Adventure Notes #6: Kaiserslautern – Heidelberg – Milan

This AdventureNotes is the second part of my first Eurotrip journey, which is the story of my third day of the whole trip. One day, three cities to visit. When I think about that now, well that’s quite impressive. I travelled across three countries in a day.

Kaiserslautern. Well, the reason why I went to the city was because there was my friend there and I needed a place to sleep. Haha. I was a backpacker back then and budgeting was very important! I needed to save my money (I need to save my money as well now!). The city is very small. I remember that fish is the icon of that city so you can see fish sculpture everywhere. I get to see the student’s life in Kaiserslautern. It was quite different with student’s life in the UK, I guess. As education is totally free in Germany, yes for foreigner too, what international students and students in general need to be concerned about is their living cost. There were Indonesian students who do not have any financial support and have to work to fulfil their needs. How can they manage that? I have no idea. But they work here and there to get enough money to survive.

A night in Kaiserslautern and I had to go early in the morning to Heidelberg. Why Heidelberg, because I wanted to visit another friend of mine. It is funny that when you live far from your hometown you seem to have more friends than ever. Moreover, the relationship between you and the people you leave back home gets better. I don’t know why but that’s what I feel based on my experience. Anyway, I went to Heidelberg from Kaiserslautern by train again. I really love the transportation system in Germany. The train is punctual, the information is provided well, and the physical appearance of the train is very nice. All seem to be modern. The journey from Kaiserslautern to Heidelberg was about 1.5 hours. Not too far and I arrived quite early in Heidelberg.

I met my friend and took the tram to old town area of Heidelberg. Well, I think it is the most beautiful old town area. Seriously – I mean with all the buildings and the paints plus the scenery around. I love it! The old town area in Heidelberg is not too big. I walked across the old town and walked up through the Philosophenweg to see Heidelberg from above. I could see a kind of castle across the Philosophenweg. I didn’t go up there but my friend told me that it is beautiful. Well, hope there’ll be next time! I visited the Heidelberg University library which is gorgeous. Haha. Oh! And the university is the oldest university in Germany. I think it is worth to visit.

I only spent a few hours in Heidelberg and then I had to catch another train to bring me back to Milan. It was a very long journey; 6-7 hours if I am not mistaken. On my way to Milan, I had to transit in Basel. Basel is a city in Swiss. I went out from the station as I had around 45 minutes before my next train. I walked around the station area. What I forgot was that the currency they use in Switzerland is not euro! Most shops will accept euro but you’ll get CHF as the change.

After a very long journey I finally arrived in Milan at around 9 pm and had to go to my hotel for the night. It wasn’t a big, nice hotel but it was okay for me to rest as I had to go very early the next morning for my flight to Rome.

Lessons from the first part of my first Eurotrip:

– Traveling around Europe by train is very nice! Solo travelers – well, small group traveler as well – need to try this! As all of the transportation systems between countries are connected and the information is provided well, it is very safe. You get to see beautiful scenery and cities along your train ride. You also get to see local people’s daily life. Priceless experience!

– Beware when you travel during the Easter – or the seasons in between like during spring or fall – as the weather can be tricky. It’s kind of difficult to decide what clothes to bring and to wear. But bear in mind that you have to prepare for the worst! If you bring too many warm jackets, you can just take it off when it’s too hot; as simple as that.

– Currency, currency. Not all countries in Europe are members of EU. And those who are not have different currency. Yeah, UK has different currency although it is a part of EU. It is not too difficult if you end up in Swiss and only have euros in your pocket. But it will be probably more difficult if you are in some Eastern Europe countries. Check again the facts about the countries that you are going to visit.

– Backpacking is very tiring. You have to be on top of your stamina and use all opportunities to rest. You need your focus and your brain to be always on. You need your body to be fit because you have to carry that heavy backpack and to walk long distance. However it is a very great experience! I’d love to go backpacking again!

– It’s great to have friends everywhere so you can go and visit them. You can have free accommodation and meal. Haha! They’ll be glad to see you and you’ll be happy to see them too.

Jan 01, 2014

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Adventure Notes #5: Milan – Munich

This is getting interesting! My first Eurotrip. My fifth journey was during the Easter break. My housemate actually asked me to go with her and her friends but I chose to go by myself. Yes, it was my first Eurotrip and I was alone! I was super excited planning for the trip and actually went for the trip. So here’s my next AdventureNotes.

First thing first; travelling to Europe for Indonesian people is not that easy. Visa stuffs made me dizzy. I sorted out my Schengen visa in Manchester. I applied through Italian embassy as it was my first and last destination. Before applying for the visa, I needed to plan my entire itinerary as I needed the proof for visa documents. At that time, I went from Leeds to Milan and back to Leeds. The trip was 8 days long and I planned to go to Germany as well.

Travelling inside Europe was not that expensive. Imagine you can travel from Jakarta to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur easily; it goes the same in Europe. It is even easier because it is a continent so that the transportation is not a problem. Catch a train and you can go somewhere. I went from Leeds to Milan by plane which was cost only around 40 pounds return – the train ticket from Hull to Leeds even more expensive at that time. LOL. In this first part of my Eurotrip AdventureNotes, I will write about the first two days of my trip which was Milan and Munich.

When I say Milan, it was not actually Milan as the plane landed in Bergamo, which was the low cost carrier airport, Milan’s neighbor city. My first impression when I saw Italy was that it is not too different from Jakarta. The landscape, almost the weather, the crowd… almost all reminded me of Jakarta. I arrived at around 6 pm in Bergamo and took an airport bus to Milan Central Station to take a train to Munich. The bus ticket was 5 Euro and it took around an hour to get to the Central Station. Milan’s Central Station was quite good. There were shops and restaurants in the station and the place was convenient. I could look around the shops and eat peacefully. Unlike the station in Rome which was very crowded and uncomfortable, Milan Central Station was generally nice for traveler.

My train to Munich was a sleeper train. It went from Milan at 9 pm and arrived in Munich at 6 am. That was the first time I went somewhere with sleeper train and it was a good first experience. The cabin was quite big, women only – well in my case myself only, with complimentary breakfast. Yeay! The train ride was nice and the steward (I don’t know what they call them if they work in trains) was very helpful. I felt like I arrived in Munich in no time. A little bit cold during the night but it was fine.

The thing when you travel during the Easter time is that the weather can be unstable. When I went from UK, the weather was horrible. There were snowstorms all around UK. I was lucky that my flight wasn’t cancelled. When I arrived in Italy, the weather was pleasant. It was not too cold and not too hot. It was around 15-18 degree Celsius, I guess. And when I arrived in Munich it was -6 degree Celsius. Oh no! I was lucky that I still put my winter clothes on.

As my train arrived quite early in Munich, I kind of had nowhere to go. I decided to walk slowly to the Altrathaus and Nueuerathaus which is in Marianzplatz (correct me if I’m wrong, I already forgot some of the details). I wanted to see the famous clock there. Unfortunately, at that time the clock which supposed to be moving around during the hour change did not work. I continued strolling around the area, walked pass the farmers market, saw the sausage shops – yes the Germans are famous for their wurst, and ended up in a coffee shop. It was very cold outside and being able to sit down and feel the warmth of a cup of hot chocolate was very nice. I was there until I felt like it was okay to go out and went to another destination. I wanted to go to this place which was used to be a palace. The place is called Munich Residenz. It costs around 8 Euro to go inside the place. Munich Residenz is huge. I went to all of the rooms and saw beautiful decorations and architecture. It took around an hour up to two hours to look around the place.

After that, I just went around Munich old town. I didn’t have time to explore more places as I had a train to catch to go to Kaiserslautern – a city in German near France border. I regret that I didn’t go to Allianz Arena. I don’t know why but I always have this thing with German football. Haha. That’s why I really want to go to Allianz Arena. The place is a little bit out of Munich so we have to take the S-Bahn to get there. There are so many interesting places in Munich and I think a day or two days more in Munich will be good.

Anyway, at 2 pm I had to take another train to Kaiserslautern – my friend’s place. It took 5 hours train ride from Munich to Kaiserslautern. I had to change the train 3 times but they weren’t confusing at all. I got all the information from my ticket. I got the platform number and the exact time of the train. It was very pleasant – except when one of my trains was delayed for 3 minutes and I had to run to catch my other train which was only 5 minutes apart. What an experience! The journey from Munich to Kaiserslautern was beautiful. It was very nice to see the scenery along the journey. I saw many small cities and one of them is called Frankenstein. I wonder if Frankenstein really comes from that small city.

Well, that’s about it, I guess. I have 6 more days to write about as parts of my first Eurotrip. It was a great trip and travel experience. I really recommend people to go and travel alone because it is fun! So much fun!

Jan 1, 2014

AdventureNotes #4: Manchester

Haha. It’s been a very very very very long time since I wrote my last AdventureNotes. And yesterday I bragged to Ryan about my trip to Europe and then I realized… well, I need to continue my AdventureNotes! This is the fourth, and the fourth goes to Manchester; not because I particularly like Manchester, it’s just because the fourth city I went to during my stay in the UK.

Manchester, to be honest, I do not like this city. I don’t know why but it’s just a city for me. I went there with my housemate and we visited the so-called biggest Chinatown in the UK – which for me, not too big and not too Chinese. It was a day trip so when we arrived there at around 11 – thanks to the delayed train – we grabbed lunch and went straight to Old Trafford.

I am not a football fan. I am definitely not an MU fan. But going to Manchester without visiting Old Trafford is like.. what are you going to do?? Unless you have other business plan or meeting with friends. The museum and stadium tour were quite nice. I got a 2 for 1 ticket because I took the train from Hull to Manchester. You need to note this! If you’re going by train around UK, you may be able to get some promotion or something like that. Check the website so you won’t miss it.

The Old Trafford Stadium was a little bit outside of downtown Manchester. I took the tram to get there plus around 20 minutes walking. We arrived later than when we should be there but luckily they didn’t make a fuss about it and allowed us to take the next tour. The tour is probably once in an hour so we didn’t have to wait that long. It took around 2 hours to finish the whole thing. It was nice, full of information, and you get to come in to different places in the stadium. At the end of the tour, you can shop if you want – which I didn’t.

After that, we went back to the city and just strolled around. There was this big shopping mall and a nice park. I didn’t really pay attention around really. But if you want to shop, go to Manchester! Especially during the Christmas sale because you can get almost everything with cheap price. LOL.

There are many more museums and places you can visit if you are going to Manchester. Unfortunately I didn’t go to those places. I heard that there is this football museum, etc. Yeah.. Manchester is not too confusing as a city so you basically don’t have to go around and around to go to places. The city center is compact. Plus! Free city bus! If you are going to certain places you can just take the free city bus. Yeap… That’s about it. I went to Manchester twice but the second one is for visa thingy so… it doesn’t count. LOL.

If you’re an MU fan then go to Manchester. If you want to know Manchester, go to Manchester. Travel never a waste of time and money anyway. 🙂

Dec 21, 2013

AdventureNotes #3: London

Baiklaaah.. Setelah cuti nulis (ciee) beberapa lama, saya maleees nulis dg bahasa Inggris. Hehe. Jadi, maaf2keun kalo notes kali ini berantakan yaa.. 🙂

London is a city that I like. Kalo liat London, mungkin sedikit2 inget Jakarta walaupun banyakan ga mirip nya siih tp yaa dibandingin Hull, masih lebih mirip lah. Hehe… Karena London adalah ibu kota dan pusat ekonomi juga, jadi London itu suasananya sibuk, it seems like everyone is on the go. Buat aku yang suka dengan ke-hectic-an dan kesibukan, menyenangkan banget sih jalan2 di London. Kenapa notes kali ini tentang London? Yaa.. karena setelah York, London adalah kota kedua diluar Hull yang aku datengin di UK.

Pertama kali visit London, saya pergi dg housemate saya. Pas banget waktunya lagi Christmas holiday. Tentunya di waktu winter dan suasananya Christmas banget. Yang harus diwaspadai ketika liburan di musim Christmas seperti saya adalah melangitnya harga2, mulai dari kereta dan akomodasi. Tips-nya, booking semua di awal. Bulan Oktober kalo bisa udah booking semuanya supaya dapat best deal. Untuk transportasi, selain kereta kita juga bisa naik bus dari Hull. Hanya saja perjalanannya 5 jam. Tergantung lagi, apakah beda harganya signifikan. Plus, kalau punya tiket kereta, kita bisa masuk ke certain attractions dan makan di certain resto with 2 for 1 price. Promo ini sangat2 menarik karena yaa sama aja dapet diskon 50%. Syaratnya, ke London harus bersama teman2 dan berjumlah genap. Hee. Lalu, untuk akomodasi ada banyak pilihan. Ada wisma KBRI yang katanya sangat terjangkau (saya sih belum pernah nih jangankan ke wisma KBRI, ke KBRI nya aja blm pernah, heheheh), ada juga hostel yang terjangkau. Sarannya sih, kalau bisa pergilah ke London bersama teman2 yang banyak karena bisa ngirit ongkos akomodasi.

Lanjut, what did I do? Pertama kali ke London, 4 hari dan betul2 niat. Semua itinerary nya dibuat dg oke. Beli2 tiket masuk attraction dari internet karena biasanya lebih murah. Ada juga deal2 tertentu yang memungkinkan kita masuk ke beberapa attraction dengan harga combined. Kalo nggak salah, pertama kali ke London, aku pergi ke Madame Tussaud, Sherlock Holmes Museum, nonton Wicked, ke British Museum, Portobello Market, Harry Potter Studio, Oxford Street, Parliament House, liat changing guards di Buckingham Palace, naik London Eye, dan ke Hyde Park. Yah, kira2 begitulah yaa.. Menurut saya sih semua attraction nya menarik dan recommended kecuali Sherlock Holmes Museum yang ngantri nya panjang banget dan cukup mahal tapi tidak sesuai dengan ekspektasi.

Untuk aku, it’s a must-nya London ada beberapa. Kalo nggak ke tempat2 itu yaa rugi lah (menurutku yaa..). Pertama, nonton musical di London. Teater tempat musical2 ini ada di daerah West End biasanya. And I love West End area. Nggak tau kenapa tapi rasanya festive aja. Hehe. I also love strolling around in South Bank. Again, lebih karena alasan environment. Entah kenapa suka aja atmosphere disana. Lalu, ke Harry Potter Studi. Dimana lagi bisa ke Harry Potter Studio? Agak mahal tiketnya tapi for someone who grew up with Harry Potter like me, sungguh2 nggak nyesel.

Menurut aku sih, pertama kali ke London itu harus dipuas2in. Bener2 harus mengunjungi apa yang ingin dikunjungi. Karena kita bisa jadi turis benerannya hanya pas pertama kali ke London. Kesempatan berikutnya ke London… well, pastinya karena udah pernah jadi kurang exciting walaupun kalo buat aku sih, pengen balik2 terus ke London. The city has a charm.

What can you do besides the normal touristy activities? Coba buka website nya visit London dan cari2 event apa yang sedang berlangsung. Menyenangkan sih, dateng ke event2 yang diselenggarain di London karena pasti niat. Saya pribadi sih pernah dateng ke Winter Wonderland yang recommended banget, HARUS dikunjungi klo lagi ke London saat winter dan ke Canada Day. Menarik! Coba juga jalan2 ke taman yang ada di London, dateng ke pasar2 yang banyak banget juga di London. Atau, kalo yang mau ngeceng silahkan beredar di jalanan kota London pas jam orang bubaran kantor. Lots of cute guys with suit. Hehehe…

That’s about it. I didn’t give anymore details about the website, etc but you can ask me anytime. If you wanna go to London, I’ll be happy to make an itinerary for you. Hehehe.. Okay then, London is a city with charm which makes me want to go there again and again.

Oct 18, 2013

AdventureNotes #2: York

So, this is my second notes about my adventure while I was studying in the UK. Why York? Well, there are two reasons for that. First, my trip to York is the first out of city trip that I did after I came to UK. Second of all, because I love York. Seriously, York is my most favorite city in the UK. I don’t know why and you may not agree, but the city is very gorgeous.

The reason I went to York is because my housemate asked me to join her and her friends to go. She actually wanted to shop – because there’s this big outlet in York. I agreed to come not because I wanted to shop but because I just got nothing to do at that time. LOL. Good way to spend money, Zaa.

York is not too far from Hull, only around an hour by train. As usual, I had to book my train ticket early so I could get better deal. However, I made a mistake. I misinterpreted my friend’s request and I bought too many train tickets. What should I do? Thank God I bought the open ticket or all day ticket which means that I can travel anytime during that day. It costs a little bit more expensive than the advanced ticket; so I can returned the extra tickets. It took a long time until my money was refunded into my bank account but yeah, at least I got my money back.

I did quite a lot of things when I went to York. I didn’t go to the outlet the first time I visited York but I went there later on. As my favorite city, I went to York several of times. I just love it there. Places that I’ve visited in York are the museums (Castle Museum, another museum that I cannot remember the name, and Railway Museum), the tower (which again, I cannot remember the name), the Shambles (which is a cute old street), the Minster, and the parks. As I went there for the first time during the Christmas period, there was also a Christmas market. I loved the ambiance of the market, especially during the night. I also tasted the famous English afternoon tea (which was very expensive and… well, not as I imagined).

As a short visit destination, York offers quite a lot of attractions. I really like York with all its attractions. There are more museums than what I mentioned above and more interesting places a little bit outside of it such as Castle Howard. I regret I haven’t had a chance to visit Castle Howard because people said that it is gorgeous.

Now, for the tips. If you want to go to York, there are many options of transportation. You can go by train, bus, or coach. It’s only an hour by train but the fare is slightly more expensive. Great deal on Megabus sometimes so you can travel by coach for one pound only. Bus may be a good choice if you want to get to know Yorkshire area better. Visiting York can be expensive. The museums are not free. It is quite expensive, honestly. So, get promotion deals and buy the one year tickets. Plus, always ask for student price. I think, shopping in York is fun. I like to go to the outlet and find good stuffs in cheap price. The price in the outlet is already cheap, but if you go during the sale time, it gets cheaper and cheaper.

I definitely recommend people to go to York. It is such a beautiful place with interesting attractions to visit.

 Oct 09, 2013