Porto Trip, Portugal, November 2011

Ahoy fellas, due to the national holiday I then graced by the long weekend for this week. How can I not happy? More holidays mean more family time. So how are you my dear readers? Do you also have long weekend? If not, then hang in there fellas, it’ll be weekend soon. Today’s post will be about another story related to my Europe trip. You know what, sometimes, it’s not easy to remember every single pieces of my trip since I don’t possess any notes, just pictures, but here I am, try to share my wonderful memories because I might explode if I don’t do so J well, then, please enjoy.

I decided to visit Porto by accident. I have a friend named Kartina, she’s half Indonesian half Belgian. I thought she was in Brussels, Belgium, but when I contacted her, she told me that she did the exchange programs in Porto, Portugal. Well, after searched for the ticket, I found that it’s pretty convenient to go there. Thus, on the third week of November, I booked a round trip ticket and flew to Porto.

One of the reasons why I agreed to visit Porto (besides Kartina was there) was because the direct flight from Lille to Porto. Well, I used Ryan Air, the low-cost airline in Europe, and usually it flew not from main cities and main airports, therefore when I found Lille-Porto on the list, I should got going, shouldn’t i?? My flight was at 7pm, but I already waited for the Navette (shuttle bus) since 4.30pm. Being raised in Indonesia make you understand that anything can happened in the road, like what if there’s a traffic? Or strike? Hahhaha, anyway, I arrived in the airport at 5pm, well, it’s better than late 😀 Oooh, before I forgot, the Navette was pretty cheap, for single trip you’ll have to pay 7 €, but for round trip you only pay 9 €. Woohooo!!! Alright then, after 2.5 hours flight, I finally landed in Porto safe and sound. Too bad it’s already dark when I got there, so the sight-seeing started the next day.

The next day, I woke up with amazing due to the warm greet of the sunshine. The temperature in Lille at that time was around 1-5° Celsius, and meanwhile, it was 15° C in Porto, yippie!! So I woke Kartina up, made quick breakfast and started the city tour. Kartina took me to the downtown by bus. I already bought one day ticket that enabled me to use all kind of transportation mode for one day (but in particular zone only). Our first stop was Torre des Clerigos. It was the tallest church tower in Portugal. Well, I saw no significant difference between the European church, or maybe I was just not into church design 😀 And then, just by crossing the street, we arrived at Universidade de Porto, this university wasn’t as big as my hometown university, but at least bigger from my uni in France, hehehehe. We then walked again till Avenida dos Aliados. It was like the main street in Porto.

It was a large boulevard surrounded by town hall, big hotels, famous banks and many shops. My eyes caught many tourists were centered in this boulevard to take pictures or just waited for the other. I started to feel that I was overdress there, but my laziness in carrying my coat made me kept suffer from the heat. Kartina then escorted me to the main train station and grabbed some roasted chestnuts there.

I stumbled on the facts that the price in Portugal was cheaper than in any other European countries. Not only in the food price, but also the apparel!! When I entered Zara and Stradivarius stores, I saw the double price tag. We could see that Portugal got the lower price. Kartina told me that it was because the crisis that forced the government to tighten the debt and country’s budget then implied to the rise of unemployed rate. It was kinda sad seeing many building and apartment labeled with “for rent, for sale” signs.

The weather on the third day of my visit in Porto was a bit gloomy. Before we left the apartment, we brought the umbrellas just in case it turned out into rain. Walked around Porto in rainy day wasn’t nice. Knowing that I was upset, Kartina took me to try the ancient tram. Well, my impression of the tram was wow. Yeaaah, it was a very old tram. The woman machinist was really kind as well. She let us took the picture inside and outside the tram. Hahahah. Unfortunately, the ancient tram route was limited, so we got of near the Ponte D.Luis to sip hot tea there. Ponte D.Luis was a very nice place. It was a huge bridge which split Porto into two sides. Actually there was a subway that could take us to another side of the bridge, but we decided to walk across the bridge. In the afternoon, Kartina suggested me to go to the famous vineyards near the bridge. There were a lot of vineyards down the bridge.

Since Kartina already stayed in Porto for almost 2 months, so she recommended me to enter the Sandeman House. Sandeman is Porto local wine. In Sandeman House we took the tour to know the wine history, wine storages, and the wine tasting. The tour was sophisticated. By only paying 4.5 Euro, you’d receive a one hour complete tour and two glasses of wines. Yaaay!! We decided to go home after to have some rest because at night we would attend the Brazilian Party.

We woke up quite late the next day after partying till almost 5 am. But the weather seemed friendly so we went to Fez beach, it was 30 minutes by bus and subway. Olalaaaa the beach was awesome!! I really like it. It was a rocky beach with fascinating wave. We also went closer to the lighthouse to take astonishing pictures. Wow!! I mean, I went to the beach when the temperature in France was freeeezing, hahahha, I successfully made my French friend die in jealousy 😀 Couple hours later we went to the cinema to see Midnight at Paris. The movie was perfect. Ooh, one funny thing about the cinema in Porto was the break. Yeaah, there was a 10 to 15 minutes break during the movie. I presumed it was because the massive old population in Porto. Seriously, they were everywhere. I experience stunning look almost everywhere. Maybe it was quite rare to see a young Asian girl there J well, it was my last night in Porto, so we went home because the next day I had flight to catch in the morning. I went home packing and cooking my famous bakwan 😀

 

Overall, I do enjoy Porto. It was nice and friendly city, too bad only few of the people there who can speak English. I miss the food, the beach and the sun. Thanks Kartina for being so darling by taking me almost everywhere. See you again Porto J

Love Struck

Everyone must ever been in love at least once. For those who ever experience love, then it becomes easy to assess the presence of love. There are just too many signs to be seen 😀

Have you surprisingly become unaware with the age difference? Have you ever hypnotized by the shape of someone’s nose? Have you even freaked out by the crazy imagination of someone’s lips? Do you need longer time to overwhelm the butterflies in your stomach? Do you feel deep need to see the mirror again and again? Do your palms became annoyingly sweaty? And do not forget the schoolgirl feeling that can glow your face instantly. Ah love, the magical spell in you will never revealed, no matter how many movies are made, how many songs and books are written.

Eurotrip Outfits

PS: This draft was made 9 months ago

hello all, wow, I guess i’ve been hit by nerdy virus since i surprisingly become very active in posting again. Hahahaha. So, i just want to make a quick post regarding the outfits i wear during my exchange period in Europe. Just for a note, almost all of the coats that i have was bought in Europe. It’ll be better for you guys who will go travel to buy your clothes in your destination country because the price is cheaper and there’ll be more variation. Have a nice reading

grey coat (bought in Lille, France), brown scarf (bought in Porto, Portugal), sling-bag (bought in Porto, Portugal), black gloves (bought in Lille, France), dark brown leggings (bought in Cologne, Germany), brown boots (belong to my friend, we did a trade for a while)

orange scarf (bought in Indonesia), black coat (bought in Lille, France)

blue hat (bought in Indonesia), blue scarf (bought in Amsterdam, Netherlands), blue gloves (bought in Cologne, Germany)

silver bag (bought in Indonesia), flower midi-dress (bought in Indonesia), black cardigan (bought in Indonesia), grey leggings (bought in Lille, France), black boots (bought in Lille, France)

brown coat (bought in Lille, France), red mini skirt (bought in Porto, Portugal), dark blue leggings (bought in Cologne, Germany)

black leggings (bought in Indonesia), grey boots (bought in Lille, France), red belt (owned by my friend, Vidya)

red jacket (bought in Indonesia), pink gloves (bought in Cologne, Germany), yellow tops (bought in Lille, France)

Cologne, Germany Trip (Part 2)

PS: This draft was made 11 months ago

Hey all, what you’ve been up to? It’s been almost 3 weeks since I returned from France. It is nice seeing my friends here, there are a lot of new stories that I need to catch up with them. So these last two weeks, I always went out with them without worrying about my thesis, sigh 😀 Alright then, enough with the my breaking news, I just wanna continue telling about my Cologne trip, so sit back, relax and enjoooy 😀

Ophy, Ifti and me

The first day I arrived in Cologne was already quite late. I met my friends, Ifti and Ophy there. They were like me, taking exchange program from one semester abroad. So, after picked me up in the train station, we went to grab dinner in Turkey restaurant. We spent like one hour there before we split up. Ophy went home and I stayed over in Ifti’s student residence. You know what, I was kinda worried when I saw the way to go Ifti’s place because it was so dark and inhabitant (okay, I started to exaggerate). It was just like entering a forest, well, I wouldn’t complain that much if it’s noon, but it was night time, hahahaha. In the end, I was so happy arriving safe and sound in Ifti’s place.

in front of the Sport Museum 😀

The next day, Ifti took me to walk in Rheine riverbanks. The weather that day was really nice. During our walk, Ifti told me that at night she and Ophy would take me to the giant wheel so that I would be able to see the whole city landscape, of course I agreed for that delightful plan. Long before I arrived in Cologne, Ifti already promised me to take me to the Chocolate Museum. So it was the time to ask for her promise. The entrance ticket was 5 Euro for student (no forget to bring your student card), and 9 Euro for general.

I really like Chocolate Museum, they seemed like open factory, because we could see the process in making chocolate and the best thing was that we were allowed to take picture inside the museum. That was my first time seeing chocolate production which was sooo sophisticating, they used robotic thingy to pour the chocolate mixture into the mold. There was also a lot of heavy machineries to mince and stir the chocolate. Me n Ifti we did take a lot of pictures there, I believed more than a hundred pictures were taken, hahhaha. After we’re done in Chocolate Museum, we met Ophy.

We walked through Neumarkt, it was Cologne famous shopping street. There were a lot of shops there, although most of them I could find in Lille 😀 During our walk, Ifti found a very cute white coat in very good price, good for her. After that, we went into Ophy’s apartment because they had cyber class at 5pm.

The third day, I went into Fachhochshule Koln, it’s Ifti and Ophy university. What for? Well, I joined their class, err, actually I was the intruders. Ifti and Ophy convinced me to take half session (just like I did in Rotterdam) and free to go after the break. In the break, we had “mensa” in university cafeteria. From that moment, I stumbled into a thought that German people do concern more about quantity instead of quality. I paid only 2.95 Euro and I got a tray full of bread, rice, fruit, lasagna and many more. Wow!! Fascinating!!! After they’re done with their class, we went to the Dom.

 

in the Dom stairs

Dom is a huge cathedral in Cologne which located in front of the train station. The entrance was free, so we spent like one hour inside, taking pictures, of course. After wandering around in the Dom, we split up. Ophy had to go because she had work to do. Then, Ifti took me to Hohenzollernbrucke. It was a famous bridge in Cologne, indeed, it was one of Cologne landscape. What makes the bridge truly well-known was the love padlock in its wall. More than millions of padlocks were there, crafted with romantic poets. I just wondered how to get rid of old padlocks if there isn’t any space left and how they can recognize which is the old one. After crossing the bridge, we arrived at LVR Turm building.

the breathtaking view in the top of LVR Turm Building

It was a high building which we could have the access into the top by paying 2.5 Euro. The reason why Ifti took me to this building because there wasn’t any giant wheel anymore, like what she’d promised the day before. The giant wheel had been removed. Hahahaha. After that, we went to Kampung Indonesia (Indonesian restaurant where Ifti and Ophy work) to have dinner with their classmate. And oh, that night I slept in Ophy’s apartment because the next day I would leave Cologne, and I found that Ophy’s place was closer with the train station.

 

me, Ifti, Ophy and their clasmates @ Kampung Indonesia

The fourth day, we just spent the day by taking a walk to buy costumes for Ifti and Ophy, because the next day was the 11-11-11 Cologne Carnival. And after that we cooked lunch in Ophy’s. So, 45 minutes before my departure, we already left the apartment and started moving to the train station. We took the subway by considering it would take maximum 15 minutes only. But guess what my dear readers, the subway moved very very slow. At first we didn’t realize it, but as the time goes by, we were getting panic. We arrived in the train station 2 minutes before my departure. Ophy grabbed my suitcase and asked me to run to catch my train. Goddamit, I run as fast as I can. I screamed into the crowd so they would clear my way, damn I hate running!!! And finally I arrived at the platform, seeing my train there. I asked Ifti to open the door, but it was locked!!!! I saw the machinist in the train and begged him to open the door for me but he just lifted his shoulders and gave me a look like it was fault why I was late. And yes, I saw my train LEAVING, with me left behind. I was so shock, so were Ifti and Ophy. We went to see the train officer and asked whether there would be any train to Lille later or not. The station officer suggested us to see my train agent in front of the station. We went there and surprisingly the staff didn’t speak any English. Ifti and Ophy they didn’t speak fluent German. Daaaamn, that was frustrating!! Ophy called his boyfriend and ask him to explain my situation. But his explanation was confusing. When I felt like almost hitting the bottom, I suddenly asked the staff: “est-ce-que vous connaissez français?” aaaaand he nodded his head!! Hahahhaa.. So then I explained all my problems and the cause why I was unable to catch the train and you know what some of the train ticket was refundable. Yaaaay!!! He also helped me finding a train to Lille the next day. Hahahaha.

me in front of the Koln Hauptbanhof, the train station

The fifth day, I woke Ophy’s up because my train was at 9am and hell yeah, I didn’t wanna lose it again. So, we went to the train station again, but with different subway lines. Hahahhaha. Finally I was succeed getting into the train without any drama like the day before. What a nice adventure. Thanks Ifti, Ophy and Patrick for spiced up my holiday there.

Cologne, Germany Trip (Part 1)

PS: this draft was made 11 months ago

Alohaaa readers, miss me already? Well, since I’m almost done with my study, I have more free time to fill this blog, although sometimes I just feel jealous to myself regarded how easy the words flowing through my fingertips in writing the posts here instead of writing my thesis, oooops 😀 Alright then, today’s post will tell you about my journey to Cologne or Koln, a city located in western Germany. But I think I will split my Cologne story into two parts because I do really have a lot of thing to tell. Enjoooy!!

I went to Cologne directly from Rotterdam. I took the Eurolines bus from Rotterdam central station. When I wanted to enter the bus, I noticed that the passengers were just me and two African people. I felt a bit worried at the beginning but well, what choice did I have? So after tried finding a seat as close as possible with the driver, I sat back and relax. One hour later, we arrived at Amsterdam and had 30 minutes break and you know what, there were more people boarding into the bus. Yaaay!!

The trip to Cologne from Amsterdam was supposed to be 3 hours long, but unfortunately it was already dark outside so I spent most of my time by sleeping. In the middle of my journey, one of the African passengers started to make a conversation with me. Well, I didn’t mind having a chatty friend to spend the time during my journey, but if the conversation was getting completely off base, ohooo, that’s making me uncomfortable. So, please don’t get me wrong if I give him my fake name and phone number. Hahhahah 😀

I did have a lot of new experiences during this 3 hours trip. My favorite is when we entered Germany border ( I notice it by the SMS that welcoming me to Germany ) suddenly our bus was surrounded by two police cars. They asked us to stop. I was afraid and excited at once. I felt safe because I had all the document needed for travel. Then, four policemen entered the bus, greeted us and started to check our documents, like passport or visa. I was pretty sure that they did a random checking in unpredicted moments because there were 2 passengers in the bus which having problem with their documents. One passenger from Eastern Europe was caught having…..weapon (speechless) without bringing the proper document. Thus, he was asked to de-bus by the policemen. The checked took about 30 minutes and everyone felt happy when finally the policemen let us continue the journey. 15 minutes later, we stopped at the gas station and I decided to go to the restroom. I stopped for a while because the restroom was located a bit far and I have to pass the parking trucks to go there. Suddenly, voila, there was a woman that goes to the same direction with me. So I walked with her and she started asking me a lot of stuffs in dutch!! Hahahha, that was so funny, I explained her that I didn’t understand any dutch and when I tried to speak in English it turned out that she didn’t understand English. Well, we kept on communicating on our way to the restroom by making some understandable gesture 😀 Oh, how I love that kind of coincidence that enriches my experience.

Our first stop in Germany was in small city called Dusseldorf and just in 5 minutes, it was just me and the driver in the end. Hell yeaaah, all the passengers got off in Dusseldorf!! Hahahha, that was awkward. The driver then asked me about my destination, ups I was afraid that I took the wrong bus which has Dusseldorf as its final destination. So in order to looked brave (and smart, perhaps), I asked the driver whether he will continue to drive me to Cologne or not, and how relieve I was when he said “of course, Cologne is just 30 minutes far from here”. Finally at 9.45 pm, I arrived in Cologne central station safe and sound. Then I texted my friend, Ophy and Ifti to meet me there (to be continued…)