Tuesday, September 29, 2009

12 days in Holland :) - Part 2

... read Part 1

Saturday-Monday Sept 19-21

Weekend getaway to PRAGUE!

Prague is one of the place I have been dreaming to go! Since i got the chance, then I should go and pursue my dream :P

I went to Prague with Citra. She took care of the flights and the hotel. I guess this is my first time having an unplanned trip abroad. There's gotta be a first time in everything...

Our flight to Prague was a long one, because we got to transit at Charles de Gaulle, Paris. Pfff... I disliked that airport. Got us carrying our stuff from one terminal to another in the most confusing way! Plus, I was already sickened from the extremely awful flight/ride from Amsterdam. As if I'm in the bus instead of a plane! Seriously!

We arrived in Prague at 5 pm something (19/09). The airport was not so fancy, considering the facts that Prague is one of the greatest places in the world - I am now convinced that Schiphol Amsterdam is one of the top-notch airports in the world. After exchanging money to Czech currency (CZK) and buying ourselves bus tickets to get to the city, I figured that Czech do not really speak English. Time to put body-language into practice haha..

The hotel was nowhere to be found, at first. The local people were not helping too.. Yihaa, that's what happen if didn't do any research before my trip xD After running around for blocks with exhaustion, I finally figured out the street names and found ourselves standing in front of the hotel... which was only about 100 meters from the metro station Anděl. Dang!

We indulged ourselves in good (and very affordable) food by Zlatý Klas (Plzeňská 9 Anděl), a Czech restaurant located in the neighbourhood. Mushroom risotto with cream, broccoli and Parmesan cheese by the price of 99 CZK was my order. I indulged my eyes with all the handsome men all around me. What a lovely sight! A small club called Jet Set (Radlická 1C-1D, Anděl) nearby the restaurant was our next stop. It was only 11pm and we didn't think that we needed to end our first night in Prague just yet. So we dropped by and order Lolita - vodka, pisang ambon, orgeat syrop, lemon, and pineapple juice - for Citra, and Orgasmus - vodka, kahlua, baileys, amaretto, cream - for me. The taste? It's orgasmic!

We started the day (20/09) - not too early - walking by the riverside towards Karlův most (Charles Bridge). The weather was certainly nicer than in Holland. Too bad the Charles bridge was under construction :( so i didn't get the full "Prague-in video-clips" effect, especially with European tourists flooding the place for weekend getaway, too. The church next to Charles bridge was holding a weeding ceremony - I had a sneak peek and got to see the long weeding dress and white decorations. We continued our walk to the Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square) and witnessed the infamous beyond imagination Astronomical clock with its 24-hour scale, sun, moon, and zodiac ring. What a ingenious beauty!

*a week afterward, i watch Ne-Yo's most recent video-clip "Part of the List" and stupidly think "hey, i think i've seen this place before... it's familiar". A google search later... "Doh! it's Prague!"

Since I was totally confused of the street names (all over again) and also small passages we found every now and then, we just went wherever our feet took us. We did urge ourselves to go to the Pražský Hrad (Prague Castle) complex, located on a hill quite near the city center.

St. Vitus Cathedral was huge and awesome, as well as its surrounding area. As soon as we saw another bride-groom, we realized that we were in a good date: 20-09-2009 :) awwww.. makes me wanna go and just marry someone a.s.a.p (big LOL)

The warmth of the sun really got us in the lazy mood, especially since our feet was already heavy from walking up to the hill. However, we did manage to stroll around the castle, took pictures, and flirted with Czech's castle guard. Hahaha.. i loved the way his eyes followed me around without moving his head whatsoever. We walked down passing the Svatováclavská vinice (St. Wenceslas´ Vineyard) on east part of the castle.

The day slowly crawled into night. We were in Národní area when suddenly our stomach growled. So we walked to Citra's colleague recommendation: U Fleků (Křemencova 11, Praha) brewery and restaurant. It's one of the oldest beer house/restaurant in Prague - when i browsed through the website it is said that the place have been brewing beer for 500 years, dates back to 1499! We sat in Velký sál (The Big Lounge), accompanied with Czech music (which sounded like German's), and Czech big meal for the night. The waiter did offer bok beer and Becherovka as apperitiv, but i said no. Becherovka is Czech original traditional liquer made from herbs and spices; most people do not really enjoy the "medicine-like" taste.

Prague is also the center of jazz and classical music. Those who loves these kinds of music will not get bored in this city since there are always music performances and concerts every single day (Yes! every single day). One of the great place to watch such performance is in Reduta Jazz Club (Národní 20, Prague). Reduta is one of the oldest jazz club in Prague. The place is quite small for a famous jazz place. Oldskol taste, oldskol place. The walls were filled with black and white photographs of famous jazz/blues musician of the world. The tables and chairs were not arranged in an unusual shapes, the bar was somewhere down the hall - one have to get the drinks oneself. That night, from 21.00 till 22.00 something, we watched the performance of Bartas Band - a blues local band from Prague.

The next day (21/09), we went to Vyšehrad, a castle located on a hill over the Vltava river, by trem this time - too tired of walking! But somehow, we still need to walk up the steep hill. After some turns, I saw this huge "fortress" made of big old bricks. The yellow autumn leaves was already decorating the path on the castle complex. Situated within the castle is the Basilica of St Peter & St Paul, as well as the Vyšehrad cemetery. Local legend holds that Vyšehrad was the location of the first settlement which would later become Prague.

Praag is Prachtig!
Prague is beautiful ~*

more prague pics on facebook :)

Continue to Part 3...

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

12 days in Holland :) - Part 1

Saturday Sept 12
It's 5.20 am GMT+1. The plane landed 30minutes earlier than scheduled. After 16-hours flight with KLM, with a short transit in Kuala Lumpur, i finally set my foot on Schiphol airport. It felt very nice to be in Holland again after almost 3 years away. Haha... i said it like i am originally living in Holland xD

Somehow, i felt sad to hear "mind your step" ~* audio warning placed on those fast tracks. My student days were gone, along with many great memories attached to it... as if i come "home" to "nothing". But when i saw Niels and Citra in the arrival hall to come pick me up, i was delighted all over again.

After putting my stuff in de Baronie bed & breakfast - and added a little rest to that - we went straight to Rotterdam ;) sitting on the car, looking at the A4 highway... was so soothing. A good way of refreshing my aching body from the journey. Walking around in Rotterdam was fun - since i was acting as a tourist ;) visiting the kubuswoningen and the market, taking all kinds of pictures. Outrageous eating habit occur when we bought cheese (combined with olives, dry tomatos, and garlic) and kipbeling (salty fried fish), knowing that we just ate Burger King just an hour ago. I'm sorry, I can't help it! hahaha We closed the deal drinking coffee in Hotel New York. I loooooove the place :)

Citra's house in Den Haag was our next stop! She cooked a HUGE portion of mie ayam and forced me to finish it all and then ate Edwin's apple pie as dessert. I was incredibly full, up to the neck!

Niels dropped Citra n I back in Amsterdam so that we could meet up with our high school friends. Yes, apparently i have several high school friends living in Amsterdam area. We went to ESCAPE and dancing our feet off until 4 am. On the way back, I realized that I hadn't been sleeping for almost 26 hours :p

not so girls night out hehe

Sunday Sept 13

The original plan was to go to Brussels for the day. But suddenly i felt a little lazy, seeing how the clumsy windy rainy weather outside. So we decided to go to Hermitage museum instead. It's a new Russian culture museum located in Nieuwe Herengracht (Waterlooplein) area. We spent about 3 hours there, awed by the gorgeous Tsarina/princess/duchess dresses displayed - alongside with other stuffs, too.

*TAPAS oh yeah!

Alfons was next on the agenda. We went to have dinner in this cute and cozy Spanish eat house in Zeedijk area (the red light district area). The paella was enormous and delicious, accompanied with assorted tapas (ham, black and green olives, sardines, and octopus - all covered in olive oil), and of course Sangria! Alfons was very kind to "trakteer" our dinner ;) For the dessert, we walked to the little Italian ice cream place in Nieuwmakt.

*the name of the eethuis is Centra. Located in Lange Niezel 29, Amsterdam.

Monday Sept 14
It fells funny to go through an old routine: take a train to Hilversum Noord station, and then walk for about 10-15 minutes towards the office. Got a little distracted by the new round about placed along the way. The building stays the same, they're renovating and repainting it i suppose - looking at those high constructed poles surrounding it. Very pleased to see my M&M colleagues. At last, i got to put the faces to the names! The hall to the cafeteria looks the same. Although they replaced the old coffee machines to a more fancy ones ;) My dear wiener melange coffee still have the same taste...

After one introduction day at the office, i went back to Amsterdam to grab Maoz Falafel and its open salad bar :D my stomach was filled with all different kinds of food that day hahahaha

FALAFEL - my favourite :D

Tuesday Sept 15
The weather was quite clumsy- with extra wind blower i guess. After spending another day at the office, i went to Hilversum to drink some coffee in Hilversum with Rina and Prita. Then I hurried back to Amsterdam to meet Ika and to watch Inglorious Bastards at Pathe Tuchinski :p gyahahahaha... *trying to make some people jealous here* Using my Pathe unlimited card [yes, i still have it!] we gain access to the theater.

Lol, got my self dizzy during the movie - with the front row seat [the zaal was packed!], a giant screen, a movie spoken in German-France-and-little-English and dutch subtitle >.<' ROFL and no Dominik by my side to translate into proper English. Gotta watch the movie again in Indo!

Wednesday Sept 16
Late today! -.-'
Gotta go to ABN Diemen to manage my frozen account. Gosh! the procedure was so annoying, good thing that the guy was cute. An ease to my eyes :P hope everything's alright with my money.

I managed to take some reminiscing pictures too of my old student flat. De Kiezel, where we all met, became family and lovers and friends for life :) "Whatever happens in Kiezel, stays in Kiezel" Quite right, since the building will be destroyed and rebuild into some new fancy thing soon.

Our beloved Diemen and Diemerplein - full of memories

The train to Hilversum was vertraging (Eng: delayed) for 15 minutes already from Amsterdam. On the way to Hilversum, the train suddenly stop again for about 15-20 minutes at Naarden Bussum station. The train trip, which was supposedly only 30mins max, became a-60mins-trip! Ha, NS clearly stands for Nooit Stipt (Eng: never punctual). Imagine running trains in Indonesia hahaha...

After a training and "enlightenment" session of Selligent, my colleagues and I went to a Japanese restaurant at Hilversum. The name's Kimono - a teppanyaki, not a sushi place. We had a great time up till 10 pm when everybody seemed to be exhausted already. I discover Michele's great feet [compared to mine] and great appetite! Really want to have a second round of Japanese onbeperekt (Eng: unlimited) with Rina and Michele at Osaka :)

M&M colleagues

I went back to Utrecht that night, sleep-over at Rina's crib. On the bus from Utrecht Centraal to Rina's place, I accidentally met April Liping! I still recognize her short hair. It's so funny because we didn't get the chance to meet when she was in Jakarta the previous week. What a coincidence!

Rina's crib? Lovely! The red wall, filled with snapshots of her and Ruudie, the cozy super big Indonesian style sofa, the music instruments all over the place, the colourful posters and accessories. After a midnite chat session with Rina and Ruudie, I slept peacefully at Thijs' overflowing-with-toys room. Hope i can provide a room like that for my baby hehe

Thursday Sept 17

Bazar with my darlings

Had another great dinner today, with friends :) Ardy, Anita, Barry, Vina, Llyod, Ika, Shaula, Citra, Niels, and me. The place, BAZAR, is a Mediterranean restaurant located in Albert Cuypstraat 182. The Mediterranean atmosphere goes all through the 2-storey restaurant, with the enchanting scent from the Arabic/Moroccan/Greek/Mediterranean food presented in a huge and unraveling portion. The price was very reasonable too, around 10-15 Euro per dish ;)
*ok, writing this part makes me hungry... i need to stop*

see... this is how good the food presented. this one's Bizarre Bazar!

Friday Sept 18

It's the last day at the office. Had a free lunch with Indonesian afdeling and spent my last working hours practicing my new Selligent knowledge. Silly thing happened afterward!

Supposedly, I got to catch the train on 17.45 to Amsterdam - then meet Kecap at my B&B - then meet Citra - then go to Haarlem.

But when i was going to step out of the office, Michel and Niels told me not to. The train (esp. to Amsterdam) was out of service for an hour, maybe more... since "something" happened in Naarden Bussum station. We had a tip that it might be suicide! o_O So i called Kecap to postpone. But since he's a very kind person [and maybe out of activity :P], he picked me up at the office! Thanks a lot. Whoa, girls... don't you all agree that we need more gentleman like him in this world?

Since we're not able to catch Citra in Haarlem anyway, we had dinner at this Italian place called Vapiano, Oosterdokskade 145, nearby OBA-Openbaare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (Eng: public library). I enjoyed it very much! The place is a pasta-pizza bar, similar to Marche in Jakarta.

Each customer got a card, they can go around the place, decide which kind of Italian food they want - pasta, pizza, etc - which will be cooked before their eyes, swipe the card, eat and laugh and be happy, then pay in the cashier afterward. My cook was a tall, blond, white South-African lad, with a very strong British accent. He presented my Fussili Pesto met Garnalen en Spinazie beautifully. Gosh, it's yummy! Again, thank you :)

With extra full belly, we went to the B&B to take my suitcase. I have already said goodbye to Tuhami, the nice B&B owner in the morning, so i just dropped off my keys in the kitchen.

His apartment was very much of the boys' den. I was so happy to meet my darling friends - Bouvi, Pooh, Binsar, and Rhein. They're practicing some great music composed/arranged by Aras for their special show. After smoking pot session, i just sat back and enjoyed the friendly "student-like" atmosphere in the room. The big difference is that they're all working now :) yes, that is the thing i miss the most...

two of the boys :)

more pics on facebook *__*

Continue to Part 2 ...

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Gadget Hunt: iPod

Last week, when i was strolling at Ratu Plaza (what was I doing there again? *think* Ah! was going to meet B) i accidentally walk in eStore, looking at those fancy gadgets from Apple. They said that they're selling iPod for 1.8-something million IDR. Wow... tempting, i must say.

I was walking out of that store when a "force" drawn me to go upstairs and have a little detour to iBox store. It was quite shocking to see the ad there, written in a blank paper...

"Sale - iPod nano 16gb 1.5 million IDR"

I honestly thought it was a prank! So i boldly entered the store, asking about the promotion i saw outside. Oh yeah... iPod for 1.5 million IDR, only applied for cash or debit with bca card. Suddenly the thoughts of having a beautiful purple yet affordable iPod were dancing in my brain like crazy. hahahaha...

The decision to actually buy the gadget comes few days afterwards. It was on Sunday, the last day of the promotion - they said. I went again to Ratu Plaza, straight from Karawaci - after wishing a friend "Happy Birthday", with my sister. Gotta take her to know what she thinks about the iPod colours.

The store was quite packed. Some people were there to buy iPhone since they're also offering a bundel sale with Telkomsel during Ramadhan. I saw the iPod outside - yellow and orange. Where the hell is the purple one?!?!?! Terrified, i asked the staff there. Oops, no more purple iPod available... I didn't want to trade the money i had on my pocket with an orange iPod. Dang!

My skies turned to gray at that time. But since i am a genius (hehe..), i took one of iBox name card and called the iBox store in Grand Indonesia. Yippie! They hold the purple item for me. Since it was already 3 or 4 pm something and the store closed at 6 pm, we had to rush. With a little sweat here and there, my sister and I then took a bus to Grand Indonesia to get my new gadget ;) We closed our sweaty hunt licking chocolate sundae at Burger King (again).

Lovely, a beauty.
It's a gift from myself :)

One down! Many more to go! hahahaha
Should save more money for my next gadget, hopefully a Canon SLR camera.

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