Destination is never a big deal when travel is on cards. I can simply pack my bag and be ever ready for any sort of travel. And the journey only gets exciting when you are about to fulfill your Europe dream. Yes, I haven't met a single person in my life who doesn't harbour a Europe dream in their heart. The beauty and romance that lives in the atmosphere is yearned by all. There are times when certain places and people happen to you, when you least expect them to. And that's how my tryst with Europe happened. It all started with me having to attend the 'Cannes Film Festival' for a business trip, which got the excitement kicking and then at numerous occasions it got thwarted until I finally gave up and it really happened. I remember the jitters of excitement I had when I took off in the flight and the screen flashed the time to reach my destination- Paris!
I was there for about 10 days and explored Cannes, Nice, Monaco and Paris. I was in Cannes for about 6 days attended the world's biggest film festival. Cannes is a beautiful village in South France and when I was there, the weather was pleasant and sunny. Although, I was told that it rains any time in Cannes but I did not experience anything like that throughout my stay. The place where I was staying was very close to the festival venue, in the proximity of Marriott. I had booked it through Airbnb. The first night I reached Cannes, I couldn't sleep due to excitement and hence decided to walk by the waterfront and explore the nearby streets. Food is never a matter of concern, even when you're travelling as a backpacker cause there are so many options by the streets- be it burger, fresh croissant or nutella crepe, yummy food options are available for a measly price of 2-3 euros. One food I fell in absolute love in Europe- croissant. I could eat it everyday. It was that fresh and tasty.
My next destination was Nice. It is only a half an hour train journey which cost me roughly about 10 euros. Since I was in Nice only for a day as I had a train to Paris next morning, the only nearby town that I could explore was Monaco- Montecarlo, a village that appeared to be a film set, beautiful, delicate and enthralling. The day I went to Monaco, there was the Monaco Grand Prix and the town was kind of crowded but even then it was extremely pretty. There was this Prince's Museum at the top of a hill which overlooked the entire Monaco harbor. There were these pretty little lanes that you usually find in movies with antique shops and painting exhibitions on the way. The best thing I love about Europe is the way the buildings and homes are constructed. The french windows and fresh flowers outside the window sills. I used to simply stand by and gaze at them.
The pretty lanes of Monaco
Last destination and my favorite was Paris! The train journey from Nice to Paris was breathtaking, so to speak. Those 6 hours went by in a jiffy. All one can do is sit and admire the greenery, the magnificent mountains and the picturesque villages that pass by. In Paris, I booked a studio apartment again through Airbnb and it was very close to Charles de Gaulle train station. Eiffel Tower was just 20 minutes walking distance from the apartment. In fact, I got into the habit of walking a lot in Europe which I rarely get to continue in Bombay, considering the weather and space that our streets have to offer. There I could walk a good 15 kms everyday without even realizing cause the weather was so pleasant and the surroundings beautiful as hell.
There were so many tiny cafes and restaurant that I explored each one of them during every meal for the next 3 days I spent there. The first day I traveled in a metro in Paris, I was kind of lost since I couldn't understand the station names that the operator pronounced. But once I got acquainted to the map and the routes which I had marked out on the map, my life became so much simpler. There are certain places which are accessible by metro, while for others, you need to change to train. Trust me, the maps are self explanatory.
I had to visit the Eiffel tower on the very same day I arrived in Paris, after all for me it is still one of the wonders of the world. It doesn't look that charming from far but the moment you climb atop the humongous monument, you realize what a massive breathtaking view it has to offer of the entire Paris city. The day I went on top of the tower, it was extremely windy and cold. I couldn't stay up for a long time but trust me it is one of the things you must experience in your life.
Beauty by the night
View from top floor of Eiffel tower
I didn't feel the same for Louvre museum since I thought it was overrated thanks to the Mona Lisa painting. But it is a great place for students to study their history and culture from such proximity. I couldn't shop much while I was there, although it is the world's best fashion destination and also hell lot expensive at the same time. But Paris was a wonderful experience cause I traveled outside India for the first time sans my folks. Although, the next time I go, I would like to visit more places and spend more time interacting with the locals but a solo trip is definitely liberating and a great life lesson in itself, especially when you miss your flight back to India with no money for food and water. But I came back with a horde full of memories to last me until the next time.