The Swiss bliss – Part 1!

The Swiss is a dream destination for travelers. Especially Indians. Blame it on our movies showing the beautiful Swiss Alps in the background with the hero romancing a chiffon clad heroine in the front. Which one of us hasn’t imagined ourselves in their shoes?

Our Swiss trip started soon after coming back from Paris. We were quite skeptical of traveling again, because of how the little one had completely refused to sit in her pram. We had been so tired of carrying her and her pram up and down the stairs all the time in Paris. Thankfully Swiss was way better in that regard. Only.

We had an early morning flight so that we could utilize a half day for sight seeing. So we boarded with the little one just having woken up. She decided to poop as soon as we had the seat belts on for the take off. And you would know that the use of lavatories is not allowed until the plane is safely in the air. So there. H and I sat with our noses crinkled up and just waiting for the damn plane to get in the air. Fast. But the runway was not clear. We waited a full 15 minutes before I ran with the little one for a diaper change. And no, the adventure didn’t end there. While I laid her on the table, removed the soiled diaper and was beginning to take out a tissue to wipe her bottom, she decided it was completely OK to get her hands on the soiled diaper and fling it around. Don’t ask me what happened next.

After reaching the hotel, we immediately set off for a city tour. On foot. We took a map which had the city metro and tram stations’ directions with the must visit places marked out. Zurich is beautiful. There were beautiful old churches with clock towers and domes that touched the sky. The roads meandered into narrower by lanes and suddenly opened up into a vast road with the river flowing on two sides. The weather was just perfect. The little one still didn’t cooperate with the pram, but we didn’t mind. I think we had developed enough muscles in Paris πŸ˜›

 

The next day we decided to cover Mt. Titlis. We booked a guided tour since it involved traveling to Lucerne which is a good 1.5 hours away from Zurich and then the hike from the foot of the mountain to the top (10,000 ft)  is another journey altogether. The journey from ZΓΌrich to Lucerne via the city outskirts has breathtaking views. You can literally see the mountains up so close. And you are already at high sea level, so the clouds are all over the mountain peaks. The sky is so clear and blue, covered with pristine white clouds, it is like a scenery out of a painting.

To be continued…

 

Trip to Paris – part 2!

Continued from here..

Next morning, we had to visit the Eiffel as the next day we were flying back to Dusseldorf. The rain played spoiltsport again. It was raining by the time we left the hotel. When we reached,it was pouring. Since S wouldn’t sit in the pram, H held her in one hand and an umbrella in the other. I pushed the pram around soaking in the rain (while also searching for someone selling a raincoat). No raincoat found, and reached the foot of the tower soaking wet. God finally had some mercy on us and the sun came around from behind the clouds.  And so, the mandatory Eiffel tower family pictures were taken. The trip to the summit needed tickets for which there was a long long queue. We decided to chuck the summit tour, and instead spent time sitting there, enjoying the magnificent view.

The Eiffel tower on a cloudy morning!

In the evening, we visited Sacre-coeur, also known as the Sacred Heart Basilica. It is a beautiful Roman Catholic Church built on the top of a hill. At the top, it gives a beautiful view of the city. You can climb up the stairs to the top or take a paid small cable car train. Of course, we took the train ride to the top. The church and the view from the top  was beautiful. The way to the Basilica compound is a small street that is like a climb to the hill. It is dotted with a lot of small and coffee shops and confectioners. We had some of the finest cookies there.

The sacred heart basilica πŸ™‚

Oh yes, and while going back to the airport, we took a taxi πŸ˜‰

Some points that stand out for me from this trip-

1) No lifts /platforms in the metro stations – not happening at all, considering it is such a big tourist destination and all.

2) I think Paris has more souvenir shops than people and the tourists combined. I mean, every little space in the city is covered by a shop or a guy selling Eiffel replicas. I got so sick of them during the 3 days that I didn’t buy a single one.

Imitations! Imitations!

3) Some of the metro stations in the city even have people selling wares on the floor. Pretty much reminded me of Delhi πŸ˜‰

4) Paris has become more like a tossed salad. You will find fewer French people there,and more of immigrants from Afro Asian countries.

5) We had some of the best French crossiants there.

6) The old world architecture around the main city, with the river Seine flowing through, lends it a very old world look.  Pretty much feels like being in Disneyland with castles all around !

7) Paris, the Fashion Capital! Yes. Almost everyone on the street is carrying a Louis Vitton or Chanel or Fendi. Even if they are rip offs, you cannot really tell.

8) We saw a lot of the original “French kiss” πŸ˜‰

In all, Paris was an experience. Good or bad, I cannot decide. But something that I will always look back at and laugh about.

 

Trip to Paris – part 1

The trip to Paris started very uneventfully as we had an afternoon flight. So even though we got up late in the morning, we made it in time to the airport. But that was in no way suggestive of the eventful trip that was to happen.

We reached Paris on time and then began the adventure. The airport was huge and the little one refused to sit in the pram. We tried bribing her with her favorite toys, our beloved phones and as a last resort, to let her eat paper, an activity she enjoys the most! But she had her heart set on standing. So while I carried her, H pushed all our luggage and the empty pram around. After much walking and asking around for directions, we reached the metro station. Here was the surprise. Paris’ metro stations only have stairs and some of them have escalators, albeit very narrow ones. No lifts or platforms for people in wheel chairs or kids in strollers. Since we didn’t know this, we carried our super heavy pram over the stairs thinking that the next metro station might have one. We reached our hotel after changing, mind you, 4 mteros, going up and down their platforms with the pram and luggage and the little one in our arms. It took us one hour from Dusseldorf to Paris, and 2 hours from the airport to the hotel. Needless to say, we were dead tired by the time we reached our hotel.

Then, the room we had booked was not available and we were requested to make do in a smaller room just for the night. At that moment, all we wanted was a place to dump our luggage and the pram πŸ˜‰ but we should have bargained better. The room was a matchbox. No baby cot. A small bed. We didn’t have the energy to go down till the reception again. So we just crashed. Also crashed were our dreams of visiting the Eiffel tower that evening as the thought of taking the metro again was nothing short of a nightmare.

The next day, with renewed energy,we decided to hit Paris. And then came the rain. The first stop of the day was Mueseum Louvre. The architecture of the building is beautiful. Carvings and sculptures everywhere. The mueseum inside is HUGE. You cannot, by any means cover it in a day. The best way to enjoy it is to choose the galleries you think you’d enjoy and cover those. Art and time management don’t go together πŸ˜›

Musee’ De Louvre !

The next stop was the Notre Dame church. It was raining heavily by this time and we reached the church all drenched. I am not much into European history, but the church was beautiful. Please don’t ask me who built it and why!

An inside view of the Notre Dame church!

 By the way, in the morning we had travelled by bus and intended to take the same route while going back. But. When we got out of the church, there was a procession going on due to which some streets had been closed. And so we kept walking andwalking ,trying to avoid those streets and reach our bus stand. After a really long walk,we reached our bus stand only to find out that the bus service had been suspended. Great! And so, we walked and walked again,mind you, with a diaper bag, a baby and the pram! We reached the metro station, changed 3 metros and reached the hotel. Phew! The good part of the evening was that our room was ready. It was bigger, had a cot and a king size bed. We crashed again!!

To be continued….

Travelling with the baby!

The little one is quite an enthusiastic traveller. Now this comes as no surprise to our close ones who know our love for travel. I knew S had a penchant for the outdoors as she really enjoyed her evening outing to the park when she was in India. But that happened only once a day. So we were not quite sure how she would like it outdoors for whole days when we would be on vacation.

But this girl surpassed our expectations. She loved the days when we would be out the whole day. She wouldn’t feel hungry or tired. We just kept feeding her at her mealtimes and changing the diapers when needed. She would be happy looking at her surroundings and soaking in the new world. She has also become quite a social bird here. She insists on talking to everyone in her sight range in her baby language. Most of the people are kind enough to indulge her. The ones who ignore are shouted at by her, which means they are forced to look at her and smile and talk to her. Quite an attention seeker she has become  πŸ˜€

Also, she insists on standing, and not sitting in her pram :- now who can drive a pram with a 9 month old standing ? She looks quite daring like aamir Khan in dhoom 3 ;-D
But that means we have had to carry her in our arms all day long. She could only be put down when she was sleeping. So all day long, one of us would carry her and the other person would push the empty pram around. That got us all the more tired than we should have been.

But in totality,she has been a great sport. A fitting addition to our travel happy feet. People love her all smiles and all happy nature and we have been congratulated for such a lovely baby at all the places we have visited. Quite proud a parent I sound, no? πŸ˜‰

I am.not dead. Yet!

There was a time when I had a lot of time to write.  But then I didn’t write enough because I was just lazy sometimes. Or didn’t really have anything to say. Now that I have so much to say, there is never a free time. The little one is 9 months old. Yes, already!  Phew!  And she talks more, crawls all over the place, gets inside places she shouldn’t and doesn’t sleep as much as she should.  I had planned to write a good deal about my stay in Germany but all thanks to her, all I have done in the past fortnight is a single post πŸ™

Today I am foregoing my bath time as she is asleep right now and this is the only time I can get my act together.  Lol.  The last 15 days I have been here, we have visited a couple of places in and near dusseldorf (where we stay). But the highlight of the trip so far has been Paris and Switzerland. I plan to write detailed posts about the place and our experiences,  more so interesting because of the hyperactive little S πŸ™‚

Stay tuned!  And please pray for more sleep for her !! I want to come back and write before I forget the little details πŸ˜‰