Sunday, 27 February 2011

Terima kasih adik-adikku


Bila jumpa Selasa lepas, diaorang cakap suruh saya buat makan-makan untuk kejayaan menamatkan ACCA.

I jokingly replied, "Nak rasa orang bujang masak."

And yesterday, they hold a small celebration for me. I feel overwhelmed.

Ada mereka cakap, kalau nak pass ACCA kena kahwin dan dapat anak. Hehe.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Kembara Andalusia: Seville, Spain

Sambungan kisah Andalusia, sebab my ACCA affiliate pun katanya dah nak pergi bercuti ke Andalusia.

Kami ke Seville, Spain pada 3 Februari. Saja nak melihat bandar peninggalan Islam yang pesat. Bayaran tempat letak kereta di bawah jalan sangat murah. Rasanya kami letak kereta di situ, dari jam 10 pagi - 3 petang dalam EUR 3 +.

Berjalan dengan guide book sebab nak melihat Real Seville, sebuah istana (Royal Palace). Susah juga hendak mencari bangunan ini, kena masuk di celah-celah kawasan kedai. Thankfully, Spain's people are really nice.

Di hadapan Real Alcazar selepas berjalan melintasi pelbagai bangunan. Bayaran masuk adalah EUR 7.50 untuk dewasa.

The palace's courtyard.

The other side of the courtyard.

Antara binaan berasaskan Islam dari Mudejar (tukang ukir dan bina bangunan yang dibenarkan untuk tinggal di Spain selepas kejatuhan Islam). Real Alcazar mempunyai struktur yang unik kerana tingkat bawah menunjukkan keindahan seni bina Islam, dan tingkat atas menunjukkan seni bina Kristian.

Di dalam bangunan dengan keindahan senibina Mudejar.

Tingkat atas Real Alcazar, senibina Kristian. Dipenuhi dengan lukisan gambaran dewa dewi mereka, dan lukisan gambar Raja dan Permaisuri Spain.

The first tennis court in Spain.. kehkeh

Selepas keluar dari Real Alcazar, ada pula seorang pakcik melukis gambar pemandangan. Cantik-cantik tapi terfikir juga macammana kami nak bawa balik kalau membeli. Pakcik ni, gerainya betul-betul selepas keluar bangunan Real Alcazar.

Bersebelahan Real Alcazar; Cathedral and La Giralda, a huge Gothic cathedral with Moorish bell tower. It actually occupies the site of a great mosque.

Dah penat jalan sana sini, kita singgah makan dulu.. Salad tuna dan fish dishes. Sedap dan murah makanan di Seville. Makan memang habis kenyang la, portion makanan memang besar-besar.

Bukti menunjukkan pokok oren ditanam di mana-mana, bayangkan macam boleh petik je buah oren tu.. Rasanya memang diaorang ni utilise tanah untuk tanam oren sebab permintaan dari negara Eropah agak tinggi. Kalau beli oren di Tesco, mesti tertulis oren tu dari Spain.

On our way back to the car, melalui taman.

Last shoot of Seville before going home.

Insya Allah, will be sharing the tips to go to Andalusia, costs of transportation, hotels for my friend's reference.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam

Pagi-pagi semalam dah checkout, flight pula jam 5.15 petang.

Apa lagi, ronda Amsterdam baliklah. Tinggal luggage di Amsterdam CS. Dan kami naik tram (no. 2 atau no. 5) ke Museumplain (kawasan-kawasan muzium), sebab mengada-ngada nak ambil gambar dengan ikon ini (dan saja nak release stress result tak dapat-dapat lagi)....

i amsterdam. Tapi I Malaysian lah... hikhik.. Logo ini antara top 10 attractions kat sini, wajib pergi untuk ambil gambar konon dah sampai Amsterdam :P. Terletak betul-betul depan Rijkmuseum.

Depan Rijkmuseum, kat sini ada juga Muzium Van Gogh, bar tending & cocktail museum dan Diamond Museum.

Masuk kawasan Diamond Museum, ada guided tour nak masuk Coster Diamonds. High security gak sebab pergi tengok pekerja-pekerja ni potong permata. Yang pakcik sebelahnya tu tengah siapkan cincin berlian tau, ada 5 cincin di jarinya.

Wow, berkilau permata. Diamond is a girl's best friend, kan bang? *wink*

On the tram. Mak oi tram kat sini macam naik kereta lajunya. Macam-macam line pulak tu. Kiteorang datang Amsterdam la, bab public transport banyak yang dicuba; NS train, metro line, tram, bas, bot dan teksi.

Nak dekat jam 2 petang, bergeraklah ke Schiphol Airport (ok memang best airport. Azie, I setuju dengan you, 100%) menaiki NS train. Airport ni betul-betul atas train line dia, so just hop off from the train, naik escalator, dah sampai airport... tadaaa

Ada kawasan budak-budak nak berehat dan bermain. Tu Fateh tengah check passport semua orang cukup ke tak. Masa ni my hubby dah pergi solat, kat tempat solat pun ada sofa untuk berehat.

Kid's Corner yang sangat-sangat luas.

Di belakang Kid's Corner, ada kawasan permainan kanak-kanak, dipanggil Kid's Forest.. kehkeh. Ceria Fahri main kat sini.

Disebabkan tempatnya luas, jadi Fateh dibenarkan merangkak untuk negara. Maju adik maju!

Siap ada library dan muzium OK. Ada juga tempat spa dan buat facial.. Kahkah, first time I tengok airport yang ada benda-benda ni. Sangat memahami jiwa visitors.

Adik dalam rumah pondok-pondok zaman moden.

Schiphol Airport, rasanya kalau stranded kat sini pun tak kisah labu... hahaha..

Tulips from Holland



Saya dapat ini dari Encik Firdaus sebab saya sudah berjaya menjadi ACCA affiliate. Ngehehe. Syabas Aida, syabas!

Saya tengok result saya di Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, OK? Kelas gitu bertalu-talu SMS dengan my friend sehati sejiwa sekelas sejak azali yang sentiasa muda, Farah dan tahniah kepada my travel advisor cum qualified as ACCA affiliate, Azie..

Syabas bete, syabas!!!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Essentially Dutch

Firstly, in the morning, we didn't go to Amsterdam. In fact, we went to Zaanse Schans. It is everything Dutch, in this village. You either can go here by car, bus or train. We got lost in the first place after taking the train, then we went there with a taxi.

Zaanse Schans is famous because of its windmills. The first windmill was built here, and it was used to generate energy for the industry. By the end of the industrialisation era, the 200 windmills could not cope with the high industry demand. The village almost disappear.

Netherlands is a country with many canals, even outside Amsterdam. The houses in the village were rented out to the locals. Yes, there are locals living here, although the few units in front were rented as souvenirs shops.

The other side of the river. Netherlands has a unique architecture of its houses. I think they made good use of the extra space at their roof. Sejuk datang kampung ni, walaupun tak beku sungainya. It is very windy here, in fact, we have to go inside shops just to get warm.

In front of the windmills. Cantik juga kincir angin warna hijau. The entrance to this village is free!

We found another shop that shows wooden clogs. There were 2 big replicas outside. Wooden clogs were made from the tree trunks. The trunks were cut to shoe sizes, then they holed the shoe shaped trunk and sand it. Everything is done manually.

Rows and rows of clogs. Before we went here, there is another Dutch shop selling all kind of cheese and shows the process of making cheese. Did you know 12 litres of milk is needed to make 1 kilogram of cheese?

My husband said that it was like seeing rows and rows of Crocs shoes. There were various sizes on display here, and it was very colourful.

Another small bridge in the village.

Then we went to the Zaans museum nearby. The cost of the ticket is EUR 7.50 per adult. Students got some discounts, and children under 4 years old got free admission.

Since we went here by taxi, we decided to go back by train (Koog-Zandijk stop). However, the information desk at the museum pointed out that there is a bus service direct to Amsterdam Central Station. The bus number is 91 (Amsterdam Central-Zaanse Schans route) and the bus was right on time and the service was excellent. The bus ticket costs us EUR 4/adult.

We took the boat / canal tour upon arriving at Amsterdam at 1.55 p.m. Amsterdam is a town with many canals. The cost of the tour is EUR 12.50 per adult (1 hour tour). Decided that we need to tour the city with the boat since there is not much time left for us to do some sightseeing at our own pace.

The view from the boat. Amsterdam was a fishing village in the 12th century. There are many historic places that were shown during the trip. There is a house where the famous Anne Frank (the little girl who wrote the 'Diary of Anne Frank'), who was a Jew lived in secrecy for 2 years before the family was betrayed.

Near the Amsterdam CS, we went to Damrak street (the main street). There are many shops and eateries over there. Banyak juga kedai halal.

Haha, didn't I tell you that Amsterdam is a daring town? It has its own sex museum (OK, tak kuasa nak masuk).

Protistution is legal here (they even have a full page advertisement for escorts inside the travel magazine), we even went to a souvenir shop to buy some magnets and saw cannabis pop (looks like a lollipop) and Ganja roll (drugs were sold freely here). Fateh ingatkan lollipop, siap cakap 'Nak, nak' lagi.. sabar je :P. Amsterdam is also famous for its, erm, gay rights and is the top town for the gay festival, euwww... Gay marriages is legal here and since 2008, they can adopt child legally.

I think we have made the right decision to visit Zaanse Schans first, rather than to come to the town that pride itself with all the wrong things.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Riding a train to Amsterdam

Kadang-kadang kita terlupa kenikmatan menaiki keretapi. Rabu lepas, tiba di Koeln HBF train station, kami bertanya Fahri, "Best naik train atau plane?". Jawabnya, "Train".

Sebenarnya lebih mudah menaiki keretapi jika negara-negara Eropah yang hendak dikunjungi bersebelahan. Keretapinya menepati masa. Kalau hendak membeli tiket, tempahlah di sini RailEurope

Fahri bermain di satu tempat model keretapi sambil kami menunggu keretapi ke Amsterdam. Bertolak dari hotel jam 9.30 pagi ke stesen Koeln HBF.

Ini model beg sementara berjalan-jalan di dalam stesen. Mujur beg tu 4 roda, selesa sikit nak tolak.. hehe

Kami dalam perjalanan keluar dari stesen Koeln HBF. Menaiki keretapi sesuatu yang menyeronokkan bagi kanak-kanak. Perjalanan ke Amsterdam memakan masa hampir 3 jam dari Cologne.

Kenapa saya suka naik keretapi? Walaupun kali terakhir menaiki keretapi dari Jakarta ke Bandung pada tahun 2008, dapat menikmati pemandangan. Kalau naik kapal terbang, kita hanya nampak awan biru. Ini masih lagi dalam German, disebabkan naik high speed train, gambar yang diambil pun macam blur.

Tempat duduk yang luas walaupun duduk second class coach. Macam business class seat dalam kapal terbang pun ada agaknya, sebab Easyjet seats pun tak seluas ini. Bila naik keretapi sebegini, tak sangka sistem pengangkutan keretapi sebenarnya sudah advance.

Siap disediakan siaran radio di setiap tempat duduk penumpang, malahan setiap kali berhenti di stesesn, akan keluar pengumuman dari train driver dan paparan di electronic screen berapa minit lagi menuju ke destinasi seterusnya.

Tiba di Amsterdam hampir jam 1.25 petang tadi. Keletihan pula.

Tapi yang pasti Amsterdam ini, selepas saya baca travel magazine dan bukunya, saya kira bandar yang agak daring. Heheh...

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Meeting Raihan

Cologne is famous for its cathedrals. Cologne Cathedral is the highest building in Europe. After seeing countless of cathedrals for our visits in UK and Europe, I can vouched that Cologne Cathedral architecture is different.

The cathedral greeted us yesterday when we embarked from the train station, and it is conveniently located within the town centre. We went there using underground line 16/18 from Neumarkt to Dom, which is just 2 stations only. The one way ticket costed us EUR 1.70 per adult.

The Cologne Cathedral from the front.

Inside the Cologne Cathedral. Free admission, except for if you want to enter the Cathedral Treasury, where you can see the gifts the priests received.

One of the unique architectures is the floor, with unique tilings and many different shapes.

The dome inside the cathedral.

After that, we went to the Koln/Cologne train station. Germany is famous for its pretzels. Many eateries are located within the station, offering various type of foods.

Fahri, in front of the cathedral. We went to the tourist information centre situated next to it, asking for certain information about places we can go sightseeing in Cologne.

We decided to join a small train car for a round trip to do some sight seeing. The price is EUR 5 for adult and EUR 3 for child under 12 years old (round trip). At this time, Raihan, my cousin, already SMSed us saying she just finished her class at 1 p.m.

Our train stopped at the Schokolanden Museum (Chocolate Museum). Cologne has many cathedrals and museums, that if we have time, we might be able to visit all of it. However, we decided that the museum that talks, breaths and asks its visitors to eat chocolate would be an extraordinary experience.

The admission ticket costed us EUR 7.50 fur adult, and EUR 5 for student (show your student card, please). It is free for children under 6 years old. And upon purchasing the ticket, we were given a small piece of Lindt chocolate each.

The chocolate fountain situated at Level 1. "Momento," (loosely translated: A moment please) the worker said since she is preparing the waffles and dipped it with the running chocolate fountain before giving away the waffles to visitors. It reminds me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Fahri taking a bite of the dipped chocolate waffle. Fresh!

The museum is really unique, since we can watch live on the process of making chocolate from start to finish (which is the packaging), using big machinery. Fahri was fascinated with the machines.

The second floor shows the process of making truffles.

Displays of old chocolate tins, and some dating back as far as 1800s. Even we saw the evolution of chocolates as luxury items (chocolates can only be purchased at a chocolate bar and only be shared with the royals). Cocoa trees can only be grown in tropical climate countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. Indonesia is the 3rd largest exporter of cocoa in the world.

Some of the chocolate displays. I told my husband, if I worked in the chocolate factory, I might be eating the chocolates on daily basis. And then we saw the chocolate TV commercials on the 3rd floor of the museum, iklan hitam putih pun ada.

Aduh, sedap, teruja, sedap, wow, banyaknya coklat kat muzium ni.

In front of the museum. Alas, we did not purchase any of the chocolates at the chocolate shop, since we could not read German, and most of the specialty chocolates contained wines/alcohols. But we did purchase the fresh made truffles since we saw the chocolate processed do not contain any alcohol.

On the way back riding on the train car. Cologne has its own river, and most attractions are placed nearby it.

Finally, after days of planning and messaging Raihan, we finally meet her. Sampai juga hajat di hati nak melihat Raihan, whether she settled down OK or not. She has just arrived from Malaysia last month and insya Allah will be furthering her study in engineering.

Cukup makan semua, katanya nak pergi beli basikal esok sebab ada bicycle sale. Heh. Raihan, Raihan, jangan risau Cik Nun, ceria sahaja dia di sini.

Last picture in front of the cathedral again. Raihan kata belakang cathedral ni banyak kedai souvenirs yang murah-murah. Kami jumpa kedai belakang tourist centre yang agak murah juga.

The underground station in Cologne is very advanced. There are rows and rows of shops under the ground, which is impressive, like a shopping complex. This station is Nuemarkt.

The tram above. German has a very comprehensive system of transport. They even have a dedicated lane for bicycle, with traffic light. Our hotel is just a 5 minutes walk from here.

Ah, talking about the hotel, I would highly recommend it to visitors who are thinking to visit Cologne. The owner, this morning, knows that we are Muslims, and offer us some halal chicken slices. When we arrived yesterday, he greeted us and know us personally. It is a small hotel, but the personal touches really impressed us.

The hotel's name and address:

City Hotel Köln am Neumarkt
Clemensstr. 8, Altstadt
Köln, 50676
Germany
Phone +49 (0) 221 3500868
Fax +492213500869
E-mail info@cityhotelkoeln.de

You can read the review here.