The Journey Begins

This monumental trip has been in our minds for quite some time now. Possible itineraries, departure dates and exhaustive lists have come and gone, but one thing has remained: our conviction that this will be the voyage of our lives and that it will be truly epic.

Tracy and I began talking about this trip as early as 6 months into our relationship. I taught her the ways of maximizing Aeroplan miles by using multiple credit cards simultaneously and before we knew it, we had accumulated enough miles to fly to Sri Lanka for absolutely nothing. 

We chose February 14th, 2017 as our departure date not only because it was romantic (which was the primary reason might I add), but also because it corresponded to the cheapest flight option. The only downside was that the total travel time was 52 hours including massive layovers in Switzerland and India. 

Time seemed to slow down the closer we got to our departure date. The anticipation and excitement was almost crushing at times. 

Finally, February was upon us, and to make a tropical climate even more enticing, we received 30+ cm of snow just days before our scheduled departure. 

With heavy hearts, we said goodbye to our mothers, my best friend Josh, and to little Gidget, our furry son, at the airport and were on our first of three flights towards Colombo, Sri Lanka. 

After a thankfully uneventful flight we arrived in Zurich, Switzerland at 6am and decided to use our 7-hour layover to get a brief feel for the city.

Wearing only toques and layers of sweaters, Zurich’s 0 degree weather still felt rather cold, considering we had come from Montreal’s bitter winter. 

We took a 10-minute train ride from the airport to the heart of Old Zurich and revelled in its European practicality and splendour.  

We started off by walking down Zurich’s trendy Bahnhofstrasse and we window-shopped at stores whose articles of clothing cost more than our year-long trip’s entire budget. 

We took a brief break at Switzerland’s famed chocolatiers Sprungli and indulged in some truffles before heading back into the cold.

The near-empty streets and shroud of fog provided a magical ambiance. The spires of St. Peter’s and Fraumunster’s churches’ seen from Lindenhof square were undeniable European. 

We continued our stroll down the Limmat River until it opened up into Lake Zurich. The fog was so thick that we couldn’t actually see the lake at all. The only consolation were the swans and other birds sleeping and swimming around the banks of the waterway. 

We continued our walking tour and were now in the theatre district. We were on the opposite side of the Limmat and quickly came across the Grossmunster and its iconic twin towers. 

It was at this time that the sun finally began to show its face and illuminated the opposite side of the river and lifted off some of that infernal fog.

With the warm light of the sun, the beautiful colours of the buildings really began to pop. 

After our quaint walking tour, we stopped and had a small bite to eat at the Globus department store which was mainly an excuse to warm up. It was not even 10am Zurich time and we had been up for over 24hours by this point. We couldn’t see straight. 

We made our way back to the airport and were dreading the 7 hour flight we were about to take to our next layover destination: Delhi, India. 

Even though I slept through a majority of this flight, it still seemed to take forever. We arrived in Delhi after midnight and caught a cab to our hotel for the night, the misleadingly named Eurostar international hotel. 

Even though it seemed like the perfect breeding ground for bedbugs, we still managed to fall asleep almost instantly. I was initially reluctant to book a hotel during our 14-hour layover, but I’m extremely happy that Tracy convinced me to do so

The following morning, we made our way back to the airport and boarded our third and final flight towards Sri Lanka. 

After a turbulent flight, we touched down and could finally breathe a sigh of relief. After over 50 hours of travel time, our adventure was finally going to begin. 

Sri Lanka. Let’s see what you’ve got!

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