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Diverse, classic, artistic!

Diverse, classic, artistic!
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I decided to tick off a few places in Europe in October. Here is a little glimpse of the many moments I lived there and the tonnes of places and...

I decided to tick off a few places in Europe in October. Here is a little glimpse of the many moments I lived there and the tonnes of places and cultures that made it worthwhile.

Berlin
Here’s a pro tip, if your first landing port is Berlin, then book an airline that lands in Schönefeld, it will save you the unnecessary long queues of immigration and baggage claim. I finished mine in less than 30 minutes.

Also, do not forget to keep your thermals/jacket in hand; it’s pretty windy and cold (especially from October). The airport has an unconditional WiFi (unlike airports in India), just in case you got to make some calls before your SIM card starts reading international roaming.

I straight away switched on navigation and headed to the nearest train station, which was hardly 500 metres away, freshened up and left for a city tour.

Of other things that I loved about Berlin, I was amazed at the public transportation there. You could travel almost anywhere in Berlin through public transport. Simply take a day pass (costs €8 only) at any station and follow Google Maps. The pass is valid for 24 hours and is valid across all public transport means including bus, tram, underground rail and surface rail.

My first pit stop was at Alexanderplatz. After going around the famous TV tower Fernsehturm in Alexanderplatz, I grabbed a coffee and headed to what I found the most breathtaking place in Berlin – Museumsinsel. A rich mix of cultures across the globe, the place not only has the best in-city view of an art gallery that boasts cultures from so many different places.

Through the perimeter of Museumsinsel, you will find intricately detailed sculptures keeping you company as you enjoy the evening walk by the Spree River. What made the evening even great was the light festival at Brandenburg Gate that epitomises the German reunification through breathtaking visuals. A must get for art and culture lovers.

While places like this and Reichstag will take you on a rich culture ride, the other side of the city like Potsdamer Platz will boast of the urban architectural excellence. Modern architecture, skyscrapers, theatres, hotels, malls, eateries and all things urban can be found here.

Grab a quick bite at Vapiano (Italian restaurant), very close to the Potsdamer Platz station and explore the best of European lifestyle brands in the Mall of Berlin. Do not miss the historic Berlin Wall that once divided the beautiful place into two provinces.

Try visiting outskirts of Berlin such as Wildau, you may come across a lake or any other water body at just walking distance. Life here is much peaceful and as much enjoyable as Berlin Centre.

Budapest
Not a good impression at the very first sight but wait for it. Budapest picks on you like classic wine as it gets darker. The rugged architecture and the Victorian looking stations are a treat to the eye. If you are neoclassic architecture lover and this place is a treasure-trove for you.

Keep the Budapest Parliament as your first landmark and make sure you travel by tram or bus to explore the architectural beauty of the place as you walk by. Huge walls, larger-than-life gates, heavy lights and Italian windows will catch your eye.

Sitting on one side of the charismatic Danube is the grandeur or the Budapest Parliament. Visit the place just before sunset and watch the majestic building slowly turn into a jaw-dropping piece of art. The lights, the orange setting sun, Danube River and the strong evening breeze; your eyes will not ask for more. What makes the visit to the parliament worthwhile is the close proximity of visiting it.

You are allowed to sit as close as 100 metres from the fencing of the parliament, no restrictions whatsoever. With a mix of neo-gothic and neo-roman (I think), the Budapest Parliament is like a grand painting brought to life. Budapest is certainly the best sight to the eye at night.

Did I tell you about the story of Danube River? It is the river that connects Buda from Pest; after your visit at the Parliment, walk alongside Danube River and you will come across the Chain Bridge that connects Buda and Pest.

Stand in the middle of the bridge with your loved one and silently enjoy the silence of the river flowing beneath. It is as though Danube whispers a love poem to everyone on the Chain Bridge. Have an ear, you might hear it too.

Budapest has a gift of many hot springs. Choose your soak from a mix of indoor-rustic thermal baths or modern open-establishments. Do not forget to pick a postcard from one of the souvenir shops and write a word or two to someone you love.

Vienna
In all its glory and historic significance, Vienna is one of the very few places that boast an imperial history and still is way modern than you might assume. The most mesmerising part of Vienna is its streets. Situated on a slightly hilly terrain, the streets of Vienna hold the most beautiful view with black bricked roads, light-coloured buildings on either sides that show traces of a neo-gothic era.

Vienna is like a Leonid Afremov or a John Bramblitt painting brought to life, only more beautiful. Mesmerising skyscrapers, chic roads, cozy trams and active local bicyclers, all make you fall in love with the city.

Needless to mention, Vienna is a palace for shopaholics with the biggest brands in the world on either sides of the road. Take a ride on the famous Prater and Ferris wheel (preferably at night), visit the ensemble of museums, palaces (which are aplenty) and of course the shopping malls (because who does not like Bvlgari).

Prague
A heaven for Bohemian art lovers, Prague is one of the most beautiful places to visit, provided it’s not overly crowded. Juts one walk across the world famous Charles Bridge will never be enough. The 14th Century masterpiece over the Vltva River sings its glory throughout the day, only louder at night. The best time to visit Charles Bridge is late in the night (indisputably). The bridge is way too crowded in the morning which is obvious because something so beautiful cannot be a secret forever.

Besides the iconic Charles Bridge, you will encounter some strangely famous things in Prague such as the numerous Museums of Ancient Torture Weapons (like the Museum of Medieval Torture). Surprisingly, the most gorgeous thing about Prague is not the Charles Bridge or the Palace or the museums, it is the Trdelnik ice cream.

One of the most ingenious desserts I have ever tasted, this one puts doughnuts to shame. Also, Prague has an indifferent shopping experience. While it does have a lot of shopping malls (like the Phoenix Mall), it does have quite a lot of boutiques, which are beautifully designed and decorated on the inside. For those who like partying, this is the place for you. Prague has one of the most happening clubs which run overnight.

Make sure you visit/stay close to Old Town Square so you can enjoy walking on the beautiful streets surrounded by boutiques, malls and local art galleries.

Budget
Plan well in advance and you could have a 10 day trip (all four places combined) within INR 2 Lakh.

Food
If you are a vegetarian and want to try local food, then you will have to stick to desserts. But do not worry; there are Indian restaurants spread across which serve decent Indian food (even Lassi and Masala Chai).

Local Travel
Berlin, Budapest and Vienna are all very well connected with public transport. So just take a day pass and switch your navigation on. Many streets in Prague are walk-only streets, especially near the Old Town Square, but it is worth every kilometer walked.

Inter-Country travel
If you have a Schengen Visa (which you will in most probability), prefer taking a bus from one country to other. It costs the same money and time as a flight, and is rather more comfortable. Inter-country bus fleets are utmost comfortable and give you a breathtaking view of the countryside.

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