We will be spending a week in Berlin attending the World Culture Festival at the Olympic Stadium which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Art of Living, doing a YES!+ Advance Course and soaking up the physical presence of Guruji.
Dinesh and I felt that instead of returning back to India right after that, maybe we could go around Europe for a while. Not simply a tour of Europe, rather we hit upon a formula: Yoga and Meditation most mornings, adventures and sightseeing during the day, satsangs and Knowledge (or overnight trains) most evenings.
We decided not to go monument and museum hopping like most people do. Go “See” things. So the whole thing feels like one blur and you return tired from your vacation, needing another vacation to recover from the one you just had. Yet we definitely wanted to douse ourselves in the culture and magic of Europe. So here is what we are going to do…
July 1 – 7: The World Culture Festival and the YES!+ Advance Course
July 8: We take a train from Berlin to Venice. We will travel mainly by TGVs, the Super Fast trains which reach speeds of more than 500 kms/hr! Early morning 4:00 am we leave Berlin and traverse the whole of Germany, a little bit of Switzerland and into Italy to Venice via Milan. We reach Venice late evening.
July 9: Though Venice itself is the main attraction, a walking tour of the main attractions of Venice has been organized the next day. The evening is free to enjoy how you wish to.
July 10: We go from Venice to Switzerland by bus to the lovely Lucerne and Interlaken areas. On the way we stop by Milan and do a quick tour of the fashion capital of the world. We will reach Switzerland by evening.
July 11 – 13: A trip to the “Top of Europe” Jungfrau where all year round, even in peak summer there is ice and snow is slated for the next day. The next 2 days in Switzerland are more or less free. We could go for some nice walks or people would be free to do anything they wish (and can afford). We are also organizing a short cruise on the lakes.
July 14: Switzerland to Paris by train.
July 16: A full day trip to Fontainebleau, which will include a visit to the magnificent Napoleon’s Palace of Fontainebleau, as well as possibly a satsang in the very beautiful and serene forest of Fontainebleau.
July 17: Paris to Bad Antogast, our home in Germany – The German Ashram which is right in the middle of the picturesque Black Forest.
July 18 – 21: We take walks in the forest, cook nice meals for everyone, do some Seva, meditate, have fantastic satsangs in the evenings.
We also take a half day trip to the nearby town of Baden Baden. So beautiful, you can’t say it once. You have to say it twice 🙂 … But we are not going there to gawk at the beauty only. There is one of the most amazing hydrotherapy spas I have ever been to The Caracalla Spa in Baden Baden and we will spend 4 relaxing, invigorating, refreshing hours there.
July 22: Bad Antogast to Maastricht in Holland for a classical music concert. You didn’t think i would leave that out did you?! Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra in an open air concert at the Vrijthof Square of Maastricht. Even if you have never listened to classical music, you will throughly enjoy this show. Andre is a brilliant violinist, a fantastic conductor and a born showman.
July 23: Maastricht to Amsterdam to fly back home to India
The cost of the entire trip:
India – Europe – India (ex Delhi and Bombay only)
Entry to the WCF at the Berlin Olympic Stadium.
YES!+ Advance course in Berlin.
All travel in Europe.
All accommodation in Europe in very basic hotels or motels (Does not include accommodation in Berlin). To upgrade your accommodation to 2 or 3 star hotels all over Europe except for Berlin will cost approximately Rs 19,000 more.
4 hours at the Carcalla Spa.
Stay and food at the German Ashram.
Vegetarian Buffet Breakfasts.
This price doesn’t include:
Stay in Berlin. We can book you into a dorm, which will cost you approx Rs 15,000 or into a tent which will cost you approx Rs 6000 for the entire week. If you are choosing to stay in a tent, remember to bring your own sleeping bag. The shower and loo facilities are very, very basic. If you wish to stay in a hotel, please use the WCF website to book yourself in. Sunit at Bangalore ashram can help you with this. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Travel in Berlin, a weekly ticket which will allow you to go wherever you wish in Berlin costs approx Rs 2100.
Entry to the various monuments, museums and other attractions that we will be going to. Entry to these vary between 10 euros to 40 euros (Rs 700 – 2500) per person. If there are discounts for groups, be sure that we will get them. Most places, you get a fairly good reduction in the prices if you are 25 years or younger. Jungfrau is approx 100 euros.
Lunch and Dinner, basically any food other than breakfast is NOT included in this rate. Dinesh and i are busy talking to people in Europe to see if we can get good cheap food. I would suggest that everyone carry heaps of food from India. Stuff like thepla, khakhra, handvo etc which doesn’t spoil easily. Food in Europe can be quite expensive and will cost a minimum of 7 euros (Rs 500) a meal. A meal in a nice restaurant can be 15-25 euros (Rs 1000 – 1500).
Visa fees which hover around Rs 6000.
Entry to the Andre Rieu Concert. We have only 24 tickets, 12 of which are already taken as i write this. Each ticket costs approx Rs 6000. You can book your own ticket from his website if you wish. His concerts get sold out very fast, so please book your tickets right away if you are coming. Ensure that you are booking tickets for the concert in Maastricht on the 22nd of July.
Please note that whatever money you pay is non refundable. Even in the unfortunate event of your visa getting rejected, the money you have paid is non refundable.
The above prices are for the first 70 people who register only. Expect at least a 20% increase in most prices after that. Please allow +/- 7% variation on the price as we may possibly get better deals.
Initial payments of about Rs 25,000 will be due in 2-3 days, by monday latest. Details for this and for registering for the trip, further instructions and everything else you may wish to know, please drop a mail to email@example.com
This is the first time that Dinesh and i are organizing something like this. We cannot promise that this will be the most perfect trip, but we can definitely promise that you will be really glad you came 🙂
bawa (n dinesh)
ps For people who want even more of Europe, watch out for Europe 2011 – C in a few days…
pps For people who want to earn some money for this trip pop a mail to Rashmin (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Virat (email@example.com). They may be able to help.
We have found a 4 star Hotel, which is giving us twin sharing rooms at 70 euros a night, which works out to almost the same price as a dorm. Most people have upgraded themselves to the Hotel Estrel in Berlin.