Amit Chougule

Entrepreneur – Endurance Cyclist

A journey in Summer – Europe 2012


amit chougule


We have one life, the world is big, full of beautiful places, I wish I could visit all of them. I am living a dream since I came first time to France. I am experiencing all those new things which I have seen in movies, discovery channels shows, read in travel & adventure books. Everyday there is something new which I have never done before.

I love challenging myself to do new things. I like to cross the limits set by me. I love to do things which are not easy to do. Travelling is beautiful way to see different places, meet different people, understand different culture & of course try tasty cuisine.  Life is not on facebook or TV’s or movies or not even in just doing day to day job. Life needs excitement, challenges, exposure & adventure. Life is like river if you build a dam on it & stop flowing. it won’t be beautiful. Let it flow, go wherever it takes you. Don’t waste your time in watching others living that life what you dreamed, get out & enjoy experience it your own life.

Travelling has been my love since long time I think its because of my parents who used to take me traveling all over India. Even in India I used to go for trips with friends on bikes. After coming to Europe I even tried hitch hiking from Slovenia to Lille, trips to unknown destination without plans, staying with stranger hosts but who became good friends in short while. I remember last years 3 months summer holiday , I planned to leave Lille & explore Europe as & how I find it… I asked friends & others to join but everyone was busy or had some reasons. I couldn’t waste my time staying in Lille without doing anything where as It was best opportunity to get out & live life.

It turned out as best time in Europe. I travelled with beautiful Parisian girls, camped in fields of Lyon for first time, walked full day around beautiful Old Lyon, shared car ride with old French couple to Grenoble who lost their way & driving 30km/h on highway, stayed with two nice Indian friends in Grenoble whom I knew through Career fair France group but never mate before & also they cooked delicious mutton thanks Unnikrishnan, walked all & everywhere in Geneva & finally realized that it was 150th anniversary of their tram service & it was free, one of their tram driver explained me all history of it & took me to exposition to show all vintage trams which are still running that day, got ride back to Paris from just across the border in France from Geneva so crossed this international border walking, crazy African brothers who shared food & drinks with lots of information about Congo, Another host near Vire in Normandy who was ex-british army soldier of age 92 but still strong & shared lots of his memories of world war 2 & his time in India before independence, exciting first ride of Harley Davidson, & then another host who became a big part of life Steve at Le Brewery, learned brewing beer, learned horse riding with charlotte, first time crazy sailing on Emma, enjoyed lots of live music concerts in Le Famous Knight & Le Secret knight pubs, amazing countryside of Normandy, beautiful Mont Saint Michel, tasted delicious food cooked by chef Juliette, very talented Guitarist & musician Guiomme, & suddenly there was a break…

It was time for launch of Busiday Infotech Services, so I went back to Lille. After successful launch of Busiday, I had another meeting with best friend about business in Slovenia. & it was start of crazy European journey part 2. I booked a flight from Brussels to Venice & as usual got late for bus to airport from Lille. It was either go for it or cancel trip, I remember, I was waiting on highway next Gare du Lille Europe for hitch hiking for first time at around 4am. It was crazy. I finally got next bus to Brussels airport & checked in 5 min before takeoff. Eventually after bumpy ride in Ryan air, I got to venice where another ride of 30 min took me to romantic Venice. It is truly beautiful. A only place where you must visit with your lover but I was unlucky to visit alone, but I just lost every other thing in this beautiful place, walked around, travelled first time in a taxi on water, bus on water… funny … finally it was time for my taxi to Ljubljana, Slovenia. After reaching to Ljubljana nearly midnight found a place to eat something & had great stuff which I forgot the name, where two policemen came to enquire about who am I & what am I doing here in middle of night but they were so nice & helped me to order food, my friend Tadej came to pick me, and we went back to his dormitory in bus without ticket as I couldn’t understand how it works. With beautiful day started with swimming in Blade lake & extremely adventures experience of paragliding in mountains of Slovenian alps on top of lake, & spiral trick just blowed my mind. After this memorable first flight we had special cake of blade lake hotel which I forgot name but will go back to taste it again. We went to Tadej’s friends house for barbeque where we also mate his brother who is also paraglider. Actually they all are into some adventure sports. In evening we were just walking along river in heart of Ljubljana, & mate few friends of Tadej in roadside bar, she was beauty. A girl with very pretty smile & lovely attitude but she was with her boyfriend who was also a nice guy. I found Slovenian people were very friendly just like people from Kolhapur.

Next day we had discussion on our project but due to some reason I had to go back to lille & now I decided, I am ready for another adventure so instead of going through train or bus, I took option of hitch hiking which I haven’t done ever before. Tadej drop me at gas station just outside Ljubljana where in just half an hour waiting I found my first ride to Slovenia-Austria border. This was testing my patience, I stayed there for more than 22 hours but no luck. Though I mate a world traveler on his way back to home in Germany, a French couple from lille, a German young guy just went to Croatia for swimming in sea & they all were hitchhiking back which increased my confidence little. Benedict & me had a wonderful conversation about Germany in world

war 2, Hitler, travelling , music etc. we had sandwitch made with canned fish which was actually good. Meanwhile Slovenian police on patrolling checked us twice but been nice ofcourse it was strange for them to see Indian sitting at Gas station for ride. Somehow in early morning around 6am a van came & stopped next to us. A middle age german guy jumped out & asked where do we want to go, as Benedict was german, he explained everything & finally , he said he could drop us at stutgaurd, hurreeyyyyyy… finally after 22 hours long, I was back on road.

 On the way, he offered snacks & cold drink, & had wonderful chat about so many things. Even specifically to mention about was, he told me that Americans are spying all our emails & every data which goes through internet. & After 1 year it turned out as truth, strange. Well, he was very happy to speak in his broken English as he couldn’t get chance in Germany very often where he lives. So he decided to give me lift till Strasbourg which was really kind. Finally nearly midnight I reached to Strasbourge. Which was another different story, but anyways, I mate there Vineet & hitch hiked back to lille. We started nearly at 7pm from Strasbourg, we got bus to outskirt from where we had to walk through some fields to get to highway. That was vineet’s first time hitchhiking experience. Eventually after 2 hours at gas station we found a ride to Metz with 2 albanian guys. Normally, If I had seen them in Paris or lille, I would rather stay away but these guys were nice. They couldn’t speak English , I couldn’t speak French at that time but eventually we spoke in broken languages. They were kind to drop us at gas station in outskirts of Metz at around 1am Where we had to wait till 6am for next ride. This time it was Bangladeshi who asked for money for ride, I was tired & vineet wasn’t also very excited so we decided to give him 15 euro for ride till Reims. That was good choice, we got to Gas station outside of Reims. We had breakfast there & finally got ride with French Army person till somewhere near lille where we took train to lille. This trip have been so far best trip with so many exciting experiences.

I have to admit, being in Europe gave a completely new angle to life. To see real Europe , you must travel by road. Train & planes take you from city to city, but by road you stay in touch with nature, people, culture. Everything I dreamed of a being a traveler , I guess I am one step closer to that. Ce la Vie. Europe is beautiful, life is beautiful, instead of running behind money or job … enjoy your life to fullest. Travel around. Start now visiting. I guess, this is time for me to take on another adventure… Soon…