TRAVEL IS MY THERAPY
The old saying goes that you don’t know what you have got until it’s gone and it’s proved painfully correct since travels have been off the cards now due to restrictions in travel due to the ongoing pandemic. I am aware of what I am missing and I thought I would take a moment to ask this question sometime. I do not think there is a soul on earth who would not love to travel and explore the beautiful landscapes, cityscapes that exist in different parts of the world. The fact that I was not able to travel because of the pandemic has strengthened my belief that travelling does keep you motivated, energized, happy, and yes!- that is why I called travelling ‘My Therapy’!
The various reasons for anyone to travel could be bringing joy ,creating memories, giving yourself some cool challenges, maybe achieving your bucket list, meeting new people, new faces, getting to know different varied cultures and of course not to leave this one out- it’s an escape, it’s a break! A break from the routine chores of life, a break from the norm. For all of us a short vacation or maybe even a weekend trip is all about going a few steps back from the regular routine and having the complete control of the day in your hands.
A short travel quote from Ibn Battuta that I personally love says: “ Travelling leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller’ and I truly believe in this. Once you gain such brilliant experiences in life, not sure about others, but I always end up talking about them, sharing my personal experiences with everybody. It works well as a communication starter and each time I speak about my travelogue to somebody I RELIVE every moment ( even now as I am writing this one!) each place leaves me with immense joy and rejuvenation! Let me share my personal experience on one of my recent trips to Italy, where you can witness my experience through my eyes.
In the month of April 2019 we flew to Milan, the heart of Italy. As we were getting off the airport and moving towards our BnB accommodation, I could see the locals dressing in the best of outfits- Milan being the fashion industry capital. After a quick short break we headed to Lake Como, a beautiful inverted Y shaped lake, adorned with mountains around with glaciers.
The day happened to be Easter Sunday resulting in a lot of Hustle and bustle in the City. The ride from Lake Como to the resort town of Bellagio was a beautiful experience all by itself in a small boat with temperatures nearing 0°. It was amazing walking through its cobbled lanes, elegant buildings and terrace gardens with lake views.
After a relaxing night spent at the BnB the next day we headed out to Varenna, a place where time stands still! It is a picturesque traditional village located on the eastern shore of Lake Como. The ride from Bellagio to Veranna was the most enticing and chilling ride I ever had on a ferry.
We never realised how the time flew by and it was time to move out to Rome the next day. Experiencing and seeing the Colosseum and Vatican City could not have been better than this. We binged on some local food such as Spaghetti, Lasagna, pizza and Gelato. Every new day in Rome I was looking forward to experiencing something different which I have never seen in my life before. Rome was definitely a must visit but the next two places which I visited in the following days left me awestruck.
While traveling to Italy and exploring each and every part of it, ten days are not sufficient . My travel plans ensured that I had covered all the places which I had always dreamt of. Topping my list next was Pompeii which was once a thriving city but now buried under metres of ash and pumice after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
We spent almost nine hours walking through the preserved excavated ruins of the streets, houses, amphitheatres, granaries, and museums which were an absolute delight to understand the catastrophe which the city underwent. Pompeii is accessible by road from Naples, Italy and trust me this is one of the places which you should have it on your bucket list.
While I was still trying to absorb so many learnings which I had in Pompeii, I never knew that there was yet another place equally amazing waiting to surprise me. This is none other than the beautiful island Capri and Sorrento, in the deep blue waters of the Bay of Naples. The best known natural site in the rugged landscape of Capri is the Blue Grotto, a dark cavern where the sea glows electric blue as a result of sunlight passing through an underwater cave.
The experience of getting inside the blue grotto on a small boat was enthralling and one of the best, most beautiful memories I could have made. These exotic coastline towns of Capri, Amalfi coast and Sorrento studded with colourful yachts were simply mesmerizing.
After spending a good three days at the Islands we drove upwards to the ‘City of Bridges and Masks’- Venice. Something very unique to see no roads, just canals including the main Grand Canal linking with Renaissance and Gothic palaces. The BnB booked in Venice was very close to the Rialto Bridge in a calm and serene environment. We would easily take a stroll and spend lovely evenings at Saint Mark’s square, bridge of sighs, and also were lucky enough to see a Carnival sprawling over the curvy crowded lanes of Venice. And not to miss- we could also do some quick shopping of their artifacts and glass jewellery as well
The Gondola ride in the waters of Venice was simply magical with the spectacular scenery which is not just beautiful, but something to really take back in terms of its architectural intricacies. Venice is very busy, bright and vibrant in summers with a good Mediterranean climate which will never make you feel tired no matter how long your day was.
We did not realise how quickly the days went by, exploring different places in Venice and finally, it was a day to get back to Bangalore from the city of Milan. Italy as a country has been a true Masterpiece with its amazing captivating natural beauty coupled with exquisite architecture. With so much to do and see, this country will keep you coming back for more and more and certainly I would definitely like to go back to Blue grotto again!
Always remember every new experience will put you outside of your comfort zone,but if you really want to experience life it is inevitable. Staying at home is comfortable but standing in various airports surrounded by so many strangers, languages which look completely different, I find them even more comfortable and keeps me going! Keep your awareness mode at all points of time when you are travelling and when there are things you have to do all by yourself, you have no choice but to stop being afraid and just do it. This is what I have to share for now and I shall be sharing more of my travelling experiences in the forthcoming blogs- maybe Slovenia and Lubijiana in my next blog! Till then keep reading.
Leaving all my readers with a thought- Travel before you run out of time and Live your life by compass instead of running everyday by a clock. Go out, collect memories and not things!
By, Ms Swati Soni, Head of School, CMR National Public School