Edited: Grammatical stuffs.
As usual, I have been in hiatus for so long... on this blog. But I am actually always around for my micro-blog also known as Twitter, though barely on Instagram now.
As usual, I have been in hiatus for so long... on this blog. But I am actually always around for my micro-blog also known as Twitter, though barely on Instagram now.
I am considering deleting Facebook and Instagram altogether but like all big decisions in life, I decided to procrastinate my final say.
I am here to talk about my trip to Europe last summer. I am supposed to write about my wedding experience based on request but... I like to tell about my travel experience first. Hahaha, screw sequence! But y'all know I got married to Lokman in December 2015, right? So, all the details about that will be laid out later lah eventually.
So Lokman and I went to London to attend his brother's convocation ceremony, Since it took a handful of money to get the ticket there, why not splurge some more to travel to neighbouring cities? HAHAHAHA and we did just that.
Mind you, we aren't rich and we just got married. The plan was rather a financial suicide but YOLO (no, don't YOLO, plan for realzzz). We began our plan with buying the flight tickets months before and monthly meeting for discussion over dinner. We got Imran, my brother-in-law to purchase intracity's transportation and we bought the tickets to Emirates Stadium and Harry Potter Museum by ourselves. Overall, the planning part was a wee bit hell-ish because there were too many uncertaintiesss.
We bought the Etihad return ticket London-Kuala Lumpur for RM2500/person which is actually a pretty good deal at the time. Therefore, naturally, we had to transit at Abu Dhabi for few hours which was enough for us to refresh and pray. The in-flight meal was excellent (except for that mashed peas) especially the fluffy omelette served with salmon. Damn, that was our favourite.
[VIDEOS ARE ATTACHED AT THE END OF THE POST]
Moving on to...
|This is me stepping out of the airport for the first time and decided that it was actually cold for summer.|
This is what 8PM looked like mid-July in London. It looked like 6PM in Malaysia all year but the temperature was like 6AM. We arrived that noon and waited for my in-laws to arrive later in the evening before we move to Birmingham.
|My in-laws, Lokman and I testing the camera at our apart-hotel before we head out.|
We stayed at an apart-hotel (apartment hotel), Staycity, in Birmingham as recommended by my brother in-law. I liked the place except that my room has no fan, no air-conditioner and no window. Apparently, we were told by locals that it was peak summer (19-20th July) so the heat was rather unbearable for us Malaysians. I KID YOU NOT. Lokman and I slept away from each other as we were sweating profusely. But on the 21st and on, the temperature returns to bearable before it got colder from all the rain. Lol, weird weather.
|Lunch at Vietnamese restaurant.|
|This is a church of which I forgot the name.|
|Evening stroll with my roommate.|
My father-in-law rented a car for us to move around conveniently. Since they got a good car for worthy deal, my in-laws decided to drive up north to Scotland. Of course, Imran suggested us to go further to the highlands but since there are small kids in our group, they decided to go up until Edinburgh and return to Coventry. That's good enough for Lokman and I who couldn't afford to include Scotland in our plan, hehe, but we wished for a second trip so we can go the highlands later.
|Shawn the Sheep and friends by the roadside.|
|Hunting for Pokemon in the city...|
|I was allowed to bring only one home to keep our bags light. Sobs.|
|Edinburgh Islamic Center where we did our Zohor-Asar prayer.|
Our main reason of travelling across continents was to attend Imran's convocation ceremony. So here is a photo of us in University of Warwick. The weather was lovely, I even got myself a scoop of soft-served ice cream topped with my favourite shaved chocolate!
|Imran's favourite Nasi Arab place by Somalian cooks.|
|A visit to Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace... and it was raining.|
|My face when I asked Lokman to adjust his position. Lol.|
On Monday, we traveled to Watford for my big moment of visiting Warner Bros. Harry Potter Museum. The trip was amazing and now I really want to go Harry Potter Theme Park in Osaka, Japan (lord, give me the opportunity, please). So we got on a train from Victoria Station to Watford Junction and there was a shuttle bus from this point.
|We're going on a trip to our favoutire museum~ *singing the tunes of Little Einstein*|
|Happy kid at the Great Hall.|
|Yule Ball's decoration.|
I spent extra pound to get the mug because God knows when will I return here. Anyway, if you plan to go to this museum you can eat beforehand or buy food at the cafe. The locals thought that the food was a little expensive so we kept some snacks in our bag and eat here. You can see the cookies there we bought from Sainsbury!
My in-laws decided to spend the remaining of their days for this trip in London. Lokman and I had to move to London, too, because we would be leaving for Europe from Victoria Station.
|A picture in front of our homestay before we head to Paris.|
|Look at this handsome-looking fella...|
|...and then there's this weird shaped potato.|
Our journey to Paris from London took around 7-8 hours by bus. We purposely got the night trip because we wanted to sleep in the bus instead of renting a room. Once we got to Paris, it was a little tough on us because not many can speak in good English. I learned a bit of French back in school so that helped us a little bit with reading directions.
Anyway, our first AirBnB was here in Ivry-sur-Seine. It's a small area located in outskirt of Paris by the Seine river. Our host name is Gilles.
|And this is the co-host, the massive furry cat, Hellboy.|
|The well-known Eiffel tower is bigger than I imagined, really.|
|Arc de Triomphe at Place Charles de Gaulle.|
|Le Petit Palais; free entrance!|
|Louvre Museum anddd it was closed on that day. Not that I know if we can afford the tickets. Lol.|
|This is the Seine river; the city was flooded few months before we arrived but all looks good!|
|Truly mesmerized with the intricate details of sculptures on Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris.|
We arrived in Paris that Monday morning, got changed, toured the city and return to AirBnB by evening to get some rest. The next morning, we walked and took the train to the same bus station and board our bus to Brussels.
|A quick photo at the Grand Place before we temporarily join the quick tour.|
We learned that Belgium is a trilingual country in which they can generally speak three languages: English, French and Dutch. The free tour guide told us that that should be no surprise since they are a small country squeezed between three big ones. Most of those from the north can speak Dutch and English while those from the south speak French and English. Regardless, on preference, they choose to speak English and Dutch compared to French.
|Belgian waffle vs Liege waffle|
Behind this picture are many tourists taking photos of this little statue. We honestly do not understand how this little fella is made famous by pissing on a pond but we took a picture regardless to present you how tiny this thing is.
We did not spend the night at Brussels despite we were still very curious about the city. We just grabbed some souvenirs, lunch and headed straight to Amsterdam by bus. We arrived quite late around 9PM and worried that we won't get to our AirBnB before downpour came again by nightfall. And exactly that happened, hahaha. We walked from the train station to our next AirBnB and it was dark around 10PM. It started to rain by the time we saw the house!
|Amsterdam Sloterdijk: kinda like our Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS).|
The next morning, our AirBnB host drove us to the train station nearby his house as he was headed out too. Thus, we got to experience riding in a car with left-hand drive in a country on left-hand lane. We spent only one night here in Joost's house so we really had to make our Amsterdam trip count!
|Joost and Lokman talking about the Netherlands.|
|Lokman's intrigued by this juice maker at Amsterdam Sloterdijk.|
|Hello from Amsterdam Centraal!|
|It was actually very chilly that day. Well, at least for me.|
|Us taking pictures in the middle of cycling track before we knew what it is.|
Behind us in the above picture is Rijksmuseum. We didn't enter the museum due to time constraint but we did walked through the tunnel there and listened to a live band playing Game of Thrones theme song. That was the moment I miss the comfort of our home, slouching around watching the series. Anyway, I thought the live band performance was magnificent!
|Moco Museum displaying modern arts.|
|Big fat golden Belgian Fries topped with melted cheese.|
|I Amsterdam sign near Rijksmuseum.|
As you can see, all the maps pointed to this I Amsterdam sign near Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. Thus, look at the mess of all these tourists gliding on the big poor sign. But the next day, when we were on our way to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, we saw the exact same sign with nobody gliding on it! Hehehe so we went straight there and took a picture! And then it rained again...
|Us with clean I Amsterdam sign.|
From Amsterdam, we boarded the flight to Berlin Schönefeld Airport and this trip was actually sponsored by Imran, my brother-in-law, because he claimed Berlin as "can't be missed" and "worth the penny". Based on his words, we attempted to book a bus ride from Amsterdam to Berlin and it would take approximately 14 hours. Therefore, Imran offered to pay for the flight so we would really visit the city and I kid you not, the city is my favourite as compared to all other cities I visited that week!
|Bradenburger Tor slash Brandenburg Gate|
We joined a free tour guide led by Lyndsey, a petite chic looking girl speaking good English with German accent. She brought us around for 2-3 hours and after the tour, we can tip her with how much we think the tour was worth. People gave her generous tips and we did too because we think she was really great at showing us lesser-known historic spots along with their details.
|The remaining blocks of Berlin wall|
|Konzerthaus Berlin; among the cheapest (yet still with its own class) concert halls in Europe|
It was Saturday and summertime so a lot of people were seen chilling by the stairs and all over the parks. The weather was excellent. And behind me, there was two men playing musical instruments and since the acoustic was great in this area, the whole block can listen to their good music.
|Quick lunch by the park like true budget travelers LOL|
|The remaining of Berlin Wall up close: yea, it ain't as big as we imagined but terrifying still|
|The blocks of buildings used to temporarily house Berliners after the end of the terror|
We were told that underneath this buildings used to be Hitler's old bunkers. Lyndsey also told us what happened to Hitler during the remaining of his days before his downfall. A lot of speculation has been made but it is believed that he died in a suicidal death with his newly-wedded wife.
Photos below are some concrete slabs built as a memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. Listening to the historic part of this memorial is very intriguing yet I cannot overlook the irony of our history. Religious wars have been going for centuries after centuries yet no one feels like they are doomed to repeat the same mistake over and over again. As we walked and sat in silent out of respect to death of the European Jews, I felt rather remorseful thinking about Israeli Zionist attacking our Muslim brothers and sisters over Middle East. I mean, really, we all blamed Hitler for murdering these Jews and will we blame Netanyahu as we erect the memorial for murdered Muslims of Middle East somewhere in the future? How many memorials should it take to remind us that war and terror aren't the answers?
|Me in between the concrete slabs|
None of these concrete slabs is labelled or marked despite they were relatively difference in sizes. Some were built taller than the others and as you go deeper into the middle, the slabs are much taller and it was quieter. Lyndsey told us that perhaps it was meant to build that way: as you walk deeper into the memorial, you'd be able to feel the loneliness and eeriness felt by the victims during the dark days. I am actually rather impressed with Europeans having able to protect their historical building from vandalism despite there are graffiti all over other random walls.
On our final day in Berlin, we went to a flea market Mauermarkt at Mauer Park. The market is located near to a stadium and we visited the place on Sunday morning. Naturally, there were a lot of people selling and buying merchandises, singing and dancing and picnicking. Lokman and I walked through the market to buy souvenirs and looked around to see all the odd stuffs. They sold everything from old cameras, clothes, artsy stuffs, food to bicycles and plants. It was really fun but we had to be aware of pickpockets all the time.
After we were done shopping, we boarded the train to the city to get more souvenirs before we return to our AirBnB to collect our stuffs and fly back to London. We took the longer route to walk to Brandenburg Gate because we wanted to visit Victory Column Siegessäule, a monument built to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War.
|Looking for Pokemon or searching for the next route? Hmmm|
|Chilling at the Kinder Spielplatz, a garden used to be royals' hunting ground back then|
|Us at our AirBnB apartment before we left for London|
We spent two nights in Berlin as the accommodation was cheap. Even the food and transportation was cheap too. Our host, Laura, left us alone in her house because she went to a music festival with her roommate. We really love her house and glad that we decided to spend two nights here.
|Laura's room interior|
|The Fernsehturm, a Berlin television tower|
We stopped by Fernsehturm to take pictures and bought fish and chips for dinner. We thought for such a cheap price, we would get small box of fish and chips. Boy, were we so wrong. The box was rather handful and the fish and chips lady literally crammed our food inside the box until it couldn't fit in there and placed it in a paper bag. We thought nak buat alas perut je but then it became proper dinner...
The fish and chips weren't intended to be our main dish because we were really curious about currywurst. As we have plenty of time before our flight (our flight was next morning), we stopped by Döner Turm to get currywurst meatballs and kebab. Again, we were deceived by the cheap price. Makanan melimpah-limpah saiz besar muka. With plenty of food stock in hand, we headed straight to the airport for supper and sleep.
At the Berlin Schönefeld Airport, we realized that we will see no proper bed and shower until we arrive home in Kuala Lumpur. We showered and napped at Laura's house on that Sunday night. The next time we can shower and sleep properly would be on Tuesday night. I counted that we were temporarily homeless for about 52 hours. I have never felt so drained before in my life, I think.
We flew from Berlin to London that Monday morning and took the train from Stansted Airport to King's Cross station. We walked to the British Library to drop our bag for FOC - we felt guilty but we were really financially tight at this point and the locker room at King's Cross were really expensive for us poor travelers. Anyway, we really admired the British Library and took a proper tour around the building.
|St. Pancreas building just opposite King's Cross|
|To the Emirates Stadium tour!|
|Look at this overjoyed man...|
|...with his chirpy wife.|
|The tired faces of those who slept on cold hard chairs the night before|
After we left Emirates Stadium, we walked around Oxford Street to join a walking tour. However, we arrived late and it was lightly raining. Most walking tours cancel their trips if it rains heavily so we proceeded to walk our own route. Besides, we needed to find few other souvenirs and our lack of energy may slow the walking tour anyway.
|The Big Ben and House of Parliament, London|
|The London Eye under the pouring rain|
|The British Library! After we collect our backpacks hehe|
|National Gallery of London right opposite of Trafalgar Square|
|The Palace Theater housing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child performance|
That week was actually the release week of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child book edition so there was a lot of sightings of the book (and book sales!) around London.
I cannot even describe how relief I am to have written all these in a span of two days with plenty of breaks, hahaha. Even more relief to have boarded our flight home from Heathrow Airport to KLIA. I remember falling asleep even before the flight took off because I missed the comfort of the soft chairs. When the flight attendants handed out the food twice, I ate was so happy because one, seafood and two, fooooood.
Here are the videos as promised before.
And finally, home sweet homeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
Thank you to my travel partner, Lokman, for our honeymoon 3.0! Hehehe. Now, we are on to our next adventure which may require less travelling but more on learning because apparently we found out we are pregnant a month after we return from Europe. Lol.