Having never set foot on European soil before, I was pumped up with sheer excitement and anticipation at the wonders of a continent I had only previously dreamed about. So when it did happen, I didn’t sleep a wink and was terribly jetlagged after my overnight flight to the city of Prague.
Prague, Czech Republic
Once I was in the Old Town of Prague, I was suddenly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, captivated by its exquisite medieval buildings. I couldn’t believe such a beautiful city existed. I wandered in awe along the famous cobblestone streets surrounded by such heritage for a couple of hours.
Old Town is small enough for me to walk everywhere. I explored the historical St Vitus Cathedral, the Prague Castle complex, the famous Astronomical Clock, Old Town Square, and Wenceslas Square in New Town.
Standing at the start of the famous Charles Bridge, I felt like I was in a fairytale, with street musicians, painters and performers lined up on both sides of the bridge to entertain passers-by.
The next day, my tour group travelled to another famous city, Munich. It is indeed a very pretty city with a balance of modern and old architecture.
As it is the home of automaker BMW, we had the privilege of visiting the BMW Welt exhibition centre. My eyes popped at the sight of the latest sporty cars and motorbikes. Here’s where European buyers take delivery of their Beamers!
At lunchtime, I wandered through the Viktualienmarkt, a unique marketplace full of seasonal produce, interesting aromas and a character of its own. I saw an impressive range of fruits and vegetables that looked incredibly inviting.
I also found restaurants and cafes there that serve traditional Bavarian fare. And you can’t miss the incredibly beautiful Gothic-styled Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) in the northern part of Marienplatz.
Next, we were off to Innsbruck, the capital city of Tyrol in western Austria. Greeting us was a spectacular view of the mountains visible from almost anywhere in town.
The cobblestone pathways glistened in the moonlight, with a level of cleanliness I had never seen before. Everyone I met was polite and kind with genuine welcoming smiles. The city felt eco-friendly, with more cyclists to be seen than motorists. There was hardly any traffic, the air was cool and fresh, and the atmosphere felt calm and relaxed.
I felt like I had stepped into another fairytale world when I visited the Swarovski Kristallwelten (Swarovski Crystal Worlds), a world of shimmering crystals. The museum was filled with modern crystal art, and detailed the history of crystals.
At the end of the tour, I saw women crowding the store while the men waited outside. Can’t blame them. After all, crystals are a girl’s next best friend after diamonds.
Like Innsbruck, Switzerland is also very clean and tidy (with the exception of cigarette butts). The people here are well-groomed, polite and quite friendly, but perhaps a little more laidback than the Austrians. Zurich, where we stayed for two nights, was another fairytale city (Where’s my wand when I need it? – Ed).
Built around the beautiful blue Lake Zurich, the city is modern but with small-town vibes and full of greenery. Since it was summer, the city also had many activities centred around the outdoors. I was impressed by how healthy the Swiss looked. I saw many people strolling with their pets, riding on bikes around the lake, and swimming in the lake.
My favourite town in Switzerland has to be Interlaken. Everywhere I looked, there were magnificent mountains in the distance, and the small town had a crystal clear, turquoise blue river running through it. Birds were chirping from every corner and the air was as fresh as mint. It was too magical to be real!
We visited Grindelwald, a famous village nestled in the heart of the Bernese Oberland. For outdoor enthusiasts, Grindelwald has it all. It’s the perfect playground for mountaineers and hikers, or people who simply want to enjoy the beauty of nature and impressive mountain scenery from 2,167m above sea level.
Before leaving this serene country, I also visited the charming city of Lucerne, which offers an excellent shopping experience for Swiss-made products. And finally, lovely medieval Bern, the capital city and the birthplace of the famous Swiss chocolate Toblerone.
The French capital – the city of romance – was our final stop. Since I was a little girl, I had always dreamed of visiting this romantic city. I had read about it in books, seen it on TV and on friends’ posts on social media, and now here I was in the city of my dreams.
We began with a boat cruise along the River Seine, and enjoyed a scenic city tour to discover the history and famous monuments of Paris such as the Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe and Palais du Louvre – all mandatory visits for any tourist.
The most significant landmark was, of course, the Eiffel Tower. When I got in the elevator of this metal monument, my heart raced as we ascended to the second level. When the doors opened, my eyes filled with tears. The panoramic view of Paris was beautiful beyond description.
I was also overwhelmed by the fact that I was here, and that I could finally check this off my bucket list. It was truly a dream come true for me. Do you want your dreams to come true?
This Europamundo media trip was sponsored by Parlo Tours. For more info, go to parlotours.com.my; or email email@example.com; or contact Parlo Tours at (03) 2726-6088. Parlo will be at Hall 1, Booth No. 1373-1412 during Matta Fair from Sept 8-10, 2017
Customised For You
The benefit of joining a tour group is that you get to meet people from various parts of the world. Europamundo has the flexibility to allow travellers to join different sectors at any point in their European tour, with the benefit of meeting other tourists and making new friends throughout your European adventure. Europamundo’s trips are also circular, giving you the option to customise your trip and start at any point of the tour route. Travellers can also take their tours at their own pace. You can choose to take a break during your journey and resume your trip later.