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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Perfect Hosts

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat by night

Very often we travel to new destinations and mostly come back content with the memories of a new place. We make new friends, have a bite of new dishes, see new things and do so much more, We seldom give a thought about the place where we spend the nights be it a comfortable hotel, a friends place or guest house. I have some lovely memories of the hosts without which our stay would not have been such a memorable one. When I look back some of these that stay on the top of my mind are narrated below.

A couple of years back we had booked our holiday in France and we were to travel by Oman Air via Muscat. So, I planned my trip with a break of the journey on my way back from Paris for three nights in Muscat. When we were closer to the date of travel I realized that the visa for Muscat would be a challenge. So, I contacted my host and he readily agreed to help me. We were to stay at an Airbnb accommodation and my host collected my passport details and arranged the visas for my family and self. He acted as a sponsor and this facilitated the entire process. He came to pick us at the airport at midnight and drove us to the place a good 25 km away, Though we were very tired and jet-lagged he not only showed us the city that glittered in the night till we reached our place. Next day he drove us to see the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Next evening he took us to the Muscat Grand Opera show( Video attached) in his car and later for dinner in a traditional Arabic restaurant. All this was complimentary a surprise that was almost unbelievable. The icing on the cake was the last evening when he promised to drop us at the airport past midnight in his limousine. He did not charge for the extended stay beyond 2PM in the hotel and neither for the drop back to the airport.

Yet another time when we landed at Prague, our host had arranged Christmas gifts like traditional footwear, bottles of wine, chocolates and other treats as it was the festive time. We had planned to visit Karlovy Vary from Prague by train but were forced to cancel the trip at the eleventh hour. The Czech Railways not only refunded the entire amount but gave us the option to travel on another date which we readily availed

In Basel in Switzerland, our host gave us city passes for local travel in the city for unlimited rides and concessions to visits to the museums. On another occasion at Interlaken when we were staying at the Airbnb accommodation the hostess would bake the pizza for us besides carrying our bags to our room despite my protest! A sweet gesture that stays in memory to this day

While I was staying in TelAviv in Israel, the hotel travel desk offered to take us on a complimentary trip to show the International Diamond Centre located at Ramat Gan. It is a unique place which tells the history of diamonds, how they are mined, evaluated, polished and finally sold to the highest bidders in an auction. It was an exhilarating experience.

When we got off at the train station of Dunkirk on the French coast a surprise awaited us. The entire city bus service is free for travel. The farthest city limit is about 30 km and one can travel for free. A bonanza which enabled us to see the remote parts where the Battle of Dunkirk was fought during the second world war. The Belgian border is just within walking distance of the place

Many years back I had planned a trip to Bangkok, Chaing Mai and Phuket in Thailand. However, due to certain family circumstances, we had to cancel the trip. So instead of cancelling it altogether, I postponed the trip by another three months which involved re= booking several flights, changes in hotel dates, the local flights besides the Thai Airways flights from India to Thailand and back, After, about fifteen days of intense work to make the changes, the new plan was evolved and fortunately I did not have to incur any additional expense.

These are blessings that need to be counted, as they become the cherished memories for posterity.

PS- The picture and video is mine


11 comments:

  1. These are indeed great experiences. You are fortunate to have such kind hosts in all the places.

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    1. Welcome to my blog.Thanks for reading Maniparna! I am a firm believer in goodness:)

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  2. Memories of travels become richer with unexpected gestures of kindness

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    1. Could not agree more, Purba!Am lucky to find such people:)

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  3. Travels are just travels if memories are not made... And memories are made not only by just the beautiful sights in the places we visit but by those strangers and unknown souls we meet who connect and leave their mark along with the place on us. Lovely post sir... 😊

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    1. Very true Ira!So happy that you liked the post and indeed good people anywhere make the differnce.

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  5. Athithi Devo Bhava says our texts ... guests are gods ! You are right ....these moments of hospitality linger longer in our memories than the places we visit

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    1. So good to see you here after a long break! How did I forget not to mention you, another lovely host in Singapore:)Hope you and your family is doing well

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