Eurotrip

48 comments
Austria, Belgium, Britain, Europe, France, Germany

This is my second post on my newly resurrected blog. As some of you might have learned that I have put this blog into the state of suspended animation for some months.

Continuing my previous post about travel, I want to share my trip to Europe about three years ago in this post. But since it has been three years therefore I have to dig again into my memories and bring it up some things that I still remember.

In July 2007 I went to Europe with my uncle, aunt and 2 other relatives for attending my cousin’s wedding. I took KLM to Amsterdam with one stop at Kuala Lumpur. The flight was not really convenient since we had to sit for more than 11 hours if I’m not mistaken. To make things worse, the seat arrangement was hardly acceptable for leaving almost no space for my feet to relax. The food was also quite disappointing.

But all those drawbacks were paid as soon as I arrived at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and breathe European air (which basically the same everywhere else, only that it is Europe!). It was 6 am in the morning, so many stores were still closed. However I did enjoy the atmosphere very much where I can see people from all corners of the world mingling in one place. Asian, African, Middle Eastern, European, Mediterranean, Indian and others in one place. I was also excited to see flight crews from various airlines and the airplanes themselves which come from countries such as Portugal, Kazakhstan and other countries which didn’t (or still doesn’t) have direct flight to Indonesia. I had to stay for 3 hours at the airport because we had to wait for our connecting flight to Nuremberg (in German: Nürnberg). Once we got to Nuremberg, my cousin (not the one who’s getting married) picked us up at the airport and brought us to his apartment.

PART 1 – GERMANY

I spent about 10 days in Germany, where I spent my first few days in Nuremberg, in the state of Bavaria (German: Bayern). This city has an intact old town area (Altstadt) where we can still see old medieval buildings and churches. The city itself bears the nickname as the most German city of all. Probably that’s why the Nazi used to build its headquarters there, in Dudzendteich, where they built a temple-like building as their HQ. I went to that place which is now a museum. Strolling in the Altstadt was somewhat enjoyable since there are quite a lot of museums and historical sites sprawling the wall-guarded old town. You can find Albrecht Dürer’s (German well-known painter) house which was turned into a museum. Some other interesting museums are the War museum (which houses the collection of medieval armor suits) and the Spielzeugmuseum (toy museum).

The second German city that I visited was Heidelberg which sits in the state of Baden-Württemberg. It is not a big city hence the atmosphere is far more relaxed than in Nuremberg. One of the unique features of the city (probably the most famous) is the Schloß (castle) which is located just above the hill. To reach there we had to take an almost vertical tram. From above, we can see a beautiful view of the city below. The Schloß itself is very ancient and partly damaged. However we can still feel its glorious days in the past.

Schloβ at Heidelberg

The next city is Munich (German: München) which happens to be Bavarian Capital. We went there by car and once we got to the outskirt of the city my cousin parked the car around Olympiapark. From there we can reach BMW’s headquarters and Olympiastadion (where the 1972 Olympics were held) within walking distance. Then we took the Unterbahn/U-bahn (German metro) to get to the city center. Once we arrived at Marienplatz station, we got out and rode the escalator out of the station. When we were out, the view astonished me completely. I was right at the heart of Marienplatz with beautiful old buildings surrounding me. Then we split into three separate groups. I went around with my uncle (I had been doing that ever since I got to Nuremberg) to wander through nearby places.

BMW Headquarters

We also went to Neuschwanstein castle which some said to be the inspiration to Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle. The castle sits in southwest Bavaria where pine trees dwell everywhere. The castle was built atop a rock formation which makes it amazing.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Duisburg is other German city that we visited. In fact this is the place where my cousin’s marriage took place. There are not much to see from the city actually since it is not one of Germany’s most attractive cities. But there’s one thing that caught my eyes which is Lifesaver fountain at the city center which was designed by a French sculptor, Niki de Saint Phalle, who also created some artworks in Paris (you can read it in Part 4 – France).

During my stay in Duisburg I also took a train to Düsseldorf with some people coming along. I didn’t go to many places in Düsseldorf. I only went to a riverside bistro along the Rhine (German: Rhein) which serves seafood.

We took the train (a double-decker one) to leave Duisburg for Brussels. In that our last day in Germany we stopped at Cologne (German: Köln) for about three hours and did a little stroll in the city. We went to Cologne cathedral which is one of the world’s largest cathedrals. The spires are so tall so that when I stared on them I merely saw the top. Inside the cathedral the atmosphere was quite dark and somehow dwarfing. Down under the cathedral lies the Treasury which houses an impressive collection of accessories and other religious artefacts.

Cologne Cathedral

One thing I forgot to mention earlier, in Germany I experienced how it felt to be in a car running at 220 km/h on a German wide and smooth Autobahn. It was thrilling yet so much fun!

PART 2 – AUSTRIA

I flew to Vienna (German: Wien) from Nuremberg. During the flight I could see the Alps from afar, reaching far beyond the sky which truly was a breathtaking view. Vienna itself is until now my favorite city in Europe. It has so many magnificent and beautiful buildings located within walking distance. One place that did get my attention was the parliament building which is inspired by Greek architecture and adorned with gilded statues of Greek gods and goddesses. Not far from the parliament sits the Vienna University (Universität Wien) which was the place where some of Noble prize winners studied or taught. We also went to some museums afterwards and enjoyed the city’s not-too-rushy atmosphere.

Austrian Parliament Building

Later in the evening we went to the city hall’s open stage which provided a giant screen as a part of some sort of festival. On the screen we watched some Austrian best philharmonic orchestras playing famous numbers from Mozart, Shubert and other venerable composers. During the festival, there were some food stalls from different countries, but I end up having dinner from a Greek stall which serves fried octopus. I had some chats with the owner and he asked me where I come from. When he learned that I am from Indonesia then he asked me how to say thank you in Bahasa. I also asked him how to answer to someone who say thank you in Greek. Then when I paid for the food, the man said “terima kasih” and I replied “παρακαλώ”. We had a quite short but fun conversation there.

During our stay in Vienna, we also visited some other interesting places, such as Schönbrunn palace, Hofburg palace, UNO city (where some of United Nations bodies headquartered), Karlskirche and some other touristic sites.

Hofburg Palace

PART 3 – BELGIUM

We reached Brussels (Flemmish: Brussel, French: Bruxelles) by train from Cologne. Once I arrived in the city I instantly felt the excitement from hearing some people speak in French. We stayed in an Indonesian man’s apartment who works for the Indonesian embassy. To reach there we took two separate taxis which the one that I took was the later. The driver was a Moroccan immigrant, therefore he speaks French.

Unlike what I imagined before, Brussels has many things to offer and visit. We went to the Atomium (which was rather dull), Cinquantenaire (whose museum was about to close when we got there), the Basilica, Manneken Piss (and also its rather less-known ‘sister’, the Janneken Piss), Tintin museum and some more places. In this city I didn’t miss the chance to taste one of its specialties, the French Fries (which often confuses people with the fact that it originally came from Belgium). One unique thing about the fries is that they’re served with different kinds of mayonnaise.

Atomium

One more thing I should not forget to tell you that Brussels is the place where I had Indonesian food for the first time in Europe. I had Telor Balado (Eggs cooked in chili sauce) and some other home foods in our apartment, guess what? They were delicious! Indonesian food with all the spices taste much better than anything I’ve ever had in Europe.

PART 4 – FRANCE

Paris, the city of light, the city of glamor. But when I got to this city for the first time it was cloudy. I had already been in Europe for 3 weeks when I went to Paris, hence the fatigue that I felt. Paris is truly one exceptional city with its gigantic museums, artistic buildings, monumental sites and so on. The only problem is that the streets are just too wide for an already-fatigue people like us. Therefore we had to carefully plan our itinerary. Some worth-visiting places that I recommend are Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (situated in Montmartre hill), the Panthéon (the tombs of several famous individuals, notably Marie Curie, J.J. Rousseau, Louis Braille and many more), Eiffel tower (at day and night – see how dramatic the lights sparkle all over the tower at specific hours) and of course, The Louvre (but keep in mind that due to its large collection you might be lost in time for strolling all three wings and also the underground medieval Louvre).

A Real Mummy at The Louvre

Some other places that I visited were Centre Georges Pompidou (which displays a rather unconventional artworks, including Niki de Saint Phalle’s curiously enigmatic sculptures), the Notre-Dame cathedral and Hôtel des Invalides (which houses Napoleon’s tomb).

Arc de Triomphe

PART 5 – BRITAIN

London is a big city which has narrower streets than Paris, which is somewhat relieving so that we didn’t have to walk too far from one place to another. Here are some places which I recommend: the National Gallery (which is free), Covent Garden (not far from Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square, where you can watch street artists performing some cool stuffs), the Tower Bridge and the Natural History Museum (which is much more interesting than the ones in continental Europe).

Tower Bridge

Other interesting places which I didn’t have the chance to visit were the Parliament Building, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, to name some. I didn’t go there not because I got no time, but simply because the ticket for admittance was way too expensive.

The next British city that I visited was Birmingham, where my cousin and her husband used to live. The apartment where they live is only a few minutes away from major places, for instance the National Indoor Arena (where some world bands performed and All-England badminton championships are held), the Birmingham city library and the city center.

Birmingham has many canals, therefore we rode on a boat to went sightseeing from around the main canal. Some interesting places which I visited were the Botanical Garden (which some say more beautiful than the one that we have in Bogor, Indonesia) and the Bullring (a shopping center distinguishable by its curved-wall embedded with metal pins).

During my stay in Birmingham, my cousin and I took the chance to go to a nearby city, that is Coventry. We went to the Transportation Museum. Not only that, before we went back to Birmingham, we also took a little walk around the city’s medieval quarter and found one church which was destroyed during the second world war. Somehow the atmosphere in the ancient streets are much spookier that I anticipated.

Finally, in August 2007, about one month later, we went back to Jakarta also in a flight from Amsterdam.

That is all I can tell for now. I tried to bring back all those memories and squeeze some of them to fit in this limited space. I also wish that I could have more photographs to share.

Some photos are by courtesy of my cousin, Dina.

Feel free to leave any comment or question, and bye for now.

Related Post: 5 Reasons Why I Fell in Love with Vienna

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Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.

48 thoughts on “Eurotrip”

  1. Great blog. Sounds like you had quite the trip and adventure. I hope the wedding was nice too.

    You went to some of my favorite places. I used to live in Heidelberg like ten years ago. It’s a beautiful city. Austria is still on my travel to-do list. Brussels is a great metropolitan city. I would definitely go back there.

    If you make it back to London get to Buckingham Palace. That’s free. You can just stand outside the gates with gold in them, take pictures and watch the changing of the guards. Also go on the London Eye. There are amazing views of the city from there.

    Thanks for sharing. Great pictures also.

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    • Thank you for visiting my blog.
      It was indeed quite an adventure for me since I didn’t use any tour guide, just maps and travel books.
      I did go to to Buckingham Palace and stood outside, but I didn’t wait for the changing of the guards. I guess I went somewhere else.

      I will visit your blog for sure. Thanks again.

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  2. Dude, I miss Germany a lot! And to be honest, Wien is the city I’ve always wanted to visit the most too!

    Anyway, it’s not Scloß nor Schoß, but Schloß! Do correct the mistakes pls. 😉

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  3. Europe will be my next next destination after India-Nepal, Turkey, Marroco, China, hahaha..I should start making a robbery plan..

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  4. Lexi says:

    Every travelers who visited France, they must go to Eiffel as a landmark of Paris. I didn’t see you captured that building, or may be you just don’t attach yet? or maybe you have a special story. But I like your angel of Arc de Triomphe… and want to see your “Eiffel angel”…. don’t be shy 😉

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    • Actually I got some photos of Eiffel Tower, you can see it through the link which I inserted in the post. But you are right, I might save some of them for my upcoming posts. Reviewing the Eurotrip from different perspective 🙂

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  5. Pingback: 5 Reasons Why I Fell in Love with Vienna « share and stare

  6. Camille Anne says:

    Oh how I envy you (just a little bit)… the Louvre looks amazing, and that was a real mummy? How cool is that?! You have the same zest for life and craving for adventure as I do. Even if Im at home, I check out local parks and happenings around my area. Cheers to you and many more travels!

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    • Hi Camille..well, I also envy you 🙂 Yes that’s a real mummy. Unfortunately 4 years ago during my Eurotrip I didn’t bring a decent camera. Louvre is truly amazing. It’s really huge!!!
      I always feel this urge to travel to new places and wonder how life’s like in other parts of world. And yes, I also like checking out cool places at home (especially if it has cultural or historical value). I’m going to some cool places around Asia this year, just wait for the story 🙂

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  7. I have been to London a few times, but I’m forgetting many of the sites. thanks for bringing back great memories.
    -Linda

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    • I wish I had a decent camera back then, so that I could bring up more good memories through photographs.

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  8. Pingback: Versatile Blogger Award (of Mine) « What an Amazing World!

    • It was indeed amazing! That’s how I got my travel bug 🙂
      I wish you the best for your own future Eurotrip!!!

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    • Yet there are still so many interesting and beautiful places to go in Europe. I wish it won’t be long in the future that I can go back to Europe. Thanks for dropping by, Sartenada!

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  9. I’m so totally jealous!!!! I’d love to go to all the countries that you have been too (in and out of Europe) – just need to keep saving up, I guess!

    By the way, you don’t seem to have visited my home country – India. Its a beautiful place, do make a plan!

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    • Me too. I need to be disciplined with my spending in order to be able to travel. Actually I really really want to go to India, especially Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and Tamil Nadu. One day I will! Thanks for the encouragement!

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      • Don’t miss out on Kerala – God’s own country (or so, immodest Malayalis – I’m one – like to think!

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      • Oh wow, you’re the second person who told me that. 🙂
        A few years ago I met a woman from Cochin and she also told me not to miss Kerala when I go to India.

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    • I did. I still remember some parts of it, but I went during high season and I think at that time I had to be in a guided group. So we only saw what our tour guide took us to.

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  10. I’ll be staying in Linz Austria for three months, but hoping to take side travels to other European countries during my stay. Any suggestions on how to keep my travel as inexpensive as possible?

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    • When I traveled to Europe I was so lucky to have families and friends in different countries there, so I could cut my budget for accommodation by staying at their places. Otherwise I chose to stay in a nice, clean, but affordable hostel. However I did feel that going around the continental Europe was a lot cheaper than exploring the UK. I don’t know if that helps you, but I wish you a very nice travel!

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  11. You hit all the good spots, lovely photos too! Next time you’ll have to come to Spain (I’ve just moved here, and am still discovering new wonderful things everyday) my adopted country lends itself to some beautiful photography!

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    • Thanks Alexandra! I have a best friend who spent almost a year in Spain, and he took beautiful photographs of the country’s treasures. It’s definitely on top of my wishlist of European countries I’d like to visit.

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    • Hi Puja. Thank you for dropping by, and speaking of the architecture in Europe, yes they were all amazing. Vienna particularly stole my heart.

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  12. Awesome blog! You seem to have had quite a trip and adventure. Thanks for sharing amazing pictures. This definitely makes me want to plan a trip to Europe and will now be in my bucket list.

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    • My pleasure. Thanks for reading, and hopefully you’ll make that trip to Europe one step closer! 🙂

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  13. Loved the post. Amazing journey and observations. I have been to Switzerland only. Wish to travel more of Europe. I like your detailed descriptions and interpretations. Great job.

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    • Thank you, Rituparna. This is one of the earliest posts on this blog, so as you can see my writing style was very different back then. 🙂 I haven’t been to Switzerland myself, and I would really love to.

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    • It’s been eight years now since that trip to Europe, and I have developed a serious crave for the continent. 🙂

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  14. I love it! I just recently got back from visiting 8 different countries in Europe and this post makes me miss it even more than I already did!

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