Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Europe. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Iceland Part 1


Iceland has been in my wishlist since my undergraduate.. I don't remember how that came to be but I always thought it would be cool to go to the farthest land from home. The hardest part of this leg of the trip was to decide which part of Iceland that we would like to visit. The attractions are abundant and they're scattered all over Iceland. We finally decided to go for the East side since it's quite variety over that side; Waterfalls, Icebergs and Glaciers...

I say, Reykjavik airport is one of the most unique that I've ever seen. Impressive architecture and you can see art displays like these statues below. And I remember there were Viking proverbs written on the walls as we walk towards the arrival exit.

So like I said, all the way from the airport to Reykjavik, the scenery were volcanic rocks and moss that made me think, "So where are all the beautiful landscape shown on the internet!!!!!!!!!???"

It looks like as if there are no other living creatures other than those on the bus. And when the view of Reykjavik town looms from afar.. phew~ What a relief! It's very small for a capital but considering Iceland's population, the size is just nice to accommodate all the essentials. The first building that I saw was a huge IKEA outlet and I was like "HOLLA SCANDINAVIA!!!" (nda apalah blom sampai pon kan... sudah dekat..) and later found out that almost every single furniture in Iceland is IKEA's! We even developed a habit of checking for IKEA logo on every item we encounter; the bed in our room, the closets, the make up table, the utensils at the restaurants...

I had a bad gastritis when we arrived. I had a bad headache and was nauseous... Percayalah, baru aku tau tablet MMT tu sadap masa di Iceland because I never taste it before (^^")

We arrived in the evening and I still remember how torturous it was for me who was ill to wait for Maghrib which was at 11 pm.. And I've to wait for Isya' which was at 12.30 pm and Subuh at 2 am.. Of course lah aku tertidur dan lambat sket~ Aku x bole imagine orang yang puasa masa ni!!!!! 21 hours man!!!!

And malam macam dusk jak... Nampak lagi tu Matahari ok!

We booked our rental car with Thrifty. I went for the pick up because they needed my international driving licence. Gagah kan aku x pakai sweater... Nampak gumok sebab horizontal stripes and thick long john inside *perlukah explain??*

Masa ni lah aku nampak, muka Icelanders semua sepattern, macam Chad Micheal Murray hahaha

So about the car rental; we used the Car Trawler to get the best deal. Actually, we booked a compact car, Chevy Spark but we were offered an upgrade to Chevy Cruze for an additional 5 Euros per day.. So, why not?? (^^)

We also took the weather protection to be on the safe side.. Well, the roads are well paved, yes, but there are some attractions that have gravel roads and the weather could suddenly change so we prepared ourselves with all the protections needed. We don't want to pay thousands for scratches, do we??

Like what the CMM look-alike said, "Better be safe than sorry,"

I didn't drive of course.. I was too weak.. So I sat at the back, and just stare out the window and literally jumped out of my seat when the rocky scenery slowly turned into yellowish hilly area with waterfalls cascading down from the top!

Maaf lah kamera kampung...

It was like the landscape evolved from rocks to all these...
Notice those purple plant?? Oho do not be deceived by it's vibrant colour. That's lupine. Although, from my opinion, the lupine is one of the contributorto Iceland's rare beauty, it is considered an invasive plant and is endangering other plant species that is native to Iceland...

Our first destination, Skogafoss

Bha nanti la aku sambung....

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Goodbye Swiss and Hola Iceland!!!


We spent 2 nights in Geneva and booked at the Geneva Youth Hostel. It was under a massive renovation so we didn't get any internet connection at the room. So I actually sat at the lobby that night to do some habitual massive photo upload on Facebook.

There was a group of school kids at the sitting area who I presumed were also there for the internet. Suddenly one of the boys who were sitting next to me asked "Apol?? *Apple* while his index finger pointing at my laptop.. "No, it's Lenovo"

Budak: Ne vous parle français?
GG: Sorry, I don't understand French...
Budak: Parli Italiano?
GG: Nope.. Not Italian either...
Budak: O que dizer de Português?
GG: Sorry.. No, I don't understand (^^")
Budak: Habla usted español?
GG: Sorry.. I only speak English
*Dalam hati.. Demit banyaknya bahasa ko pandai!!!!!!!! Ko show off ka ini?? hahaha*

Serius bingung aku sekejap.. Aku rasa dia actually mau tanya pasal charger laptop (^^") And then the boy who spoke to me and one of his friend went off and ran up the stairs. Heard a loud thud right after that followed by a loud cry. And I only discovered what happened the next morning when I saw the boy's friend berbalut POP di sebelah tangan and bandaged di sebelah lagi.. o0o0o0 rupanya kau jatuh tangga semalam...

We didn't do much in Geneva. We were too tired from the long road trip. We stroll around. Saw a Jewish Rabbi and I felt like I wanna say hi and ask him what he thinks about Islam because he's the first one I've ever seen in my entire life. But I refrained myself from doing so hehe Watch people returning to their homes from work; some were on trams, some were on roller blades, bicycles and skateboards... We don't see that in Malaysia, do we.

Took pictures of the popular places dan wajib the famous fountain...

O ya! When it comes to Geneva, there's one particular guy that I won't miss out in my story..
We met him when we were on our way to the train station. I actually noticed him walking beside us. He was wearing a red sweatshirt with hoodie, his ears were full of earrings and even his face was pierced. He was blonde and he has the dreadlock style. Kalau di Malaysia samseng habes suda neh!

And when we stopped at a junction waiting for the traffic light to turn red, he said 
"Hi! Where are you from?"
"We're from Malaysia"
"Ah! Really? Welcome to Geneva. How do you like it  here?"

Dan mulalah kami berborak sambil berjalan beriringan.. Terus jadi hensem!

And guess what, when we told him that we're trying to find the train station, he walked us there!!!
He wasn't sure about the new entrance and helped us ask around. Although he didn't walk us all the way to the entrance, macam macik Isabel n Bruce Willis look alike did, still it was very kind of him to be very helpful..

Ayuhlah kita instill sifat begini dengan strangers rather than being prejudice all da way!

At the airport, we did something cliche.. We got ourselves some Swiss wrist watch! My first choice was out of stock so out of dismay I end up buying two! (^^")

Where were we heading??? Our flight was bound to Luton, London in which SJ have waited for us for several hours and after that we took a flight to.... wait for it.. wait for it.. ICELAND!!!!!!!

We haven't eaten any proper meal until we reached London.. Aku pon gastrik lah.. Luckily there were lots of Vege food in Costa so I ate quite a lot to compensate the meals I missed... Namun aku pening juga sampai ke Iceland because it was too late~

It was a Friday, and to my surprise there was an announcement telling the venue for Jumaah prayer in the airport that day. Kagum seyh! That's what I call TOLERANCE!! The flight to Iceland from London took about 3 hours. We checked in at our hotel and was immediately very pleased with the service. O ya, there's a shuttle bus service that sends you straight to your hotel and it is the cheapest option. I remember it was Greyline and they even have WiFi on the bus. Since we'll be travelling to the east for two days, we only wanted to bring necessary items and leave our bags at the hotel. Luckily they allow us to do that and they also have this free phone for you to call your car rental company and the company will then pick you up to collect the car at the office~

Apa2 pon.. Sampai2 airport, ini saja yang aku nampak sampai Reykjavik... All black and barren.. And we didn't see any single plant! Except the yellowish moss..

"Aik? Indah Kabar dari rupa kah???" *Dalam hati*
"Uish!! Kite kat planet Nameck ke ape ni?" *Yang diluah*

So... When I saw greenery in the last scene of the movie Non-Stop (Yes, the plane hijacking movie starring Liam Neeson), I was like, "No! That's not Iceland airport!!!!!"

For a moment I do thought I'd picked a wrong destination for our Eurotrip.. But then I recalled the many articles that I read before the trip.. How often they use the word RARE...

So that's Iceland... It's RARE.. It's out of this world.. Jeng jeng jeng! Bersambung~

Friday, May 23, 2014

Switzerland Towns/Cities


It's been a while since I last post about our travel.. Hutang post semakin banyak~ 

So as promised, this time I am going to post about some of the towns/cities that we passed by in Switzerland. Well, I'm not that into cities before I went to Europe. Living in Asia, I used to have the impression that all cities are crowded and always on the rush. But then, European towns offered an absolutely different atmosphere than that of Asian's.

On the first day, we drove all the way from Geneva to Interlaken and had a quick stop at Oberhofen and passed the most medieval-looking town that I've ever seen, Fribourg. And on the second day we drove from Interlaken to Lucerne in which we had stopped in Lauterbrunnen, Trumelbach  and Grindelwald.

I think, if we had more time, I would've spent more days in Lucerne. It is such a beautiful town with lots of things to do. You can either go up on one of the mountains or take the cruise along Lake Luzern or just simply stroll at the old town vicinity which I find very interesting as well. 

We were on a budget trip and with at least three countries to go, we have to opt on the budget things to do which as you've probably guessed, strolling! (^^)

We spent a night at the Lucerne Youth Hostel which is located in walking distance to the lake. We shared our room with a middle age lady from South Africa. Didn't chat much that night because we were hushed to sleep by our dorm mate because she needed to catch an early train the next morning (^^") 
But I think she was a nice lady, anyway...

The Chapel Bridge is one of the free attraction around. We spent some time strolling there; walking pass cafes and a street market. I got quite carried away watching the white swans swimming on the lake and they would occasionally dive to the bottom.. I still don't know why they do that, though. There was no fish inside their beaks when they surfaced

Then we set off to the Nine Towers, which in reality, only four of them are opened to public. This was where we met a lady who works with the tourist center who had spent much time explaining to us every detail about Lucerne. She was really patient answering all of our questions.. Eyh aku bha pulak yang paling banyak tanya (^^"). She then gave us some pamphlets and some chocolates. There are quite a number of them around; it's easy to tell from their uniform and red bags. We got some more chocolates from another lady as we enter into the clock tower.

The towers gave beautiful view of Lucerne and as we walked further, the towers get even taller and at the last tower, we could see the whole town without any tree branches blocking our view like this one on top..

This is actually the innards of the clock tower which is made to chime a minute earlier than other clocks in the city. They also displayed the many types of mechanism used in clocks in this tower. Ranging from those that uses mechanical pendulum to laser beams. I'm actually easily impressed by these kind of stuffs.
Hebatnya otak manusia!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the view from the last tower.

We were heading towards Laussane on the same day so why not stop at the capital, Bern. 

To our surprise, the town is rather too quite for a Capital.. Talking about Malaysia's capital.. Pheeeeeewwwww....
Melting pot... Dreadful traffic... Everybody always in a hurry...
But Bern is one extremely peaceful capital

We visited one of the Church and the sound of the organ was echoing as we walk around surveying the statues and carvings on the walls. I've never seen an organ in real life before; always in those Vampire or Dracula movies. I was pretty impressed by the size. It was colossal. I mean those silvery rod thingy above the main entrance. I even took a video of the guy playing the organ. Teruja sunggoh!

And then voilla! The astronomical clock. Ok this is my 2nd encounter. It's actually simpler than the one in Prague.. BUT! I only knew an interesting fact about this clock a few months ago..

This is the very clock that Einstein stared at as he was sitting on a tram on his way home from work. And he'd thought about traveling at the speed of light which eventually led to his theory of relativity.

Haaa... aku tengok History channel ok baru aku tau! *NERD!*

And to end this post... If you're craving for something spicy after all the long journey and self-cooked meal in the hostel, there's an Indian Restaurant in Bern who serves the world's best fish Briyani eva! 
Ka kami terlampau lapar??? But really, it was quite costly but since it was like the best eva, we ordered another one and paid hurm.. 50 euros (mind you, we always share to cut cost)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Switzerland: Dari hujung ke hujung... (Part I)


So we were in Interlaken for the night. Had a quick dinner because it was quite late when we arrived. That's the good thing about traveling in summer; we had longer daylight. The sun sets at around 9 pm when we were there so it was really convenient for long drive.

We actually aimed for Trummelbach that morning. It's a famous glacier waterfall inside the mountain. When I said INSIDE, it is literally INSIDE (^^) Actually, we can also go there by train but after kira-kira budget, we finally opted to rent a car; because it is way cheaper to share one vehicle and we don't have to rush to meet the train schedule heeeeee We love to be super flexible and stay for as long as we like at an attraction that we favour upon arrival~ So yeah, we usually don't stick to our itinerary because we can be carried away by nature's beauty...

This is how the road looks like though this don't really show how narrow it is compared to the ones in our country. Tapi betol! luas lagi jalan KK pi Menumbok bha. So I was driving anxiously all the way and became more anxious when we approach the villages because the road is even narrower in those area. But still, I did enjoy the scenery especially the colourful meadows along the way. You can also see people cycling or just trekking on the side of the road. We were in awe, of course, because you don't get to see that in Malaysia, do you? haha Not even in remote areas.. Gaya hidup sehat betol!

And then I drove and drove and drove and suddenly we found ourselves in Rivendell~
Traveling ni memang bikin kuat berangan~

O ya.. Kami menjerit girang!!! "Ya Allah!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TEMPAT APA NI!!!!!!??????????? Huargh!!!!!!!!!"

This Rivendell of ours is actually Lauterbrunnen hehe

Staubbach Fall

Lauterburnnen is a small town set in a valley surrounded by overhanging rocky cliffs. And you can see waterfalls of various height and size cascading down these cliffs. It is said there are 72 waterfalls but I didn't count because they were too many haha The pic above is Staubbach Fall; one of the highest waterfall in Europe. The cascade is so high that you can see the water blown by the wind to form mist. The overhanging rock stood to its glory and the free-falling water is what I call PERFECTION... I just stare at it.. sampai sakit tundun.. (that's the back of the neck in Kedayan)

We stroll in the town and took pictures and later continue our journey to the intended place

Actually there is a cable car station there that goes atop the cliff where the stream of the Staubach waterfall is. But we were aiming for another place so we just went straight to Trummelbach...

Along the way to Trummelbach were meadows and meadows and meadows again. And then suddenly you will find paragliders landing on these meadows and that look so cool man! "Cool nye hobby dorang ni.." 
Because these  paragliders are real paragliders who are spending their summer to just paraglide. They are not tourists who wanted to TRY paragliding. I think they just jumped off from some random cliffs above us hahaha

Kalau ikotkan hati, mau jak aku stop and tanya "Dari mana kau terjun??" But masa nda mencukupi... hehe

Selekeh betol! Ini parking lot.. Hehe

Kalo Babah ada ni, mesti kena suro berdiri sebelah signboard haha :p

From the parking lot, we walked to the entrance and there we have to pay CHF 11 to get through the gate; cash only ya. And then we board this very ancient looking funicular which was built before World War I. There was a couple who I presumed have traveled quite a lot and commented that the lift look a lot like the one they rode somewhere else which was also built at about the same time. And the lift operator responded, "But this is Swiss made.. Swiss made is always better.." haha tergelak aku.. It took us to the 6th level and then we have to further climb up to the top waterfall which is literally inside the mountain from there.

The view of Lauterbrunnen Valley

So this is how it looks like from inside the canyon. The walkway is quite slippery from the spray of the powerful waterfall and it is quite noisy because of the echoing sound of the waterfall. But, I love the experience anyway. Just make sure you wear suitable shoes and a jacket since it is quite cold inside and you can get slightly wet.

We are standing on the platform where you can see the 6th chute

The 6th chute. Camera nda canggih thus I can't show you the powerful swirl that formed just below this fall

I don't remember at which level this was.. o_0

I love looking at those shiny shiny granite~ (^^)

This is how the walkway looks like inside. Basah ok and that was why I had my hood on.. Aku rasa claustrophobics patut fikir jugakla masa masok ni hehe

Adoi, ini suda lama, I did read about how this tunnel was made. But I went to too many places that I can't recall clearly which one is which already. But what I'm sure of is the beautiful curves of the canyon are naturally carved by the flow of the waterfall and this tunnel was man-made sebab aku ingat perbualan kami masa tu...

"MashaAllah berusaha nya dorang buat tunnel ni.."
"Memang bukan untuk keuntungan kot.. CHF 11 je weyh..."
"Mungkin dorang just nak share and nak kite appreciate semue ini!"

To me, this is a very precious experience. And I kept saying "Terima kasih pacik2 yang buat tunnel ini!!!"
This is a memorable chance to actually see what is hidden.. From the outside, the view of the falling water is breathtaking~ But to have the chance to see how the glacial water cut its way through hard rocks to form the canyon slots and caves is AWESOME!

This reminds me of how puny my knowledge about the world is.. The world is so amazing~ Sejak travel ni minat aku tentang history, geology and anthropology semakin menjadi-jadi.. Yeah~ Allah's knowledge is Great that we can't grasp it all.. But as we walk on earth, look around; observe, listen and read, we might slowly grab them bit by bit... To grasp all is impossible, but we could try to gain as much as we could.

Before I went to New Zealand my mom said, "Adik! Nanti ambil gambar baring-baring atas bunga lagi!" 

And yeay~ Don't forget to look back~


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Eurotrip Switzerland: Geneva-Interlaken


And so I have to leave this beautiful place with a heavy heart. My tips for you who are planning to go to Chamonix, 1 day is not enough. It's a lovely place where you would just want to sit back and relax. No rush. I'm definitely coming back for the train journey at the glacier and and and get myself a new water bottle as souvenir because I left mine in Geneva airport T_T

Ok cam salah upload tapi malas suda mo reupload hahaha :p

O ya we got this certificate at the souvenir shop. I don't remember whether this is given to everybody or was it because we bought some souvenirs.. Hurm.. I think it's the later haha sorry geng.. Lama suda ni~ Ada lupa2 sikit haha

Anyway, we went back to Geneva that afternoon. Pengalaman dengan pacik driver bus pon lucu. As I mentioned in my previous post, we booked the transfer back to Geneva at the airport. So, that afternoon, the driver couldn't find our chalet and he actually called me. And voila! He speaks no English woooorrr!!!!! So again, ayam cakap sama itik la...

Pacik: Où êtes-vous
GG: We are in AWA hostel
Pacik: !@#$^%$&%^&
GG: It's near the Pharmacy.. Apotheek.. Eyh itu Dutch pulak...
Pacik: !@##$##$%$%^$

I think it took him about 30 minutes to find it because our hostels are hidden behind some buildings and the only road that is accessible to it is very narrow and we never see any vehicle pass since we arrived. I just left the room key at the kitchen and left a note saying that we were in a hurry and apologized to have done that haha

We got a huge coach to ourselves and the driver took a different route to Geneva which I think was even more scenic than the road from which we came because this one was closer to the mountains. The pacik was actually a Muslim so he was excited meeting us. We chatted though I think we replied him wrongly all the time because he was speaking French and we were only guessing what he was saying and just answered sesuka hati kami hahaha

We picked up our rental car at the airport and was lucky that we got an upgrade from a compact car to this four wheel drive without additional charges. We never know why we got the upgrade. But hoyeah! I love the car... Tapi lucu ok nda pandai adjust side mirror sampai panggil pembersih kereta tu ajar everything; from side mirror to the beam to the hand brake to the everything~

And the journey begin.... Well, it was too long since I last drove on the left hand side so it was quite hard to adapt at first. So, we head towards Interlaken that day. We did a quick stop at the Chateau De Canton that evening but it was closed for renovation..

And we did a quick stop in Oberhofen to take a look at this famous castle set on the bank of Lake Thun. Memang cantik! It was already late so, it was closed.

O ya, we actually passed this town called Fribourg which was the most classical-looking town of all the towns that we passed in Switzerland. I really like it! But we didn't stop for coffee or anything there since it was still such a long way to go.

I drove about 200 km ++ that day. And I was grateful that we got an upgrade. The roads are excellently paved, no potholes like in Malaysia. But when you go to the country side, the roads were much narrower and they have lots of tunnel that extend to 3 to 4 km and some of them are winding and uphill so that was quite challenging sebab aku fobia sket dengan tunnel2 ni.. And the roads on cliffs are quite scary sebab divider dia mak aih.. tiang tiang kicil saja ok!!!!!!!!!!!!! Macam picket fence jak aku tengok~

Where we stayed for the night.. Breakfast included so berabis menapau croissant..

But the most meaningful discovery in Interlaken was, drama Melayu yang famous itu (I don't know what's the title but MR was the one who followed it) was not filmed in Interlaken!!!!  Interlaken is a beautiful town but it is not the romantic kind of town. It's a full of activities kind of town. In the morning, you can see many colourful parachutes in the sky; those are paragliders.. And at the reception desk at our hostel, they displayed the caving, canyoning, water rafting, paragliding and even sky diving packages. Kalo banyak masa dan duit pasti aku suda try...

Gambar bukti bukan Google Image.. Okay nanti aku sambung lagi... Pendek saja cerita.. sekali lagi cerita perjalanan saja kan :p