If there is one thing that I find really difficult to resist, it is participating in travel writing contests—in the last 2 years I have participated in 3 of them. Though the possibility of winning is definitely a motivating factor, what really pushes me to participate is the challenge of writing a travel post based on a ‘prompt’ or a ‘structure’, quite unlike my usual travel rambles, er… posts.
So, when @raghavmodi asked me if I wanted to be part of a Blogger Relay Race, I immediately said yes. Organised by Lowcost Holidays on the theme of “Top 3 Travel Memories”, this competition involves members of 5 blogger teams (Red, Blue, Green, Yellow and Purple) writing blog posts on this theme. All members of a team do not post at the same time; instead one person writes a post on this theme and passes the “baton” to the next blogger on the team, who also writes a post on his/her top 3 travel memories, before passing the baton on to someone else in the team to continue with the Blogger Relay Race.
I am member of #TeamPurple and yesterday, I picked the baton from Ashley of Fun As We Go. As I sat down to race, er… write about my top 3 travel memories, I realised how difficult it was to narrow down my top 3 travel memories since all my travels have been special and memorable in one way or the other. But since this called for just the top 3 memories, I decided to go with the first 3 memories that popped up in my mind.
This post won the Indiblogger Cleartrip “My Purpose” Contest. 🙂
It is 5.20 am on a rainy May morning in 2009 and I am at Geneva Railway Station. My train to Milan is due in 10 minutes, and with me is Karim, a friend and my travel companion for the trip. I am so full of anticipation and barely suppressed excitement that I pace the platform and check the station clock every 15 seconds or so. As the clock strikes 5.30, our train rumbles into the station with legendary Swiss precision. We get into our compartment, find our pre-booked seats, settle down with wide grins at each other, and then we’re off.
This is to be a day trip to Milan, with both of us returning to Geneva that evening itself. Considering that we have only a few hours in Milan, my focus and purpose for the trip is to see the Milan Cathedral, and to view da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” in its original form. Anything else that we see would be a bonus.
The train ride from Geneva to Milan is very picturesque on both the Italian and Swiss sides, and we pass through some of the most beautiful and colourful towns and cities that I have seen. It is raining throughout our journey, but our enthusiasm at the prospect of a day in Milan is unaffected by such mundane things. 😉
It is 9.30 am when we get off the train at the Milano Centrale Stazione. We quickly orient ourselves with a map and decide to head to the Piazza del Duomo, where the Milan Cathedral is located. All major sights are within walking distance from the Piazza, including that of “The Last Supper”. After a 15-minute metro rail ride from Centrale Stazione, we are at the Piazza del Duomo.
It is 10 am when we get off the metro. As I climb the stairs to exit the station and enter the Piazza, the Cathedral comes into view little by little. With each step that I climb, a little more of the Cathedral is revealed. This unveiling of the Duomo di Milano or the Milan Cathedral is something that will stay with me for ever.