I am finally getting back on the ground, literally, in a solid ground with 70% humidity and a rain that seems to never stop pouring.
I am about to share the story of one of the most blessed moment of my life and also a lovely present from God to end the rough year of 2012.
“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” – Frank Herbert
I love to see new things, who doesn’t? Trying new foods, listening to some foreign words that sounds a lot cooler than your own language, seeing those people who looks physically different with you and wonder if you really are coming from the same root of God.
Personally, Traveling to other countries is an awakening moment for me.I get to know that Frankfurt has the same metropolitan vibe as Jakarta and that Vienna could show me a very interesting history of Austrian empire, or if Praha’s population are only 1 million but every month, about 6 millions tourists come into this Paris of East Europe.
I travel to several cities in Europe from 19th of December 2012 to 5th of January 2013.
In which I come to a conclusion that although Europe is beautiful with an extravagant and lavish architecture scattered everywhere, I can’t bring myself to love this land more than I love United States of America, or even my country.I’m a whore for beaches and mountains and desserts and forests.Though, I have to admit, Europe is beautiful and classic, and just….breathtaking.Those kind of beauty that intimidate you and at the same moment take your breath away with its’ charisma.
I come to Europe through Frankfurt, 5th largest city of Germany and also the centre of its’ business and trade, those kind of metropolitan city with a lot of skyscrapers, not as much as Jakarta, but definitely a lot for European level.Frankfurt was cold, about 1 to minus degree when I got there and there were no snow around so I was a little bit disappointed.We got lost in our way to our hotel and the big luggage we carried around were a pain in the ass.So my 1st lesson that I learn from traveling in Europe at Winter is:
1) Do not bring a lot of winter coat, you don’t need to change your winter coat everyday.It’s cold there, it’s unlikely for you to smell bad.Bring NECESSARY amount of it.
2) Why no winter coat? because it takes a lot of space in your luggage and trust me, you don’t want to carrying around a big heavy luggage especially when it’s winter.
The hotel is in walking distance but since we got lost, my Mom decided to ride a cab instead.2nd lesson was learnt
3) Cab is mofo expensive.Definitely not affordable if I am travelling on my own, come on..Imagine the distance between Bunderan HI to let’s say…Taman Suropati and it costs you 12 Euro for each taxi, yes that’s right people…12 Euro is more than 150.000Rupiah.
I was dead tired when we reached the hotel and fell asleep but my two sisters decided to walk around and found a Christmas market nearby.Yes, Christmas market, the highlight of your European trip if you travel near Christmas and New Year.Germany was known for one of the best Christmas market and I have to agree for there are so many delicious foods and candies everywhere with a lot of ornaments.The atmosphere was so festive and Christmas-ish, you can smell the roasting beef in the air, mixed with a faint smell of hot wine and everyone were talking with their loved one in a midst of cold winter, sharing stories over a cup of hot wine and Steak mit brotchen. What’s not to love about it?
I moved away to Goslar, a small city 3 hours from Frankfurt for Christmas because my sister’s best friend live there. Goslar is a cute little city and it reminds of Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley.Which is funny because Goslar was associated with witches, yes, witches with long nose and pointy hats and brooms..Die Hexe (German for Witch).Goslar was said to be the place for witches to gather.
We had our Christmas dinner in a place called Die Achterman, I’m quite fond of western food but I don’t know, I think European food is far too classy for me.I could live with cheese fries and burger but they serve Foie Gras and stuff…I guess because it’s Christmas.
The most exciting experience I had in Germany had to be driving from Frankfurt to Goslar.Yes! I drove my dream car, VW Golf, and yes the steering was on the opposite side of the car (In Indonesia the steering’s in left side, but in Europe and America it’s in the right side), it was exhilarating because German has a rule that you can’t drive below 160 KM.Holy shit, right? No wonder Schumacher won the Formula One so often, perhaps he was so used to drive around in high speed.
My first impression for Germany was not good for I was faced with Frankfurt which was way too metropolitan and do not possess the classy European beauty, but perhaps it will all be different if I went to Berlin instead.So I was very happy when we get to Vienna, Austria.It was said that: You can’t go to Vienna just once.
Vienna was beautiful, gorgeous, a classic beauty.Like most of European cities, it was filled with a lavish architecture.More to Vienna was the fact this city pours out a romantic atmosphere, what’s with it being the City of Music and the Danube river who crosses Vienna.I had more fun in Vienna, I even get to taste the traditional Viennese dishes which was Wiener Schnitzel and it was heavenly.The restaurant I had lunch to was a classic restaurant with a very European vibe, huge arches and pillars, classic music on the background, walls with painting and a beautiful granite floors. I also get to see Vienna and the Danube river from above through Danube View Looking Tower, it will be more beautiful in day view but the city lights of Vienna can’t fail to mesmerize me either. There are two things I am looking forward to do when I have the chance to go back to Vienna:
1) Watch an orchestra because duh, it’s Vienna.
2) Try the number one recommended restaurant in Vienna because Vienna was said to be culinary superior too.
From Vienna, we moved to my old love, Praha.Praha is undoubtly the city that I love the most in Europe.The city is romantic, even more romantic than Paris to me.Praha gives you this warm loving atmosphere, you could not help to feel happy when you walk through the Christmas market in Wenceslas Square.If you look back, you will see the beautiful building of Praha National Museum.Praha is a perfect mixture of classic Europe but with warm atmosphere and moreover, everything’s so cheap in Praha.Everything’s in walking distance in Praha, from my hotel near the Wenceslas square, I could walk to Old Town of Praha which was very festive and there are lots of street musicians playing Accordion and the air smells like a very sweet wine.In my 2nd day, I walked to Charles bridge and had a beautiful view of sunset of Vltava river, needless to say, it almost bring me to tears.It’s like the view isolated me from the rest of the busy road in Charles bridge.I imagined myself as Franz Kafka looking for an inspiration and the answer of life .
Budapest is the 4th city that I visited.I don’t really like Budapest, it was too cold, everything’s too expensive and they don’t have an impressive fireworks in New Year.The thing that I love the most from Budapest was St.Stephen’s Basilica which was the most beautiful cathedral I saw out of all other cathedrals and also I like Goulash.Goulash is Hungarians traditional dish which was basically sop daging + kentang but hell wasn’t it a best companion for a harsh winter.
I don’t like Budapest because it took away my supposedly 2 days trip in Amsterdam.I only got to spend one day in Amsterdam and…………..I had affair with Amsterdam.If Praha is my current lover, then Amsterdam is someone who try to seduce me out of my current lover.Seriously, how could you not love the view of Amsterdam’s canal and a lot of people ride bikes everywhere and there are lot of bridges and good foods and it’s a mixture between a great metropolitan capital city with a heavy vibe of European beauty.More to it was, by the time I stepped my foot in Amsterdam, I got the same feeling that I feel when I got to Jogja.I HAVE TO GET MY MASTER DEGREE IN NETHERLAND.I was always obsessed with Groningen, and now that I have the taste of Amsterdam, I just can’t give up.
Next and last stop was Paris.
I hate Paris.Paris was too metropolitan.I had this vision of European cities and Paris was not my perfect vision of it, Praha and Amsterdam were.The fact that I lost my iPhone in its’ metro and the fact that their tourist attractions view are scattered all over the town weren’t helping my detestment towards this city.Paris is scary, I don’t feel safe walking around Paris alone at night, it’s like there are something bad lurking from its’ dark alley. Even Amsterdam which was filled with amorality and drunk people didn’t give me that kind of feeling.
But gotta admit, Eiffel was killing it.What’s not to be thankful of, listening to Lisztomania and 1901 while gazing the Eiffel tower?
Oh and one thing I like, the metro line was very easy to be figured, unlike…let’s say..Budapest or Frankfurt.
So yeah, that’s the story about my trip.If I can give more tips I would say…
1) It’s wise for you to change your simcard to Vodafone or T-Mobile because that provider work in almost European countries and you’ll get it very easy.Why do you need your phone? In case you get lost or do not know where to go, Google Maps and Trip Advisor helps big time.
2) If not on a budget trip, local foods are a must-list.
3) Avoid transit in Riyadh or Jeddah.They are very annoying to you if you are a girl and travelling without muhrim.
(I travelled with my mom and two sisters; it’s not like I want my father to passed away and wasn’t there with us to travel, duh)
4) Let’s say if you are keen of wine and stuff…just be sure you have a lot of space in your luggage, you WILL NEED it.
I think that’s pretty much it.From this journey I learn that…man, I’m blessed and if I want to be able to travel again, to feel the excitement and to be filled with experiences, it’s easy.Dream on.
and always thank Him.
For in which Favour of Him that you will deny?
“When I feel alive
I try to imagine a careless life
A scenic world where the sunsets are all
-Scenic World by Beirut.