A Year Older in Europe!

A cricketer by profession just like his father, Mohammed Asaduddin works hard while training or playing a match. What keeps him motivated, however, is the prospect of travelling. “I love travelling and exploring new places. It helps me relax and de-stress,” he tells us. The talented young man recently went on a 12-day trip to Europe along with his cousin. Asaduddin always wanted to celebrate his birthday in Europe, and that’s what prompted the timing and location of the trip. Here he takes us along his journey through the Netherlands, Hungary, Croatia and Italy.

The duo first headed to Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands. The city is known for its artistic heritage, with legacies from the 17th century Golden Age. An art connoisseur’s dream vacation, the city’s Museum District is home to works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and many other critically acclaimed pieces of modern art. Asaduddin tells us, “The Rijksmuseum is one of the most famous art and history museums in the country, and is an absolute delight to visit!” Having landed in Amsterdam on his birthday, Asaduddin spent the entire day exploring the city on foot, except for when he took a canal cruise through the beautiful waterways of Amsterdam. About the food in the city, he says, “I’d recommend Mas y Mas for Argentinean food in Amsterdam. It was one of the most amazing birthday meals that I had there!”

After a night of partying in Amsterdam, in spite of the long day, the cousins went on to Budapest, Hungary the following day. The unique city is divided by the River Danube. The two sides of the river – the hilly Buda region and flat Pest region – are connected by the 19th century Chain Bridge. “The Hungarian Parliament building is a beautiful sight,” Asaduddin informs us, “And as for the thermal baths and spas, they are a must try for every tourist who visits Budapest!” The two then moved on to the capital of Croatia, Zagreb. Distinguished by its 18th and 19th century Astro-Hungarian architecture, the city is where the famous Zagreb Cathedral, known for its Gothic architecture, and St. Mark’s Church with its colourfully tiled roof, are located. “Dubrovnik Café and Eggspress are two eateries that I have to mention for their delicious food,” Asaduddin says.

“One of the best sightseeing spots that we visited was the Plitvice Lake National Park. A two-hour drive from Zagreb, the park has 16 interconnected lakes with beautiful waterfalls,” Asaduddin gushes. “The water is crystal clear and surrounded by lush greenery.”As someone who loves to be in nature, this was one of the best places I’ve ever visited. It’s like heaven on Earth!”

The two young men then drove four hours from Zagreb to Split, a town on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. Known for its beaches, the complex at the centre of the city that resembles a fortress, and the Diocletian’s Palace; the town is now a major tourist attraction in Croatia. “One of the most memorable experiences of the trip was the drive to Split,” Asaduddin reminisces, “I drove a left-hand steering car for the first time. I managed to get the hang of it, and even drove in heavy traffic, which is honestly not an easy task when your muscles remember the right-hand steering. Somehow I got us safely to our destination (laughs)!”

The final stop on the itinerary was the beautiful city of Rome. Home to nearly 3,000 years of unparalleled Italian art, architecture and culture, Rome is a must-visit while on a European trip. The duo made sure to visit every famous tourist spot they could, including the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, and Vatican City. “Europe is an extraordinary continent and the experience was entirely beautiful! There is so much history in every nook and corner. Learning about the different places, people, and their histories was a delight!” Asaduddin concludes.    

--- Tanya