Giethoorn : Venice of Holland (?)

Look at those tourists on the  background! Imagine if thousands of visitors visit your neighborhood everyday.

I visited Giethoorn in April 2018 and I had been dreaming to visit this so-called beautiful village since forever. Talking about overrated tourist destinations, Giethoorn is one of those. With all of the people uploading Giethoorn pictures all over social media, nowadays this little village is always packed with (Asian) tourists, especially during weekends.

A tranquil little village in Holland

I decided to visit Giethoorn after looking at the pictures posted by Trinity (my favorite Indonesian travel blogger) on her Instagram page. Oh yes, the power of social media. She also wrote an article about it in her blog, along with other non-mainstream destinations in Holland. However, I first “know” about Giethoorn years ago through an article written in an in-flight magazine. Back then, I believe that place had not been as “famous” as today. I could feel the tranquility only by looking at the pictures and I even planned to spend a weekend staying in one of the cottages.

I went there with my friend and since we are students, of course we opted for the cheapest (obviously not the fastest) way to go to Giethoorn. If you are not traveling on a budget, Giethoorn is just an hour away from Amsterdam. In my case, we went with a German regional train from Essen to Venlo via Dusseldorf. This journey costed us nothing. (Thanks to my Semesterticket!) From Venlo, we took a Holland regional train to Utrecht. We spent one night in Utrecht. The next day we took a train to Mepel. We stayed in a small but comfortable hotel right across Mepel train station. By the way, there is a nice Indonesian restaurant not far from the station. I forgot the name of the restaurant. Sorry!

The weather was not that nice during our entire trip, but we must be strict on the plan. On weekdays there are mini buses going from Mepel to Giethoorn, but not on the weekends. Therefore, we must take another train from Mepel to Steenwijk and from there take a bus to Giethoorn. You can buy the ticket from a counter in Steenwijk train station. Some Chinese people sell the ticket. Yes, Chinese people. I don’t know….perhaps since there are loads of Asian (read : Chinese) tourists coming to Giethoorn in these past few years.

We started our tour in Giethoorn by riding a boat. Next time you visit Giethoorn, don’t ride the boat. It is more exciting when you just walk along the tiny road by the canal. Walk until you reach the less-touristy area.

The less touristy area of Giethoorn


For me, I cannot associate Giethoorn with Venice. Except the canals, those two places have totally different vibe. If I have to choose between Venice and Giethoorn, I will of course choose Giethoorn.

A typical “tourist” boat. Not worthy. It is much better just to walk through the road by the canal.

If, by any chances, you are planning to visit Giethoorn in the future, these are my suggestions for you :

  • Giethoorn is a beautiful little village of Holland. Take as many pictures as you want, while still respecting the neighborhood.
  • Giethoorn is NOT an open-air museum. Real people live in Giethoorn. Respect their privacy. Don’t peek on the windows.

Practical infos for visiting Giethoorn :

  • NS Regional train costs around 20 Euro for transport between 2 cities. There is a discounted price when you buy day ticket
  • The return bus ticket from Steenwijk to Giethoorn costs around 8 Euro. The last bus leaves Giethoorn at 18.00 on weekends.
  • The boat ride costs 7 Euro. You can either make an online reservation or buy the ticket on the spot. However, according to my experience, apparently it is more convenient to buy the ticket on the spot.
  • Although staying right in the middle of neighborhood seems like the best idea, I suggest you to stay in the nearby towns, such as Mepel or Steenwijk. It’s cheaper.


 Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria Germany


I went to Neuschwanstein Castle on early March 2018 together with a friend of mine. My decision to visit that place was pure based on my curiosity. Neuschwanstein Castle has been on the top list of my “places to visit before I die” since forever. And you know what? My first (and perhaps) last visit to the castle was far below my expectation.

Here, I would like to share my experience visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and also a little bit history of the place.

So, as you probably know, I don’t have much time to travel. As a PhD student, I don’t have any exact holidays, except weekends. Therefore I planned my Neuschwanstein trip to be as efficient as possible. If you are on the same situation, then hopefully the tips I share here will be applied to you as well.

I started my journey on Friday afternoon. I took an ICE train (around 100 Euro for a return journey) from Essen to Munich with one transit in Heidelberg. The total journey itself took 5.5 hours. On the day I traveled, the situation was a bit chaotic because there were changes in some train schedules which also gave impact on my train journey. I initially booked a train to Munich with a 30 minutes transit in Stuttgart, but then few days prior the journey I received an email from Deutsche Bahn (German Railway Company) that my booked train would not operate and instead I must take another train which have a 4 minute transit in Heidelberg. What a thrilling journey it was. Can you imagine, I had only 4 minute to transfer myself into another train. And I almost missed the connecting train. HA!

I met my friend in Munich Central Station. We spent the first night in a hotel located just 200 meters from Munich Central Station. On the next day, Saturday morning, we took a train from Munich to Fussen. We bought a Bayern ticket which cost 23 Euro for one person and 31 Euro for two people. The more people you are traveling with, the cheaper it is. So, that is a good deal. The journey from Munich to Fussen took 2 hours. Fussen is a very beautiful little town just on the foot of Hohenschwangau, where Neuschswanstein Castle located. If you have abundant of time, you can consider to stay in Fussen. It is now a touristic town, so there are many good hotels around.

From Fussen, we took a bus which brought us directly to Hohenschwangau where we got our ticket to the castle. Bear in mind, expect a crazy long queue if you decide to buy the entrance ticket on the spot. And it does not guarantee you to get the ticket. Like on the day of my visit, the ticket to Neuschwanstein Castle was sold out. The most logical option is to book the ticket few days before your visit and collect the ticket on the day of your visit. By the way the ticket price is 13 Euro for one adult. It’s quite expensive, I know. However, you only need to buy ticket if you want to go inside the castle. If you just want to take some selfies with the castle as your background, you definitely do not need to buy a ticket. In my case, since I wanted to have a full experience visiting Neuschwasntein Castle, of course I bought the ticket (and ended up being disappointed).

Normally there are shuttle buses that will take you from Hohenschwangau up to the castle. It is an uphill route to reach the castle. When I was there, it was raining and no shuttle buses operated. Maybe we were just so unlucky that day. So, we walked 30 minutes to the castle. Crazy!! If you are too lazy to walk (especially when you are traveling with kids or elderly people), there are some horse carriages that you can rent. I don’t know how much it cost. The downside is, unlike in Indonesia, when people put sort of containers for the feces, here they do not do it. So, always be careful with horses’ poo along the journey. It IS disgusting.

Finally, let’s talk about the castle. Well, let me tell you honestly. You can see basically nothing inside the castle. So, when people say Neuschwanstein Castle is only beautiful from the outside, it is totally true. However, it is worth to hear the history behind Neuschwanstein Castle. This castle was built by King Ludwig II, who once was the King of Bavaria. He intended to build this castle to be his holiday residence. Sadly, the building had never been completed until he died. He was diagnosed to be mentally ill and therefore was secluded in a place near Munich. The cause of his death was mysterious, but the official stated that King Ludwig II died of suicide. Looking at the picture of King Ludwig II, I think he was just a normal person and not mentally ill. He looks feminine. Perhaps he had uncommon sexual preference and in that time those kind of things were taboo, so the government decided to kill him. Well, so many speculation of the life and death of King Ludwig II. One of the stunning facts about King Ludwig II is that he adored Richard Wagner so much until he designed a ballroom just for himself to enjoy the opera. Sadly he just had a chance to live in the castle for 120 days and he could not enjoy what he had created. The castle since then remains empty and opened for public just 3 weeks after his death.

By the way, people (including myself, in the beginning) find it hard to spell Neuschwanstein. But actually it is easy if you understand German. Neuschwanstein means new swan on the rock. King Ludwig II really loved swans, and all of the door handles in the castle have swan carved on them.


Greece Adventure : Part 1

I went to Greece last summer. It is located on the Southeastern part of Europe. This country lies between the Aegean, Ionian, and Meditteranian sea. Talking about Greece, means talking about all the gods, goddess, and the ancient olympic games. And don’t forget, Santorini.

This is one of the places in my ‘Place to visit before I die’ list. I know I set a high expectation towards this country, and to be honest I felt a bit disappointed when I finally visited that place and stayed for around 2 weeks. I went there with my family, by the way. During the period of our visit in Greece, we went to Athens, Kalampaka, and Santorini.

On the first day we arrived in Athens, there was a strike. The taxi driver told us that Greece is currently having economy problems. Yeah, we already know about that though. During our stay in Greece, particularly when we stayed in Athens, we experienced a couple of strikes actually. And that was NOT a nice experience at all.

First stop was Athens. One practical tips to have a pleasant visit in Athens is to take a city sightseeing bus. You just need to buy the cheapest ticket and they will bring you around the city. We visited Acropolis on the first day. Acropolis is a ruin of an ancient town located on top part of Athens. It is believed that  this town was inhabited starting 4 millenniums BC. People said that the most important part of Acropolis is the Parthenon. However, my personal favourite is Odeon of Herodes Atticus, which is an amphitheatre that used to be functioned as a concert hall. Just now, I googled if they have ever organised any concerts there in the present day. They have! And the event will be held this month. Okay, I’m drooling to go back there. lol. Anyways..if you are planning to visit Acropolis, it is better to have a visit in the morning as this place will be loaded with people at noon. And don’t forget to bring your sunglasses or umbrella and wear shorts instead of jeans, since it is very hot there especially on summer times. Also, it is better to wear sneakers because the most of the walkways inside the Acropolis are made of marbles. When I visited Acropolis, I wore a pair of sandals (the sendal jepit andalan). And I tripped. Nice!

The Parthenon of Acropolis, Athens
It’s me, posing with the background of Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The next day, we took a one day cruise to some islands surrounding Athens, which Hydra, Poros, and Aegina. Those islands were so-so, in my opinion. Picturesque view, but nothing more. Sorry.

The land of Hydra, Greece

Our third destination was Kalampaka, the location of Great Meteoron. We planned to go there by train, as it is located quite far from Athens. And there was a train strike that day. Great! I thought we were going to be stranded in Athens. *drama mode on* We asked the officer what should we do, then. They told us to take the bus, instead. And when we asked about our train ticket refund (as we had already arranged everything from Jakarta), guess what their answers? “We don’t know” Nice! Finally we tried to find taxis to bring us to the bus station. A practical tips if someday you are trapped in the similar situation. There are lots of taxi drivers in front of the train station saying that they can bring you to the bus station, but it costs 10 Euros. Don’t take taxis from outside the train station. Walk 200-300 meters off the train station and just stop whatever taxi passing the street (just do it the Indonesian way!). It only cost less than 3 Euros actually from the train station to bus station, anyway. And surprisingly the bus station was so cozy, equipped with air-cons, and some food stalls. Long story short, it took 5 hours bus journey from Athens to Trikala and then we changed with smaller bus to Kalampaka which took another 30 minutes.

All of the pain in the a** experience that day was paid off by Kalampaka’s amazing view. Foods are good in Kalampaka. They have a decent selections of  traditional dishes. I love the crunchy lamb chops we had on the first day of our stay there. On the second day of our stay in Kalampaka, we took a half day tour to the Great Meteoron. It is a monastery located 615 m above the sea level and was built by St. Athanasios Meteorites circa 1340. It is amongst the Orthodox sacred places. Just for your information, majority of Greek people are Orthodox.

The amazing view from Great Meteoron, Greece
When I finally reached the entrance of Great Meteoron, after 600-ish m hike. The real cardio exercise!

In Kalampaka, we stayed in a B&B owned by a nice and helpful lady. She’s the one who prepared our breakfast every morning, which includes that unforgettable home-made cheese pie.

On the third day we took a train back to Athens. And the drama started again, as we must transit for 2 hours in a middle of nowhere small town, called Paleofarsalos, where we could find no body except the train station janitor. lol. We reached Athens in the late afternoon, tried to get enough rest because the next day we gotta catch morning flight to Santorini.

I think I will keep Santorini’s story for another post.

Bali : Still My Land of Paradise

Everyone must have known pretty well about Bali. Western people know Bali better than, say, Jakarta. In the middle of December, my Mom needed a short escape from her tight schedules and I was also very stressed with my university applications. It was our impulsive decision to take a weekend getaway to Bali. Only me and mom. She asked me to find affordable flight tickets, and lucky us that we found the flight with a very good price. Then, off we went to Bali!

It’s been my first time in four years to visit Bali. The last time I visited Bali was with my college friends, during our ‘Microbiology Field Trip’. So I was very excited this time. I’d like to play at Bali’s new beaches. That was my mission. On the first day, we went to Ubud which is located around two hours journey from Denpasar. I’ve never been to Ubud before, because based on what I’ve heard, we can’t find anything in Ubud other than rice fields. Yes that’s true, though. We had our lunch in one of the restaurants that serve friend duck in Ubud. It’s hard to decide which restaurant is the best because they’re all serving the same kind of foods, which is duck. Yeah, duck will always taste like duck of course. To be honest with you, the view in there was amazing although the foods tasted just average.

Ubud, Bali
Ubud, Bali

There’s a new tourist attraction in Ubud. It’s called ‘Bali Bird Park’. I’m not really sure, though, if this is a brand new one, or they have just renovated it. Just for your information, they charge different kind of prices for the entrance ticket. Domestic tourists must pay around IDR 90K and foreign tourists around USD 40. Hmm..what can I say about this bird park? It didn’t impress me that much. However, foreign tourists seem really enjoying their time playing with birds in there. Yeah, maybe it’s just about a matter of preference.

Bali Bird Park

The last place we visited on the first day was Klungkung Market. This one was a sort of ‘entertainment’ for my mom. Klungkung Market is located around 45 minutes to an hour journey from Ubud. I’m not really into shopping, but I have to admit that this market sell lots of beautiful high quality Balinese traditional fabrics. The prices are also very reasonable. So that day ended up with my mom bought loads of fabrics.

The kind of fabrics sold in Klungkung Market
The kind of fabrics sold in Klungkung Market

The second day was all about Beaches. We stayed in a hotel near Kuta beach, but I didn’t want to visit Kuta because it’s way too mainstream. So we went to Nusa Dua. The first beach that we visited was Pandawa Beach. It’s famous for its cliff and believe me you’ll get better view when you take the pictures of the beach from above. The second beach was Padang-Padang. By far, it was my most favorite beach. However, it looks like a kind of secluded beach since the access way is not so easy. Basically you need to walk down the steep stairs before you reach the beach. The reasons why I love this beach? White sands, clear sea water, the reefs, and not crowded. The last beach was Dreamland in Pecatu. I guess it will soon turned to be the second “Kuta” in Bali. The beach itself is very pretty, but it’s very crowded. I don’t like crowd. Again, maybe it’s just a matter of preference.

Pandawa Beach
Padang-Padang Beach
The one & only not-crowded side of Dreamland Beach

We didn’t visit so many places in Bali this time, such as Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Kintamani, GWK, etc. But, don’t worry, we had so much fun! That trip was enough to re-gain my energy.

Bali is still my land of paradise. Despite so many tourists have visited that island, it never loose its charm. The unique fact about Bali is, you won’t find any building having more than three stories. It’s a part of the government regulation, you can’t build any buildings with heights exceeding the ‘Pura’*.

For those people out there, if you’re planning to visit Indonesia for the first time and you have to decide which place to visit, you definitely have to choose Bali. You will absolutely enjoy your time here. I guarantee! 🙂 If, by any chance, you’re questioning about the current security level of Indonesia in general, Indonesia is safe for tourists. No need to worry about this.

*Pura : the worshipping place for people with Hindu religion. Most of the local people in Bali are practicing Hinduism.

A Little Bit of Norway

I’ve just come back last week from a holiday to some countries. My most favorite is Norway, so I’m going to write about Norway right now. It is one of the Scandinavian countries that really sell its natural view for tourists (and travelers) around the world. During that journey, I was mesmerized by the endless stunning view of lakes, hills, waterfalls, and their famous Fjord.

The journey started from Hamar, a small town located on the shore of Mjosa Lake, the largest lake in Norway. I stayed for one night there. Luckily my hotel was located right in front of that lake. So, yes, I was literally woke up to that panoramic view.

The view of Mjosa Lake from the hotel I stayed
The view of Mjosa Lake from the hotel I stayed

On the second day in Norway, we were driving from Flam – where we took a Fjord cruise – to Vossestrand. This was the highlight of this trip. However, I think it would be much better if I came here in winter looking at all the snows running down the hills. But there are hardly any tours available during winters since the lake is frozen. 🙂 The cruise started from Flam and ended in Gudvangen. It took about 2 hours.

The Fjords
The Fjords

We spent the night in Vossestrand. This town is pretty famous for the ski-enthusiast, as there’s a ski resort there. And, in addition, this year’s winter olympics will be held in Vossestrand. For me, this town is just so-so. A very quiet town. Well, most of the towns in Norway that I visited was quiet but Vossestrand was much quieter.

After Vossestrand, the journey was continued to Bergen. We spent a whole 8 hours on the bus. It must be a really boring journey, you might think. No! Because during this road-trip I could see that endless stunning view of lakes, hills, and waterfalls.

From Vossestrand to Bergen
From Vossestrand to Bergen

A friend of mine has ever been to Bergen and he talked that Bergen is a very nice town. Yeah, Bergen is nice indeed. Being the second largest town in Norway, I could see that this town is crowded. When I say crowded, don’t try to imagine this town as crowded as Jakarta. :p In terms of density, most of the European cities are nothing when you compare them with Jakarta.

In Bergen, we took a Funicular train (Floybanen) to reach the top of the town, which called Floy.

The panoramic view of Bergen, taken from Floy
The panoramic view of Bergen, taken from Floy

From Bergen, my journey in Norway ended in Oslo the capital city. Oslo is just like any other capital city in Europe, with all of those sky scrappers. The most interesting part of Oslo for me, maybe the “Oslo City Hall”. If you know about the Nobel Prize, they held the awarding ceremony for the Nobel Peace winner in this hall.

Oslo City Hall
Oslo City Hall

Just for your information, Norway is one of the richest countries in the world with the monthly average income of 3500 Euros. One of the highest in the world. The tax amount is said to be the highest in the world, as well. Around 35% from the income.  And another fact, the total population of Norway is just 6 million people.  No wonder I rarely saw people there.

I won’t mind coming back to this country someday.

Two Sides of Paris

That was my fourth time in my life visiting Paris. I never feel bored about that city. Although, to be honest, the people are far from nice and the city is not so clean.

It is the view and the vibe of the city that made me want to go back there over and over again. This city was our first stop during the Eurotrip 2012. I went there with a budget tour, so don’t expect anything fancy. That was the first time I went to Europe with my friends only. It felt different, though. But, still, I like it.

First day, we visited Eiffel Tower, the landmark of Paris who never loose its beautifulness. On the second day, me and one of my friends climbed to the top level of Eiffel Tower, after waiting in a very long queue. Thankfully, we arrived there quite early. then we were getting around the city. Having a salmon baguette for lunch. my friends were all craving for macaroons. We were trying to find “La Duree”, the most well-known macaroons shop in Paris, but somehow we got lost in the middle of Champs- Ellyses and we never found that shop. Paris was extremely hot that day. We were there in the middle of summer. Then, we took a metro to Musee Du Louvre and stopped by in a cozy but small cafe to had a glass of ice coffee.

Early in the afternoon, we decided to go to the Louvre. However, we’d just realized that time that there was a misunderstanding when we bought the entrance ticket online. So, we couldn’t go inside the museum. How unfortunate! Then, we walk and walk and walk with no direction. I took lots of pictures. Nothing can beat the view of Paris in the evening.

We took a metro to Eiffel Tower that night, while suddenly a group of people was following us. We didn’t know that all of them are thieves. We almost became the pick-pocket victim. Thankfully, God always be with us. I realized when they did something suspicious to my backpack.

Though I had a quite bad experience in Paris that time, I’m still going to explore other cities in France someday.

Last but not least, practical tips for everyone who are planning to visit Paris but thinking to spend money as efficient as possible.First, I suggest you to take metro anywhere and instead of buying the “all day” ticket, just buy 10 single tickets at once that can make you travel 5 times a day, which cost approximately 10 euros (or less, I forgot. but it’s not exceeding 10 euros). And getting on and off the metro train for 5 times a day is just enough for you, guys. Believe me, it will save your money, a lot. Second, always be careful and be aware of everything around you. Don’t be nice to strangers in Paris. It seems rude, I know. Remember, Paris is not a safe city. Third, one normal meal in Paris will averagely cost you 10 euros. Don’t expect to get a full and proper meal (sandwich or chips doesn’t count) for less than 10 euros.

Paris is nice, after all. It’s still one of the most favorite tourist destinations in the world, despite its negative sides.

one adventurous day in Lake District

This trip was actually initiated by my friend, Dinis. She told me that she really wanted to visit Lake District, a countryside surrounded by lakes (yeah, it’s obvious by its name, isn’t it?) Few months ago, Indonesian society arranged a trip to this place, but unfortunately I couldn’t go because of some reasons. This time I didn’t even think twice before I said “yes” to my friend’s invitation. I needed a refreshing. I needed a little break. So we set April 28th as the date of our trip. It was four of us – Dinis, Naina, Charlotte, and Me- who went for this trip.

We planned to catch the morning train from Newcastle to Carlisle. That morning, first bad luck happen to me. By the time we reached the Central Station, I realized that I left my railcard at home. This is a real disaster, since I paid for a student ticket and if (just in case) I couldn’t show my railcard when they asked for it, they were gonna fine me. So, to avoid the worst thing, I went back to my dorm to take my railcard. The result was, we missed the morning train and had to wait for the next train to Carlisle. First bad luck of the day! And I was the one to be blamed.

The journey to Carlisle took almost 2 hours, but the view along the railway was really nice. Lots of greenery stuffs. We reached Carlisle at about 11 am and took a walk around the city while waiting for our bus to Kenswick. Carlisle is a peaceful city, in my opinion. I mean, compared to Newcastle, this city is more “laid-back”. A typical UK rural city.

At about 12.30 pm we continued our journey to Kenswick by bus. We bought a one day pass for GBP 10. I have to mention this since that ticket was our savior for the rest of the day. We supposed to straightly catch another bus to Brockhole when we arrived in Kenswick. The silly thing happened. When we were just arrived in Kenswick, we saw that bus to Brockhole was about to leave. Okay, no chance for us to catch that bus. We need to wait for the next bus. But there’s always a good thing behind the bad thing. We had lunch in Kenswick. It was a pretty nice tuna melt toastie, by the way.

And the journey continued. We took the bus to Brockhole. I never imagine that it actually still quite far from Kenswick. We needed another 1.5 hour journey to reach Brockhole. Another silly thing happened. We missed the Brockhole bus stop. So we stopped at the next bus stop and the driver told us that actually he shouted and called for us when the bus stopped at Brockhole. Since we sit upstairs, we didn’t hear. And yeah, we missed the bus stop and had to walk down the road to Brockhole. Hooray! *thumbs down* Lucky us, there was an old man who told us that Brockhole is located about 2.5 miles from the place we stop and it was better for us to take any bus for there. Wow, he was like an angel in disguise. We followed his suggestion and waiting for the bus. About 10 minutes after, the bus came. Fyuhh..finally we reached Brockhole at 4 pm and that place will close at 5 pm. We only had an hour to enjoy the nice view there. The best one hour we’ve ever had. I felt the sensation of being faraway from the crowd and everything that bother my mind. Though for just a little while. We took some pictures. We enjoyed the weather. Thank God, it was sunny. The weather forecast predicted that it was going to be cloudy that day.



We went back at 5 pm and reached Kenswick at about 6 pm. We knew that the bus to Carlisle will leave at 6.25 pm so we decided to go inside the supermarket. We were wondering why there were no bus going to Carlisle, until we saw one left the bus station and the driver changed the destination to Carlisle. We were stunned at our place. That was the last bus to Carlisle that day. I thought we have to spend a night in Kenswick. That was the worst case scenario. My friend said : “let’s run! maybe we can catch the bus at the next stop”. I let out the maximum capacity of my energy to catch the bus, while suddenly my friend realized that the bus was straightly go to Carlisle. Haha…who want to run from Kenswick to Carlisle?!? We started to feel hopeless. Seriously, I was thinking to find a place to spend the night and went back to Newcastle on the next day. But then, about 30 minutes later, a bus came. My friend, Charlotte, explained our situation to the bus driver and asked him whether he had any suggestion for us on how to get back to Carlisle. Fortunately, he let us to go on the bus and he took us to Penrith. There was a bus leaving to Carlisle from Penrith. We were saved!

We arrived at Carlisle at 8ish and decided to have dinner there. Nando’s (our favorite restaurant) was located just across the railway station. Okay, so we went there and spent some time to chill out before continue our journey back to Newcastle. We caught the 9 pm train. I thought I could take a rest in the train. But then I found out that there were some football supporters who were sitting in another coach of our train, and they kept shouting during the journey. Okay, forget sleeping! When the train reached Hexham – which is actually already close to Newcastle – a group of people (most of them were heavily drunk) went into the train and they sit in the same coach with us. We were a little bit terrified, honestly. But, still, we were trying to stay cool. Hehe.

We reached home at 11 pm. Safe and sound. Really. God involved in our trip. He sent us those nice people. The old man and the bus driver. What an amazing journey. That was one of the experience of living abroad that I’ll always remember in the rest of my life.

My February

Today is already the 8th of February, which means we have passed the first week of this new month. February will always be my favorite month, other than December. I think I have said that sentence for a thousand times. So, early February was quite fun for me. I’ve done some activities that I love, even though I haven’t done much things that relate to my research. I’m in my off period this week, by the way. Start from the beginning of next week, I will have already working in my lab to do my research. And that will be my only activity until the next 6 months. I hope everything about my research are going to be fine and I can finish it on time. Hopefully, I can continue this research for my PhD project. In the name of Jesus Christ, there is nothing that impossible to happen.

Last week was so wonderful. Actually I suppose to attend the first rehearsal, after months of holiday, of the student choir. However, I decided not to go. I prefer to join my fellow Indonesian students in Newcastle to perform in an international event held by Northumbria University. We performed Saman Dance, Angklung, and Ngibing. I chose to play Angklung, since I can’t dance at all.   Somehow, I feel that we share the same feeling of being Indonesian in a country far far away from home, we have this kind of responsibility to promote our country. We have to show the world that Indonesia is not that bad, actually. That was the best thing we could do, introducing some Indonesian traditional culture to the world. I’m so proud knowing that people are so curious about my country. Some of them have never been to Indonesia, but soon they will visit my country. How happy and how proud we are!

PPI Newcastle Angklung Performance

In the end of last week, me & my fellow medical students was having a short trip to York. It was a beautiful city filled with ancient buildings. I always love ancient architecture and natural beauty. I was so surprise that I can find them all in York. We spent the whole day exploring that city without any expectation of finding the snow. Yeah, surprisingly after we had lunch, we went out from the restaurant and found out there was a heavy snow shower. Oh waow! This is the first time in my life watching such a natural snow falling down from the sky. Unfortunately the snow became heavier and heavier as the afternoon turned into evening. Our train schedule to Newcastle was being delayed and I started to feel disappointed. “How if we can’t go back to Newcastle and have to spend a night in York railway station”, that was the first thought that crossing my mind. Thank God, finally the train came at 8 pm, about 30 minutes late from the original schedule.

Heavy Snow in York

That was a very tiring yet exciting week. And yeah, that was the way I start my February. 🙂

Not An Ordinary Holiday

Yes, I’ve already in Europe now. And nope, I haven’t been in UK yet. Lots of friends asked me questions such as “how’s life in UK?”; “how are UK guys?” and so on. lol. The fact is, I haven’t reached UK yet, friends.

Jadi, ceritanya saya liburan bareng keluarga keliling Eropa. Bapak, Bagus & Bayu (kedua adik saya), dan tante saya sudah balik duluan ke Indonesia tanggal 5 September yang lalu. Sekarang saya tinggal bersama Ibu. Pasti langsung pada bilang “wow” deh. Gak, kok. Liburan ini tidak se”wow” yg kalian semua perkirakan. Kami berkeliling Eropa dengan menggunakan kereta api sebagai sarana transportasi, yang mana tarifnya jauh lebih murah daripada menggunakan pesawat. Kami juga menginap di hotel2 yg biasa saja, yang penting dekat dengan stasiun kereta. Berasa banget deh petualangannya. Gotong2 koper naik turun kereta. Hasilnya adalah lengan saya berotot, betis saya nampak seperti talas Bogor, dan kulit saya semakin gosong saja. Ternyata di sebagian negara Eropa masih summer, saudara-saudara. Damn, global warming!

Ini adalah perjalanan yang sangat menyenangkan. Beberapa hari yang lalu ketika mengunjungi Frankfurt, saya ketemuan dengan sepupu saya yang tinggal di sana, yang sudah sekitar 8 tahun tidak pernah ketemu. Apa yang kami lakukan di sana? Yup, kami secara impulsif menonton konser youth symphony orchestra. Di gedung opera, pula. Gimana saya gak senang dan surprised?!? Konsernya super keren. Thanks my cousin, Mbak Ninta. If you weren’t there, we would never know that there would be a concert since we (me & mom) don’t understand German language.

Alte Oper Frankfurt, where we watched that amazing concert. 🙂

Sekarang saya menulis postingan ini di sebuah kamar hotel di Lourdes, kota kecil di selatan Prancis. Suasana religius menyelimuti kota ini. Kota yang amat sangat nyaman. Kemarin sore saya mengikuti misa harian. Malamnya saya ikut serta dalam prosesi lilin sambil berdoa Rosario bersama beribu-ribu umat Katolik dari seluruh dunia. Suasananya begitu magis. Saya terharu karena ternyata masih banyak orang-orang yang ingat untuk berdoa dan mengucap syukur pada Tuhan. Saya jadi malu karena kadang saya suka malas berdoa. Ini adalah kali ketiga saya datang ke Lourdes. Pertama kali ke sini saya berumur 3 atau 4 tahun. Saya tidak ingat apa2 karena masih kecil. Kali kedua adalah 4 tahun yang lalu dan sepertinya pada saat itu saya hanya menganggap kunjungan ke sini sebagai sebuah rekreasi sehingga saya tidak terlalu merasakan perubahan setelah pulang dari sini. Dan pada kunjungan yang sekarang, saya begitu menghayati. Saya juga gak tau kenapa. Mungkin karena sekarang saya ke sini hanya berdua dengan Ibu, yang memang amat sangat religius sehingga saya juga jadi termotivasi untuk berdoa. Semoga kunjungan kali ini tidak hanya berakhir menjadi sebuah “kunjungan” biasa, melainkan dapat membawa perubahan yang lebih baik untuk diri saya. Baru kali ini juga saya memperhatikan suasana di Lourdes dengan seksama. Begitu banyaknya orang sakit yang datang ke sini dengan pengharapan bahwa mereka akan sembuh. Mereka benar-benar membuat saya lebih mensyukuri segala yang saya punya. Saya punya bagian tubuh yang lengkap, saya bisa beraktivitas dengan mudah. Tapi, masih suka mengeluh. Sedangkan bahkan ada di antara mereka yang menggerakkan tangan saja tidak bisa. Kasihan sekali.

Puncaknya adalah tadi pagi saya mengikuti misa pemuda (Youth Mass). Sebagian besar umat yang hadir adalah anak-anak muda yang menjadi volunteer di Lourdes selama beberapa minggu. Di akhir misa, Ibu bilang : “La, coba kamu ikut jadi volunteer tahun depan. Untuk tambah pengalaman dan cari teman.” Saya pikir : “Ide bagus nih. Mungkin tahun depan saya akan coba daftar jadi volunteer” Semoga impian itu bisa tercapai.

Banyak orang datang ke Lourdes untuk melihat mukjizat. Di sini ada sungai yang tidak pernah kering semenjak terjadi penampakan Bunda Maria kurang lebih 100 tahun yang lalu. Orang-orang datang ke sini untuk meminum air tersebut dan berharap segala penyakit mereka sembuh. Tapi, tanpa kepercayaan, air itu tidak berarti apa-apa. Jadi, intinya kalau kalian datang ke Lourdes, kalian harus percaya bahwa Tuhan dengan perantaraan Bunda Maria akan menyembuhkan kalian. Bukan air yang menyembuhkan, tapi kepercayaan kalian sendirilah yang menyembuhkan. Seperti yang tertulis di papan di samping keran air di katedral Lourdes : “This water is nothing if you have no faith”.

This is a really great holiday, indeed. I hope that this is a good beginning of my new life as a master student in UK, starting from September 26th. Minggu depan Ibu sudah balik ke Indonesia dan saya akan tinggal sendiri di UK. Kalau teman-teman saya bisa bertahan di negeri orang, saya juga pasti bisa!

The Memory of Turkey

First of all, really sorry for these lack of updates in my blog. I was very busy with college stuffs. Hihi..

So, as I’ve promised you before, I’ll posted some pictures. I hope you enjoy it.

inside the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
inside the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul



Can you guess where’s my favourite place. I really like Cappadoccia with its good scenery especially in the morning. The sky is full of baloon, reminds me of  ‘UP’ the movie.

I think that’s all for this post. Once more, I think I have to apologize to you all, my readers because maybe I won’t update my blog routinely. College things are really killing me. Hahaha..