PASSPORT TO EUROPE
If there’s a place on Earth where you’d find beauty in its most natural form & yet not be socially isolated from the world is Europe. The old world charm still seems to linger on even after historical feats have long surpassed. With great tales of its own, this continent would surely excite any traveler’s senses.
Amsterdam is a modern city with beautiful landscapes and a diaspora of varied cultures. A happening place in the Netherlands, one can never tire from the endless roaming on the streets soaking in the fresh air and greenery. It is pleasing to see a cycle-friendly city which promotes health and environment friendliness. Even though you might not like visiting museum and art galleries, you are most likely to change your mind. There are over fifty different museums in Amsterdam alone which attract up to two million tourists a year. Although there is no dearth of random museums like those of cats, houseboats and spectacles; I’d highly recommend the house of Anne Frank, Van Gogh & Rijk’s museum.
An ideal month for travelling in Amsterdam would be May. It is a rewarding experience with the sunny weather and the smell of fresh blooms. Amsterdam is synonymous to the land of tulips. What better than witnessing spring in full swing by visiting one of the largest gardens in the world!
Keukenhof is the second largest gardens following the Dubai Miracle Garden. A 32 hectare spread of land where one can immerse oneself in a garden like no other. Approximately 7 million flowers come to life in a riot of colours like you would never have seen before. From the usual to unusual, there is no colour missed from the rainbow. Beautifully landscaped gardens in scenic setting with lakes and streams would give you a glimpse of paradise. However, the garden is open only from mid-March to mid-May.
A wanderer’s paradise, a haven for chocoholics and a country rich in history, Belgium is the place to be. While in Belgium, I had visited two cities: Antwerp & Brussels. In the city of Antwerp one must visit the Grote Markt. As you enter you will invariably see the statue of Brabo who had chopped off the arm of the giant Antigoon and threw it in the river. Legend has it that the giant lived near the Schelde River and would charge a toll for every person who would want to cross over. Failure to pay the tax would cost the person his hand. This is a famous fable in Antwerp which also gave its name which meant ‘Hands Throw’. In the market area you would also come across several lace workshops with the finest works in town. Any tourist or person for the matter passing the Chocolatiers on the main street would definitely not resist the sight and smell of those beauties.
Brussels is one of the largest cities in Belgium. While visiting the city, one of the most talked about historical places is Manneken Pis. Situated on Rue Charles Buls, it is a tiny fountain of a little boy taking a leak. In addition to sightseeing one can pick up great souvenirs and trinkets for friends and family on the famous shopping street. Another famous landmark to visit is the Atomium.It was a symbol of postwar progress for the 1958 World’s Fair but currently stands as an architecturally strong marvel.
The most frequently visited destination from all across Europe would be Switzerland. Nothing beats the alpine beauty, the wooden cottages and the Swiss cheese of course. A delightful place for people of all ages, the country has an array of beautiful cities like Geneva, Zurich & Schauffhausen.
For all those fascinated by mountains and the adventure sports around it must visit Zermatt. It lies on the foothills of the Matterhorn which is one of the most popular mountain destinations in the world.
One of the wealthiest cities in the world, Zurich is definitely a city worth exploring. According to some surveys it has been named as the city with the best quality of life. With one of the largest and busiest modes of transport like airways and railways, it definitely sets the standard as a global city. Women can have a gala time shopping in the crème de la crème of luxury brands on its main shopping street. You can find women on the streets from 17 to 70 dressed to the nines in designer clothing. The world famous Zurich Zoo is a must visit place on the map of the city. Home to a diverse range of species from penguins to zebras, it is a highly well maintained ecological system. Interlaken is another town in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps.The crystal-clear lakes all around the mountains will take you back to your ‘Heidi’ days. It is undoubtedly one of the most breathtaking places on the planet. A boat ride in the pristine waters of Interlaken will fulfill all the wanderlust desires in you.
Think apple pies, freshly brewed beer and you shall start dreaming of Germany. A two hour drive from Switzerland can take you all the way to the Swiss-German border. Cobblestone roads with impeccable architecture; a modern world dwelling in the old world charm it what makes Germany so special. Filled with history, the Imperia statue was particularly fascinating. Situated at the entrance of the harbor of Konstanz, it was built in the early 14th century. It is a 9 foot tall concrete statue that rotates on its axis once in every four minutes.
It would be a dream to go back and relive all the moments I spent in Europe. The untouched serenity and the fusion of the old with the new is what really sets this place apart from anywhere else. You can never have enough of Europe, you simply can’t.
Photos property of Yours Truly Zhivali.