#47. Zaandam

no story today. i just went to Zaandam to grocery shop for my mom's titipan, to add more weight to my overweight luggages. i did it today so that i could finish all my packing nessesity.

and i re-packed. so in total my huge luggage weight 27 kilo, my backpack 17 kilo, and my new borrowed bag weight 10 kilo. i weighted it with a house scale, so i'm not sure if that's accurate. but at least it's less than what i expected.


#46. Amsterdam - Schippol

i went to the Airport to re-check my flight (second reason), first reason was i needed to know wheter i'm aloud to have an exess bagage. why? according to my ticket i'm allowed to bring a 20 kg lugage, whilts mine weighed 54 kg.

never in history i ever stayed lower than 22 kg (and that was very good). i'm very good at packing lugage so when people can only fit a few things in theirs i could fit a lot more things with the same amount of space, ergo my lugage weight more.

so i went to Garuda Indonesia office in Schippol and asked to see the station manager to talk to him about the exess weight, but he wasn't around. so the lady at the desk told me to come back in a hour.

i wasted my time by sitting at the front part of the airport, sipping coffee and had scones that i bought days before from a winkle called "the bakeswinkel" my teacher recommenden me this, mia and i wanted to try that earlier but the winkle already closed, so when i got a lot of time in Amsterdam, i went for it.

an hour passed and i went to see the lady again. she said Pak Angki, the station manager wont be there and maybe i could leave him a message and such. so i did. she also made a copy of my ticket reservation and my surat sakti from my dad. then this conversation happened:

Veronica: It says here in your ticket you're allowed of 20 kg.
me: yes, i'm aware of that. That's why i'm here.
Veronica: How much is the overweight?
Me: around 40 kg.
Veronica: 40?? haw many bags do you have?
Me: 3 bags.
Veronica: 3 bags?? but you're ALONE.
Me: (smiled) exactly.

later i chatted with ayu, she mentioned "lit, the last part 'but you're alone' was a bit ambiguist ya.."

i decided to spent the rest of my money in the city today, so went shopping. lush. h&m. hema. stuff i cannot get back at home. (adding more weight in my luggage)


#45. Koog a/d Zaan

it's Sunday and nothing's open here except Amsterdam. my aunt has been reminding me about a family reunion she's having this afternoon, so i planned to stay at home today.

oh but that didn't happened exactly as planned. the girls asked for cheeses as their gifts, my parents wanted the same thing and i haven't got any cheese except for the Camembert i got from French. so i took out the bike and rode to Zaanse Schans.

the wind was blowing very hard (oh, have i mentioned it's windy and drizzly today, the temprature was around 14 degree) i sometime had to stop and get down from my bike otherwise i'll fall. and in the middle of the road the rain fell. rain as in rain, not drizzle. i'm too far from the house, and not yet in Zaanse Schans and basicly i'm just in the middle of nowhere so i had to go forward.

i got the cheese, went home, got a serious headache from the combination of the rain and the wind.

at night as promised, we had a family reunion and it was nice.


#44. Zaandam

i went to the city near my uncle's place called zaandam. i ran out of credits in my OV-card. let me explain. to travel by train--usually to get to another city--with OV-card in the Netherlands you have to have at least 20 euro credits in it. i don't know why, but i know that i could get fined for more than 50 euro if i insisted on taking a train with limit under 20 euro. i'll leave the country in 5 days so i might as well be wise on what to buy, so i didn't add more credits to my OV-card and chose to travel by city bussed instead (with busses you can travel with at least 1.20 euro in your OV-card).

zaandam has changed since the last time i went here. last year it was Sunday and almost looked like a dead city, but today's very crowded. not as crowded as Amsterdam but the kind of country-side crowded.

that picture i attached here was a famous new landmark of zaandam. last year it was there, but it's not finished just yet. this time i figured out that it's a hotel. with the city center, train station, and bus station under it. i bet that's a pricey hotel.

one other thing i love with riding with bus: it stops right in front of my uncle's alley. with train i have to walk 20 minutes to the train station, with bus i just need to ngesot to get home.


#43. Utrecht

to waste some time i planned to get out of Amsterdam and try to visit another city. my options were Den Haag, Rotterdam or Utrecht. i checked my OV-card balance and the credits i have left only enough to take me to Utrecht.

this city located in the Sout-East of Amsterdam and took about 30 minutes non-stop ride in a fast train. once i stepped out of the platform i already found myself stranded in a huge "mall". as usual i visited H&M first, simply just to browse stuff, i'll buy them later when my days are almost over with whatever money i have left.

after window shopping, i got out of the mall and went to the centrum. this city looks slightly like Amsterdam but got a different aura to it. it's more quite. the famous thing about this city was the domerak (it's a tower, almost like a church tower) and i went for it. i planned on climbing it but too bad, it's only open for tour. and i need to sign up for that tour, and it wil last for about an hour. i don't really like being in 'tour' so i continued my journey around the city.

i miss Mia really. i mean, travelling alone doesn't suck, it's just boring. to put it in correct word: mati gaya!

so after wandered around for 3 hours i stepped into febo to ate Kroket, then i went home.


#42. Amsterdam

another day of wine-hunting. i'm still curious with that particular wine and i googled it, Mr. Google said that there's a wine shop in Amsterdam that sells it. here i go.

I took a tram to go further from the Centraal Station and right in front of my stop there's a Starbucks, i'm collecting their City Mugs and i haven't got the Amsterdam yet, so i went in and bought it. surprisingly, they have the same mug in Starbucks airport, the only difference was the one in the airport cost 4 euro more than the one in the city.

I continued my journey to the wine shop. i found the store and got in. asked the guy that spoke English about the wine, then he aked the old guy about it. the old guy looked at me and made sure about 'wine X-Chateau de-something?' and i nodded.

he widened his eyes and gave me two thumbs with a smile that said "that's a good wine, young lady." then he said something to the younger guy, which he kindly translated to me.

the HAD the wine. but then their importer lincence has expired, so maybe i have to look in the internet which dealer that has it now.

later tonight i seached that wine in the internet, and it's official that the wine doesn't exist in Netherlands.

one day i'll get it. one day!!


#41. Amsterdam

The Metro's working again!! so i finally got to IKEA. there's a detour to Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA, why? because my dear brother addicted to football shirts lately and i don't really know his reason, but he asked me to buy him Ajax original jersey.

then IKEA. i only shopped a bit (compare to my usual behavior in this store) i only got mattres, bed throw, frames, and some little stuff that i forgot. they all came to a grand total of 60 euro, see, i didn't shop that much here. believe me, i usually spent more money when it comes to Ikea shopping.

one point i learned today, those things i bought cost less than one Ajax original jersey. it's only a frickin' t-shirt!!


#40. Delft - Gouda

my original plan was to go to IKEA to shop there. it's been a ritual of mine actually, to go to ikea and shop until my lugage can't handle it. so i went to the centraal station then continued with metro number 54 that'd take me to Bullewijk.

two stations before Bullewijk the metro stopped and all passangers asked to leave the train. turned out thereé something wrong with the metro system and they decided to stop it altogether. i asked one guy how to get to Bullewijk and he said i have to return to Amstel station and take bus from there. one thing i'm not really familiar with the Netherlands transportation system was the busses. there're too many and too complicated (compare to the trains and metros) for me.

in the end i texted my Dutch friend Ron wheter he's free today and he said he was. i went to delft instead.

In Delft, i honestly have no idea what to do, Ron didn't know what to do so he adviced us to go to Gouda to visit his parents. i've never been to Gouda before so i think that's a good idea.

we visited his dad in his garage, his dad has this 'bussiness' of camping van that he remade from Citroen something. he saved off the rust, rebuilt it, give it a paint job, and ta-da! new van called "My's Mooi".

then we went grocery shopping. Ron has an Indonesian girlfriend and i think he's totally in love with Indonesia. everytime he cooks he'll cook something in Dutch ingredients mixed with Indonesian taste.

anyway, he suggested me to spend the night there, since he invited me for a BBQ in his house in Delft, but i forgot my nose spray and i could literally suffocate without it. i went home.

thanks guys, thanks for having me today.. see you when i see you


#39. Amsterdam

Still need to rest. i blogged today. i entered pictures to my posts, and it felt great to see internet through a huge screen. i miss Bobi, my laptop.. tomorrow i'll start another trip. maybe around Holland just the near cities, i still need time to shop and buy everybody back at home presents.

it's 21.57, good night~~


#38. Amsterdam

the schedule on my ticket said i'll arrive in Amsterdam at 6.30 but when i awoken at 5.00 i'm already at Den Haag and that's really close to Amsterdam. i have no idea where the guy that sat next to me last night but when i put on my shoes i saw him laying on the bus floor. apparently sleeping in the middle of the aisle was more comfortable to him than sleep in seating position in a cleaner seat.

i got to the station at 5.30 in the morning and bad luck for me it was raining HARD. i had to wait inside the station. i was looking for a coffee shop but there was nothing. coffee vending machine, none. Amstel Station was a small station near Amsterdam so it's not really well equipped. many people waited for the first train (on Sunday the train started to work from 7.30) and they just sleep on the floor. some people really were scary. i kept watching my bags and myself all the time because i had this bad feeling about them, and my instinct usualy right.

at 7.00 a little coffee shop apoened and i ordered a cappucino. i didn't know how i looked like but the lady asked, would you also like something to eat? while offered me a bagel. i refused. i just need my morning coffee.

with 16 kg on your back, around 7 kg extra at the front and 2 bottles of wine on your hand, it's kinda hard to move from one train to another. without any companion to talk to (I miss Mia already) with those burdens just seemed to get heavier. i used my last streght to press the bell on my Uncle's door, got in, took a clean-nice-lux-shower, had a quick breakfast, then passed out.


#37. Paris - Amsterdam

My story today was "wine hunting." let's say i'm curious with "wine X" and i've came into each wine shop i could find in Italy and Paris to find it. it's French white wine from a special region which apparenntly only sold in Bordeux, French.

i was desperate i finally bought one white one as a gift for my Uncle and Aunt back in Holland and bought the red one for myself. But i didn't gave up just yet.

We stopped at McD and found internet connection, so i tried to google the wine. SOMEBODY SELL IT IN PARIS!!! so i searched the address and google map it right away. i took 3 metros to get to the station. walked in a wrong direction for 4 blocks, then another 4 blocks of a wrong direction. finally found the seller.

i came, waited and showed the guy the picture of "Wine X". he replied in French that i understood completely (don't ask me how i could understood all that), he said "yeah, that's the king of wine, one of the best wine from France. we sell it but you have to order it before. we don't have that wine today. sorry."

at least i tried each and every way i know best to get it, if i didn't get it, it wasn't because i didn't try hard enough but because it wasn't available.

one day, i will drink that wine! just wait, i will find it (not on Ebay) and i will drink it!!!

anyway, this is my last day with Mia. we came to the same bus station, but it's weird that we had two different boarding cards. she left for London, i left for Amsterdam. it'll be a weird bus ride without her beside me--for i already get used to sleep next to her for a month.

so Mia and I had went through:

12 Countries

18 Cities

10 Bus Stations

8 Train Stations

8 Airports

without any quarell, without any catfight. we didn't hate each other. she's a nice companion and i'm glad that i was travelling with her!! till next trip!!


#36. Barcelona - Paris

one more great thing about our hotel in Barcelona: when we said we needed to check out before 7 o'clock, the nice beautiful receptionist, Laia (the same one that welcomed us the night before) offered us wheter we want the breakfast to be packed as a picnic? dear God, this is the first time ever a hotel actually has this kind of system. usualy when you missed breakfast, you missed breakfast! i recommend this hotel to everybody who's looking for a great place with affordable price: L'esplai youth hostel Barcelona

we cathed our flight to Paris, this time we had no problem at all with Ryanair. remember the cheesy 'cheap' welcome song that the airline plays each time its landed on-time? we got on the on-time flight this time so we got the 'welcome song' again. this time more cheerful because once the "tet-te-re-teet-te-te-teeetttt" (click there!!) played, 5 Spanish guys beside us cheered "OLE'!!" succedeed to brought tears to my eyes and a quite painful stocmacahe. but it's worth the pain, really.

we had to paid 15 euro to get from Beuvais airport to the center Paris. Mia looked at me with "are they kidding? that's expensive" look but i only replied with my flat "welcome to Paris" tone. turned out, the 15 euro we paid was kinda worth it. it's a 77 km ride (i believe it's longer than that) took us more than an hour to get to the center Paris and we felt like we're on a Travel from Jakarta to Bandung.

after a perfect hotel in Barcelona, our hostel in Paris was absolutely the worst one. This hotel was the most expensive we paid for this journey but this one's also the nastiest and least comfortable one. i felt dirtier after taking a shower here than before i did.

We found a restaurant selling chinese food by weight (so you paid for how many gram you have on your plate) and we got this idea to order more and take it Champ de Mars, the huge field in front of Eiffel Tower and have a picnic there. so we went back to the hotel, took my kain bali, then left for Eiffel tower.

We hung around there for about 4 hours and we witnessed some memorable stuffs:

first, there're these all-american girl (well, maybe i used the term wrong here, but it sounds cynical enough for me) 4 of them. they dressed up, super dressed up (they dressed up the way the girls in Gossip Girls do. The Upper East Side style) to the fricking Eiffel tower where everybody just laid around cared about nothing but the tower itself! 3 of them are tiny with firm butts they couldn't stop showing to the boys on the right side. they weren't very noisy, but i heard everything they said. and everything they said sounded stupid. to get to my point, they tried to get a decent picture of each of themselves with the Eiffel tower as the background. the picked a spot under the shadow of the trees. they couldn't stop complaining "oh, it's too dark. no, it's not good, the picture's too dark." it's shadow dear, unless you didn't notice, it is dark. they kept doing that for the next an hour. each and everyone of the probably would have a hundred pictures of themselves in front of the Tower. Stupid and narcists.

second, we couldn't handle the stupid American girls so we decided to move. we ate our food and simply just enjoyed ourselves with the surroundings. then this nice couple came and sat near us. they brought wine and crackers. i could listen to their conversation, and it was a casual nice conversation. Mia and were talking and suddenly we heard this: "really? you wanna be my wife?" and they kissed. at that moment we felt like we've been hit by a truck. i found my voice first and said to Mia "did he just purposed?" Mia only smiled. but we both felt the same thing: we wanted to congratulate them!! because they look like a nice casual couple. but we didn't. we didn't want them to know that we've been listening to their conversation the whole time.

Paris gotten dark and cold (the last one's a bit unexpected) and we couldn't wait until the tower shone. finally it did. after we got what we wanted we went back to our nasty hotel to try to rest.


#35. Barcelona

(i like the bassist! left one with white fedora)

at 2 a.m we arrived at Barcelona. thanks to Ryanair, the most punctual airline, we got to search our hotel in a dangerous time of the night. all the people that boarded on our plane mostly also had to take the same night bus as us, even the cabin crews so it was a safe ride until i read the instruction on 'how to get to the hotel' page. stop a the first bus stop near the police station. we did that. all the people inside the bus looked at us curiously and i think i know why. the first bus stop was really close to the airport, logically there'd be nothing to find near it. honestly, we're also affraid that we got off the wrop stop but the stop was near a police station, so maybe we're on the right track.

we walked the road according to the map i printed at home and after a view confusing blocks there's a man walking his dog (at 2 a.m). he's wearing his pajamas and his wife's sandals (unless his taste was a beady sandals with flower as decoration) and his little dong that wont stop barking at strangers. he tried to calm that dog though. so we asked him about our hotel. in English. he answered in Spanish. cute thing was we talked! of course the body language involved but we talked. i think what he was saying was that he needed the number so that he could help us, but we had no number, then he said "if you have no number how could i help you? without numbers you'd be blind." but he tried his best to show us the right path before he turned to his home. muchas grasias senyor!!

we were lost for about two blocks. Tell you what, being lost during the day was fun, during the night was terrifying. we also got our huge backpacks on our back and both of us had planned to put it down and run as fast as we can in case the worst thing happened.

we found our hotel 15 minutes later. and it's a hotel. i remembered mia looked astonish and ask "Lit, how much do we have to pay for this? can we afford it?" the answer was it cost 23 euro a night for one person. for that amount of money we got: nice welcoming doorman and reception, private bedroom with airconditioner and private bathroom, nice beds, towels, linens, balcony, breakfast (and not just the standart coffee-milk-bread-breakfast, real breakfast!), nice guidance from the receptionist to visit Barcelona. the best hotel in this trip really. it's quite far from the city but so what? it only took us 40 minutes and 1.50 euro to get to the city center. not a big deal, right?!

we went to parc guël first. turned out Barcelona was famous for one of it's artist namen Gaudi. i don't really know what he's done actually, but i think it involved a lot of mozaic pattern with ceramic (please, correct me if i'm wrong for i haven't research anything about this guy). this park located a bit to the north and it's a hill. we could see the whole Barcelona from above and it was amazing! to get there (up there) we were accomodated with escalators, maybe back in the days the tourists are complaining a lot about this so the escalator's finally featured. but to get down, stairs'all we had.

next stop was Sangrada Familia. it's a bit too small compare to the one i have in mind. it didn't really wowed me so i'll move on to the next thing, the casa-something in Catalunya. this building's qiute famous, i think Samantha Brown has been there before because it looked familiar to me. i think this building is what Gaudi's style's all about. next to this building was a pavement, and there's a pledge on it said "the modernism walk".

Mia's a big spender today, she bought a Swatch watch. after she cleaned up her wallet we walk through Rambla. a famous street (don't ask me why) that located right at the end of Catalunya. one thing i just realized, not only the British guys that fit my eyes, the Spanish does too! there're good looking, really. (for my eyes i choose Spanish, for my sanity and fun i choose Italian, for my ears and eyes i choose British. yeah, i'm greedy.)

it's a long day for us, because we only got today to visit Barcelona. we found a chinese restaurant on our way to Rambla and had a luxurious dinner contained RICE! at night we finished Rambla with a glass of Mojito by the sidewalk, then to the marina, then home. i seriously love our hotel.


#34. Rome - Barcelona

We used the time left in Rome to visit Basilica del Popolo. The bad thing about travelling more than 10 countries in a month is you'd lost interrest in the end of your trip (especially the last countries) and although we tried to make the most of it, lots of time we spent just to sit around and enjoy the atmostphere. So, we spent some time in the park above this basilica then decided just to go to roma termini to book shopping.

At around 3 we already back at our hostel and ready to picked up our bags. We had to take a shuttle to go to Ciampino Airport and the journey itself would be a 40 minutes trip outside Rome. According to our time schedule, we'd be in the airport on time before bording time.

We were right. We arrived, checked our bags in (my bag hasn't past the weight limit, which was 15 kg) and we spent sometime outside to sunbath before we really had to be boarded. Now i've said before that Ryanair didn't have a fixed seating so everybody had to line up before entering the plane and they'd run to the plane once it's ready. We're in line for about half an hour then suddenly a lady's voice in the intercom announced something in italian. But we did catch one word of what she was saying. The plane's delayed. We're looking to a couple behind us, hoped they were italian and understood what that really meant, but turned out they were spanish. But the guy finally came to the desk to ask, and what the lady in the intercom really said was 'the plane to barcelona's delayed and the passangers will be able to board to plane on 22.15. Which was two and a half hours! Seriously, i don't mind the price for the plane ticket but the service, dear God!

So yeah, we're too far from Rome and we had nothing to do exept writting in our diaries and pissed out. When it's time for boarding the gate's changed so the whole passenger ran to a different direction and it was a real chaos. The worst part was the announcement only spoken in italian, no english whilst there're lots of spanish and other people from the countries that don't speak italian. But we're on the flight anyway in the end, and i got a change to email the hostel regarding our unpunctuality to them (they have curvew) thank god they said it's okay and the doorman will open the door for us.

See you in barcelona, at around 1 a.m maybe, if we're lucky.


#33. Rome - Vatican

As any normal tourist, we visited one of the major sight in Rome, Colleseum. I'm a hostel princess! So far in our journey, i successfully picked good hostels with good location and good price! And yeah, mia just had to admit that. She's the transport queen and i'm the hostel princess. Nice team work. Anyway, the Collesium located only 7 minutes walk from our hostel so we could just use our feet.

First sight of this building was great. I haven't really research the story behind it but i know the main story of what this building (now ruins) was for. We went around and decided to enter. It's fricking €12 but we paid anyway, never knew when we'd got a chance to visit this site again. I got to tell you that the inside looked like every picture you saw, but i'm not sure if it looked the same as the one in Gladiator movie. The building itself was quite complicated and from the diagram provided in the 'galery' i saw how it used to be like. It's true they put wild animals as a trap bellow the main field. On our way out, we saw a group of gladiators in front of the building. Thir purpose was to 'take a picture together' Mia and i took turn to take pictures with them, dressed as Cleopatra being fed up some grapes from the gladiator. What i love the most about this group (a lot of gladiators offering pictures but this group's the best) they also have ABAH Paus Paulus in the picture!! :D

After collesium second major sight in Rome: Vatican.
Although i don't go to church, but st. Peter basilica wowed me (is that even a word?). The decoration was so complex and lux. I'm no fan of religious paintings but the one displayed here was just awesome. While we were there, some 'jemaat' were having their masses and they sing in the local language and i got goosebumps. It's a true amazing experience. The cute part about this place was the guard. They called 'the swiss guard' and if you think the queens's guard in London has riddiculous outfit then you should check out the swiss guard's outfit.

Vatican is a country in a city, and one thing i love about it was the fact they have their own mailing system! Yep. Poste Vaticane!! I think that's cool. Too bad i'm affraid my mail wont be delivered to my friends back at home so i didn't send them anything from here (despite the super pricey stamp) but i did purchace one postcard with 'abah' (paus paulus--the one that passed in 2005) and a rosario as a gift for my aunt.

the last thing to visit today was Fontana Di Trevi. we were looking for it this morning and couldn't find it. we stop at the Metro stop stated 'fontana di trevi' but once we came out we didn't see a fountain we usualy see in pictures. it was just a mermaid-ish fountain. Mia suggested to throw our coins anyway but i refused. i asked some mas-mas near Vatican later on where the fountain actualy was and he pointed it out right away in our map (while he was also dancing to the music in his stall). so the metro stop was right, only the fountain that was wrong. we had to walked 5 blocks to get to the real fountain.

I really love Italy. And Italian. I mean, according to my eyes, the British guys are more good looking than Italian, but i have to admit Italian guys are funny and charming. There're nice people to chat with, and even if they tease you, you wont feel played because they keep the jokes universal. For sure i'd love to go back to Italy, especially Venice. :D