Vacations are always nice. Without a doubt and am sure everyone, everywhere, looks forward to one. Some get one a year, the lucky ones get to take multiple. 2015 so far has been “nice”, with two breaks, both short and quick, but hey, a vacation is a vacation.
After a lot of thinking (well, not really), decided to go for another community group tour for a short break (the last one being a few years ago), post the few solos that had done in between. Now community tours can be good as in you know all the people, every one knows you, your cultures are the same, food habits the same, blah blah and blue blue blue, as they say… Where they do get tricky is they know you too damn well and you know them too damn well, so can become a bit frustrating and tricky, when you need to handle people who through some lineage happen to be your 10th blood line relations. But it can and always is fun.
This year the destination turned to be Budapest and Prague for a week, a couple of nights in both places. Reading about the two places, both gorgeous places with a superb and rich architectural history, wonderful to visit, of course the usual sales stuff that you find on Google and you look forward to it. It is interestingly, always the pre-trip planning that takes the whistle out of you, as in the excitement to see all that you
Being Indians, of course, we need visas to most places and I always find it surprising that we are allowed free entry to many countries, that many of us probably don’t know where they are or don’t go. Europe happily was in the not free list.
An interesting realization that one gets when we go to apply for a visa, is the approach that people want to stay back in the European countries and never come back, or are looked at, oh, you want to come to our country? Why? Well, as a wise man once said, to help your economy of course, which I realized was not such a smart answer. More so, with the limited passports that were being collected every day, my thought was, there goes my $100 on the visa charge. Luckily did not turn out to be bad and I did manage to get the stamp of approval on my passport.
Flight day, as always, excitement, edginess, running late, being relaxed, and of course, packing right upto the time one is leaving the house and remembering, what did I not take, rather than what did I take and do I need this, managed to reach the Airport well in time. What was not prepared for was the crowd that was there in the queue, which seemed never ending and never finishing. A sea of people in front of me and another ocean behind just queuing up and possibly in every counter that I could see in the Airport. Realizing that it was, after all, holiday season and the fact that there were nearly 18 of us in the same group, the start got more interesting.
Baggage in, immigration done, long walk to the other end of the terminal completed, pre-flight group photos of smiling people taken and with time to get a few drinks before the flight, a wonderful if not brilliant start to the event. As I submitted my boarding pass for the entry, got a revised printout. Upgraded to Business Class. This was going to be a nice holiday.
The Journey begins.2