the tower and I wouldn’t miss the sparkly lights for anything. Actually unlit, it was quite a let down (more like a massive TV tower rusting with time), but it came to life when the lights went on and this time, I was one happy cookie.
Amsterdam should be synonymous with party, because everyone seemed to having one. We were no exception and it was just awesome walk around the city center (which we did every single day) or lie around at the Museum square and soak up the sun. I actually returned much more tanned than I did from Goa and that is something. We also ensured and kept up our scandalous parents resolve and visited every must-see, and did every must-do in Amsterdam, however scandalous, yes, with Zo in tow.
Food, if not a review deserves a mention, because vacations are the one time we tend to forget all my healthy resolves (and rightly so) and gorge on anything that pleases the eye, and the taste buds. So there were multiple serves of Belgian Waffles, beer, French wine, cheese, and bits of Dutch cuisine which kind of believes in deep frying everything, especially street food. There was also the buttered breakfasts, the chocolate croissants and pastries, the cream and nutella intake, which is going to need a month long diet and extensive workout to lose.
There was a lot of walking around. I had been very skeptical of doing a trip like this, with all arrangements done by ourselves, and no known people around, and ofcourse, in the company of a two and a half year old. But it was a breeze. And I have to say Zo was a rock star throughout. She was sufficiently excited by the water, boats, and ducks (yes, deserves a two time mention) to get annoyed. When she did, she would curl up and go to sleep while we would continue taking in the sights, the smells and the sounds.
A close second in the rock star category was the baby stroller we decided to take along, though we were unsure till the last day if it would be allowed for it’s size on the flights. But guess what! Not only was it allowed, but the Swiss Air chaps were extra nice and made it a special delivery, by which we mean we got to push it till we entered the aircraft and got it as soon as we stepped out. In the cities, the extent of support you get if you have a baby (and a stroller) was amazing. In the Dude’s words, we pretty much recovered the entire price we paid for the stroller 3 years ago, just in this trip.
All in all, it was every bit as amazing as I had hoped it would be, if not more. Except for a few glitches – like me forgetting my very light jacket and there being weather requiring a jacket for a couple of days, and a horrid old man asking us to move even if it meant Zo would have to stand in the rain (which she did anyway, useless kid) – I think it was perfect. The best thing the trip gave us was this confidence that we can plan, and do trips by ourselves, from scratch, along with Zo, at our own pace, and have a wonderful time.
So yes, that’s where I have been. No, not in London and New York as the title suggests, but then no one made a movie called Brussels Paris Amsterdam no? The rest of the time I am on Twitter where I am spewing the same incoherent stuff that I do here, only in smaller doses. So if you are game for that (rather, if you can handle that), see me there too (Shameless plug I know, but I need followers dammit, handle on the blog page on the right!)? I will try and settle back into what we call routine, however tough it might seem.
And for whenever it gets too tough, there is always the next vacation to plan!