14 May, 2021

Advani, Ad Libertatem

The seductions of a Mediterranean cruise are a learning experience for the 88-year-old saffron patriarch on his first-ever holiday

World’s Wonder
L.K. Advani before the leaning tower of Pisa
Photograph by Pratibha Advani
Advani, Ad Libertatem

For a person who came to be known as the ‘eternal yatri’ (or tra­veller) for all the endless miles I journeyed in yatras across India, it is ironic that I had never been on a real holiday. Despite the blanket control active politics takes of your life, it is not that I was always too busy. I simply travelled in my own country. My daughter Pratibha thought it was now time for me to finally take a holiday—the first ever in my life.

So it came to be that she, along with my long-time associate Deepak Chopra, org­a­n­ised a 10-day trip, starting August 28, that included a week-long cruise covering the historic cities of Italy, Spain and France. I had been to some of these places as deputy prime minister, but never as a tourist on a vacation. It was also my first cruise.

The experience of the cruise itself was unique, something I had never imagined. The ship, called Norwegian Epic, was huge. Just to give a sense of its size, there were over 5,000 guests on board, plus a 1,700-strong crew. It had 17 floors, or decks as they are...

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