Drinking çay in Istanbul

There is no word that can describe the feeling when I first drank my Çay (Traditional Turkish Tea), the taste, the way I held it with my fingertips on the rim of the tulip-shaped glass, and the amazing ambience of Istanbul. I didn’t stop drinking ever since; every hour if possible. I have to be honest, food (and drink) usually plays important role on how Bandi and I end up loving the place we travelled to or not; and Turkey scored well on that department. We were really looking forward to every meal.

We started everyday with scrumptious Turkey breakfast; which just like their tea, is a big deal for them. From this experience, I learned the best way to eat my toast: with butter, cream and honey. Mind blowing. Although most of the recommended dishes in Turkey are meat heavy, there were some pleasant surprise of vegetarian options. I turned into a vegetarian most of the days because I simply couldn’t eat meat everyday. I love love love their Lentil Soup, pairing with Turkish famous bread makes it perfect.

Before I continue rambling about food, let’s talk about the city itself.

I rarely fall in love with cities. Cities are not my most favourite place to travel to and only few cities left mark in my memories; London, Tokyo, Rome. So I was surprised when I grew fond of Istanbul organically. Istanbul is visually beautiful, no doubts, but it also has something unique that enticed me. Maybe it’s the culture, the people or the food, I didn’t really know when exactly I fell in love with it.

I knew it was love because there’s something I hate about it, yet I still love it. Turks smoke like they drink their çay, non-stop; and I hate coming home with my hair smelling disgusting.

Bandi and I visited the Sultan Ahmet Mosque, or famously known as the Blue Mosque. I had goosebumps all over me when I entered, it was the same feeling when I first entered Pantheon in Rome, the unforgettable feeling, the wow-this-is-out-of-this-world feeling. It was BEAUTIFUL. Please take note that you have to dress modestly if you plan to go in, you also need to take off your shoes. There is no entrance fee as this is a functioning mosque.

The exterior of Sultan Ahmet Mosque

The beautiful interior

 

Our second stop was Hagia Sophia, which has a very long history. It was a church during Byzantine period. Hagia Sophia has more interesting stories than the building itself. We stopped for a while before we entered, sat on the park bench, just to read the long history of Hagia Sophia, it’s really interesting how this building has witnessed so many revolutions happened. Google for the story, it could be 20 pages long! The main wodden door in Hagia Sophia has been standing since 6th century!

Super old door!

Bandi and I, in the park between Hagia Sophia and Sultan Ahmet Mosque

The third must-visit place in Istanbul is Topkapi Palace. This place is huuuge! Slot some time to really walk around and explore the place. Bandi and I really enjoyed this place, especially the kitchen museum, imagining how it feels to be the chief cook in that era, leading a team to cook for the whole palace (roughly 4,000 people), it was massive in that era. The museum has a lot of information written all over it, so we could really learn about the palace.

Sadly the 40 Lira entrance fee doesn’t include the Harem (the place where the Sultan spent his private life with his family). You need to pay additional 25 Lira to get to know the Harem.

If you’re a Moslem, or interested in one, there is some seriously important artefact stored in Topkapi Palace, such as footprint of Prophet Muhammad, Moses’ staff, and other impressive collections! You may googling more about the list and its authenticity, but it is definitely a must visit!

Our favorite place in Topkapi Palace is the balcony where you can see the sea. It was such a beautiful day in Istanbul, and seriously how can you not love this city?

My only regret is not to spend longer time in Istanbul. I was so mesmerized by the seabirds that followed us all the way when we boarded ferry from the European Istanbul to the Asian Istanbul. There were thousand of them, hovering above the ferry, while cruising from one continent to another. Everything about Istanbul is visually beautiful.

And the vibe in Galatasaray bridge in the evening, full of people fishing, chatting, hassling… A dad teaching his daughter how to fish, a group of friend hanging out while eating fish sandwich, a couple having fun under the bridge, where the restaurants are, and their pink sunset… This city is really special, their sunset is pink color! I love Istanbul, I really do. I will definitely come back because I’ve left a piece of my heart there. :)

Cheers,

May, with a hair as pink as Istanbul’s Sunset.

An incredible journey to the far north

It’s been zillion years since I logged in to wordpress, let alone blogging. I’ve been caught up with work and lost all the energy to write. It’s sad, I know. Adulting is hard.

On 13th May, I’ve got to have a break by taking a trip to… Norway!

It was an incredible journey to the far north, leaving warm Singapore to get showered by snow! :)

Why Norway?

Last year we saw a promotion from Lufthansa, all flat $700 return tickets to any destination in Europe. Bandi and I chose the furthest destination, Oslo. You would probably think Reykjavik (Iceland) is futher? Nope, wrong! Norway has the northest (I don’t think this is a word) point in the North, it’s called Nordkapp. We didn’t travel that far though. our furthest North point was Tromso.

View of Tromso from the top of a mountain.

View of Tromso from the top of a mountain.

Norway in the summer.

Being a super tropical species, I have a low tolerance of cold. Going to Norway in the summer seems pretty sensible to me. It was okay in Oslo (10-12 degrees) but once we reached Tromso, it dropped to ZERO! It was 3 degrees in the sunniest day though (yeah, like 3 degrees warmer makes a lot of difference). Guess what, I cancelled the hike (HAHA). I wouldn’t want to suicide.

I don’t like cold. I feel uncomfortable in the cold. Runny nose, aching bone, numb toes and cracked lips. I wasn’t built for arctic winds, that’s for sure.

Summer in Norway means 24 hours daylight. They call it Midnight Sun, when it was 12 midnight and the sun is still up. You can only see midnight sun in the Northern part, like Tromso. We literally had 24 hours daylight, we could have outdoor activities for 24 hours if it wasn’t so cold. :(

Fjords, Lakes, Waterfalls, Snowy Mountains, Fairy Tale.

I think Norway is like a Fairy Tale. It’s so beautiful beyond words. On the second day, we did a DIY trip from Oslo to Bergen using “Norway in the Nutshell” route. I made a vlog about it here.

I got chills in every turn, I couldn’t contain it, I teared once. Because it was just too much to handle. It was just so beautiful. Period.

Oslo has so many museums per square meters.

We ended up going to 7 different museums! National Gallery, Munch Museet, Vigiland Museet, Kontiki, Viking Ships, Astrup Fernley Museum and Noble Peace Centre. SO MUCH FUN! We learned a lot of stuffs too! :)

Bandi asked for a photo (which is rare)

Bandi asked for a photo (which is rare)

Smitten by Munch.

Edvard Munch had a sad story. He was a victim of death, disappointments and broken hearts. He poured his feelings in his art, he was a genius! He was considered as a very sensitive man in that era, being daring to express his feeling. So I guess, he was a feminist, eh? :)

I remember the moment I saw his painting named “Puberty” and I had goosebumps all over me (I still do now remembering it). The aura that the painting created was inevitable, as the whirlwind of emotion inside my heart. The young girl staring at me, wondering, questioning, scared, brave, what is it? I asked my self. What is it about puberty that is so sad that the dark soul left the young girl’s body.

"Puberty" By Edvard Munch.

“Puberty” By Edvard Munch.

I went to Munch Museum the next day to learn more about him. I watched his movie and cried when he talked about death. That people could be easily forgotten after they died. :(

What is the price of a soul?

Hiking the Pulpit Rock

Bandi and I spent the night in the mountain lodge, it was a bit scary because it was in the middle of nowhere and it has a haunting atmosphere. We had a very nice dinner, we enjoyed the scenery and relaxed, had a good talk and went to bed early to wake up in 3 am in the morning for the hiking. I will write a separate post about Pulpit Rock because I think it will benefit other people who would want to do a hike to understand the technical preparation.

We did it!

We did it!

Fun Facts about Norway (from a visitor perspective)

  1. Norwegian people are generally loves to travel and adventurous. Maybe because of their country’s landscape that offers so much adventures and they are generally rich too so they can afford the time. My host at Bergen said that his dream life is to live in Bali. LOL
  2. It’s the most pet friendly country I’ve ever known. Dogs follow their owner EVERYWHERE. Seriously, buses, trains, ferries, even planes. I met dogs everywhere! In a hike, in a restaurant, in the airport, you name it. What an amazing thing. ;)
  3. Oslo is the most expensive city for a tourist (according to my opinion). Food in the restaurant costs 200-300 Nok ($30-$45) for a meal. A meal and a glass of beer can easily cost me $50, and it will be a whooping $100 for 2 persons. We mostly bought food in convenient store like Narvessen or 7/11 and also bought groceries from supermarket and cooked.
  4. Their toilet paper are so soft and nice. Their toilet is always clean. Maybe the second best toilet after Japan.
  5. Plastic bags are very rare. No paper tickets on our local flights, all sent to our passbook in our iPhone and just scan them. I love how environmentally responsible Norwegians are. They are very proud of being a green country.
  6. Everything is self-service, another thing I like! Bandi and I love self-service because we get to do everything in our own pace. Living in Singapore, we were not really foreign with the practice, only whenever we had to pay something using cards, they would just hand over the machine. We had to use the machine ourselves.
  7. Wifi are everywhere. And free. Seriously everywhere including IN THE PLANE.
  8. It’s illegal to honk in Norway, as our bus driver told us.

The Northern Light Question

The most questions I got from people when they knew I visited Norway was “Did you get to see Northern Light?” Let me get the facts right. Summer means 24 hours daylight and Northern light (Aurora Beorealis) is only visible when the sky is dark. So you go figure.

More Photos and Videos

These are some of my favorite photos of Norway, and at the end of the post you can view my video of the Norway trip summary with a tune of Jack Johnson’s Better Together. :)

Oslo in the evening.

Oslo in the evening.

The vast snow as far as the eye can see.

The vast snow as far as the eye can see.

Fjords.

Fjords.

The beautiful Bergen.

The beautiful Bergen.

Kissing under Sakura Tree. <3

Kissing under Sakura Tree. <3

Stavanger. The place that we will definitely come back someday. =)

Stavanger. The place that we will definitely come back someday. =)

On the top of Pulpit Rock, just us. Oh The places we've been. <3

On the top of Pulpit Rock, just us. Oh The places we’ve been. <3

And now, the video! I hope you enjoy it! =)

I’ll update soon for another travel stories!

Cheers,

May, finally warm.

Bay Europe Adventure, Full Report: The sweet kisses, the scenic journey, and the dirty laundry.

First of all, thank you for everyone who keeps reading my blog, even though I skipped blogging for a month the stat turned out to stay consistent. I’m so grateful. I don’t know where you guys come from because there weren’t many comments posted but the traffic was good. I’m just happy to know you guys are still reading. *sobbing* *dramaqueen approaching*

Anyway, I think this post is gonna be the longest post I’ve ever made or ever will make, but I’m not sure because I love to exaggerate. Howeveeeer, I will have to write some in Bahasa Indonesia because some of the jokes are just too funny to be translated into English.

I also put soooo many pictures in this post to make sure you don’t stop reading in the middle because of the length, and of course to prevent you from falling asleep.

So this post is probably the summary/well-rounded review/story from my Europe trip. However I have already posted some of the special stories. =)

The Blueprint, Europe by Train

Let me give you the whole itinerary first to have a glance of how fun it was. I looove train trip, thus I chose train for the journey because I could enjoy more of the real Europe. =)

London to Paris / Train – EuroStar / 2 Hrs

Paris to Versailles (return) / Local Train – RER / 30 Mins

Paris to Reims (return) / Train – TGV / 50 Mins

Paris to Burssels / Train – Thalys / 1.5 Hrs

Brussels to Amsterdam / Train – Thalys / 2 Hrs

Amsterdam to Lucern (Via Basel) / Overnight Train – City Night Line / 12.5 Hrs

Lucern to Munich (Via Zurich) / Train Regional / 5.5 Hrs

Munich to Fussen (return) / Train Regional / 2 Hrs

Munich to Venice / Overnight Train – City Night Line / 8 Hrs

Venice to Firenze / Train Regional – ITALO / 2 Hrs

Firenze to Bologna / Train Regional – Trenitalia Frecciarossa / 30 Mins

Bologna to Parma / Train Regional – Trenitalia Frecciabianca / 1 Hr

Parma to Turin / Train Regional / 4 Hrs

Turin to La Spezia / Train Regional / 3 Hrs

La Spezia to Rome / Train Regional / 4 Hrs

And the train trip ended in Rome because we continued to Athens by airplane.

The drama before the departure

Remember this post where I sounded so sad and depressed? Let me tell you what happened first. I put all my original train tickets on the shoes box on the table at my house. The table was placed by the window. When the heavy rain with strong wind came, the wind opened my windows and opened the lid of the shoebox and blew my tickets away. The tickets costed me $3,000. Can you believe that happened?

I didn’t believe it to.

But it did happen. Story of my life.

Long story short (after gallons of tears and vodka) we decided to buy a new tickets, this time we picked the e-tickets (but unfortunately only available for Italian regional trains) and we must paid another $2,900. This time we could only afford second class because buying railpass wasn’t an option anymore.

I wrote in the letter (that post I mentioned):

” Dear Universe, Thank you for the lesson. I can assure you that the learning is in progress. For now I haven’t really understood the purpose of the lesson, but fear not, I eventually will.”

After the trip, I kinda understood the lesson. As Bandi said, the 3K paid off the wonderful weather and the safety and the good people we bumped during the trips. 3K meant nothing when Universe made sure we had a great trip.

We can always make more money, but not memories. =)

We almost cancelled the trip because of too many signs telling us not to go. But when I looked back, they weren’t signs to tell us not to go, but to understand that Bandi and I should be a great team.

We did everything together, through thick and thin, all for one dream. And if we believe it hard enough, it will come true. =)

And it was happening…

Changi Airport, Friday night 10pm-ish 11-Oct-2013

Changi Airport, Friday night 10pm-ish 11-Oct-2013

Doha International Airport, 8 hours later...

Doha International Airport, 8 hours later…

Heathrow Airport, London. Saturday Morning, local time, 12-Oct-2013

Heathrow Airport, London. Saturday Morning, local time, 12-Oct-2013

And the adventure began…

It all started in London

I started my journey in London, the most exciting, cheerful city. If London was a person, she would be that girl whom everyone loves. She is sexy, fun, knows what she wants, a little ambitious but yet so humble. I always felt like everyone in London were having good times. They laughed, they smiled and they never pouted. Guess Santa Claus did a great job there. LOL.

London girls were pretty! They were fashionable, confident and classy. The guys? Not so much. LOL

I had this conclusion that Singapore has copied London in soooo many ways! The CPF system, the strict rules, the CCTV’s, the subway system, the theater hypes, the London eye and the main river, and the girls. It is known that London guys are afraid of their ladies with the “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine” logo. Hmm… Familiar, right? But of course London has the history and the culture.

The thing I like the most about London is… THE MUSEUMS ARE FREE!!! Hell yeah!!! I won’t even bother the other tourist attraction! The tower of London costs you 20 pounds, are you freaking kidding me?! I’d better revisit National Gallery! The other thing I love about London is… THEATERS ARE EVERYWHERE! It’s like every book and every movie are turned to be a play! I swear I will be back to London someday and have one week full of watching plays.

On the second day in London I woke up at 1 in the afternoon. I was sick. Not serious though, I caught a cold. I went downstairs where Bandi and Raj, my sweet and kind host started to have their breakfast. Raj cooked me the big English breakfast. Two toasts, one bratwurst, two slices of bacon and sunny side up egg. And I ate them all. Hahaha. It was raining in London the whole morning, and when we went out at 1pm, the rain stopped and Raj was like, “WTH, you really did bring the sunshine!” Awww. Yes I think I am a sun catcher. =)

Anyway, Raj is a friend whom we met two years ago in Halong Bay. We had lunch together on the boat and had nice conversation and he invited us to travel to London. Two years later, we really did visit him. I talked to his mom quite a lot too. She is just the sweetest! She likes to cook and told us funny story about her traveling. Too bad I forgot to take a photo with her. :(

First day, Hyde Park. Soooo beautiful. =)

Day 1, Hyde Park. Soooo beautiful. =)

Day 1, in front of Buckingham Palace.

Day 1, in front of Buckingham Palace.

Day 1, below us is an old English bunker! Whoa!

Day 1, below us is an old English bunker! Whoa!

Day 1, Westminster Abbey.

Day 1, Westminster Abbey.

Day 1, Raj, me and Bandi, in front of "Big Ben" whose official name is Elizabeth Tower.

Day 1, Raj, me and Bandi, in front of “Big Ben” which official name is Elizabeth Tower.

Day 1, Still, Westminster Abbey. The most beautiful Gothic Church ever!

Day 1, Still, Westminster Abbey. The most beautiful Gothic Church ever!

Day 2, practically spent the whole day in National Gallery.

Day 2, practically spent the whole day in National Gallery.

Day 2, still in front of National Gallery

Day 2, still in front of National Gallery

Day 2, Tower Bridge at night. This is the coldest moment in our Euro Trip. So windy and chilly.

Day 2, Tower Bridge at night. This is the coldest moment in our Euro Trip. So windy and chilly.

Day 3, Trying Gordon Ramsay's Maze. =)

Day 3, Trying Gordon Ramsay’s Maze. =)

Gordon's Pork Belly. OMAGAAAHHHH speechless.

Gordon’s Pork Belly. OMAGAAAHHHH speechless.

On board on Eurostar, ready to go to PARIS!!! =D

On board on Eurostar, ready to go to PARIS!!! =D

Technical stuffs!

As I mentioned, we stayed with a friend in London so it wasn’t a problem at all. Raj picked us up from Heathrow Airport and we took Tube (subway) to the city centre.

London transportation was the most expensive ever! The second was Venice.

I knew I loved Paris before I met her

Paris was just like I’ve always imagined, even better! Love was in the air, romances were everywhere! Well, if you asked Bandi, he wouldn’t say so but if you asked me…

I did fall in love with Paris! The personality that is warm, smart, sharp and strong; with an attitude that is sophisticated, creative and respectful; with history and arts and all the details in between. I love the colorful flowers, beautiful buildings, compelling language, ahh… everything in Paris is perfect.

Day 2 in Paris, Notredame. Super Beautiful from the inside!!!

Day 2 in Paris, Notredame. Super Beautiful from the inside!!!

Sitting in the park, doing nothing but kissing each other. awwww

Sitting in the park, doing nothing but kissing each other. awwww

My favorite museum!!! =D

My favorite museum!!! =D

And then we reached Eiffel!!! Hoorray!!!

And then we reached Eiffel!!! Hoorray!!!

Okay, let me tell you a story about how I saw Eiffel Tower for the first time… We had just finished eating in Notredame Cathedral area and decided to go to Eiffel by Metro because it would take around 1.5 km to walk and we should’ve walked because we wanted to lock our padlock but we forgot the padlock so we thought, “Oh never mind, we would just come here again tomorrow. Today we will spend the rest of the afternoon at Eiffel.” Thus, we preferred to take Metro.

We alighted at Champ de Mars and I think we took the wrong exit because when we came out from the metro station, we didn’t see Eiffel. I thought I would have a dramatic moment once I came out from the station, but I didn’t. We walked around some buildings looking for the tower but we didn’t find it. I was a bit annoyed and I said, “where is Eiffel?” with my annoying tone and then suddenly, we took a turn to the right and…

TAA-DAA!

It was there.

And guess what? I cried.

I know, I’m such a drama queen. But I swear I cried not because of the drama, but simply because Eiffel was breathtakingly beautiful.

I’ve never admitted that human’s creation could so so beautiful that it would make me cry. I usually cried because of beaches or mountains. But goddamit! Europe has proven me wrong. There were indeed a lot of genius artsy people hundred (and thousand) years ago. Gustave Eiffel is one of them.

I can’t describe or explain why Eiffel Tower is so beautiful. I think this has something to do with feeling. It’s like falling in love in the first sight. I never believed in it before but I indeed fell in love.

Typing this brings back that sweet memory. That very day when I saw Eiffel for the first time. We were connected instantly and I knew it was love. =)

Three of us, posing in front of Eiffel. By three of us I meant with Brownie. :D

Three of us, posing in front of Eiffel. By three of us I meant with Brownie. :D

My favorite, of course.

My favorite, of course.

Dozens of selfies!

Dozens of selfies!

Another favorite. =)

Another favorite. =)

After that we went to Arc de Triomphe and sat for a while to eat macaroons. :9

After that we went to Arc de Triomphe and sat for a while to eat macaroons. :9

From below of the Arch.

From below of the Arch.

The underlined names were killed during the war while others died after the war.

The underlined names were killed during the war while others died after the war.

Tribute for the heros.

Tribute for the heros.

And we climbed all the way up (270-ish steps of stair!) and saw the city of Paris 360 degrees. =)

And we climbed all the way up (270-ish steps of stair!) and saw the city of Paris 360 degrees. =)

The short trip to seventeenth Century in Versailles

On the third day, we took a short trip to Versailles to visit the palace and the garden. Please take note that you should not visit the palace without booking the entrance ticket first or if you don’t have the museum pass. I’ve read some people complaining in TripAdvisor saying that they went back home disappointed because they couldn’t go in to the palace.

PUH-LEASE!

You know it’s a very famous palace and you want to walk-in?! BE A SMART TRAVELER! Nowadays it’s very easy to book the ticket online and the price is the same (some attractions cost booking fee but it’s WORTH your time). Trust me, you don’t want to queue for two hours and when you reach the front line they tell you it’s sold out.

For me, I bought a Paris museum pass. It’s a good deal for me because I visited so many museums in Paris. If you didn’t want to visit museums, just buy the ticket online.

Anyway, the chateau was built for 300 years during Louis XIII-VI era (if I’m not mistaken and I’m too lazy to google). The palace was abandoned during the French Revolution. You will find out why French people was angry because OH MY GOD, only god knows how much money was spent to built that such GRAND PALACE?!!! The palace was too much for me. Everything was covered by either gold or silk.

From the palace you can walked out to the garden which is beaaauuuutiful!!!! Heads up: The garden is HUGE! Don’t come here with high heel, you’d die! And don’t go around the garden unless you spare 3 hours before the closing hour.

Bandi and I spent a lot of time in the garden. We were picnicking, doing romantic photo-shots and some stuffs you shouldn’t know. LOL.

Don’t forget to visit Marie Antionette estate, even though it was so faaaarr away from the palace, it’s worth the walk. It’s so freaking romantic and beautiful!!!

Reached the chateu!

Reached the chateu!

The main gate's key. Holy crap, that's one giant key! (I put my hand for comparison)

The main gate’s key. Holy crap, that’s one giant key! (I put my hand for comparison)

It was pretty much the same grand ceiling all over the palace

It was pretty much the same grand ceiling all over the palace

Whoaaaaa

Whoaaaaa

Look at that chandelier!

Look at that chandelier!

And the king's bedroom!

And the king’s bedroom!

This room supposed to be the dancing ball, that's why I looked like I was dancing. Yes it's dancing, though I admit it did look a little idiotic.

This room supposed to be the dancing ball, that’s why I looked like I was dancing. Yes it’s dancing, though I admit it did look a little idiotic.

What up, May? Umm, nothing much. Just hanging around in my palace. LOL

What up, May?
Umm, nothing much. Just hanging around in my palace. LOL

One of the romantic photos we made in Versailles garden. Trust me I got lots of them!! I chose the most "decent" to be published. LOLOL

One of the romantic photos we made in Versailles garden. Trust me I got lots of them!! I chose the most “decent” to be published. LOLOL

Ohhh I loooveee the leaves!!!

Ohhh I loooveee the leaves!!!

Marie Antionette's estate. It took one hour walking here from the palace!

Marie Antionette’s estate. It took one hour walking here from the palace!

Marie Antoinette's houses.

Marie Antoinette’s houses.

Another one.

Another one. This place is sooo romantic, when bandi asked me “Do you want to drink?” I said, “I do! I do!” with meaningful stare. LOLOLOL

We finished exploring Versailles around 2 pm and it was drizzling. Bandi and I walked back to the Versailles train station and it was soooo freaking romantic! We used only one small umbrella and it was cold so we had excuses to snuggle all the way back. It was so freaking romantic I could die!!! Arrrghh!!! >,<

Anyway, we took train back to Paris and went straight to Louvre. I wanted to pee so bad I felt like crying!!! I held the pee since I was on the train and when we entered Louvre, I straightaway looked for toilet. Guess what? The queue was super long!!! OH NOOOO!!!! But nothing I could do beside queuing and prayed to god that I would not pee on my pants. Thank goodness I didn’t.

Bandi, enjoying Louvre.

Bandi, enjoying Louvre.

Under the pyramid!

Under the pyramid!

One of the Louvre's wing, taken from the other wing when I was so freaking tired walking.

One of the Louvre’s wing, taken from the other wing when I was so freaking tired walking.

The magnificent one. =)

The magnificent one. =)

The rain has stopped when we walked out from Louvre so we decided to just walk to Pont de Arts and lock our love forever. =’)

From now on until forever and beyond. Amen... universe hear hear!

From June 7th 2006 until forever and beyond. Amen… universe hear hear!

I locked the padlock and gave the key to Bandi. He kissed the key (didn’t know what it meant) and then threw it into the Seine river. It was romantic. I felt like we were in some kind of movies. But then I realized, it wasn’t. Because movies have endings and I hope Bandi and I don’t have ending. I want to just keep walking with him forever. Walking to anywhere, through sunny days or rainy days, as long as we’re together. Walk to a new adventure, new places, forever just us. I hope nothing will ever change. Because on that moment I didn’t want anything to change. I wanted everything to be exactly like what we had.

Of course I know it’s not possible. Apparently, things change. I thought I couldn’t love him more. I was wrong. I loved him more.

So I guess love is not permanent. It’s evolving. I hope ours keep evolving to be higher, better, more and more and more… =)

Merci, Paris. For the sweetest memories. See you soon! à bientôt!

On the fourth day, we took a day trip to Rheims which I wrote about in this post and the fifth day we were off to Brussels. =)

Now, technical stuffs!

I stayed in a vintage apartment at Montmartre area, a place where Van Gogh, Renoir and all the artists used to hang out. It wasn’t far from the city centre but far enough to chase away the tourists. The apartment itself was soooo charming. Anyway, we booked the apartment through airbnb. Here are some pictures!

The tiny hallway

The tiny hallway

The tiny foyer

The tiny foyer

Awwww

Awwww

The cozy corner

The cozy corner

Kitchen area

Kitchen area

Cutest herb container

Cutest herb container

Kitchen knick knack

Kitchen knick knack

Recipes on the corkboard

Recipes on the corkboard

Bathroom

Bathroom

Toilet

Toilet

For the transportation, we took Metro everywhere because Paris only had Metro. It costed €1.70 per ride but if you bought carnet tickets (1 pack of 10 tickets) it would only cost you €13.

No buses or trams and don’t ever take cab unless it’s urgent! We took cab once from Gare du Nord to Rue Custine (our apt) it was soooo near (go check it on google map) and it costed us freakin €7! It was worth though because the cab driver looked like Jason Statham. :p

Metro system is Paris is soooo amazing! It’s impossible not to adore their metro system. Cheap, easy, fast and reliable. If you’re lucky you would also watch free entertainment from street artist in Paris’ Metro!

Four hours in Brussels

We didn’t have Brussels map so when we arrived at Bruxelles Midi Station, we just went straight to the subway station and bought return tickets to Grand Market. When we got out from the station, we didn’t know which road to go and we ended up lost! LOL. So after arguing, we bought Brussels map for €3 and we were back on track!

Honestly, I didn’t feel very safe in Brussels. I felt much safer in Paris. It felt like my own home (yeah I wish) but it was probably because I spent 4 days in Paris and only 4 hours in Brussels. My friend, Yofie, was pickpocket-ed in Brussels so I guess I was more aware of everyone who went close to me.

Manneken Pis was overrated. He was just tiny boy who behaved poorly in the middle of the town. LOL.

He was wearing a robe that day so we couldn't see the pee-pee. So disappointing. LOL

He was wearing a robe that day so we couldn’t see the pee-pee. So disappointing. LOL

I think this one is way cooler! :p

I think this one is way cooler! :p

But the waffle, on the other hand is not underrated at all!!! Brussels waffle is so good it would ruin all other waffles in the world!!! OMG!!!

The best waffle on earth. Do google "Maison Dandoy" and visit them if you're in Brussels!

The best waffle on earth. Do google “Maison Dandoy” and visit them if you’re in Brussels!

Brussels is a photogenic city. =)

Brussels is a photogenic city. =) It looks pretty in every angle.

It was just too pretty to be ignored.

It was just too pretty to be ignored.

Ahhhh!!!!! Flowers!!!! I could die!!!

Ahhhh!!!!! Flowers!!!! I could die!!!

Chocolate stores everywhere.... *drooling*

Chocolate stores everywhere…. *drooling*

Bandi drinking his soup before we took off to Amsterdam.

Bandi drinking his soup before we took off to Amsterdam.

The cool kid named Amsterdam!

So when I asked “can I jay-walk?” (jaywalk = cross the road without following signal) to Jerry, my Dutch friend, he laughed. “Of course you can! You can do everything in Amsterdam!”

Well, Amsterdam suddenly sounded very cool already! If Amsterdam was a person, he was definitely the cool kid everyone dying to hang out with.

We reached Amsterdam in the afternoon and went straight to our host’s house in Javakade island by taking bus from Amsterdam central. Our host was so niiiiceee! We had the whole upper floor of her house and sometimes her cutie cat visited us. :p

After freshening up, Bandi and I went to Anne Frank’s house. I read the Anne Frank’s diary before so I was interested to go in, but surprisingly for Bandi, who didn’t know anything at all about Anne, it turned out to be interesting as well. He said, “It is by far the coolest museum I’ve ever gone into.”

There were some disturbing pictures at the end of the museum about the holocaust victim during the video and I almost threw up because I didn’t think it would be that disturbing. So if you have weak heart, skip the holocaust video at the end.

From Anne Frank House, we walked to the red district area and accidentally stumbled upon a street fair!!! OHHH I LOVE FAIR! There I also found the best fench fries I’ve ever had in my life!!!! And the fries were soooo big, thus they were called “XXL Fries”.

What kind of sorcery is this??? LOLOLOL

What kind of sorcery is this??? LOLOLOL

The best and biggest fries ever!!!!

The best and biggest fries ever!!!!

Bandi felt a little feverish at night and even worse the next day. He swallowed some pills but he said he only needed “Lo Han Kuo”, a traditional chinese medicine that has a function to reduce the heat from your body. Where the hell in Amsterdam I could find Lo Han Kuo?!!

You know what? My host had it! What a coincidence, right? It turned out the previous traveler before us gave her Lo Han Kuo! She also offered to cook soup for Bandi. So when I knew Bandi was in a good hand, I left him. LOL.

I went to Van Gogh museum and Rijksmuseum. I saw the “Iamsterdam” statue in front of Rijksmuseum and I sent the photo to Bandi, “you said you wanted to take photos in Iamsterdam statue? Be healthy and come out!”

The "I amsterdam" statue in the morning.

The “I amsterdam” statue in the morning.

Around 1.30 he came to the statue and it was already crowded. So his mission failed. LOL.

WTF is this? It doesn't look like this in the picture you sent me?! LOL

WTF is this? It doesn’t look like this in the picture you sent me?! LOL

Yaiy! I finally visited Van Gogh Museum!

Yaiy! I finally visited Van Gogh Museum!

This wax sculpture was borrowed from Madame Tussaud. :)

This wax sculpture was borrowed from Madame Tussaud. :)

We then went to Vondel Park and Chinatown area and guess what? We found Lo Han Kuo! It was freaking cheap! Only €1! Even cheaper than in Singapore! Woot!

Yaiy! Got it! Bye bye fever!

Yaiy! Got it! Bye bye fever!

Vondelpark. Another place to have a romantic photo set-up. Unfortunately, Bandi was ugly as hell. LOL. He hasn't showered and his hair was as sticky as kid's hands on halloween. LOL

Vondelpark. Another place to have a romantic photo set-up. Unfortunately, Bandi was ugly as hell. LOL. He hasn’t showered and his hair was as sticky as kid’s hands on halloween. LOL

Bandi loves Amsterdam. He thinks the food was great and cheaper than the rest. And one more thing, there were wifi everywhere! :p

The last day in Amsterdam was planned very nicely by Jerry. You can read about it here.

Technical Stuff!

Going around in Amsterdam is pretty easy. The 24 hours pass was relatively cheap (€7 if I’m not wrong) for trams, buses and metros. The transportation mapping was also very easy to follow, very simple and well organized.

We planned to go biking in Amsterdam but too bad, Bandi was sick so we cancelled that plan. I saw biking was very common and safe and probably the main transportation in Amsterdam and bike rentals were so easy to find. So I guess next time I’m in Amsterdam, I’d definitely try biking.

Lodging? We stay with a very friendly host via airbnb. Please take note that Amsterdam lodging is a little more expensive than any other European city.

The sleepy Lucern and the mighty Titlis

Bandi has been talking about Lucern for so long. He said that Lucern is his favorite European town. When I found out the best way to reach Mount Titlis is from Lucern, I got excited because I could finally see Bandi’s favorite town.

I reached Lucern very very early (took overnight train from Amsterdam), so early that nothing has really opened yet. I took the midnight train the night before and I was desperate for a shower. I was so shocked that I needed to pay 18 Swiss Francs (S$25) to take a shower in train station! WTF! I could buy one big plate of good sushi with that!!! NO HELL WAY!! I better be stink and dirty then.

Thankfully our host was so kind because when we reached her house too early, she let us taking shower and freshen up, otherwise all my Titlis photos would be covered with our greasy hair. LOL.

Thank goodness, I've already washed my hair. :D

Thank goodness, I’ve already washed my hair. :D

Kiss kiss! =*

Kiss kiss! =*

Bandi was right, Lucern was beautiful!

Bandi was right, Lucern was beautiful!

=)

=)

Here in Lucern also happened our first big fight during the trip. I forgot why we fought but I remember we ate McDonald’s angrily and didn’t talk to each other. And while Bandi was mad I put a camera and a timer. LOLOL.

As a momento of our first big fight. LOL

As a momento of our first big fight. LOL

That’s Bandi face when he’s mad at me. Hahaha! After the photo we made up and laughed about it. I didn’t remember what we were fighting about. But because we fought, we decided to eat McDonald’s and Bandi gave his wallet to me and said, “order whatever.” I ordered the food that costed CHF 17 and he was like WTF?! And I said, “you said whatever.” He got angrier. HAHAHA!

From Mc Donald’s we went straight to meet our local tour in the town area and we went to Mount Titlis!!! Woot!!! Best times of our lives! The full story about Titlis was done here.

We came back from Titlis around 6 pm. Bandi and I were starving but we decided to go back to our host’s house for a shower. That, my friend, was a bad idea! Why? Because once we got out again, everything was closed! There were two restaurants opened near the host’s house but the place looked expensive so we walked around and damn it, nothing was open! We walked further more to the central station and when we found a Burritos kiosk we went in straightaway!

Looking around.

Looking around.

Almost sunset. =)

Almost sunset. =)

Technical Stuff!

In Lucern we practically walked everywhere but we also didn’t spend that much time there. Lucern also is more expensive in the terms of living than any other European cities.

And now for the most-asked questions: How to go to Mount Titlis from Lucern?

You can take train from Lucern to Engelberg (1hr ride) and would cost around 20CHF and then from Engelberg station you will have to walk to the Titlis Rotair Cable car. You will ride two different cable cars and will stop three times. Just keep riding to the very top. The price of the cable car return journey is 86CHF.

Did I do that? NO.

I booked a tour. Hahaha! The half day tour only costed me US$150 and I didn’t need to walk plus free Titlis Ice Flyer (which we didn’t use LOL) So it was a good hassle lah!

Absolutely No Clue in Munich

The first hour in Munich, we were already lost. Not only because the road name was difficult but also because we didn’t have map. Of all the cities in our European plan, I only didn’t research for one city, that’s Munich! Why? Becaue the initial plan was to arrive late in Munich, sleep and then hop into the next morning’s train to Fussen. However the plan changed because we got shorter waiting time in our transit time in Mainheim and long story short, we already reached Munich at 1 in the afternoon! It means we had half day to explore Munich!

The first thing came up in my mind was, “I have to go to see van Gogh’s sunflower here!” So I googled and it was said to be housed in Pinakothek. I asked Bandi to google the transportation and taa-daa 30 minutes and 1 gelatto later, I was in Pinakothek.

I asked Bandi to wait outside because he did prefer to enjoy the garden view and played his Candy Crush game than following me inside the museum.

The things about Munich’s museum: (1) It’s cheap! I only paid €7 and it was already included the audio-guide! Holy moly! Try in other European Museums where the audio guide itself already costed you €5! (2) It’s not crowded at all! While European Museums are usually crowded and full of tourists, Munich’s museum was sooooo quiet.

I browsed around and I felt funny because all the paintings were from 1700’s and below. How would an impressionist painting fit in here? And then I asked one of the museum staff, “Where is Van Gogh’s paintings?”

“Van Gogh’s are in the New Pinakothek. This is the Old Pinakothek.”

And then I saw my entrance ticket and it was written “Alte Pinakothek” so I figured Alte means Old. #%^*@!!! I got into the wrong pinakothek.

“May I know where is the New Pinakothek?”

“It’s just around the corner from the exit of this building. But it’s closed for today.”

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! And then I broke down on my knees and cried. Ok, Not really. I was exaggerating.

I went out the museum and approached Bandi with that stupid grin on my face. He was like, “what did you do?” LOL.

After I told Bandi, he said “let’s just see the building since it’s very near.” So yeah I went to the New Pinakothek which was closed that day. Darn it!

And then the Munich Fiesta began!!! I loveeee food in Munich. They are tasty, relatively cheap and in big portion. Munich also has some kind of mall in the interchange of the subway. Felt like Singapore actually. But the good news is, there were a lot of snack shops! Yaiy! Happy tummy happy Bandi!

The clock tower near Marienplatz

The clock tower near Marienplatz

Marienplatz, the centre of the Munich Market. Let the hungry games begin!!! XD

Marienplatz, the centre of the Munich Market. Let the hungry games begin!!! XD

Pork knuckle! Super Haram!!!

Pork knuckle! Dan besoknya asam urat gue pun naik…. T.T

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Bandi’s choice of fiesta!

And to compliment the good food is good drinks!

And to compliment the good food is good drinks!

Toko yang jualan cabe doang. Lewat situ pun gue bersin2.

Toko yang jualan cabe doang. Lewat situ pun gue bersin2.

How cute is the market?! =)

How cute is the market?! =)

Technical Stuff!

Transportation: Tram and Subway. Pretty easy and not so expensive.

Take note: If you dare, you don’t need to buy the subway ticket and just hop in to the subway train. If nobody checks the ticket then you’re fine. We did that once. LOL

Lodging: We stay with a host via airbnb.

The Amazing Neuschweinstain Castle

The next morning we rushed to the Muenchen HBF and took the train to Fussen. It took about 2 hours train ride full of farm animals scenery so I enjoyed it very much. :)

In every 5 minutes I would shriek, “Kyaaa~~! Fat cow!” or “Sleepy cow!” or “Dalmation cow!” And Bandi would pretend to sleep. Tsk.

We arrived in Fussen around 10 and looked for the bus stop nearby. We rode the bus to Hohenschwangau village for about 20 minutes and when we finally reached there I fell in love instantly! The village was sooooo beautiful and homey! I could even see the castles from a far. I couldn’t wait to go up to the hill and go inside!

Remember this!!! You must book the tickets online and book your slot. You will pay the tickets in the ticket counter but if you didn’t book online, you will suffer by the never ending queue!!! One more time: BOOK EVERYTHING ONLINE!

The slot to visit the castle is every 30 minutes and it is compulsory to follow the timing. You will only be allowed to enter the castle 5 minutes before the tour begin. There will be a guide for every tour and it is already inclusive with your ticket price so don’t worry. What you have to do is just enjoy the awesome castle and jaw-dropping along the way.

That's the castle! Let's go up!!!

That’s the castle! Let’s go up!!!

Up! Up! Up!

Up! Up! Up!

Don't forget to take photos along the way! :D

Don’t forget to take photos along the way! :D

40 minutes later... yaiy!

40 minutes later… yaiy!

The entrance of the castle. So fairy tale-like!!! Kyaa~~~

The entrance of the castle. So fairy tale-like!!! Kyaa~~~

We weren’t allowed to take any pictures inside but seriously this place is soooo terrifyingly beautiful!!! Not only the castle, but also the surrounding. The foliage, the rocky mountains, the hills, the river, the village, they all collide into one and become one amazing place that really really took my breath away.

Here’s a little interesting fact about the castle. This castle is actually not finished. Can you imagine how awesome this would be if it was actually finished??? King Ludwig II was found dead drowned in the lake with his psychiatrist (*ahem* lover) thus this castle was never finished. Ludwig had also never sat on the throne because before the throne was finished, Ludwig was already deemed psychologically unstable. Oh… how ironic.

People perceived Ludwig as the mad king… well I think he’s a genius king. He also looked quite handsome though. But we all know most gay guys are handsome right?!

The view from the castle's balcony.

The view from the castle’s balcony. I will never forget this ever, in my life.

The unforgettable view. Ludwig could see this everyday. =)

The unforgettable view. Ludwig could see this everyday. =)

We took a horse carriage back to Hohenschwangau because I seriously couldn't walk anymore!!!

We took a horse carriage back to Hohenschwangau because I seriously couldn’t walk anymore!!!

Germany is so underrated. I am sooo going back to Germany and explore more!!! It’s such an amazing country! It’s beautiful, the food is great and the people are nice! I will so come back!!!

At Starbucks Munich. The barista could write my name but couldn't write Bandi's. LOL

At Starbucks Munich. The barista could write my name but couldn’t write Bandi’s. LOL

Love-Hate Relationship with Italy

We spent most days of the trip in Italy. We started from Venice and went south to Firenze, went north up again to Bologna, Parma and then Torino, went to south west to Cinque Terre and then all the way down south to Rome.

Actually there are so many places in Italy I want to visit but I only had so limited time so I could only cover just a little bit. I still want to come back for Pompeii, Naples, Sicily, Lake Como, and of course come back to Cinque Terre.

The Veneto Region

A lot of people questioned me why I didn’t like Venice. Well, it’s not that I didn’t like it. I just won’t be coming back there to stay. I will probably come back to Veneto to visit Burano, but not Venice.

For me, Venice is waaaay to touristy. Yes, it is a very VERY VERY pretty town. You can shoot any photo with any angle, without even trying and it would still turn up to be a wonderful photo. Venice is photogenic.

The small alley of venice. You'll definitely be lost in Venice at least once!

The small alley of venice. You’ll definitely be lost in Venice at least once!

Boats were like cars. Everyone must have one.

Boats were like cars. Everyone must have one.

Cutey couple hand in hand.

Cutey couple hand in hand.

The famous gondola

The famous gondola

Sunset in Venice.

Sunset in Venice. HDR.

The most beautiful shot of Venice. It looks 100x better in sunset.

The most beautiful shot of Venice. It looks 100x better in sunset. (Edited)

But Venice doesn’t have personality. I couldn’t find a personality for Venice. I couldn’t read it. Everyone were tourists. I couldn’t hardly spot local people. Even the waiter/waitresses were Indian people with very thick Indian accent.

True Venetians kept leaving Venice and the population had becoming lesser and lesser. There were dark alleys with abandoned empty houses with a strong smell of urine, while the bigger path along the canal was so lively, packed with overpriced restaurant offering tourists a “venetian experience”. I don’t think there is anything venetian about that.

I’m sorry for all the Venice lovers out there, Venice is just not my cup of tea. =)

But of course my trip to Venice wasn’t totally screwed since I found the hidden gem called Burano. It’s an island located northeast from Venice.

Venice is the "A" point while Burano is the "B" point.

Venice is the “A” point while Burano is the “B” point.

The population is only 2 thousand people. I saw little kids buying football star cards from the kiosk after school, they bought gelatto too. Their mom picked them up from school. After school they had their lunch and then everyone had siesta, which meant napping time. When the household was napping, the house’s curtain would be closed. When the siesta was finished, they opened the curtain again. Oh man… I forgot when was the last time I had a nap. What a good life.

I walked around Burano for an hour. It was a very slow walk with some stops at Gelatteria and dozen times for taking photos. Can you imagine how small it is?

Small and serene. I fell in love with Burano.

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HDR

I wish I could live here. =)

I wish I could live here. =)

Gelatto!

Gelatto!

Bandi and his weird face

Bandi and his weird face

And he always said, "Mana tangannya?" =')

And he always said, “Mana tangannya?” =’)

Impressive clouds

Impressive clouds

Love!

Love!

Ahh… basically I easily fell in love with small town.

Florence, Calenzano, Bologna, Parma, Turin.

From Venice, we took the morning train to Firenze (or known as Florence). We had quite an experience when we took the morning train. The train was early and we needed to go out from our host’s house at 6 am. The thing was… the alley from the house to the bus station was dark and kinda scary. I swear to god, if I was alone, I would just prefer missing the train than walking on that dark alley. We waited about half hour in the bus stop, with our backpacks on and were scared that some drunkards or mafia would come approach us.

Thankfully there were no such things. The bus came and we hopped on. 30 minutes later we reached the Venezia Mestre train station and heading to Firenze.

Firenze was… err….

*ahem*

Let me just say this. If David wasn’t in that city, I WOULD CURSE ALL OF YOU who asked me to go there! David is the only good thing from Firenze. There is no way I would come back again!

Do I sound angry? Wait until you hear Bandi’s version.

No lah, just kidding. Firenze wasn’t that bad. I was exaggerating.

But honestly it was quite boring. Firenze was full of tourists, scammers, shits (literally) and angry motorists.

A friendly dog with a scary face I met in Firenze.

A friendly dog with a scary face I met in Firenze.

NO GPL = Gak Pake Lama

NO GPL = Gak Pake Lama

A cool street artist

A cool street artist

Bandi orderin a cup of cappuccino for me.

Bandi orderign a cup of cappuccino for me.

Bandi dan Meitri pergi ke pasaaaarrr!

Bandi dan Meitri pergi ke pasaaaarrr!

Bandi jajan di Pasar

Bandi jajan di Pasar

Piazza Duomo where the cool artists hang

Piazza Duomo where the cool artists hang

Going to Uffizzi Galery

Going to Uffizzi Galery

Impersonating "David." LOL

Impersonating “David.” LOL

But David… was just so mindblowing. I don’t understand anything about sculpture but seeing David standing tall so relaxed yet ambitious somehow mesmerized me.  And did I mention his butt was damn hot?!

Illegally snapped inside Accademia.

The original “David” by Michaelangelo, housed at Accademia, illegally snapped. :p

From Firenze we stayed a night at Calenzano, a small new-built town full of block apartment but no restaurants in sight. We were biking around trying to find any pizzeria but couldn’t find any. So we went to Carrefour and bought the food court’s pizza. So sad…. :(

Where is this pizza place!!! I'm so hungry!!!

Where is this pizza place!!! I’m so hungry!!!

The next morning our host, Francesco drove us to Senso Fiorentino train station where we took the train back to Firenze Santa Novella and hopped onto another train that took us to Bologna.

Somewhere in Bologna, on the mission to find pasta fresca, but in the end we ate frozen pasta. Bummer.

Somewhere in Bologna, on the mission to find pasta fresca, but in the end we ate frozen pasta. Bummer.

The free dessert from a nice waiter.

The free dessert from a nice waiter.

They said Bologna has the best fresh Pasta in Italy but I couldn’t find any because all the Pasta Fresca Ristorante were still closed. So after we walked around in the center area we ate a frozen pasta in some coffee bar.

We had the worst train delay in Bologna. We were waiting for almost 2 hours. for our train to Parma! %^#$!!!

Delay again....

Delay again….

While waiting for the “ritardo” (delay) announcement Bandi and I learned a lot about numbers in Italian. I’m pretty fast at grasping language while Bandi is more ignorant. So I asked him, “Uno, duo, tres… And then?”

He replied, “un pasito padelante Maria!” lengkap dengan nada Ricky Martin!

I was laughing my ass off! My boyfriend is so adorably stupid! XD

But of course like Indonesian proverbs said “bersakit sakit dahulu bersenang senang kemudian” (same meaning as there is a rainbow after the rain) I had a great time in Parma. The twelve years old may’s dream came true. Full story here.

The next morning, we took a very early train on 5 am in Parma station that brought us to Turin. On the train, we shared the coach with so many Juventus’ fans, came all the way from different parts of Italy just to watch Juventus vs Genoa. Bandi had already given up that he won’t watch the match live because all tickets were sold out. It was kinda strange because it wasn’t usually like that. It turned out it was because there was some kind of tifosi “meeting” that so many buses from all around Italy visited Juventus stadium.

Bandi, happy like a 5 years old kid.

Bandi, happy like a 5 years old kid.

The experience was so amazing though. It was my first time to be surrounded by thousand of people wearing juventus attribute. Bandi was smiling all day.

Bandi, in front of Juventus stadium.

Bandi, in front of Juventus stadium.

Going to Juventus Museum!

Going to Juventus Museum!

Bandi, taking photo with the real champions league cup!

Bandi, taking photo with the real champions league cup!

Most caps: Alessandro Del Piero.

Most caps: Alessandro Del Piero.

2006 world cup... a very emotional moment for both of us. =)

2006 world cup… a very emotional moment for both of us. =)

Bandi and the cut-up board of his lifetime hero. I hope someday he could meet Del Piero for real. =)

Bandi and the cut-up board of his lifetime hero. I hope someday he could meet Del Piero for real. =)

He loves the wording. =)

He loves the wording. =)

Bandi in Juventus store. This is his wonderland. ;D

Bandi in Juventus store. This is his wonderland. ;D

The tifosi.

The tifosi.

I could totally feel the different between a winning team like Juventus and a “small” team like Parma. First of all, about stadium. In Parma I could go inside the stadium free, nobody was there! I could snap hundreds photos without people giving a fuck; while in Turin, we should pay €25 to go on stadium tour plus Juventus museum. Holy crap! Thank god Bandi was buying.

Second of all, the tifosi (supporter). Of course Juventus has muuuuch more tifosi than Parma dan you could feel their desire to win. I could see it from Bandi. Everytime I saw him watching Juventus match, or talking about Juventus, I fell deeper in love with him. He was so passionate about it, he loves it. I only see his eyes sparkling when he talks about two things: Juventus and me. (awwww).

Third of all, the store. Juventus was sponsored by Nike and Parma was sponsored by… no particular contract for the outfit I think. So Juventus store was soooo big and crowded and the tills kept cha-ching while Parma was so quiet.

It was kinda sad actually. I remembered I cried a lot back then when I was still actively supporting Parma. But it is about history really. The winning team is the one that has history. And now I realize Parma doesn’t have that. :(

Cinque Terre

Are you guys still reading? Good.

This one’s a great story.

This is a story when we hiked from Vernazza to Monterosso. It might sound simple but seriously it was more adventurous than it seems. It wasn’t a normal hike. It was that type of hiking that if you made a wrong step or if you *knock on wood* slipped, you could die. Okay I might be exaggerating a bit but you would at least suffer a serious injury.

We started the hiking from the sea side of Vernazza

We started the hiking from the sea side of Vernazza

Ohhh the sound of the waves. =)

Ohhh the sound of the waves. =)

But it’s not the danger that made it exciting (although sometimes it is), but it’s the view, the experience and the fact that Bandi and I looked for each other. I have never felt so aware of someone else’s safety til then. I was watching his step and he was watching mine. We kept worrying about each other and kept saying, “Watch your step, sweetie…” or “Look out for the rocks.”

The trail

The trail

Fighting!

Fighting!

We had a crazy beautiful view from the top of the hill, watching the ocean below us. We were singing the “rain rain go away song” and then the rain did stop! Bandi sang “Maju tak gentar” to cheer me up, I was almost fainted then. LOL. It was just so fun and crazy at the same time. I mean, we didn’t want any serious physical pain then because of the long walks and the long trip and the heavy backpack, we didn’t know the hiking trail was that serious! But we did it and it was incredible.

Yaiy! We reached the top! Now all we have to do is going down to the next village. Arrghh

Yaiy! We reached the top! Now all we have to do is going down to the next village. Arrghh

I was pretty much dead once we reached Monterosso. LOL

I was pretty much dead once we reached Monterosso. LOL

I also never thought of Bandi as a nature loving kind of man. He gets rashes near trees and grass but that day he told me, “I didn’t know I could really enjoy it. And I did enjoy it so much!”

We spent 3 days in Cinque Terre and we had a good life there. We had dinner at 6 pm and we were already relaxing at 7 pm, either talking or eating snacks. There were no TV or internet so we did have intimate times talking and sharing our feelings. =)

Ah… I left my heart in Cinque Terre. I’ll be back someday. I WILL!

Bandi, in Vernazza

Bandi, in Vernazza

Finally find a beach in Monterosso

Finally find a beach in Monterosso

Found a heart-shaped pebble so I made that. ;)

Found a heart-shaped pebble so I made that. ;)

Monterosso, the pretty little town.

Monterosso, the pretty little town.

And it is A SIN not to take advantage of the romantic setting by taking cheesy photos, riiighttt?

And it is A SIN not to take advantage of the romantic setting by taking cheesy photos, riiighttt?

Eating a good pesto sauce there!

Eating a good pesto sauce there!

Manarola, my favorite town of all five.

Manarola, my favorite town of all five.

Rome

Rome is hands down the most beautiful city in Italy. I’m serious.

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I have the love-hate relationship with Italy. I’ve been intrigued by Italy since I was a kid. At the beginning, I fell in love with its football, and then with its language, and then with its pop accapella group, Neri Per Caso, and then I kept falling in love more and more when I read about all the beautiful things in Italy.

But then I hate it too for its bad reputation of racism, lack of humanity and dirty politics.

Stepping my foot in Italy was surreal at first. I had just traveled to the other European countries, the better, the richer, the more stable countries. Italy was considered much poorer compared to them. It felt like Indonesia  compared to the neighbors. But somehow, the culture and the feeling were so different too. Italy has the passion to live, urge to win, and this magical vibe that is impossible to explain with words.

Bandi swore a lot when we were in Italy. Every 200 meters, we encountered cute dogs and every 500 meters we encountered dog’s shits, and if we’re lucky, people’s shits too. What? Bird’s shits? Bird shits are everywhere.

But every 500 meters we also encountered beautiful buildings, genius architectures and enticing history. I encountered delicious gelatto and to-die-for espresso in every bar I stepped in.

One thing I will never miss from Italy is the way Italians smoke. They smoke in every possible (even impossible) conditions! In the scooter, inside the car, walking the dogs, hugging their friends, eating their gelatto, queuing for restaurant, anywhere, anytime! They have this habit to put cigarette on their lips just one stop before the bus/train reached their destination. When the bus/train finally stopped and they stepped on the road, they lit their cigarette. They couldn’t wait even one more second to delay smoking.

This fact is so ironic with their regional trains, which are always delayed! Do you know what is the first word I learned in Italy? Ritardo, means delay. It only took 5 days for me to understand completely the full Italian train announcement. “In treno regionale (insert number) destinazione (insert city name) blah blah blah cinque/dicci/venti (five/ten/twenty) minuti ritardo.” There it was, the delay announcement I faced almost in all my regional trips in Italy.

Now let’s talk about my other love for Italy. Coffee. Bandi used to ask me “what time is it?” and I replied, “It’s espresso o’clock!” Yes! you can drink espresso anytime you want in Italy! Go to any bar, make sure you stand in a bar (DO NOT SIT DOWN unless you want to be charged double!) and then say “Vorrei un cafe.” It usually costs €1.00 or €1.20 for a single espresso. If you want macchiato or cappuccino it costs around €1.80 to €2.00. I didn’t say please in Italy (not like in Paris where everything ended with sil vous plait) simply because Italians are rude that way. Sometimes they didn’t say “Grazie” too! I’m being serious.

But my most favorite Italian culture is of course the football culture. :) Well, I must say that Italians take football too seriously. “What is your religion?” go ahead try asking a guy in Turin and he would answer “JUVENTUS! FINO ALLA FINE!” “What is your religion? to a guy in Rome and he would answer “ROMA PER SEMPRE!” It is most likely to change job, to change wife or to even change your religion, but in Italy it is IMPOSSIBLE to change your favorite football team. When you love a team, you’d stuck with it forever. Because it’s an unconditional love.

I went to Juventus stadium when there was a match between Juventus and Genoa. The atmosphere was sooooo passionate and burning! It wasn’t even my team but it was sooooo amazing! Everyone sticks together for their team! The ambience, the euphoria and the feeling… just WOW. They have the desire to win, they need to win!

Bandi’s motto in Italia was “live like local” which means crossing the road as you like, and ride public transportation without paying. Seriously, after a week of paying public transport, we stopped paying because Italy is messed up that way. We rode anywhere we wanted and anytime we wanted. How much? We didn’t know anymore! LOL! We had this inside joke “ini negara bapak lo yah?” because we didn’t pay for bus/tram inside the city and even one time for a regional train!

The most remarkable building in history. Pantheon. 2000 years old and succeeded to make me cry because of its beauty.

The most remarkable building in history. Pantheon. 2000 years old and succeeded to make me cry because of its beauty.

Inside Pantheon. MUST MUST MUST Visit while in Rome. and it is FREE ADMISSION!

Inside Pantheon. MUST MUST MUST Visit while in Rome. and it is FREE ADMISSION!

Colloseum

Colloseum

Trevi fountain, sooo packed with people. But it was truly one sweet memory I had. =)

Trevi fountain, sooo packed with people. But it was truly one sweet memory I had. =)

Vatican City. Amazingly beautiful.

Vatican City. Amazingly beautiful.

The must have picture inside Vatican Museum. :p

The must have picture inside Vatican Museum. :p

In front of St. Peters Basilica. The greatest, biggest church in the world, where a lot of masterpiece of artworks  belong.

In front of St. Peters Basilica. The greatest, biggest church in the world, where a lot of masterpiece of artworks belong.

The ten days journey in Italy ended in the most beautiful city in Italy, Rome, and in a sweet way with the sweet champagne. If you can only stop in one city in Italy, make it Rome. It has more history in square meter than anywhere in the world! Stepped into pantheon and I shed a tear because it was just too damn beautiful!!! And the Sistine Chapel… OH MY GOD!!! It was surreal! You will wish that Michaelangelo would live another 70 years to make more arts. And St. peter Basilica… Holy mother of god! You’d lost words…

I hated some things from Italy, but the love was just too strong it won’t fade away.

Italy, you will always have a special place in my heart. =) Forza Italia!

We saved the best for the last

We reached Athens around 3 pm and had the next morning flight to Santorini. Athens wasn’t in our plan because it was only meant to be a transit, but after talking with the hotel’s receptionist, it was just so wrong not to explore the city a little bit, so we did.

We had a great meal, found out that Greek people are friendly and Athens is surely a beautiful city. I will definitely come back for a real holiday someday!!!

But of course the spotlight for this trip was stolen by…

SANTORINI!

SANTORINI!

It was soooooo amazingly surreal you would actually think you were inside a desktop wallpaper!!! Santorini was so freakingly beautiful, I lost words!!!

In Santorini, the color of the building collides with the skies… The sea breezes together with the singing bird and the wind… The crazy beautiful sunset blends the colorful wild flowers… And the happy people drinks the delicious wine… And they all are mixed together into one magical paradise.

I couldn’t tell many stories from Santorini. What we did was only laying down, smooching, eating, smooching again, riding a donkey, lazying on the balcony, smooching again, eating again, and repeat.

Bandi, just lazying around everyday

Bandi, just lazying around everyday

Snacks, drinks, and goal.com on the phone screen.

Snacks, drinks, and goal.com on the phone screen.

Waiting for the beautiful sunset. =)

Waiting for the beautiful sunset. =)

So Bandi could take an awesome photos like this.

So Bandi could take an awesome photos like this.

So that we could take this amazing "accidental" photo of sunset behind us!!! Hands down! Best photo ever!

Or this amazing “accidental” photo of sunset behind us!!! Hands down! Best photo ever!

Santorini was the most romantic place I’ve ever visited. While Paris is historically and dramatically romantic, Santorini was more sexy-kind of romantic. It was secluded, passionate and magical.

With this kind of view, I didn't really care what the food tasted like. LOL

With this kind of view, I didn’t really care what the food tasted like. LOL

I rode a donkey once!

I rode a donkey once!

The pedestrian path in Santorini was built with marble?!! OMG!! Heaven!

The pedestrian path in Santorini was built with marble?!! OMG!! Heaven!

Keep calm in Santorini? DUH!! OF COURSE!!!

Keep calm in Santorini? DUH!! OF COURSE!!!

The bay to cross over to the Volcano island.

The bay to cross over to the Volcano island.

The last sunset in Santorini. I will surely see you again!

The last sunset in Santorini. I will surely see you again!

Hands down, I think this is the best honeymoon destination. Even two straight guys coming here together would definitely turned out to be gay. It’s that magical!!! =)

The other interesting things

Did we bring Brownie? to answer this post.

Yes we do! Here’s a proof!

Hellowww!!!

Hellowww!!!

Was bringing Brownie a good idea?

YES! He was the reason I could sleep comfortable on the train and plane! He was also so damn cute. But that’s another context.

Did I throw some clothes?

Yes I did! Our policy was… eye for an eye. I bought two t-shirts, so I threw two shirts as well. Bandi bought one shirt and one sweater but he didn’t throw any. BECAUSE HE IS ANNOYING that waaaaaaay!

Did we shop?

Yes, if buying magnets and postcards as souvenirs considered shopping. But do we shop, like really SHOP? No. Unfortunately no. I love my back… and my bank account. :p

Does it change our perspective in life?

Change is a big word. It did give me new perspective, it did teach me more things and broadened my perspective, which I think is a good thing. I become richer in value and experiences. But change? No. I am still the same person with a bigger perspective. =)

What was the ultimate proof that Bandi and I were made for each other?

Hmm… I think it was when I realize I could take him the way he is. I could finally laugh on his annoying habit and accept his flaws. Honestly, backpacking is not that easy. There were times when we were both tired, hungry, itchy (for not taking showers) and a little comment would make us wanting to kill each other, but somehow  we ended up laughing.

We always looked out for each other. When I was sick, Bandi brought both backpacks, one on his chest and one on his back and he still made sure one of his hand was free to hold my hand.

But the ultimate proof was… we could read each other’s mind. Maybe because we talked a lot to each other, in some point we could read each other’s mind. We used to see something and then “are you thinking what I’m thinking?” and then laughing for the reasons that haven’t been said.

I think so. I am pretty sure we were made for each other. =)

If I ever revisit Europe where I would go for sentimental reason, re-experience the joy of beauty, and explore the unknown?

First of all, “If I ever revisit Europe…” GOD WHAT IS THAT “IF”?  I WILL DEFINITELY REVISIT, like hundreds of times! I even plan to visit Europe every year! Hear hear Universe! LOL

A) Sentimental reason

Cinque Terre, for the sweet memories.

Paris, just to check on our padlock.

B) Re-experience the joy of Beauty

Germany and Switzerland. AMAZINGLY beautiful!

Reims, I’m seriously planning to stay there for a month or two. =)

C) Explore the unknown

Prague! Vienna! Berlin! Istambul! Naples! Athens! Barcelona! Norway!

What do I loath the most?

Bandi will shout at once, “FIRENZE!” Oh man… all the shits were lying around on the streets…

For me, I dislike Venezia.

What is our craziest (happy) moment during the trip? Skinny dipping in Santorini?

Hmm, I wish I skinny dipped in Santorini!!! But I think the ocean was too cold for a dip, with our without clothes. However, I would like to skinny dip with Bandi someday, that would be fun! But of course preferable in summer time.

The crazy happiest moment was… (I actually give time to think like for a minute)

when we crossed the suspension bridge in Mount Titlis.

So here’s a fact. Bandi and I are a wimp when it comes to height. Bandi didn’t always show his fear because he always wanted to keep me calm but I know he’s also not a big fan of height.

We skipped the Titlis flier even though we had a pass because we’re a couple of wimps. Boo us!

Anyway, the suspension bridge is quite long and when I first stepped on it, I didn’t know it was scary (and long). Honestly I didn’t do research for Mt. Titlis because we took a half-day tour from Lucerne so everything was taken care of, I thought. Little did I know, the bridge was wobbling whenever you crossed it, and what was below you? clouds and snows. HOLY CRAP. I thought I could die of heart attack!

I almost peed my pants and I talked to Bandi with my squeaking voice, “I can’t move! I wanna go back.” But he held my hand and said, “Don’t look down! Just keep walking!” And then I did keep walking. I walked faster and faster and finally reached the other side of the bridge and I caught a breath. Bandi then was laughing, “HOLY CRAP wans’t that scary?”

YOU THINK?!!!

It wasn’t that CRAZY-crazy but it was the highest adrenalin during the trip and I swear I almost peed my pants. T.T If you don’t believe me, see the suspension bridge photos here.

Why didn’t I take picture in suspension bridge? YOU TELL ME!!! Groooaaagh!

So what’s the moral of the story? If you can’t stand heights, next time do your research before step into any bridge!

Which continent will we conquer next?

Well, I humbly say I haven’t conquered Europe at all. I still want to go back to Europe, explore the south part of Europe like South France; Avignon, Provence, Arles; South Italy; Sicily, Naples; and of course Greek Islands and Turkey (if I can call it South part) After south part, I plan to explore the upper east and east like Czech, Hungary, Austria, Poland and on… And then there’s the Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland if it’s possible. =) I still want to come back to Europe again and again and again and again… I left my heart there anyway. ;)

But if I should say, what continent I am willing to explore after Europe, it would be America of course!!! South America with their beautiful beaches! Oh yeah! Someday I’ll go there too. =)

But for the short term plan, Bandi and I have already planned the ultimate Indonesian adventure! Wooott! I’ll write about it at the end of this post. =)

How do I pee during the trip?

Yes, you need to pay for toilet in Europe. And please take note I pee a lot! I could pee like 10 times a day. Some toilet costs €1 while some costs €2, so if I pee 10 times a day and half of them done outside, I need to pay around €7 per day and it would cost so much! So, how did I do it? Well, in some emergency cases I did pay to go pee-pee but most of the cases, I just walked in to any bar, order an espresso which cost €1.20 and went to the bar’s toilet. Am I a genius??? LOL. I also ALWAYS pee on the train five minutes before the destination.

To complete the toilet issue, “Ada kayak tempatnya ditrotoar gitu?” Toilet booth yang di trotoar ini cuma pernah gue liat di Paris, di kota lain nggak pernah liat. Toilet yang bayar itu biasanya kayak toilet umum biasa aja, cuma ada orang yang jagain buat minta duit. Beberapa toilet chain company bikin kayak automatic gate gitu (mostly in train station) jadi kita cuma masukin coin €1 atau €2 trus gatenya kebuka so kita bisa masuk ke toilet. Hanya satu tempat dimana toilet is free… in Santorini!

Do I sleep on my way to Europe?

YES, of course! If I didn’t sleep, I’d be like zombie because I reached London at 8 in the morning so if I didn’t sleep I would be living 2 and half day full! But yeah as we know, sleeping on the plane is not that comfy, especially I was coughing and had flu when we started the journey. :(

Is it true that there are donkey shits everywhere in Santorini?

True and false.

Santorini center area, where there is market, restaurant, shops and ice cream parlor etc, used white marble as the pavement road and can only be entered by people. There is another road using asphalt for cars. So, can you imagine how pretty it would be to walk in a white marble surrounded by white houses and Aegean Sea? And no, no donkey shits in sight.

However, there is one particular road from Donkey Station to the Volcano Port that is full of Donkey shits, from the fresh shits to the dried shits. The smell was… well, unexplainable. And guess what? Bandi slipped and fell down on that road! Ewww!!! And I called him “shitty pants” and refused to go near to him. LOL.

Did I discover a new bad habit from Bandi?

Actually no, or maybe I didn’t really pay attention, LOL. We had too much fun (and too much fight) so we didn’t really pay attention for the bad habits. It’s probably also because… when you go traveling, especially on backpacking, you’re turning yourself into another mode, the easy-mode. The normal me wouldn’t survive the rashes of a three days consecutive shirt because I have very sensitive skin, but the easy-mode me didn’t mind the rashes and just took minyak kayu putih and rubbed on it.

The normal me wouldn’t survive the tangled hair, the untreated pimples, but easy-mode me did survive those. I didn’t have the luxury of time for taking care of myself, so I just let the nature ruined my skin, my hair and my nails. I’m back to Singapore ugly, broke and happy. :p

Bandi also always changed his socks everyday but during the trip it’s almost impossible to do that so he compromised the smelly socks. Some socks didn’t survive til the end, so we threw it away. Oh, don’t get me started on panties… HAHAHA

Okay I’m starting to rambling about our little secrets, I should I stop. And to answer the question, I didn’t discover any bad habit from him because we were like cave people over there, so I couldn’t tell if it was a bad habit.

What happened to our house when we came back?

The house is pretty much the same because we have roommates! It’s not fully abandoned of course. =D

How do I feel when I visited the Museums?

The first thing came to my mind was always this: “Oh how I wish I lived in this city so I could come here anytime I want.”

I loveeeeeeee all the museums I’ve visited but of course there are favorites!!

Here are the list of my favorite musems…

1. Orsay Museum, Paris.  (Musée d’Orsay)

2. National Gallery, London

And: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

These two are tight. I couldn’t decide which one I love more.

3. Gallery Borghese, Rome.

Okay, so now I’ll start blabbering about art. I came to Europe only knowing two things: I love renaissance dresses which hopefully I would see more from paintings and I love impressionism. I came back knowing (and loving) hundred things! The reason why I love Orsay the most is because it has one whole floor for impressionist paintings! I will come back again to Paris and I will visit Orsay again for sure! I saw a loooot of Monet paintings which are soooo beautiful, some from Van Gogh, Gaugin, Manet, Degas, Pissaro and I might not remember all of the title of the paintings but if you show it to me I would probably know who painted that. I love it that true artists have their own style and preference.

And I will never forget my encounter with this amazing painting named “The Circus” by Seurat, stood grand and beautiful in front of me. It was unforgettable.

National Gallery has left a very good impression for me maybe because it was the first art museum I visited during the trip. I was introduced to pointillism there and I first saw so many new names like Seurat, Signac and Pissaro. I couldn’t contain my excitement when I saw so many beautiful paintings there for me to enjoy and learn. It was the very first time I went to a world class art museum, ever. So I spent time there until there was an announcement that the museum needed to close. :D

Van Gogh Museum is of course one of my favorite. Having a guide is a must here if you want to get to know much more about Van Gogh and his work. The museum really showed the details of Van Gogh’s art pieces and how he did it. There was one room that has a microscope to see how the paint in Van Gogh’s art look like x1000 and some x-ray of Van Gogh’s painting to prove that Van Gogh indeed using recycle object to paint. He was that poor.

I know I’m into paintings and sculpture wasn’t really my thing, but it was changed when I visited Gallery Borghese. I encountered some of the greatest sculpture by Bernini and oh my god they are just soooo beautiful! My personal favorite is “Apollo and Daphne”, I think it’s the best sculpture ever created on earth!!!

The story about the Villa Borghese is actually interesting. There was a wealthy, powerful man named Scipione Borghese who has a great taste for art. He was later made a Cardinal by his uncle, Pope Paul V. So then he was not only rich and powerful, he was also an important man. He collected art from the great artists on the era (1600’s) and decided to open the gallery for public to enjoy. I think this could be like the first art museum ever. The story of how he collected the art pieces is interesting. Some, he got it, um.. let’s just say in an incorrect way.

Cardinal Borghese also built the gallery itself with heart and soul. Every room of the gallery has its own theme and personality. I must say, the gallery has its reason to be exclusive. The gallery doesn’t accept walk-in visitor. You must book a time slot and CAN’T enter the gallery even 5 minutes before your slot begin. You only have maximum 2 hours inside the gallery. Bandi was swearing silently, why is the gallery so arrogant?! But then, it has every reason to be.

I’ve researched some artworks I love when I saw them in the museum and then I’ve written about them on my travel journal, so whenever I forget about them, I could re-live the memory again. =)

Did Bandi and I fight?

OF COURSE!!!! We fought like… zillion times!!! First of all, we always fight when we read maps, because he acted like mr. know-it-all and I hated it. He didn’t let me read maps (which is understandable because I’m bad with directions) but then I got angry when he read it wrongly too! And FYI, I could suddenly read maps whenever I’m in my easy-mode. I was suddenly a survivor.

Second, we also almost always fight about food. Where to eat, whether we must pick the cheap frozen pizza or the expensive fresh pasta, or who chooses the next meal.

Third, we were both grumpy when we were tired, sleepy, hungry and/or on need for toilet.

Forth, sometimes taking photos could end up in fight, especially when I want to be inside the photos and I asked him to take it for me. Here’s the thing, Bandi doesn’t have an eye for art or design. He couldn’t draw a straight line. He’s just so immune of art. So he’s not really good at taking photos. I sometimes complained about my photos (taken by him) and when he was feeling grumpy he would start a fight with “Then next time I won’t take it for you anymore.”

Forth, we were fighting about money. Whenever one made a wrong decision about money, the other usually wasn’t happy about it. Arguments were always happened.

We also had one big fight at the fumicino airport when we were waiting the flight to Athens. It was a little personal but then we’re glad we got through it.

But here’s a good thing…

Bandi and I are good at arguing and complaining to each other, but we are better at making up. =) Usually after we argued, we would just laugh and then said sorry. Or if I was having a big ego moment, I would just call him his pet-name and he would know that I wanted to make up, so we did. =)

Is there anything I wish I would’ve brought to Europe?’

KOYO. I should’ve brought more koyo. I did bring some, but it’s not enough! My back… oh my back….

Is there anything I brought to Europe that I didn’t use at all?

Raincoat. But it’s kinda good luck not to have to use the raincoat. =)

Let’s talk about food!

Let’s!!! I always thought I love European food…. until I really went to Europe. European food was… bland. And it turned out it was because I love the Indonesian version of European food, the enhanced ones! OH MY GOD, my whole life is a lieeeee!!!!

Now I know for sure, my taste bud is 100% Indonesian! I love spices, I love creamy, thick, spicy, soup, I love peanut sauce, and I LOOOOVVVEEE RICE! There, Bandi, I said it. Happy?

However of course, there were some discovery I’ve made during the trip.

1. Amsterdam Fries IS JUST THE BEST!

2. German people eat like there’s no tomorrow. The portion, oh my gosh…

3. I’ve found my alcohol calling. Sparkling Wine! Not just wine, but sparkling wine! Well, preferably Champagne. :p

4. Bandi is such a sweet guy. (eh? I thought I knew it for so long? Just feel like saying it. :”>)

What about the dirty laundry?

Well, well… this is the trickiest part because we were on the move almost everyday so it was a little hard to do laundry but thankfully we were blessed with sunny weather so most of the laundry were dried fast. We did laundry twice in Paris, and then in Amsterdam, Riomaggiore and Rome.

We only brought limited amount of clothes so you will only see the same clothes in every photos. LOL.

For panties, I usually washed them right after the shower. I only brought two pair of bras but I rarely used them because it was Europe! I’ve been dying to go out braless! Just FYI, I hate wearing bra!! I wish I could live in western country where I could be braless everyday!!! :p

Some stories to remember

Lost in translation

I did something stupid in Munich. I was shooed by a cleaning lady when I was about to use the toilet. It turned out it wasn’t because the lady was rude, but because I was entering the wrong toilet. LOL. It wasn’t my fault!!! The toilets weren’t being very clear. They didn’t put any signs in front of the toilets, only word “Dammen” and “Herren”, so I went into the “Dammen” because I thought Herren was supposed to be “Homme”. Nooooo!!!!

No excuses

In Zurich I saw an Asian couple waiting for the same train like us. The man was carrying a 75L backpack which was sooo huge and guess what did the woman bring with her? She was bringing a stroller with a real baby on it!!! OMG! Isn’t it sooo COOL!!!

I mean, yes, I saw a lot of Caucasian couples backpacking with their kids and babies but never have I seen Asian bringing their babies while backpacking! This is such a heartwarming view. :)

It was like a reminder for me that if you really wanted to do something, there is no EXCUSES could stop you.

Ahhh, I can’t go because I have kids… I can’t go because I have to save for mu kids… I can’t go because it’s impossible bakcpacking with kids… WHAT A BULLSHIT!

You CAN go, you just don’t think it’s convenience. So CUT THE CRAP.

I hate it when people commenting, “Ahhh.. It’s easy for your to say because you don’t have kids, you don’t have to save money for a house…” Blah blah blah. EVERYONE HAS THEIR BAGGAGE. They’re just not complaining. They’re looking for solutions.

Oh, wait, why did I bitch out? There would be a special post about bitching later. LOL

Anyway, I salute that Asian couple. ;)

Digerebek Polisi

During the overnight train dari Amsterdam ke Basel gue tidur di tempat tidur paling atas. Satu cabin berisi 6 tempat tidur, dibagi dalam dua sisi. Jadi bisa bayangin dong ribet nya gue turun kalo udah sampe atas? Gue harus lewatin dua orang dibawah gue dan karena gue nggak enteng pasti lah bunyi kriyat-kriyet. Gue kan hobbynya pipis, so menderita banget deh tidur semaleman nggak pipis, so waktu pagi-pagi gue bangun (sekitar jam 5:30) gue mau ke WC aja deh, sekalian sikat gigi, cuci muka terus nunggu kereta sampe di Basel, jadwalnya kan sekitar jam 7 kurang.

Pas gue keluar si Bandi pun terbangun. Dia nanya, “mau kemana?” gue bilang mau pipis. “Aku juga, sekalian aja yuk bawa keluar barang2.” So grasak grusuk lah kita pagi-pagi tuh… Habis semua barang udah keluar cabin, si Bandi ke WC duluan (emang kampret tuh orang! Yang kebelet siapa?) dan gue jagain tas di depan pintu cabin. Tiba-tiba….

JENG JENG JENG! Segerombolan polisi masuk menggerebek cabin gue dan cabin sebelah gue! Panik lah gue dikerubungin polisi gitu! Masalahnya bukan karena kenapa-kenapa, karena gue jadinya nggak bisa kemana-mana, padahal gue mau pipis bangeeeet!

Ada kali tuh 30 menit si polisi menggerebek barang2 bawaan roommate gue. Herannya barang gue kaga disentuh sama sekali. Mereka udah tau target mereka siapa, soalnya emang bener, tiga orang yang digrepe-grepe maksimal ini ternyata bawa ganja. Oalaaaahh pantesan semalem kok bau ganja beneeer! Makanya tidur gue pules! *lho?*

Ya udah intinya si polisi baru selesai menggerebek pas kereta udah mau sampe Basel. KAMPRET!

Tapi untungnya gue sempet pipis kilat sebelum turun di Basel! Phew!

Tante2 take advantage of my Bandi

Jadi ini cerita soal seorang tante yang dari awal hobi nya ngeliatin gue dan Bandi.

Pas sampe Roma, si tante nunjuk-nunjuk koper nya dan minta Bandi bawain! Udah gitu kopernya banyak bener… Si tante nggak pengertian banget, lah masa gue bawa bakcpack dua biji?! Mana bandi nggak dateng2, dan akhirnya jiwa kuli gue keluar lah, gue angkat deh tuh backpack dua biji…. for the next 2 seconds. Hahaha! Terus si Bandi balik deh, thankfully.

Ini setan bukan?

When we walked back from Villa Borghese to the subway station, we forgot one thing, it was already dark and we had to cross over this huge garden inside the villa. Ini pernah kejadian sekali waktu kita pergi ke Gili Trawangan ketika Gili masih sepi dan malem2 nggak ada listrik. Kita jalan kaki pulang gelap-gelapan dan ketakutan. Bandi takut rampok, gue takut setan.

Nah, I can’t believe ini kejadian lagi, padahal gue udah sumpah-sumpah untuk selalu mengingat masalah ini kalo traveling. JANGAN LUPAKAN JALAN DATANG, inget selalu apakah ada lampu, supaya kalo baliknya malam-malam, nggak serem-serem amat.

Lagian tuh Villa Borghese aneh banget! Masa garden segede gitu kagak taruh lampu banyakan dan terangan!!! Walhasil pas gue jalan kaki cepet-cepet mau keluar garden eh tiba-tiba ada yang gerak di deket bangku taman!!! Bandi langsung kaget kan. DEG! Gelaaaapp banget! Kalo feeling sih berasanya manusia gitu. Tapi ngapain dia berdiri sendirian malem-malem buta gitu?!!! Bandi langsung tarik gue setengah lari. Dia takut itu rampok… Dan gue masih sama… gue takutnya itu setan!!!

Who’s mapping?

This one is a compilation of Bandi’s photos, candid, when he was studying the map.

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Photo 16-10-13 5 53 44 pm

Photo 18-10-13 7 09 59 pm

Photo 18-10-13 7 56 46 pm

I really can’t imagine how awfully lost I would be without you, sweetie pie. (both literally and romantically)

The sweet ending from a dog in Santorini

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So I was sitting down on the stairs when suddenly this dog sat next to me very closely (no boundary huh?) And then I played with him for about ten minutes. We watched the sea and talked about stuffs. I even told him that I stayed in Alexander hotel and he could visit me if he wanted. And then I left him.

Two days later when I was waiting for a pick-up to Airport back to Athens this dog came to my hotel!!! OMG!!! It was quite far from the place I met him and he found where I stayed?!! Isn’t it amazing!!?!

I was surprised yet kinda happy. He was like saying goodbye to me and I got s very sweet ending for my adventure. =)

Don’t worry, doggie, I will come back to Santorini. I can promise you! =)

The aftermath

So what happens now after the biggest adventure in my life has ended? Well, It was surreal at first. It feels empty not to have something to look forward to but surprisingly it wasn’t that depressing. I mean, I thought it would be depressing and I would be so dramatic and all, but it wasn’t.

The annoying thing is… Bandi and I had always procrastinated some plans to be done after the Europe trip. We were like “I promise I’ll do it after the Euro trip.” So when the “after euro trip” time has come, we have TONS of things to do on the list, like repairing air-con, cleaning out the closet, trying our luck in a new destination, translating a friend’s book, some project with a friend, and the wedding. ooohhhhh the wedding. How would the wedding be happening when we’re so broke. Damn it. Anyway, that’s why this post comes out so late and you are not allowed to complain because I have so many problems. LOL

The Inspirations

I received so many emails after the Eurotrip ended. Most of them were really inspired and would like to do it. I’m wondering why this happened while I was on the trip and after the trip? Then I realized… It’s because they didn’t believe it happened until it really happened.

Bandi’s little brother has already told Bandi that he wanted to go backpacking to Europe too after he saw our photos. Even though actually we asked him whether he wanted to come along when we planned the trip. I got the idea that people didn’t really believe we would actually do it when we told them about the plan.

So when it actually happened, they were like “Man! So it’s possible to do that!”

Of course it’s possible!

Come to think of it, backpacking to Europe is not that difficult.

You just need money, time, and brain.

Money. Don’t give me the excuses about not having money again. Cut that crap and read this post. I don’t wanna bitch about people and their priorities anymore. If you think you don’t want to “waste” your money on traveling, then SHUT UP.

Time. I saved my leave for the Eurotrip. If I can do it, then you can too. If your company didn’t allow you, then quit the job! Haha.

Brain. This is very important. If you’re dumb, then find a friend who’s smart enough to do the plan.

In the end, it’s about how bad you want it. If you really want it, then you’ll make it happen. If you don’t want it that bad then you’ll find excuses.

One more thing: traveling is not for everyone. You don’t have to travel just because everyone’s doing it. Remember that everyone has their own priority. I don’t watch Kpop even though everyone did, because it’s not my thing. So if traveling is not your thing, stop saying “Ohhh how I wish I could go but I–” cut the crap! I’m a pretty straight up gal. I don’t buy craps.

The next adventure?

Let’s just say we plan something like this awesome…

Bay Indonesian Adv

If the plan can’t happen next year because of the wedding (ooghhh the wedding) then we’ll do it in 2015. Will post later for the Ultimate Indonesian adventure preps!!! Woot woot!!! So excited!!! =D

So, this is it. I don’t have any “hutang” anymore so I can sleep well and play my playstation peacefully. :D

Cheers,

May, achievement unlocked!

Are all Dutchmen as funny as you?

Meet the coolest grandpa alive!!! His name is Jerry a.k.a. Colson (his nighttime’s name) LOL.

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I met Jerry online yearrrsss ago via blogging. He always read my post no matter how uninteresting it is and he has this sense of humor that I didn’t really get. Xp

When I mentioned about my European plan (lonngg time before I bought the ticket) he said that I had to come to Netherlands and he would guide me to the best stuffs (weed *ahem* weed) but I didn’t say yes because my initial plan was only two weeks and only covered Italy and France. But he never gave up to lure me into Netherlands with sweet stories of Netherlands (and the fact that there is Van Gogh Museum) so when I extended the European plan to 4 weeks, I put Amsterdam on it.

Bandi was sick on the second day we were in Amsterdam so I was worried that he won’t be fit on the third day because Jerry has prepared the full day adventure with both of us on the third day. Thankfully Bandi woke up healthy the next day, yaiy!

Jerry picked us up in the morning at our host’s house and we went to have coffee in Van Gogh Cafe while waiting for our Canal boat cruise to start. The cruise was interesting because Jerry kept adding comment to the guide’s story. He liked to joke and to be honest sometimes I couldn’t tell when he was joking and when he was not. Well I guess he was joking all the time so I never believed his words. LOL.

Us, on board the Canal cruise,

Us, on board the Canal cruise,

The canal seen from inside the boat.

The canal seen from inside the boat.

After the canal cruise, we went to have another coffee in a memorial cafe. I didn’t remember what was the name of the cafe but I do remember the story. Jerry brought us to sit by the window, staring at the canal and told us the story about the wife who was drown (or killed?) and she keeps calling her husband’s name. Some people said that they heard the sound of woman crying. I hope this story is right or else I’m busted to not listening to your story, Jerry! Xp

Our second drink of the day!

Our second drink of the day!

But the view was beautiful though. ;)

It is said to be a "haunted canal" LOLOL

It is said to be a “haunted canal” LOLOL

And then the car trip began! And I’m so glaaaaaaaddd we did this because it was one of my favorite moment during the whole Europe trip! :)

Jerry drove about 30 minutes outside of Amsterdam to a small town named Zaanstad. I didn’t have any idea what I was about to see because I didn’t listen to Jerry. (LOL) We passed by some cute cows too during the trip. Ah I wish I could take photos of the cows. The cows were so fat! They are cuteeee I wanted to touch theeem!!!

Anyway, pardon my weird obsession with farm animals. Ahem, so we finally reached Zaanstad. The first thing that Bandi and I said when we got out of the car was… “what is this smell?”

“It’s cocoa.” Jerry answered.

“It’s the smell of my childhood!!!” I said.

Ahhh!!! it’s the smell of Van Houten cocoa powder that my mom liked to use to make marble cake. It’s the smell of my childhood and I looove my childhood when I didn’t know much about how cruel the world is… Ahem, okay, enough drama queen! Let’s get back to the story.

We visited this.

Zaanstad.

Zaanstad.

Yep! We didn’t visit a chocolate factory! We visited real town with windmills!!! OH MY GOD!! SO FREAKING AWESOME! I’ve never seen windmills before in my life!! I am a city girl! yeah yeah, whatever.

The chocolate smell was from one of the windmill which produce chocolate. Jerry also bought me chocolate and when I said “thank you Jerry!” he answered, “Shut up!” Man, what kind of manner is that? Tsk. (LOL)

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Photo 20-11-13 9 36 09 am

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Ok, then it was time for the real experience. Let’s go inside the windmill!!! I chose to go in to two windwill. First was the spice mills.

The grinder behind me was fully controlled by the wind.

The grinder behind me was fully controlled by the wind.

It was a great experience for me, going to a small dutch town with a real dutch specialty, robbing Indonesian’s spices, building windmill. LOLOLOL.

Second was the saw mills.

The moving saw was controlled by the wind!

The moving saw was controlled by the wind!

The logs were coming straight from the boats

The logs were coming straight from the boats, not that small boat of course, dugh!

Different type of wood sizes.

Different type of wood sizes.

We went for a late lunch in a very nice restaurant, and seriously I don’t bullshit you, Jerry, it was the best meal I’ve ever had during the trip. You have a good taste. ;) Love the beef. Sadly, I forgot to take photos.

Now that we’re full, we’re heading back to Amsterdam. Hiks, bye Zaanstad!

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And it wasn’t a true Dutch experience unless you drink with them!

Or third drink of the day!

Our third drink of the day!

Oh I wish we had more time for a free champagne. :p Thank you again for the drink, Jerry! And don’t reply “shut up!” LOL

And then we headed to the most hype area in Amsterdam now, EYE. It’s called EYE because the tiny island does look like an eye. It is actually a movie theatre that screen European, hollywood, asian, even bollywood movies. So Bandi asked for some movie advises from Jerry. Thank you for the list, Jerry! Now I just need to shift my time from playing playstation to watching European movie. LOL

The last Supper. :p

The last Supper. :p

The night then fell, and we watched the sunset from the EYE. Too bad Bandi and I needed to catch our night train to Basel.

It was a very great experience to be sharing trips and meals with a funny wonderful Dutchman. Life itself is funny. What are the odds of meeting a blogger friend on the other side of the globe with nothing in common, but then turned out to be a very wonderful companion. =)

Bandi and I are so grateful for our acquaintances and we hope we could meet you again.

At the end of our day I asked Jerry, “Are all Dutchmen as funny as you?”

“Yes. And we are charming too.”

Haha! I never knew Dutchmen are funny. Yes, Italian guys are sexy, French men are romantic. So the only thing that could make Dutchmen compete with them is the sense of humor. Thankfully they got it. Ha!

After my encounter with Jerry, I did realize that almost all dutchmen have witty sense of humour. The ticket man, the coffee man, even the bus driver, they all suddenly looked very different to me. Not the all-scary colonialist that used to bully the Indonesians, but the warm, relaxed and funny people.

I guess the history did happen and there is nothing we can do about it but we live in the present and thanks for being the cool Dutchman so I’ve gained a new perspective for Dutch people. =)

Writing this post has also refreshed my memory about one important thing in our Europe Trip. We were so blessed with not only wonderful weather, but also wonderful people throughout the journey. I can’t stop counting my blessings. 

Cheers,

May, still awed with the beautiful windmills.

Here's a bonus photo!

Here’s a bonus photo!

The world capital of Champagne

I planned to go to Disneyland on my fourth day in Paris, but then I aborted the plan because Bandi’s high-school English teacher (now call Bandi her nephew) invited us to visit her at Reims, a small town located 150km outside Paris.

Took Thalys to Reims!

Took Thalys to Reims!

Oh how Universe really loves me! The disneyland plan was aborted for something fun, amazing and new for me!

First, experiencing the traditional French life.

Aunty Aini picked us up at the train station and when I met her I liked her at once. She was fun, talkative and laughed a lot. She seemed like really loving her life. She invited us to her house, and she said her parents in law was spending the night there so me and Bandi should follow French tradition to bring one bucket of flowers and one bottle of wine to the house we were visiting to. Bandi had already brought wine but we didn’t have time to buy the flowers from Paris.

So Aunty Aini brought us to her favorite florist and OH MY GOD, I almost fainted because of how beautiful all the flowers all!! It was just like in a French movie when the main character rode a bike and went to a florist. “AHHH!! I WANT TO LIVE HERE!” I screamed hundred times.

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I picked the flowers!

I picked the flowers!

After buying the flowers we went to her house and we must introduced ourselves in French, “Bonjour! Je m’appelle May. Enchanté!” and then I kissed them. The tradition is so lovely. :)

Aunty Aini’s parents in law has zero English so I had fun challenging myself talking to them, while Bandi was smiling as wide as he could. We also met the cutie Domino who liked to sit on my lap.

Here's Domino!

Here’s Domino!

We were served snacks such as pretzels, bread with foie gras and sausages. And it is said to be a tradition to open a bottle of champagne before meal in Reims. Haleluyah for whoever created that tradition!

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Photo 18-10-13 1 13 28 am

So here’s the thing, I haven’t found my favorite alcohol. I mean, everyone has their own favorite alcohol and once they’ve found it, they would have their epiphany. (LOL I was kidding.) Anyway… I can’t drink wine because it tasted funny and I don’t like Beer because it is bitter. I can drink hard liquor like bourbon but I think it’s too strong. So far I only prefer cocktails like Cosmo or Cranberry Vodka, but still it is not that good.

Until I drink THE CHAMPAGNE!!!

Gosh, IT WAS SOOOO DELICIOUS!

Second, the champagne!

I was confused at first, how on earth I never tasted champagne before? (Later I found out that champagne is expensive and so far I only bought wine because they’re cheap)

Aunty Ainy told us that Reims is the capital of Champagne. I didn’t really understand what it meant until I fell deeper in love with champagne and intentionally read more about it.

The chatting compliments the home-cooked meal Aunty Aini has prepared for us!

French people always start the meal with soup!

French people always start the meal with soup!

Baked beans and ducks, is said as Reims specialty.

Baked beans and ducks, is said as Reims specialty.

And the European Salad... with no dressing. Noooo!! The best thing about salad is the creamy thousand island!

And the European Salad… with no dressing. Noooo!! The best thing about salad is the creamy thousand island!

A pie which fruit I can't remember. It was a new word for me and a fruit I've never tasted before. But I forget the name. Anyone knows what it is? It tasted a bit like "kurma"

A pie which fruit I can’t remember. It was a new word for me and a fruit I’ve never tasted before. But I forget the name. Anyone knows what it is? It tasted a bit like “kurma”

French grapes! Pinot Noir, CHardonnay and one more name I couldn't remember.

French grapes! Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and one more name I couldn’t remember. All I know is they make great wines. :p

Of course, it's espresso o'clock! (oh this is a joke I made during the trip because Europeans drink espresso like in ever hour. LOL

Of course, it’s espresso o’clock! (oh this is a joke I made during the trip because Europeans drink espresso like in ever hour. LOL

And the famous French cheeses!!!

And the famous French cheeses!!!

So, after five full course of French meal and two glasses of good champagne (BEST champagne in my life so far!), Aunty Aini brought Bandi and me to Martell cave to have a champagne tour (yaiy!). The guide showed us how to make champagne traditionally and in modern way. We were also brought to the champagne cave to see all the traditional tools of making champagne.

Took photos inside the cave but it was too dark and flash didn't work well.

Took photos inside the cave but it was too dark and flash didn’t work well.

Yum yum!

The left one was so sweet, middle one is brut, less sugar; the right one is rose champagne. All of them are yummy!

If you’re confused what’s the different between wine and champagne, don’t worry. I was confused too, until I drank them. :p

There are a difference between wine and sparkling wine. Beside the price of course (damn it!), the difference is the sparkle. I was explained by the guide about the fermentation and the sparkle but I was “under influence” so pardon me if I didn’t really get the chemical theory. If you really want to know, go google it.

But for me, the huge difference is this: wine tastes sour and bitter, while sparkling wine tastes sour and sweet and refreshing.

And what is champagne?

Champagne is sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region in France. Sparkling wine came from this region and they were called Champagne. Later on there are a lot of winery that produced champagne but then they couldn’t call the sparkling wine as champagne anymore because of the law created to protect “real champagne”.

You might find other sparking wine outside France that is called differently like cava (spain) or Sekt (German) but basically they are the same thing, only from different winery. I’ve tried sparkling wines from other region beside Champagne region and they all are delicious. It is just a habit for me to call them all champagne (which is wrong) because the first sparkling wine I tasted was champagne.

Bottom line is… I finally have found my kind of alcohol! Sparkling wine! Now I understand why Bandi could suddenly crave for beer and how he liked to drink beer after a tiring day at work. I never liked alcohol before.

Oh, thankfully I’ve found champagne!

So if you ever wanted to buy me alcohol, please do buy me sparkling wine! I will accept it with so much love.

My love to champagne also takes full responsibility for the great time I had with my two best buds in Bandung last weekend. It was always fun having late night chat, but it was more fun when I was “relaxed”. :)

Anyway… Reims was beautiful. I snapped some photos of the small town when Aunty Aini brought us around. =)

Notredame Cathedral of Reims. =)

Notredame Cathedral of Reims. =)

Even the pharmacy is so pretty!!!

Even the pharmacy is so pretty!!!

And third, a new dream to live in France.

I fell in love with Reims and seriously plan to stay there for two months to do illegal work and learn French language and of course to have the experience to be living in a small town in France. Why Reims? I mean, of all the small town, why Reims? Maybe because I have a relative there and it isn’t touristy and so peaceful. And of course because everyone speaks French and I would love to be fluent in French. Je veux parler Francaise. And of course the champagne *ahem*. Ohh J’aime France!

I hope someday I’m crazy enough to do that, ;)

Cheers,

May, loving France even more.

Today is the day I’ve been talking about

Looking back to the past one year when Bandi and I first really planned about this. We’ve been talking about this plan since forever but last year we talked about really doing it.

October 2012

Bandi started to browse for cheap tickets… for months.

November 2012

Bandi took me to the Library and we browsed for hours. We borrowed some of the books back home and started to sort out the cities.

After hundreds of arguments, we finally agreed with multi-destination ticket. Even though it would be more expensive, we would save time. So we decided to arrive at London and leave from Athens.

31 December 2012

Bandi paid for the tickets. I couldn’t believe he did that. He paid the tickets with the money he’d saved from working part-time in USA back then.

After the ticket was bought, we planned the budget together and agreed to contribute equally. :)

January – February 2013

We I read all the books from Rick Steves. Seriously. I’m a prepared traveler. LOL

March 2013

Bought flight ticket from Rome to Athens.

April 2013

Nothing really happened. LOL

May 2013

Bought our Railpass.

June 2013

Booked half of the B&B’s

July 2013

Booked all the B&B’s, bought overnight train tickets, bought Santorini tickets, Bought Insurance, and applied for Visa. Horribly failed to apply the Visa because Italian Embassy requested for the complete point-to-point reservation ticket.

Itinerary is finalised.

August 2013

Got the UK Visa, reserved all the train tickets.

September 2013

Bandi accidentally washed his passport, so he needed to change his passport and re-apply UK Visa. After he got the new passport, he applied the Schengen visa with me and applied UK Visa again for himself.

We booked the Mt. Titlis Tour.

The host from Amsterdam suddenly cancelled then it was a bit difficult to find a new host whose room is available in short notice and of course which the room we could afford. Thankfully airbnb was so cooperative about this. =)

October 2013

We booked all the museums we wanted to visit.

We lost the most expensive documents that we needed for the Europe Trip just two weeks before our D day. We almost cancelled our trip but then we decided to just get the hell with it. We re-purchased the lost documents and accepted the fact that for this trip, Universe really wanted to test us, and I hope we passed. =)

11th October 2013

Today… I can finally start to see the dream is getting real. I’m kinda terrified, the exciting-terrified. I am a proud person now. I can’t explain with words how I am feeling right now but it is so overwhelming that it consumes me.

Why I am so proud of my Europe Trip?

I didn’t come from a wealthy family, you see, it is nearly impossible to go to Europe if I look back to ten years ago. I believe in my dream. I believe there will be a way for me to go to Europe. Even though it takes years to save money, I would do it. Even though people said it is silly to blow a huge amount of money for one trip, I don’t care. Even though I’m considered irresponsible to spend so much money on a trip when it should’ve been paid for more responsible things like… house, I don’t care. It’s a matter of priority. You can’t say I will be happier buying house than going to Europe.

What I know is, while other girls buy bags every payday, my only bag is the almost-torn Mango shoppers bag that I bought so many years ago. (And thank god strawberry bought me a new bag. LOL) While all my colleagues are eating out, I spent more time the night before and cooked for my lunch. I went out less, ate out less, drank out less. I’ve saved more money than I supposed I should. It’s not that much that I can buy a house or a car, but enough to send my mom for her dream holiday and my dad to check up to doctor, and I still save every cents left…

To go traveling. See the world.

I don’t go traveling with a high end tours which my parents paid for me. I paid every cent of my airfare, hostel cost and the backpack myself. Every city I will be traveling to has meaning and reason why it’s been chosen so yeah, I’m control freak that way.

And yes, I’m proud of it. I am so freaking proud of it like it’s a very big achievement. And yes, IT IS A BIG DEAL.

So I have different priority from normal people, so what?! I don’t have a house, but I have a home, who goes traveling with me always. My home is with me wherever I go.

This is me living my dream. And I am so very very PROUD that I paid every cents with my own sweat and tears.

If you’re proud of your branded bags, your new job, your new house or car, why can’t I be proud of my adventure?

Europe, in particular, is my dream land. So many history, so many masterpieces and so many pieces of my dreams took place there. I’m going to conquer it. =)

If I could go back and tell the 9 years old May…

I would tell her not to worry, eventually everything would go according to her plan. Universe would conspire and made all of her dreams come true.

Never, NEVER let anyone’s words went into your head, little May. You were right when you were little and you would still be right even 20 years later… that it is OKAY to dream big, dream silly, and dream a lot. You’re gonna be just fine, May.

And yes, you would find that one person who you could spend all of your happiness with, earlier than you thought you would. You two would be best buds and he would share your dream.

So, don’t worry, dear… Never worry.

What happen to my blog when I’m in Europe?

It will be pretty much dormant. I was thinking to set some auto-post, but then there are nothing much of interesting things in my drafts. :p

I’ll try to blog once in a while through wordpress app but we all know it sucks big time with the photo editing. So don’t count on it.

I will share my dreams-come-true adventure on my instagram with hashtag #BayEuropeAdventure and will post regularly every night before I go to sleep. Please do follow my instagram @jaunemai for super awesome stories!

I promise it won’t be just a photo. It would be a story in every photo. It would be like taking you with me in my adventure.

Ready for an adventure?

Cheers,

May, the dreamy one.

The Ultimate Packing List

For all the travel bees, this is worth to read! =D

Along with promoting to travel as much as you want, I also want to promote to travel as light as you can.

The three words you always have to remember are:

Cheap | Light | Happy

The only thing that should not be cheap is your backpack, whatever inside it supposed to be cheap. Why? Because you probably will leave it somewhere or throw it away in order to keep being light. As long as it’s cheap and light, you will be happy.

As far as I remember, whenever Bandi and I went for traveling, we only bring one 45L Backpack and 15L Daypack. Only those two bags for the two of us. No matter how long we went, we always packed for 4 days. Every 4-5 days we would do laundry. (Last time in Phnom Penh, we paid US$2 for a maid in our guest house).

For the European adventure, I bought another 45L backpack and we eliminate the daypack, simply because we would enter so many museums and bringing daypack would cost too much trouble, so I would stick to one sling bag for each of us.

So, what are my packing list for 26 days in Europe?

Whether you're going for 3 days or 3 weeks or 3 months, pack the same thing.

Whether you’re going for 3 days or 3 weeks or 3 months, pack the same thing.

Each one person will be needing these for the outfits:

  • 1 winter jacket
  • 1 trench coat (me)
  • 2 sweaters/cardigans
  • 3 blouse (long sleeve preferred)
  • 2 dresses (me)
  • one long pants (jeans)
  • 2 leggings
  • 1 short pants
  • 3 socks
  • 6 panties
  • 2 bras
  • 1 shawl
  • 1 gloves
  • 2 hats (supposed to be 1 but I just love hats)
  • 1 set of long john
  • 1 set of pajamas
  • 1 comfy shoes
  • 1 boots

And now for the toiletries… I divide the toiletries to two waterproof pouches. One is for shower essential and one is for after-shower essential.

The shower Essentials:

  • facial foam
  • bath gel/soap
  • shampoo
  • conditioner
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • mouthwash
  • dental floss
  • razor
  • shaving foam (for Bandi)

The after shower Essentials:

  • Body lotion
  • face cream (day and night)
  • toner or thermal water (this is optional but I can’t leave without thermal water)
  • Some light make up; I bring eyebrow pencil, concealer, lipstick, pencil eyeliner.
  • perfume (I bring 3 sample bottles consist 1.2 ml each)
  • bobby pins and hair bands
  • feminine pads/tampons

For the medicine, it is really up to you what to pack because everyone has different needs for medical matter. For me, I must pack Mylanta for my gastric problem, my anti-allergic pills, anti-nausea pills (antimo), Tolak Angin (Indonesian must have this), vitamin C (60 pills), primrose oil capsule (50 caps) and some cold&flu pills.

The other important things not to be missed:

  • Maps. (hard copy or soft copy)
  • guidebooks
  • poncho / raincoat
  • umbrella
  • charger of every electronic things you pack with
  • camera + tripod
  • memory card
  • detergent
  • eyeglasses
  • empty water bottle

And don’t forget the most important things; your documents! All the documents must be copied to hard copy and soft copy. The soft copy needs to be stored on dropbox/icloud/etc and preferably shared with your closest friend.

The list of important documents:

  • passport
  • Identity Card (I bring my Singapore IC with me)
  • airline tickets
  • train tickets
  • museum passes/booking papers
  • hotel/hostel booking papers
  • insurance phone numbers –> write it on a piece of paper and put it on your phone

That’s pretty much everything. I wish I’m not that lazy to convert the list to pdf… but I am. Hahaha. So I think if you need the list you could just copy paste my list. =)

One more awesome tips for packing is… the air-proof plastic bags to pack your clothes!!!

I don’t know what is it called exactly because I bought those plastic is DAISO and all the things in Daiso were written in Japanese. But it’s like this:

suck up the air with vacuum .

Or some of the plastic could be used with only hand press.

I didn’t use vacuum at all actually. I just pressed it or sat on it and locked it up. You can buy it online I guess. Trust me, it saves more space!!! I think you can buy it on ebay too. See more infos here.

So, 36 hours prior to the departure time…

everything is packed and triple-checked. All I need to do is relax and stop worrying. =) Everything’s going to be fine.

However, I still have one problem left… I’m still considering whether I should or should not bring Brownie with me.

To bring or not to bring, that's the question.

To bring or not to bring, that’s the question.

I always mostly bring Brownie to travel. Not because I’m a freak kid who has to go with the stuffed animal wherever I go, okay? I bring Brownie because it has sentimental value for me. It’s a gift from my maid of honor and… I LOVE IT. I love taking photos with Brownie because the photos would be automatically cute. And I always thought Brownie is like Bandi. He is a calm, kind and patience boyfriend and he likes to drink beer. =D

Bottom line is, I like bringing Brownie, but it would cause me more trouble of course because it’s a long trip.

What do you guys think? Should I bring Brownie? PROS and CONS please…. =)

P.S. The giveaway is still open!!! details here!

Cheers,

May, stretching her back.

#BayEuropeAdventure Giveaway

Fed up with my Europe posts? Don’t! Because this one is good news for you! Especially those who loves postcards!

As I mentioned before, I would love to share this beautiful moments with everyone. I’ve been thinking so many ways how to do it. I wish Doraemon was real so I could borrow his magic flashlight and turned you all into tiny people then put you all in my backpack (in alphabetical order of course–OCD ahem OCD)  but unfortunately it wasn’t possible. Then I wish my wedding was held in Santorini so you all could be invited as guests and there was a good excuse to bring everyone to Santorini, but again, it costed a lot of money (DUH).

Sooo……. I got this idea.

Photo 8-10-13 8 57 15 am

I will stay in Riomaggiore, one of the five awesome villages called Cinque Terre (Please do google the images), for two days and what I will do is slacking around. I think I will have free time to browse for postcards, find a local post office and send them to you. I hope you never got postcards from Cinque Terre before so this is going to be very VERY cool! The postcards will be sent from Italy of course to make it even cooler!

What do you have to do to receive an authentic postcard from Cinque Terre?

You have to send me syomai when I’m in Italy.

Kidding!

All you have to do is:

  1. Follow my instagram @jaunemai
  2. Post a creative photo about my Europe Adventure at your instagram account, tag my instagram account and post hashtag #BayEuropeAdventure mentioning your advice/jokes/wishes/excitements, anything really for my Europe adventure. Don’t forget the hashtag and promote that Dreams do come true!

or… (if you don’t have instagram)

Send me syomai when I’m in Italy.

This time I’m serious. No, I’m joking again.

Create one lah! :p

Ok ok, if you don’t have instagram:

  • you can create a post about which city you are excited the most from my Europe adventure, or why are you so excited about the adventure. (I know I know it sounds really lame but you must at least fake excited lah…) please link it to my blog and mention to follow my instagram @jaunemai. (Now you get it I’m trying to promote my instagram, right? Xp)

(If you think it’s too lame/too difficult, then create an instagram account lah! LOL)

I don’t think I will have enough time to post anything on wordpress during my adventure, adding the fact that wordpress app for iPhone sucks big time, so I will be only online in instagram (which is linked to my twitter–but I guess nobody tweets anymore hiks) that’s why I use instagram as my primary platform for this big adventure.

What I’m about to say is…

I create this hashtag: #BayEuropeAdventure (yes you read it right, it’s Bay, not May) because I want to filter out my Europe adventure photos and memories of course. And also to remember that Dreams do come true.

I promise I will not only post photos, but also stories. Trust me it would be so real that you will feel like your soul is with me. =) I don’t really use soc-med during the trip so I will be only online at night before I sleep, so I promise I won’t spam your instagram/twitter timeline. :D

And please please don’t comment “jealous” or “envy” on my instagram, I might delete your comments. I don’t like envious people. :p Unless you’re doing it sarcastically then I’m on it. LOL

Additional Info

  1. There will be only 3 postcards sent from Riomaggiore. It’s freaking expensive :( unless the stamps could be cheaper. I hope I could send more but I can’t promise first ok?)
  2. If I couldn’t find any stamps or post offices in Riomaggiore, I will send postcards from Santorini. If I couldn’t find any post offices in Santorini then I will send from Athens airport. I will try my best ok?
  3. Giveaway open for EVERYONE, unless those who live in Europe. (I just feel it’s wise not to open for European residence.) Once you post photo/blog post/tweet or anything (seriously I’m open for anything! Creativity is limitless) just email your full name and address to this email: sanguinesjournal[at]yahoo[dot]com
  4. I will take photos of the postcard to tell who gets them later on!
  5. The giveaway is closed on Sunday, 27th October 2013

How do I decide who wins?

I will decide who wins by this category:

  1. The dreamy one: I will choose one with my heart. I know it sounds bias but I want to send the postcards to those who really are dreamy like me and have the same dream to conquer Europe. =)
  2. The creative one: I will choose one who post the most creative thing! I already told you that creativity has no limit. As long as it’s posted on social media that I can search for, then it’s valid. Be creative!
  3. The chosen one: I will ask Bandi to choose one of his favorite. And I will mention what is her reason later. So be cute! LOL

To end this post, I want to quote what Walt Disney once said,

If you can dream it, you can do it.

Never give up even though universe washed your passport and sent a hurricane to blow up your documents, they were just some pebbles on your long winding road to see the most beautiful sunset in your life. =)

Cheers,

May, preparing the journal.

Eight days to the big adventure!

The countdown is getting closer and I can’t believe it’s eight days to the D DAY!!! OH MY GOD!!!

As you guys now, I almost cancelled the trip because something bad happened last Sunday. I know I didn’t tell the detail of the story (I intended not to) but I can assure you nobody (friends and family) is hurt. I just lost some things… which can be paid by money. I must suck it up and move on.

I won’t let material things ruined my optimism for my Europe Trip! WOOHOO!

Let me update you everything. First of all, let’s talk about budget.

Total damage for the Pre-trip

Let me tell you the most important thing for planning Euro Trip: BUY MUSEUM TICKET ONLINE. Seriously, I’ve read it from any guidebooks and travel forums and everybody said the same thing. If you need to pay extra € for the booking fee, PAY IT! It’s worth saving you hours of queuing.

The pre trip budget is paid for:

  1. Air tickets
  2. Train reservation + Europass
  3. Lodging fee
  4. Any tour booking, theatre booking, excursion etc
  5. Visa (both UK and Schengen)
  6. Travel Insurance
  7. Museum passes, museum tickets. (Most of great museums in London are free! Horray!)

Here comes my final pre-trip budget. All in Singapore Dollars, however I put remarks for the things purchased in Euro or Poundsterling. The total budget is for one person.

Pre-trip Budget
Name Amount (SGD) Remarks
Air tickets (SIN-europe-SIN) $ 1,372.00
Fare London – Paris $ 85.00
Air tickets (Rome-Athens) $ 85.00 55 Euro
Air tickets (Santorini-Athens) $ 249.70 Return, 145.64 eur
Eurorail Pass 15 days $ 761.00 From raileurope.com.sg
Train Reservations $ 669.00 for reservation only
Hotels/Hostels $ 882.00 except Parma
Mt Titlis $ 185.00 Paid online (US$140)
UK Visa $ 159.00
Schengen Visa $ 98.00 60 Eur
Travel insurance $ 116.00 NTUC income 25-27 days
London’s Les Mis $ 49.00 29 Gbp
Rijksmuseum $ 25.00 15Eur
Van Gogh Museum $ 24.00 14Eur
Anne Frank Huis $ 16.00 9.5 Eur
Paris Pass Museum (2days) $ 65.00 39 Eur
Neuschwenstein castle $ 23.00 13.80 Eur
Academia Firenze $ 17.00 10.50 Eur
Uffizi Firenze $ 17.00 10.50 Eur
Villa Borghese $ 21.00 12.5 Eur
Vatican +Sistine Chapel $ 25.00 15Eur
TOTAL $ 4,943.70

Kindly take note that Paris Museum Pass and Neusch-something castle are not paid yet. They accept payment on the spot. We also can’t purchase the Juventus ticket before the trip starts because the ticket opens 10 days before the game. Bandi said that he will find internet connection and buy it once the ticket opens NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. LOL. We haven’t booked any hotel/bnb in Parma because there are none to be seen online! Hahaha. We will just try our luck going there and walk in to the Bed and Breakfast. If we can’t find any, we’ll just sleep at the station, LOL.

Bandi’s cost of course is cheaper than me because he refused to pay that much money to enter museum. He kept complaining “ohhh this one month will be the month when I visit the most museums in my life…” or “You will pay 10 Euro just to see David? That’s ridiculous! Can I wait outside?” and the blah and the blah. I was so fed up with his complains so I finally told him let’s just split up because I don’t want to hear his rants when I browse the museum.

I will post here my budget for lodging and I must say I’ve done a pretty good work because it’s surprisingly under-budget! You can see yourself which city is expensive and which is not.

No City Date in Date out Nights Price Total
1 London 12-Oct 14-Oct 2 $ 0.00 $ 0.00
2 Paris 14-Oct 18-Oct 4 $ 98.00 $ 391.00
3 Amsterdam 18-Oct 20-Oct 2 $ 104.50 $ 209.00
4 Lucern 21-Oct 22-Oct 1 $ 134.00 $ 134.00
5 Munchen 22-Oct 23-Oct 1 $ 87.00 $ 87.00
6 Venice 24-Oct 25-Oct 1 $ 86.00 $ 86.00
7 Firenze 25-Oct 26-Oct 1 $ 60.00 $ 60.00
8 Parma 26-Oct 27-Oct 1 $ 112.00
9 Turin 27-Oct 28-Oct 1 $ 67.00 $ 67.00
10 Cinque Terre 28-Oct 30-Oct 2 $ 115.00 $ 230.00
11 Rome 30-Oct 1-Nov 2 $ 57.00 $ 114.00
12 Athens 1-Nov 2-Nov 1 $ 96.71 $ 96.71
13 Oia 2-Nov 4-Nov 2 $ 144.70 $ 289.40
21 $ 1,764.11

*) I stay with a friend in London so I put zero and the $112 in Parma is just budgeted price.

The on-the-trip budget

We prepare for €40 (S$65) a day for food and total of €400 for transport such as tram/subway/metro/bike/gondola. We prepare 250GBP for London (3 days). If that’s not enough, there’s a mini magic called Credit Card. LOL

Enough with the crap, how much is the Total Budget?

The total Budget would be S$7,000 per person for 26 days in Europe. If you think that’s expensive, think again. That covers 16 cities, the chosen cities. I picked every city by heart. I know the history and I know why I go there. And that also covers all the museums I want to visit and the Les Mis show I badly want to watch.

If you want to cut the expenses, you could choose to travel by airplane. Budget airplane in Europe is now so various and cheap! I personally prefer to travel by train simply because it saves time and it brings me right to the city center. And don’t forget the feeling. The feeling like you’re in the Before Sunrise movie. (pardon my dramatic side)

If you plan to visit less cities, I think plane could cover most of the big cities. But cities like La Spezia (CInque Terre), Hohenschwangau (from Fussen), Parma and Lucern are better visited by train.

The Final Itinerary

This is the most complicated itinerary I’ve ever made in my entire life! I’ve spent one year of reading books, browsing forums and calculating the best and cheapest way possible, well I admit I got carried away reading European history :p. I think I’ve invested around 200 hours doing this itinerary. I’m very well-prepared about all the infos and Europe history. Well, it’s fun so I won’t complain. The least fun thing was probably counting the budget and actually paying it. LOL.

So here it comes…

Date Day City Vessel
11-Oct Fri Singapore Qatar
12-Oct Sat London
13-Oct Sun London
14-Oct Mon London Eurostar
Paris
15-Oct Tue Paris
16-Oct Wed Paris
17-Oct Thur Paris TGV
Reims
Paris
18-Oct Fri Paris Thalys
Brussels
Brussels No RV
Bruges
Brussels
Brussels Thalys
Amsterdam
19-Oct Sat Amsterdam
20-Oct Sun Amsterdam CNL
21-Oct Mon Basel
Lucerne Eurocites
22-Oct Tue Lucerne 2166, ICE 370, Eurocites 2261
Munich
23-Oct Wed Munich NO RV
Fussen
Munich
Munich CNL
24-Oct Thur Venice
25-Oct Fri Venice Frecciargento
Firenze
26-Oct Sat Firenze Frecciargento
Bologna
Bologna Frecciabianca
Parma
27-Oct Sun Parma Notte Italia
Turin
28-Oct Mon Turin Train 511
La Spezia
29-Oct Tue La Spezia
30-Oct Wed La Spezia Frecciabianca
Roma
31-Oct Thur Roma
1-Nov Fri Roma Easyjet
Athens
Athens
Santorini
2-Nov Sat Santorini
3-Nov Sun Santorini
4-Nov Mon Santorini
Athens
5-Nov Tue Singapore

*) No RV means No reservation so we can hop on to any train. But we probably will skip Bruges, because there will be not enough time. But let’s see later.

Actually my real Itinerary looks like this:

Yeah, I love planning. Judge me!

Yeah, I love planning. Judge me!

I even browse about the weather forecast, you know just to make sure if I should cover my backpack. I will put this itinerary on my phone but if you ask me, I must say I know it by heart, every single detail. LOL.

You can also see the tabs on my excel which breakdown every details of the budget, food choices and an itinerary template for visa application. Yes, I’m a crazy planner. If you would like to have this itinerary, just let me know I would be glad to send one for you. :)

For the food choices, it looks like this:

Break down for certain areas in every city

Break down for certain areas in every city

What can I say, I don’t want to ever waste one meal with the bad one. First, it would be wasted calories, second it would be wasted Euros! LOL. But seriously my boyfriend fiance is such an annoying food critic, his mood could change if he ate a bad food. The man can cook so I don’t blame him. Nah, just kidding, Bandi can eat anything, but we prefer to eat the good ones in Europe. Afterall not everyday you’re in Europe. :)

My mistake, your lesson

Here are the things that I’ve learned during the planning. I hope my mistakes could be your lesson.

  • Buying a Europass doesn’t mean you can use the pass to take any trains you want. You still have to pay reservation fee for the inter-country train and for inter-city train in Italy, France and Swiss. The reservation for overnight train cost around €100 and the reservation for intercity train cost €8 in Italy and €20 in France (TGV or high speed). If you want to take Thalys of course it costs more. What I did was… I counted both scenarios. With and without Europass. The prices between those two are actually about the same, but with Europass you get the first class, so I chose Europass.
  • Browsing every possible transportation in every city. Example: in Paris there are so many choices of Metro card and it’s quite confusing. There are Paris Visite card, carnet tickets and Navigo something… Paris also have so many metro lines which are divided into zones. Different price of the Metro card will cover different zones. What I did was… I READ A LOT. I listed out the places I will visit and find out what zone (most touristy places are covered in zone 1-3 while Versailles is on the zone 5) so I choose the carnet tickets which cover zone 1-3 and buy the individual Versailles ticket. If you’re confused, don’t be. Just read more. It’s good to know before you’re actually arrived. However I will double check by asking the metro guy again. Hahaha.
  • Sort out your museums! This is important! Except London, most of museums in Europe costs a lot of money. You could buy museum pass if you want to visit a lot of museums but if you only want to visit one or two per day, I advise you to buy individual ticket. The only city where I buy a museum pass is Paris, simply because I want to visit a lot of places! But I already sort out my priorities by highlighting the paintings’ location. So I won’t waste time wandering around in Lourve which can be explored the whole day and won’t even finished. It’s also best to browse the museum’s website to know more and to really think about if it’s worth your money. Make sure you know what do you want to see in each museum. And to save up some $$$ download the museum guide app on your smartphone (I did!) so you don’t need to pay extra €5 for the multimedia guide.

The airbnb experience

I booked all my lodging in airbnb, except hotels in Greece. I must tell you that airbnb has the best customer service ever! So here’s the case… 3 weeks before my departure date, my host in Amsterdam cancelled the reservation because he needs to be out of town. I have paid total of $147 for the reservation and thankfully it’s refundable. The problem was… it was so hard to find the cheap and available place so close to the departure, so I booked the more expensive place which costed me $209. Later on airbnb emailed me with an apology that my host cancelled the reservation. Actually it wasn’t even airbnb’s fault but I guess they’re feeling responsible. To compensate that, airbnb gave me $65 extra to cover the difference cost of my previous host and my current host. WOW! I didn’t see that coming! Isn’t it a very sweet gesture? So basically I didn’t pay anything else anymore.

I emailed back to airbnb and said that it’s the best customer service I’ve ever received and the fact that they wanted to go extra mile just to make sure everyone has a great travel experience. That’s very kind and sweet. I promised them to write something sweet on my blog so everyone will know that AIRBNB IS AWESOME!

KUDOS for Airbnb customer service team! =)

Shopping for Not-so-cold Wear

Not only I was good at cutting budget for the trip, I’m also good at saving as much money as I could for this trip. LOL, so shameless, but seriously, I know where to shop cheap and good in Singapore. That’s the other reason why you should bribe me Syomai the next time you come to Spore. LOL.

So here’s what I shopped for our trip:

All in 100 bucks!!! Woot!!!

All in 100 bucks!!! Woot!!!

Of course I bring another jacket and a shawl but actually I don’t bring so many clothes. How many I can bring with that backpack, huh? Darn it!

And for the fiance…

Not even 100 bucks!

Not even 100 bucks!

Bandi actually bought another pair of shoes which are hiking boots but I ddin’t put on the tab because it would ruin the cheap price I try to achieve. Haha :p

Where did I shop, you ask?

Well, if you want to shop cheap, go to EXPO on the weekend. But before you go, make sure you check their schedule of warehouse sale first. If there is “John Little” or “Robinson” on the schedule, then it’s a shopping paradise! All items could be discounted until 80%! Some FOX shirt/pants were $5 each!

Then for the cheap Crocs and Charles and Keith, you just cross over the road from EXPO to Changi City Point, a mall that has so many outlets inside. I can guarantee all the items are super cheap! Hahaha.

The everyone’s trip

This trip is my childhood dream which honestly still feels surreal right now. I remembered people kept saying I dreamed too much (because I grew up in a middle class family so traveling is not so common) but I kept saying that I believe in dreams. Dreams are what keeps us alive. People change, I change too, but the only thing that remains the same and forever is that… I ALWAYS TELL EVERYONE THAT DREAMS DO COME TRUE. Have faith because faith can move mountains.

And I feel so overwhelmed by all my friends’ sweet words about my European dreams. They are looking forward to this trip as much as I am. I know I won’t have any free time to play with my smartphone, I’m a socmed whore in my normal life but I usually ignore my phone when I travel, however I will try to spare half hour a day before I sleep to blog or post pictures/videos in instagram. I will bring everyone to my trip, with me, with my stories, with this “Dream Comes True Adventure” =)

If you follow my European journey on my instagram (@jaunemai please do follow!), please please don’t comment “Envy” or “jealous” because I don’t like that. My mission is to spread happiness and show everyone that dreams do come true. I don’t spread jealousy.

#bayeuropeadventure is on the making

#bayeuropeadventure is on the making

Come to Europe with me and my dreams! Hang tight and enjoy the ride!

Cheers,

May, packing her backpack.

P.S: Was thinking to make a giveaway, to send something from Europe. But let’s see how high the excitement for this post first, ok? =)

Two months to the dream comes true

I don’t know whether this post is useful for those who read it but I know it is for me as one of the journal entry for my European adventure diary. The progress for the preparation is about 85% now. UK Visa is applied and it’s still being processed. We still can’t apply for the Schengen visa because some train tickets haven’t been booked yet (because the reservation isn’t opened yet.)

So… This is the progress after 8 months of planning our Euro adventure:

  • Bandi is still finding way to  buy the Juventus tickets online even though it seems like almost impossible. I will be so happy if I could just visit Ennio Tardini, without watching Parma live, but Bandi said the point of this Europe trip is for him to watch Juventus playing live so I just agreed for that one.
  • I have highlighted all the Van Gogh’s paintings location in National Galery London, D’orsay Paris, and Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam so that I won’t waste too much time wandering around in the museum (because Bandi will be so bored.) I’m thinking to read more books about him and probably make a special post about “Chasing Van Gogh” once I return from the Europe trip.
  • To avoid argument and fight, Bandi and I decided to split up in Amsterdam (and some time in London). I want to go to both Rijskmuseum and Van Gogh Museum while Bandi would explore town with bicycles. We’re thinking to buy prepaid SIM card that can be used all over Europe to contact each other. If anyone has any idea about this, kindly tell me. I’m still gathering info about European SIM card. Will there be prepaid nano sim card being sold in small market? Where should I buy it and how much?
  • I was telling Bandi that I will watch Les Miserables in London and he is free to explore London by himself while I’m enjoying myself with Hugo’s masterpiece but surprisingly, he bought me not only one ticket, but two tickets. I already promised him that I will never drag him to go to any musical or play with me anymore but when he volunteered, it’s totally a different story. =)
  • We’re gonna skip Mykonos because the flight schedule from Athens to Santorini/Mykonos changed in November. Unfortunately my planned flight is on 1st November so in the end I have to stay one night in Athens and fly to Santorini the next morning. Maybe next time, Mykonos!
  • We’re gonna skip Bath because we want to spend more time in London. London sounds very VERY VERY cool.
  • Booked all the BnB’s, all the local flights and the inter-country night trains. Only left with booking the local trains and inter-country day trains.

It’s probably the updates so far. I must say this is not easy. During the whole planning, Bandi and I argued a lot and it took a lot of time and energy to gather so many information, combine two stubborn heads to make one final itinerary. We have encountered so many shits such as Santorini changed schedule, rejections from hosts, delaying the schengen visa because Italian embassy asked for the city-city train reservations, and other small sweats but of course everything taught us a lesson to be smarter traveler.

I will update more later and I’m thinking to create a daily instagram post during my trip but I’m still thinking about the theme whether it’s a one thing to be grateful of each day theme or city highlight theme or probably will count down to 100 other sides of Europe. Still trying to create something fun and people can look forward to. =)

Adios for now!

Cheers,

May, si kaki gatal.