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Monday, January 31, 2022

The Joys of Travel

Pretty towns like Delft in the Netherlands

 After a long hiatus from blogging, I am making a comeback. This has perhaps been the longest period when I have not written in a while ever since I started to blog more than a decade back. It is not the lack of ideas that came in the way of writing but preoccupation with activities I had never imagined would one day fill my time. A cursory attempt at teaching underprivileged children has suddenly got me occupied more than ever before. My love for travel also took a back seat due to the raging Coronavirus epidemic that shook the world. The tremors can be felt now and then but at least the worst seems to be over for the time being. Several times I was tempted to travel but then the news of the new variants, breakout in certain geographical pockets, the travel restrictions imposed both in domestic as well as international travel dampened the spirit.

After great reluctance, I managed to make my first trip happen towards the end of last year. Life it seems had changed so much. The suffocating masks were a reality that one has to accept while at the airport or inside the aircraft. After reaching Kolkata my first destination, it was not possible to hug or shake hands with the dear ones with whom we were meeting after a long break. The remaining time in the city was exciting as ever except for the masks that we could not remove while out of the home. Nonetheless, the feeling of gratitude that despite heavy odds I had managed to travel once again was overwhelming. The city was getting decked up for the Durga Puja that was just a couple of weeks away. The new flavours that I experimented with affirmed my belief that no matter how much one has travelled to a place especially like Kolkata, surprises await you every time. There were so many such experiences especially eating some local sweets in a small lost area in North Kolkata that left me mesmerised. I would need a separate post to cover such unique experiences.

Imposing church spires

I had just returned from Kolkata when an opportunity to travel to the Netherlands that I had been contemplating for some time turned to reality. The Schengen states that had severely curtailed travel suddenly eased the restrictions enabling me to travel after almost two years. This time again, right from the time I boarded a taxi to the airport till the time I landed at the destination, the whole travel experience was unique. Getting the right inoculations acceptable to the authorities, RTPCR test just prior to travel and wearing the masks on the entire journey was something one could never have imagined in the worst nightmares. Still, I am grateful to the people who despite all the odds have made travel possible. To my utter surprise, when I arrived in Rotterdam from Amsterdam Schipol airport, the train conductor at the platform asked me to remove the mask that was not essential in the city anymore! It was such a pleasant surprise. The rest of the time was spent doing little sightseeing in the pretty towns like Utrecht, Delft, Gouda and Rotterdam. The endless beauties of nature, clean sparkling rivulets and canals with omnipresent birds made me forget the tough times we had undergone in the recent times

Euromast tower in the Rotterdam

 Currently, with every passing day, the realization that one is able to enjoy the small pleasures of life, there is a lot to thank as we tend to take so much for granted. For everything around us be it people, the infrastructure, the services that sometimes appear to be not fully functional, we can do things that we love to indulge in.

PS- All pics are mine










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