Summer’s here, and we had scooted off to greener pastures (the grass is in fact greener on the other side in this case).
The minute Cy’s leave got sanctioned, i got into planning mode. the biggest question being where should we go? Suddenly the world is our oyster, we selected paris, only because our daughter wanted to visit it. The selection felt like we’d thrown darts at the atlas. We found tickets online, and with a swipe and a click, were booked to fly to and from france, the dates of travel confirmed. That was the only solid thing , we had no clue what we were doing for those 2 weeks.Well anyway, research for hotels, things to do and see was under full swing. Annie and me began research of hotels, but we needed 1 more place to visit. i couldn’t think of being in ‘rude’ france for that long.
Portugal, we thought, a laid back kind of people, are our kind of people. Super 10 days in portugal and 4 in paris sounded lovely.Decided!!
Connections found,hotels booked , sightseeing and activites identified, things were falling into place.
With my husband being a pilot you would think, yay they get free tickets (ya sure, no guarantees of getting on the plane though), best to buy. The visa the biggest challenge of all in our case, as time to submit a pilot’s passport needs to be co ordinated, between scheduled flights. So this calls for maximum coordination, between, dates of scheduled flights ,(a world in which there is nothing like weekends or declared national holidays) and working dates of embassies (who don’t work on weekends, or all local and national holidays) . So as usual, the request for urgent visa application is made. papers ready we approach the VFS centre, portugal requires 10-15 days to issue a visa. IMPOSSIBLE ! Now apply to france, for which we needed to spend equal days in france and portugal , which meant a complete change in itenarary, bookings etc. Back to the drawing board it was (luckily we had days in hand).
Now with a new plan, we approach the VFS centre, facing 1 weekend a bank holiday, and exactly 2 working days before cy’s next flight. It’s today, or our enitre holiday is in the bin. His passport already has a valid schengen visa from last year, which expires a day after we arrive in paris, so one would imagine, the next would be an extension right? WRONG? because it was issued by the belgians, we needed to give it in for cancellation 1st. 2 working days we were told, or else, change your flight into france. NO, we need to apply today!! The belgians, are extremely, helpful, and did the needful in half an hour.
Application submitted as URGENT, we sat on pins and needles, things weren’t in our hands anymore.
The french delivered, and finally we did go as scheduled. Phew!! the final, vouchers printed, weary and exhausted, we flew for a much needed getaway.
After an ardourous 36 hour journey, 8 hours to paris, overnight stay, 1 hour bus journey to airport of domestic flights, 3 hours to portugal, and 1 hour drive to our city, we arrived. A slow paced place with fabulous beaches, it’s a must do.
Meeting people, from different countries, experiencing new cultures and foods, is always the best part of a holiday, we met a couple of old ladies from ireland, who asked our daughter, if she’d rather be white ?
we faced racism, where the shop owner said in french to his colleague, (annie understands french)’ how much he disliked people like us’, ,later on when the colleague spoke to me, i realised they thought we’re spanish. How sad, i thought, if you are gonna hate me, at least hate me for me.
THINGS WE TREATED OURSELVES TO. . .
THINGS WE WERE TREATED TO @mothernature
By the way, we have lost the top positon of being the loudest race in the world, the chinese have taken no.1 spot in that too, They are loud, and rude, and will push you out of their way. Nothing personal we were told, it’s their culture.
Plenty others are fighting to get into the top 3 by the “sounds” of it, although, at the eiffel we did have a group of indians, who decided to sing very loudly,”an ewneeng een parees”, making our tour guide have to stop his speech, a few times. i tried to feign ignorance, although visions of Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore kept flashing before my eyes.Luckily he didnt clarify, who the people were. Then there are those from the most ignorant part of the world, with their nasal twangs. Unfortunately, ‘it’s their ignorance more than the accent that makes them insufferable, one such lady from texas, on meeting us indians, said,”oh, i ve always wanted to go to INDIA to see the PYRAMIDS’, she said. Too dumbstruck to respond,we wished her Good luck.
FAQ’s: Where are you’ll from ? india. OH. but where, USA or UK? no India. Oh, you’ll are indians from India ???
But boy, the world certainly has shrunk, and everyone is everywhere, loud, accented, colourful, festive and friendly, i love it! Although, i have to add, we seemed to be doomed with the most chatty couples either in front of us or behind us on every journey we took, be it a train, plane or a bus.
wE MET soME smART PEOple, hard WORKING ONES,
Paris the city of love, i must say was the biggest surprise of all. the parisians have thawed, they now speak english fluently (like they knew it all along), are very kind, and smile alot. Love has conquered all.
aN iTALIAN gUIDE fRANCESCO, WITH HIS ITALIAN TUK TUK showing us lisbon;
And as it always happens, we enjoyed our time together, quarelled a little, laughed alot, walked for miles dicovering the cities,and sealed our bonds a little bit more!
Finally, the last voucher used, and final cent spent, our hearts filled with happy memories, and bags full of dirty clothes, we , flew back home. And true to the pattern, i had a LOUD Snorer, behind me for the 8 hour flight!
Weary and exhausted, we were back home!! 2 more places ticked of the bucket list, i’m already mentally scanning the next.
A succesful holiday is one where you need another holiday to recover from it. I wish you a happy summer holiday , may you return as tired as we did!