Just got back from a madcap road trip across five countries in Europe and I am still reeling from the effects of the past two weeks. There were about seventy of us on this pilgrimage trip (thirty from my parish) and I was wondering how it would be... We landed in Madrid and traversed through Spain, to reach Fatima in Portugal, then went on to Lourdes and Paris in France, stopped in the mountains in Switzerland for a day, then on to Turin, Padua, Venice, Assisi, Rome and Milan in Italy. Stayed in eleven hotels and received wake up calls at insane hours like 4:30 am... the wake up call from our hotel in Rome was quite amusing. I answered the phone to hear Michael Bublé crooning to 'I want to go home...', those people at the hotel have a nice sense of humour.
So we arrived in Madrid, roamed around for a bit, then reached the hotel and I started updating the family on whatsapp about our day. They asked for my room number to call on the hotel line, so anyway I'm still checking messages when I hear a knock on the door. Thinking it to be somebody from the group I open the door to find my brother, Vinod, standing there, I blinked and then almost screamed, 'MOM, look who is here!' She was as shocked as me to see him, he wanted to surprise us and boy did it work! It was pretty cool and things only got better as the days went by, we got to know the rest of the group and made many friends along the way. A bunch of us were always up for exploring different cities by night and it was bliss hanging out with them, eating ice cream at midnight and just walking along those well worn cobbled streets... I think I loved the night explorations more than the day visits. During the day it was more or less like being back in school, we were herded from one spot to another and the tour organiser would glare at us if we happened to be a little late or if we walked into any shop. I sometimes felt like Jason Bourne, darting in and out of places surreptitiously trying to avoid being seen... but truth be said, the organiser had a large crowd to handle and he had to hold the reins or people would disappear and that would spell mayhem.
All in all it was a definitely memorable trip, insanely hectic yet immensely enjoyable. For the bunch of us who used to roam around at nights, we barely had four or five hours of sleep each day, but it was so worth it... we were grateful to be in some of the most historically monumental, extremely vibrant, quaintly charming and stunningly beautiful places and given a chance, I think we'd do it all over again.
Check out this highlight reel, a new feature on the Moto x that allows you to make a video from a bunch of images... pretty cool feature.