So it is official and the countdown has begun to my very first international holiday.
I am still pinching myself. For the longest time, my deepest desire was to go on a trip around the world. I lapped up travel shows, movies, articles, books (Travels by Michael Crichton tops the list). I would dream, plan, postpone, dream again; my usual pattern.
I was Walter Mitty from the movie The Secret life of Walter Mitty.
Then a few months back a comment on my Mami’s (aunt) Facebook travel photo changed it all. We ended playing spin the globe and hypothetically travelled from Italy to Austria, Italy to Greece, Italy to Sweden.
I suppose Italy was always meant to be.
Blame it on The Agony and The Ecstasy, Angels and Demons. Inferno, perhaps? To be Under the Tuscan Sun, I’d Eat, Love and Pray.
A few weeks later I was at VFS Global in New Delhi, queued for a Shengen Visa. Contrary to my fears, the process was smooth. I had my companion, the brains of the whole operation, my Mami by my side.
Now, I can hardly wait to say, “Buongiorno Italia!”
The Gondolas, gladiators, the cathedrals, Michelangelo,
pizza, gelato, Milano, Il Duomo,
Trevi, Da Vinci, Medici, cappuccino,
Pompeii, Pope, tiramisu, Lake Como.
As you can gauge from my list, my excitement is all over the place.
From there we fly across the continent to the land of Ikea and ABBA, Sweden.
I still remember my Class 8 Geography lessons. My imagination soared when I learned of the Scandinavian peninsula that called out to me like The Song of Fire and Ice. Those were the countries where the sun never set for six whole months and aurora borealis lit the skies. This surreal world inspired a wanderlust that only grew stronger.
I wanted to be Walter Mitty aka Ben Stiller, cycling and longboarding across the most gorgeous landscape ever.
Yes! I’m over the moon to say, “Hej Sweden”!
This summer can’t get any better and I have my Swedish short list ready
Archipelagos by the sea and sleeping in the light of the midnight sun,
Vasa, the Vikings, Skansen, EDM,
Nobel, fish, Gamla stan and lingonberry jam.
So now with the clock ticking, I’m on pins and needles.
My Sunshine Teen had her bit of advice to share.
“Make a playlist, movie list, book list, food list. Immerse mind and soul into your travel destination, body will follow soon enough. You have to make this trip spectacular, a trip to remember.”
It sounded good so I took it.
* Racing through Dan Brown’s unofficial guide to Florence and Vatican- Inferno, Angel and Demons again.
* Binging on movies and series set in these countries. Today watched Eat, love and pray and I couldn’t wait for the eat part to get going.
*My taste buds are getting a crash course in risotto, lasagne, tiramisu. Unfortunately Swedish cuisine is relatively a mystery in India so will have to do the feasting in Sweden itself.
*I am beefing my song list- ‘Habits’ with Tove Lo, ‘Wake me up‘ Avicii, Andrea Bocelli (his collaboration with Ed Sheeran is currently my favourite) and then there is the ABBA classic, ‘Mama Mia, here I go again‘.
* Inspired by Josh Bernstein’s stories, I finally opened an Instagram account. Like him, I intend to file amazing stories of my adventures too. For time being, going into raptures looking at the gorgeous photographs floating in the cyberspace.
* Needless to say, my research frenzy that includes Google pages, Facebook, Wikipedia and blogs, is at an all time high.
Therefore a special shot out to all the people who are reading this post. Do you have any advice, any must see, must haves, must dos, must eats to share, in Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan and Stockholm? Please let me know in the comments below. I look forward to reading them and making notes.
Ps : This particular post was inspired by an Anticipation and Preparation invitation by Cathy at The wander essence. She did one such post on her forthcoming trip to Central Italy.
Check it out. No one does it better than her.
Gifs via Giphy