By Priyesh Salunke, Global MBA student 2012-2013, India
5 Cities, 15 days. That was the target a friend and I set before we left for our winter break. The single digit temperatures (sometimes dropping below zero) in Cergy motivated me to get out and travel. We started off the journey on the night of the final day of the first term. I had to miss out on a friend’s party (Matthew, please accept my apologies) to go home and pack. I had not packed anything for the 15 day trip until the last moment because the term was quite exhilarating. Our first stop was Amsterdam. I was quite excited about the whole trip (or so called "euro trip") because this was my first holiday in four years. We reached Amsterdam on a cold and clear morning. It does not take a lot of time to explore Amsterdam and three days later, I felt that a two day stay in Amsterdam would have been sufficient. The city was small; people spoke English (one of the best things about Amsterdam) and were friendly. However, the weather was bad and it was raining most of the time.
Next stop: Berlin
Berlin turned out to be really great. I love berlin and wish I could move there in the long term. I took a walking tour of the city and I realised that the city has a long history which, definitely, could not be covered in 3 days. Berlin has a great party culture too. I had a great time in Berlin. I picked up souvenirs and wrote postcards. I felt like a lone traveller with no end goal, a different feeling altogether.
Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, or so I had heard. What they say is true. When you travel in Prague, you know it is not “Modern Europe”. It has a medieval feeling to it. Many of its castles and historic monuments are still intact and very little of it was actually damaged in the wars that it has witnessed. There are lots of walking tours in the city for a person who interested in history and architecture. I clicked lots of pictures and my camera battery ran out all the time. I spent New Year’s Eve in Prague and it was the best time ever.
Four days later, I was in Vienna. The city was quite different than Amsterdam, Berlin and Prague. We were staying in the city centre and we were put up at a hostel which was quite different than the ones I had stayed at earlier. Make your own breakfast and washing your own plates! I had never expected that. I made new friends here and we had a good time. We went out for dinner and there was a lot of cross cultural exchange.
Last stop: Milan
I was both happy and sad to be here. Happy because I had looked forward to coming, and sad because our holiday was coming to an end. Milan is a place which is very similar to Paris; the only difference is that people spoke Italian. With winter sales going on, people were going crazy shopping. An interesting story in Milan was that I watched TV after 4 months! I never thought that I would miss watching TV but I spent an entire afternoon watching TV. You may laugh but 4 months into the MBA, you start missing some things. I was missing home (now Cergy) and couldn’t wait to get back. We took a flight back to Paris and the travel time was spent reminiscing about the holiday.
The second term was going to start the next day and I could not believe that the 15 day break was actually over. The grass is always greener on the other side, I guess. I had to gear up for the strenuous term ahead.
Happy New Year!