At the age of 25, I did my first solo Eurotrip. I made extensive plans and pre-booked all the tickets in advance and was ready to travel on a water-tight itinerary. Upon reaching Florence, all my plans went to waste. A couple of missed flights later and visa issues, instead of 3 girlfriends on a road trip, it ended up being me and one more girl.
The catch being that the first leg of our Eurotrip had been planned by a friend who didn’t get a visa. So here we were, two indian girls off on a road-trip without a clue about the destinations and places we were visiting. All we knew was that “Ayesha, did not like missing places”
Two bags, a fiat punto and a flat tire later, we were in the middle of a journey that would become the dream that Salt Route is. We started in Naples and headed east, towards a small town called Benevento. The serpentine streets and roadside cafes were a treat to ignorant travellers like us. We stayed the night and decided to buy a local map since this was before the onset and efficiency of Google maps. Everything was marked out and map and navigated manually.
Our next stop was Bari. A small town on the east coast of Italy. The port from where Croatia looks like a peck on the other side. We would drive into ghost towns, sleepy during the day, vibrant and alive by evening.
Roadside cafes, streams of laughter, different instruments and music flitting through the streets, we continued on a journey planned by someone who knew us closely. We laughed through the mess ups and continued to silent towns. Finding water trekking through the italian canyon by chance and getting lost only to discover the most beautiful beach in all of Italy.
We covered the heel and the toes of italy and came back to Pompeii. Our last stop. Broke but happy. This journey had been an eye-opener. I had a foot in the door of a whole new world of travel. My curiosity for quaint towns and new stories, culture and food, art and music, was piqued. Needless to say, I was never the same again.
Afterwards, we continued to Denmark instead of the planned Berlin. For an indian who was enthralled by the beauty of the Italian infrastructure and vision of it’s forefathers, Denmark blew my mind. Staying with friends and exploring the city of Copenhagen, I realised how this experience was different from the Italian one. This city gave me the best Speakeasy’s I’ve had the chance to visit!
Furthermore, I visited Prague and Bratislava instead of the scheduled Amsterdam. I basically had booked the most obvious experiences and ended up with the off the radar experiences. While the beauty and sorrow of Prague made my heart ache with respect, Bratislava and the partying scene of East europe gave me a culture shock. The pub crawl in Prague left me speechless. A couple of absinthe shots and a few underground pubs later, I was ready to call it a night.
I finally ended my holiday at OZORA in Budapest. Two indian girls attending a Psy-trance festival in the middle of Hungary. The most beautiful end to a three month holiday.
I came back with a curious mind and a travel bug in my back side. What I realised was the lack of information about the lesser known roads. The obvious suspects are what everyone sees, but it’s these smaller towns that are etched in your memory.
That is how Salt Route Journeys was born! To share the same insights from my journey with others. People who don’t mind going off the Radar, people who want to explore a framework but with the fluidity of their own pace. Everyday, this company works to better our research and make this a reality for our customers.