We have just concluded our trip to United Kingdom.It was a trip full of activities and excitement .We visited five countries.Had long stays at Leeds,Edinburgh and short stay at London,Strasbourg,Geneva,Paris and Brussels .We had a tourist visa for UK for six months and a Schengen visa for European Schengen countries.We have treasured the memories close to our hearts.These shall remain here for ever.
This trip was much more to us than sight seeing.It had a personal touch since we witnessed the complete transformation of our younger son from a successful IT professional to a student of higher education.In this process , we also visited the "Athens of the North " - an University established in 1583,The University of Edinburgh.
The sentiments on return:
My better half and myself , both of us are quite happy that we have returned to India. At the same time , there are pains. The pains of separation. Leaving behind the places traveled , people met , countries visited and most important , my younger son, who was the primary reason of our travel and who is staying there for his further education.
Of course, there is a solace is that we have undertaken this return journey to land at my own country , to be at my place and most important , to meet my elder son , my daughter in law and the grand daughter.
The beauty of this travel was that we were escorted by the younger son at Manchester and were received by the elder son at Mumbai . Intimate family friends graced both the airports ,
I remember a sentence by one of my participants in a training session :
" The send off at one location is the preparation for reception at some other location "
I think this is an integral part of any travel, you must leave some thing behind to be able to get some thing. And we carry the memories with us which we cherish.Hold them closely with the heart.This article is to share such memories with you.
Why we traveled ?
It was primarily a family tour.The basic purpose was to meet our son at Leeds. Having gone as far as Leeds , it was a logical next step to visit the Europe .For this, we had obtained Schengen visa for travel to Germany ,France , Belgium and Switzerland. A visit to Scotland was not initially planned .However, our son , who was employed at Leeds , received an unconditional offer from University of Edinburgh to join the MS in computers. Therefore ,we also had a short ( a fortnight) stay in the city of Edinburgh.
Where we went ?
This was our first trip abroad and lasted exactly 108 days.We covered five countries like UK, France, Belgium, Germany & Switzerland .The air voyage took off from Chatrapati Shivaji international airport and concluded at Manchester . Same air route was followed both ways . and included a brief halt at the Dubai airport .
It included a long stay at Leeds and Edinburgh . We visited cities like York , Hull & London in England , Paris In France , Brussels in Belgium ,Engelberg ,Lucern & Geneva in Switzerland ,Stratsborough & Black Forest in Germany.Edinburgh in Scotland etc.
Tourist attractions ?
We enjoyed the cruise in River Thames ( London ) , River Seine ( France ) and River Rhine ( Germany ) .
The famous Lochness Lake at Highlands ( Scotland) and Interlaken ( Switzerland) added our excitement .
The most exciting outing was certainly climbing to the peaks of Mountain Titlis on the Alps ranges ( Switzerland) through a series of rope ways.We climbed to an altitude of 10,000 feet and reached the highest peak of the Alps.
We also marveled at the waterfront of River Aire at Leeds & York. we crossed the English Channel twice. Once under the sea by Euro train and then through a cruise .Shopping at these locations was also a great experience.
City wise attractions :
London eye ,Tower Bridge ,Tower of London , Trafalgar Square , Wimbledon stadium , Madam Tussaud, Museum Sherlock Holmes museum , Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.River Thames and the Greenwich Observatory ,Maritime museum,
West Yorkshire :
Leeds : Leeds museum, Roundhay Park ,Royal armories, Victoria bridge , Water front ,
York :The York Minster ,Roman Hamam ,
Hull : The Deep ( Aquatic exhibition for marine life )
Paris(France ): Eiffel tower ,Night life of Paris,River Seine
Brussels(Belgium): Mannekam Pis ,Plutonium structure
Engelberg: Mount Titlis
Lucern : lake Interlaken
Geneva : The floral clock,
Edinburgh(Scotland):Edinburgh Museum, Castle, Scotland Parliament ,Hollywood palace
Highlands (Scotland): The Lochness
Stratsborough & Black Forest in Germany etc.
Dubai : Dubai International airport & duty free shopping
How was the Europe tour ?
Star tours of London provided us with an excellent coach tour .It was a very wonderful experience.The schedule, the accommodation, the planning ,the comfort. Specially, the Indian food during our travel.The guide ,Mr Khushru , was a veteran in the touring industry with 22 years of tour exposure.The coach captain, Mr.Lawrence ( who was driving the coach with enthusiasm ,energy and ease ) kept us all in a relaxed state during all travel. The caravan for food always used to reach the destination prior to us and used to keep the hot food ready to be served. Fantastic coordination was exhibited.
What was the mode of travel ?
We used Airplanes , Ships, Cruises, Coaches, Buses ,Ferries , Railways ,Buses ,Cable Cars and yeah we also walked a lot at each location.
We took Air Emirates for all air travels.Used the National express trains from Leeds to York, Hull and London . Took the Cross country trains from Leeds to Edinburgh and back. Once came to Leeds from London by coach of National express.For crossing the English channel , we used the Euro train in which our Star tours coach was loaded.While returning ,our coach was loaded on a ship over the English channel.
At London we took the Tube and the city buses.What is amazing is that the same tickets hold good for tube and buses .
Publication of several articles on a few reputed web sites such as Factoidz, Hubpages , Helium and Bukisa. Created my own blog .
It was an amazing tour. Lots of sight seeing. Lots of insights into cultural nuances and the systems followed by British organizations .