Sunday, May 10, 2009
This blog is about 15 days of great fun and sight seeing my wife Padma, my daughter Vidyullekha and I had.We were part of a thomas group European Tour that left India on 15th April and we came back on the 30th. It was a defenite value for money tour. My wife and I are vegetarians and hence we wanted to travel in a group that promised us indian vegetarian food. may I add that they delivered on their promise we had Indian vegetarian food. I am not going to talk about the careful and meticulous planning , the arrangements etc but the person who stood by us and with us in our travel - The Senior travel manager of Thomas Cook Mr.Atul Chaudhary. Those who know Mumbai cricket will recognise him as a Ranji cricketeer of yore but I can tell you one thing , he is a superbly efficient , terribly affectionate human being. The way he looked after us at each and every place and time, the way he ensured all were there in time , but no one was rushed was simply magnificent. If at all there is a man who knows where every "free" Toilet is situated in Europe I think it must be Atul. He ensured that everyone of us had a place to sit at meal times , we had our free time and always stuck to his plan and schedule. That the schedule was hectic is an understatement - Imagine covering parts of Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria,Netherlands, France and England in all of two weeks. Almost every day started with a wake up call at 6 AM and ended with dinner at around 8.30 PM - travelling the better part of 350 Kms. But if at the end of the day there can be a man who is smiling and enquiring if all is well at 10 PM plus and literally serves you with the Paappad or pickle - then he truly deserves some praise. I do not care if he is well paid or ill paid but to do it with passion and relishing every moment takes some dedication. He managed to put up with 45 people with 45 tastes and timings and egos....without managing to hurt or ruffle anyone. He is a truly people loving person and packed with knowledge and information on the places we saw - If ever there is a group tour I undertake , then it will only be with this group -Thomas Cook.....Please not that I am not a paid advertising man for them.....Just a very very satisfied customer.....You may well ask if everything was so perfect that there are no areas to improve.....Guess there are .The Hotel in Paris - in comparison to the classy accomodation we were given elsewhere was a bit off.....purely relatively speaking . For those of us who are not terribly fit -physically , this was tightly packed - but that is what ensured that all of us got more than our money's worth. I did miss my south Indian cuisine - they did serve ONE south Indian meal - however when 35 of the 45 were from the South , maybe they could have given more southy meals.
There were a few days , may be just one, where we spent more time travelling in the bus then sight seeing....In such cases I was wondering why a night train could not be thought of....Just random thoughts - but I am sure experts have looked at the itenary with a magnifying glass and have arrived at this near perfect combination - what added to this perfection was the perfect Tour manager. More on this in my next Blog.
Posted by MOHAN V.RAMAN at 8:05 AM