One of the most memorable travel of my life ?
Travelling! (My mental disorder)
Turned me into a STORYTELLER….
My obsession and disorder is somewhat less recognized by many of OTTD (Obsession To Travel Disorder). I am passionate about travelling, going around the world and learn about different cultures. I have been lucky to find the partner with same mental disorder. Sometimes, we think why do we have a house, we should have only bought a Caravan. We are one of those who gets sad and talk about “is there anything wrong with us – we haven’t travelled for three months now! “. Well I am sure by now you will know what is the significance of OTTD in our life.
There are many memories from my travel which are fading away as I grow older. So I decided why not write it down before it is completely gone.
One of the most memorable travel was our Honeymoon. We both worked hard for 3 months to save enough for our Honeymoon to Geneva, Switzerland. Finally, it was all planned and we were set to go on 31 December 2005.
It didn’t start very well, due to weather conditions our flight was delayed for 4 hours. Beside living 15 mins away from Gatwick Airport we were stuck at airport if incase flight goes early. This all added up to our late arrival @ Geneva. We checked in to Ramada Encore Geneva around 11 pm. I must mention it here, hardly few people spoke basic English, so it was hard to communicate unless you know French. We were starving by now! The hotel restaurant was closed by then so we were directed to next door restaurant where new year’s celebrations were on. Cherry on the top, the whole menu was in French. To your surprise we didn’t know more than “bonjour”. We hardly were able to choose vegetarian pizza option, interpreting signs on menu. Not very happy but we returned to hotel to start a fresh next morning.
Flight Delayed @ Gatwick Airport
Next morning, we were at bus stop to go to the nearest sightseeing places. First bus arrived, driver didn’t allow us onboard and it took another few buses to figure out that we have to buy ticket before getting on the bus and that it is time restricted too. Well you can imagine travelling from U.K where you can buy the ticket whilst on board seemed somewhat like a luxury. In the evening we decided to spend time at La Praille shopping mall, ice skating, shopping and listening to music. It was handy to stay in hotel next door to this big shopping mall. It had so much to offer.
Next day before heading to Lausanne (it is a city on Lake Geneva, its home to the International Olympic Committee headquarters, as well as the Olympic Museum and lakeshore Olympic park), we bought a basic dictionary to translate from English to French. It took us around 50 minutes to get there via double decker train. Views were awe-inspiring and Nabil’s eyes caught sight of a cruise, being fond of cruising, he showed his desire to be on that cruise. I was against of cruising as we were already over budget. But seeing Nabil upset about it, I agreed for it. Nabil ran happily to the ticket counter and bought 2 tickets. Only when we are entering cruise we noticed armed guards at the gate, we relate it to 9/11 and thought security is strict.
After careful consideration of views, we found a table to sit. That was the moment when we were frozen to death seeing France Flag on the other side of the cruise and we were already at sail!. Obviously, we figured out it is heading to France. Nabil quickly texted his friend “ location for Evian ?” within few minutes horrifying reply was received “what are you doing in Evian, France? You went to Switzerland, didn’t you?” and the penny dropped! with jaw dropping to our ankles. As we were looking at each other we realize from a brochure later picked whilst on board that we were just crossing the sea border, entering France.
Nabil instantly instructed me to remain seated when cruise stops. It will go back in 15 mins, if we don’t go out we are safe. We recited all Quranic Ayahs we knew. Nabil was trying to assure me that its gonna be fine reading my face. I still remember his words “ even if we end up in jail, best part is we are together” … he really meant it or not I still doubt it. Here, I would like to add that we had Pakistani passport at the time and didn’t had France visa. 9/11 recently happened. I remember we even read news to ourselves and the caption was something like..”BREAKING NEWS!!A Young couple tried to enter France via cruise from Switzerland caught”. Cruise stayed there for 10 -15 minutes but believe me those were the longest 15 minutes of my life. New passengers boarded and we were at sail again. As soon as ship passed the borders we thanked Allah and by the time we landed in Lausanne, after getting off from cruise Nabil bowed down to Almighty. It is still an unsolved miracle to me that we were not caught at any border or asked to show our passports. I gained a life time reference that woman’s 6th sense is always right and that he should listen to me in future 😉 does this really happen- perhaps, a wishful thinking to someday to come true.
Next day Nabil was a very good boy, following my decisions at least for few hours .. lolz. We visited Head Quarters of United Nations and Red Crescent.
United Nations Head Quarters
The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) is the second-largest of the four major office sites of the United Nations (second to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City). It is located in the Palais des Nations building constructed for the League of Nations between 1929 and 1938 at Geneva in Switzerland, and expanded in the early 1950s and late 1960s.
Red Crescent Head Quarters
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering in 1863.
Day 4 we were out to explore Geneva Lake and around. As every day came with a new challenging surprise. Day 4 was not too different. In a nearby park it was afternoon time , a man came towards us murmuring something. When we asked to say it again. He was trying to sell drugs and dope. We ran literally to be away from him but he kept following and we were scared to death almost to be looted and murdered in a quite park.
Next morning was our flight back to UK. Home sweet home UK decided to not let us down either, landing was an experience itself as whole town was under snow and it continued to snow for 2 days. It was enough excitement and drama to carry for a honeymoon. Lessons were learnt. Do your research before you travel, be prepared to face anything and keep calm. Most, importantly listen to a woman’s sixth sense.