Diipti: Where did your wanderlust lead you to?
Aditi: We started off in the U.S which was a work trip for Manan, but as a beautiful addition we extended it to romance around Italy and France! It was a dream to travel to Italy and Paris. We chose to travel independently, just the two of us over 25 days and we zeroed in on Florence, Venice and Rome in Italy followed by Paris in France.
It was a chilly 10°C during the day with spells of rain, but we were too excited and smitten to stay back in the hotel. Armed with our sweaters and all weather jackets, we walked and walked around the magical cities until our feet were sore!
Yuktie: Wow! You walked all around Paris and Italy?
Aditi: Most parts of it, yes! We used the Metro in Paris and inter-state buses as well, but walking around the squares, strolling by quaint boutiques and cafes were the most amazing and refreshing parts about the journey.
D&Y: Your favourite memory?
A: Oh, there are so many! I was amazed by the creative window displays in small boutiques in Venice and Paris! As I am a designer, I was so inspired by the creativity all around me, the colours and designs even in the smallest of bakeries and flower stores. I could not but help go click- click every step of the way. Venice – I simply loved Venice! I mean, the whole place is on water! You have to take a boat even from the airport. I would click a picture at any angle and it would turn out beautiful.
What I also loved was that the Italians are so laid back by nature, they take their own sweet time to do things, what with their afternoon siesta and all! Imagine taking an afternoon siesta in Mumbai’s manic work schedules.
My husband was fascinated by the Coliseum in Italy but honestly, I found Rome all about ruins.
Oh and Paris, I am in love with Paris! The Parisians can be a tad bit snooty, especially if you don’t speak their language, but it is such a beautiful city, I don’t blame them.
D: Nirvana moments?
A: You know, when we travelled to Austria with a tour agency, there were set timings i.e just 20 mins in a place, going from point A to B on an early morning flight; basically very hectic and not what a holiday should be at all. Whereas on this trip, we could do whatever we wanted; we could unwind and take our time to explore places, may be just sit outside the Louvre, sipping Rose' for as long as we want without worries of missing the tour bus. That is how we realised how much better it is to travel independently.
At the end of the day your feet ache out of exhaustion, but it is a totally different kind of exhaustion; a nice kind.
To put it more eloquently, my husband said, “Being a frequent flier, running from one airport terminal to another.. When you take time off to explore a place, you think I've been here before, but I don’t remember the journey.”
Also, I realised that we berate Bombay a little too much. We have a lot of comforts here, like everyone speaking a common language, better security, closer family ties, domestic help, etc - which are difficult to come by abroad. We ought to respect our city a little more.
Y: 3 Must Do’s?
A: The Gelato and Tiramisu are to die for in Paris! They are a must have!
In Italy, when you get fed up of the pastas and pizzas and craving for something closer home, try Krishna 31, a restaurant for mouth-watering Indian food.
Also, the romantic gondola rides in Venice are a must.
D: Top Tips?
A: Take care of your belongings, especially money and passport.
Convert very little currency at the airport. Compared to everywhere else in the city, you will be shocked at the exchange rate at airports!
Carry the Lonely Planet for Indian Travellers.
Y: Any research that paid off?
A: Yes, independent travel requires some amount of research, so we split the work. I researched about the places I wanted to travel to, and my husband researched about the best places for food!
Also we used Google Maps extensively.
Google Goggles is a boon for independent travellers. You simply click a picture of the place and it will give you the entire history and geography.
Best resources for food advise: Yelp, Trip Advisor
Matrix Simcard: Try the 1 month card for internet usage. It is a good option as hotel Wi-Fi is not always reliable.
For travelling around: We initially used the hop-on hop-off bus method, but then travelled via the Metro, which is the best and very well connected. The Metro is brilliant in Paris.
D: That's super helpful! What’s your next destination?
We’ll hang up our adventurous boots this time, may be go to a tropical place and relax on the beach. A lazy holiday it will be!
D & Y: Wow! Well, it was super talking to you! Hope you enjoyed chatting with us!
A: Yes, absolutely! Always a pleasure! :)