Edinburgh

This is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas. A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again. – Alexander McCall Smith, about Edinburgh.

Surely Edinburgh is a beautiful city. Very beautiful it even inspired most of the scenes in J.K. Rowling’s book: Harry Potter (or at least that’s how people of Edinburgh claim it). But, true, J.K. Rowling wrote the book in that city. I went to Edinburgh for the 2016 new year. So, yeah, this post is long overdue. I got another chance to visit the city again on June last year, though. Sadly it was not for a vacation.

There are plenty of places to visit in Edinburgh and also plenty of instagramable corners. Be sure that you don’t look as ugly as I was in my winter outfit. But also be sure that you’re warm enough in a nice outfit as the weather is so cold and dry during winter it could make your skin bleed. It is not much of a difference in other seasons, so get wrapped up!

Old Town of Edinburgh

Economics geek out there, here’s where you will find the statue of Adam Smith. He is Scottish so no wonder why the statue lies in Scotland. As I walk along the Old Town, there are many shops, restaurants, and cafes on both sides of the road. Most of the shops are selling souvenirs and cashmere. I saw many bags and clothing made from tweed as well. It is so Scotland. And don’t forget the skirt with square pattern. The road was full of pedestrians. Every 500 meters or so, there’s a man with Scotland’s traditional cloth entertains people passing by by playing bagpipes.

Edinburgh Castle

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It was my first castle visit in UK. I was disappointed because all I was thinking about is Disney’s Castle, the Sleeping Beauty Castle. Yet castles in UK are just… castles. More like a fort than a palace. The castle is huge and if you like history, you will have a good time strolling around. I had my favorite part of the castle when I went up a tower and all around me were pictures that illustrate the story of Scotland’s Kingdom. Every once in a while a recording which tells the story related to the picture. So it was very educating and somewhat interesting. I got to see the crown as well!

Calton Hill

I don’t quite know the purpose of this hill but the view of the city of Edinburgh from this hill is stunning! I’m pretty sure it’s a walking distance from the train station (it’s been quite long time ago, so pardon me as I’m finding it’s hard to remember every bit of the trip). Climb several steps up, and you’re there at Calton Hill. The steps aren’t as much as Batu Cave in Malaysia, so don’t worry.

Arthur’s Seat

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I went there at night, for new year’s eve. When I was there all I could see was fireworks (not even city lights). If you like hiking, Arthur’s Seat is a must go place in Edinburgh. I’ve seen pictures of some of my friends who visited this place in the morning or in the afternoon and it is very beautiful (gotta say Peak District is prettier, though). Be sure to follow the right path, not the shortcut. Especially if you’re not a pro.

Harry Potter Tour

As I’ve mentioned earlier, Edinburgh is the city where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. You can even visit the cafe where she wrote the magical story; The Elephant House. It’s located not too far away from the National Museum of Scotland. You can also see the hotel where J.K. Rowling stayed in Edinburgh which is the Balmoral. Even there’s a tour run by locals that takes you to places which is said to have inspired the writer. A grave, a building, a small road, etc. There’s no fixed fare for the tour, but you have to pay the guide a tip. Depends on how much you’re crazy about Harry Potter, you’re going to love this an hour walking tour around the city of Edinburgh with lots of explanation about how the city is closely related to the story of Harry Potter.

And.. that is as much as I could remember about my trip to Edinburgh. It is definitely a wonderful place to visit. 3 days and 2 nights is a plenty enough time for traveling around the city. You will also find various types of accommodation that you can choose. Finding places to eat isn’t hard. There’s a Malaysian restaurant with reasonable price and delicious taste near Old Town. Subway, McD, and KFC are available in a mall near the train station. You can take the hop on hop off bus, if you like. Or simply travel around by walking, it’s healthier and you might find a gem in the middle of your way. Like these ones.

 

 

♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

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Maroko (Bagian Pertama)

Letaknya di Afrika bagian Utara. Meskipun berada di benua Afrika, kekerabatan Maroko lebih dekat dengan negara-negara Arab. Bahasa yang digunakan di negara ini aja bahasa Arab. Selain itu, bahasa Perancis juga cukup common digunakan oleh masyarakat Maroko. Negara yang masih memiliki raja ini dulunya pernah dijajah secara administratif oleh Perancis (jadi segala kegiatan administratif negaranya diatur oleh Perancis while untuk kegiatan lainnya kerajaan dan pemerintahan Maroko masih punya kuasa penuh). Mata uang negara yang terkenal akan argan oil-nya ini adalah Moroccan Dirham. Please do remember to exchange your local currency to Moroccan Dirham, not Dirham! Aku soalnya sempet salah nuker uang, yang aku dapet adalah Dirham-nya Saudi instead of Maroko.

My itinerary was Casablanca-Rabat-Tangier. Sebetulnya ada dua kota lain yang menarik di Maroko, yaitu Fez dan Marrakesh. Sayangnya aku ngga mampir ke sana 😦 Hopefully next time..

Dulunya aku pikir Casablanca adalah ibu kotanya Maroko. Ternyata, Casablanca adalah kota terbesar di Maroko. Sama kayak dulu aku mengira Istanbul adalah ibu kota dari Turki. Hehehe 😀 Kalau lihat landscape dan tata kotanya, Casablanca itu seperti Jakarta tahun 80-an (sok tau banget, padahal tahun 80-an belum lahir). Mirip deh sama setting film-film jaman dulu. Satu hal yang aku notice, mobil-mobil mereka ngga terawat. They are also famous for being reckless drivers. Di hari pertama aku di sana, bus yang aku tumpangi menabrak sebuah taksi yang menyalip sembarangan. Gempar deh dunia, penumpang taksinya marah-marah. Well, that’s not important tho. Selain itu, bus umum di sana juga sama mengenaskannya sama bus umum di Jakarta.

Here’s some highlights from Morocco

Hassan II Mosque

Masjid yang sangat megah ini dibangun di atas tanah reklamasi, jadi letaknya bener-bener di ujung daratan. Konon di-claim sebagai masjid terbesar ketiga di dunia dengan menara tertinggi di dunia. Uniknya, banyak masjid di Maroko bentuk menaranya kotak instead of bulat (well, balok instead of tabung). Halaman masjidnya luas banget, no wonder masjid ini bisa menampung banyak sekali jamaah. Ornamen di masjid ini Moroccan-style banget, meskipun arsiteknya adalah orang Perancis. Tourist can come inside dengan membayar tiket seharga 120 dirham.

 

Jimat untuk Rumah

Kalau di Turki kita mengenal blue eye sebagai some kind of amulet, di Maroko ada telapak tangan yang menelungkup, namanya Hamsa. Biasanya Hamsa dipasang di pintu rumah sebagai protection dari hal-hal yang ngga baik. Waktu aku jalan-jalan di gang perumahan di Casablanca, emang rata-rata setiap pintu disertai dengan Hamsa.

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Water Seller

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Selain menjual minuman, kayaknya mereka sekaligus beratraksi dengan pakaian yang khas. Soalnya penghasilan mereka juga dari turis-turis yang minta foto bareng (kayak aku). Wadah minumannya konon berasal dari kulit sapi. Itu wadahnya yang dia selempangin di lehernya. Entah di dalamnya air apa (semoga sih air minum bersih).

Rue Soekarno

Di Rabat, ada sebuah jalan yang diberi nama Rue Soekarno. Yes you read it right, nama jalanan itu pun emang diambil dari nama Bapak Presiden RI yang pertama. Jadi, setelah Perang Dunia kedua, negara-negara Asia dan Afrika menggelar konferensi (KAA) di Bandung. I bet you all still remember ya.. Nah di konferensi itu Pak Karno sangat mensupport kemerdekaan Maroko yang saat itu masih belum merdeka. Setelah akhirnya merdeka, Maroko ingin membalas budi kebaikan dan support Bapak Soekarno. Ketika ditanya mau hadiah apa, Bung Karno saat itu menjawab bahwa beliau ingin rakyat Indonesia supaya bisa bebas masuk ke negara Maroko. Dari situlah asal usul kenapa kita para Indonesians ngga perlu apply visa untuk pergi ke sana. Selain itu, nama Soekarno pun dijadikan nama dari sebuah jalan di Rabat (anyway, ada Rue Bandung juga). Sebagai balasan, di Indonesia juga di buat deh jalanan dengan nama Kasablanka, di mana mall Kokas berdiri.

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Sekian dulu untuk cerita Maroko bagian pertama! To be continued…

 

♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

Stanage Edge, Derbyshire

Berawal dari nonton film Pride and Prejudice dan How to be Single, aku bercita-cita trekking ke Stanage Edge. Bukit bebatuan ini letaknya di kawasan Derbyshire, where the story of Pride and Prejudice took place.

My friends and I went there by train, we stopped at Hathersage station and followed the lead of Google Maps to reach the place. Kalau googling, katanya jalur ini level-nya moderate. Aku yang cupu ini bersiap dengan tidur yang cukup, sarapan, dan stok air putih yang cukup. Jalurnya melalui rumah-rumah dan pedesaan (yang katanya mirip Kebumen?). Sedikit melewati hutan, kebun, dan peternakan sapi.

Di tengah jalan kami sempat berhenti untuk istirahat dan makan. Kami ngga sanggup melihat jalur di depan mata yang isinya tanjakan semua. But then, setelah sekitar setengah jam duduk-duduk kami kembali melanjutkan perjalanan yang tinggal setengah lagi.

Ngga berapa jauh dari tempat istirahat kami tiba di kebun (yang kayak tempat syuting film Heart, tapi bukan pohon teh) dimana di puncaknya ada bebatuan. Dari kebun itu juga bisa kelihatan pemandangan yang bagus banget. A scenery that only your eyes can capture, soalnya kalau difoto hasilnya ngga sebagus aslinya. Meskipun jalurnya menanjak, entah kenapa kami jalan super cepat dan penuh semangat. Pelajaran pertama: kita cenderung lebih semangat melakukan sesuatu kalau kita tau bahwa hasil atau imbalannya setimpal atau melebihi usaha kita.

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There are actually two hills around the area. Jadi kita sempat bingung yang mana sebenernya Stanage Edge and then we decided to visit both cause simply we had time. And we still had our energy. Plus a bag of donuts. Jadilah kami menelusuri jalur menuruni bukit pertama yang sepertinya bukan jalur yang lazim dilewati orang. Tanahnya ngga rata dan jeblos-jeblos, ilalangnya tinggi, rumputnya pun tajem-tajem. Kami pun tersadar bahwa ternyata bukit satunya ngga sedekat itu. Di tengah perjalanan turun, kami hampir menyerah. Tapi, waktu menoleh ke belakang. Oh, crap. We were already far away from the peak. Pelajaran kedua: don’t look back. Or, do. But only to see how far you’ve gone and how close you are to your destination.

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We finally arrived at the top of the other hill, which we believe to be the real Stanage Edge. Di sana banyak orang yang wall climbing dan naik gantole. Anginnya super kencang, I think it’s almost the same as when I was at Snowdon Mountain, Wales. Meskipun dingin, kami menghabiskan kira-kira hampir dua jam di sana. The view is such a beauty. Ngga heran sih kenapa orang-orang suka outdoor activities karena emang sebagus itu pemandangannya. The ultimate stress reliever. Kalau kata Rumi, travel brings back power and love to our life. Couldn’t agree more!

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Then we walked back to the station, melewati jalur yang sama. Ketika sampai di bukit yang pertama, seorang temanku nyeletuk “setelah ke bukit yang satunya, bukit ini jadi biasa aja ya.” Dan temanku yang lain pun memberi Pelajaran ketiga dari perjalanan ke Stanage Edge kemarin, yaitu: begitulah keindahan di dunia, cuma sementara.

I had so much fun, mau sering-sering trekking dan hiking demi kebahagiaan lahir dan batin hehehe 🙂 one thing i learned yesterday about myself: I am actually strong enough to do such activity! Berbeda jauh dari waktu aku nanjak di Arthur Seat, Edinburgh dimana aku super cranky, rasanya mau nangis aja. People change and I’ve become a little bit stronger now 🙂

 

♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

Perjalanan di Hari Lebaran

It’s been a while, isn’t it? Been busy traveling with my parents although I actually wrote some stuffs on my phone to be posted here. Tapi belum kesempetan ditulis rapi untuk di-post aja. Today I spare a bit of my Sunday to write, just because. I hope it’s not too late 😀

Beberapa orang mengira aku spend Idul Fitri tahun ini di Maroko, while sebetulnya di hari lebaran itu aku lagi di perjalanan yang cukup panjang dari Manchester ke Maroko. Jadi sebetulnya aku cuma setengah hari aja merayakan Idul Fitri di sana dan ngga sempet merasakan ambience eid festive-nya. Bare with me, I hope the story is going to be as you all expected..

Sehari sebelum lebaran, sore-sore aku berangkat ke airport untuk terbang ke Madrid. Flight-ku itu Manchester-Madrid kemudian dilanjutkan dengan Madrid-Casablanca. Aku transit di Madrid 12 jam (yeah, true). Pesawatku landed di Madrid sekitar jam 10 malam. Bandara di Madrid, which is Barajas airport, lumayan nyaman untuk stay overnight. Bangkunya keras dan dingin sih untuk tidur, tapi kalau udah ngantuk ya bisa-bisa aja tidur di sana. Aku sempet tidur walaupun kebangun beberapa kali untuk benerin posisi. Wifi-nya unlimited dan tersedia beberapa spot electricity socket untuk ngecharge handphone dan laptop. Satu hal yang agak kurang sih stall makanannya ngga seberapa banyak. I ate both my dinner and breakfast at Starbucks di saat orang-orang nyicip sepiring opor atau makanan identik lebaran lainnya.

I arrived at Casablanca sekitar jam 11 dan ketemuan dengan orangtuaku di airport. Sekitar jam 2 atau 3 gitu baru akhirnya aku keluar gedung dan terpapar udara meditarian yang hari itu panas tapi cukup berangin. Jadi bisa disimpulkan, aku ngga ikutan solat ied dan ramah tamah ala hari raya seperti biasanya. One thing is quite salient in the street of Casablanca. Rame banget. Kayaknya semua orang keluar rumah. Persis kayak Ancol kalau lagi lebaran, apalagi di alun-alunnya.

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Everyone seemed to be going outside the house. Kinda familiar, isn’t it?

That’s basically it, tho. I don’t have any special eid moment in Morocco, nor in Madrid.

But, I’d like to have a say about this year’s Ramadhan. Bulan puasa di tahun ini spesial banget, Alhamdulillah. Pertama kalinya sebulan full ada di negara lain dan harus puasa selama 19 jam. And the highlight was jualan kue lebaran (akhirnya terealisasi!). Di bulan Ramadhan kemarin aku ngerasain secara langsung ke-Mahabesar-an Allah. I must say puasanya a bit tough dan melelahkan dan kadang terasa sepi. Tapi di sisi lain puasanya ngga bikin laper yang sampai gimana banget, tetep bisa beraktivitas seperti biasa, dan jadi sering ketemu orang-orang (walaupun lo lagi, lo lagi). After all, di ujung bulan yang suci itu aku bersemangat untuk memulai semuanya kembali dari awal dengan lebih baik 🙂

I know it’s late, tapi aku mau mengucapkan mohon maaf lahir dan batin untuk semuanya! I hope you all did have a great eid.

 

♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

 

Escaping Manchester

I’m sorry that I have to disagree with Seth Godin when he said instead of wondering when our next vacation is we should set up a life we don’t need to escape from. After all, we’re only humans. We get bored and tired, even from a routine that we love the most. Instead of ‘escape’ I’d prefer to call it ‘take a break’, to be honest. In this case, ‘escape’ sounds a bit negative.

I took a break from my extraordinary life in Manchester and went to London for a night. The highlight of the trip was watching a ballet performance. And that’s basically it. Obviously, no one will finish London in two days. It was just huge. But, if you’re being efficient, perhaps you can visit most of the places in Zone 1 (London has 9 zones). My trip was not prepared with an itinerary so the decision about where to go was rather spontaneous than planned. I hope this is entertaining enough for you though 😀

Borough Market

Take a tube and get off at Borough station. Not far from the station, you will find a market full of food and beverages, raw and cooked, from all over the world. The market is huge and it has several different areas. You will find just almost everything, fresh juice, cheese, meat, cakes, chinese food, thai food, egyptian food, and many more. Plenty of choices just makes it hard for me to choose what to eat. So basically, I didn’t buy anything there. It is so crowded, I believe because there are so many tourists (or is it because I came at lunch time?). In some food stalls, you have to queue until you got served. Being in Borough Market reminds me of travel documentary series I used to watch in NatGeo Travel and if only I got more time (and money) I’d stay for a little longer in the market.

London Riverside

We went to this place because one of my friend used to work at PwC and the office of PwC London is located here. It was a nice visit though, because the riverside view is just nice and we can see the famous Tower Bridge (which often is mistaken as the London Bridge). Office buildings near the place is also very modern and sophisticated.

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Pardon the lack of lighting in this pict

Covent Garden

If you’re not a budget traveler and you’re keen on shopping, visiting Covent Garden is a must. It welcomes you with luxury shops and some restaurants, though at the back you’re going to find a less luxurious market. There’s shake shack here, I bet it is a must for Indonesian hipster kids to buy a burger and take a selfie there. Oh, and Godiva. Fancy a cone of Godiva ice cream, don’t you? (Well, di Indonesia juga ada sih ya..). The area that surrounds this place is nice to stroll around and less than 10 minutes walk, you will arrive at my next destination…

 

Travalgar Square

This iconic square in London is a tourist must visit. The name Travalgar is taken from an ancient battle between Britain and France and Spain. It was a nice place to chill and relax during a good weather. It’s full of people but when I went there it wasn’t as crowded as Dam Square (by far, Dam Square is still the most crowded public open space in the world that I’ve been to). National Gallery stands just beside the square and in the area of the square itself, there are two fountains and several statues.

 

China Town (Assa Korean Restaurant)

My friend and I have been craving to eat Korean dish and there we were in one of the most popular Korean restaurant in London. It’s located in the China Town (kayaknya lebih tepat dibilang Asia Town sih.. soalnya ada restoran Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, dan lain-lain juga). How was it? Recommended! It’s a good value as well, per person-nya dibawah £10 aja. We grabbed some packs of Samyang noodle too. Samyang noodle is just too popular everybody tries it.

My thoughts about Samyang : enak! Pedes banget, tapi pedes nagih. Di awal pedesnya belum terasa tapi lama-lama bikin meler dan mewek. But you just can’t stop karena rasanya enak. It won’t be my weekly dose of instant noodle, tapi once in a while I’ll crave for it. Anyway, di sini Samyang-nya berlogo halal di packaging-nya. Kata temenku, di Indo ngga ada logo halal-nya ya?

There is a Chinese bakery which smells sooo good and we stopped by to buy some sweet buns and taiyaki. Roti manis kayak di Indonesia itu ngga dijual secara masif di UK, beda jenis roti dan beda taste yang pasti. Roti yang lazim dan normal itu pastries, donuts, chiabata (pardon my spelling), dan roti-roti yang cenderung keras dan plain. Ngga ada deh roti isi pisang coklat, isi keju, isi srikaya, selain di Chinese bakery. Jadi, toko roti di China Town itu selalu jadi favorit (sambil bismillah semoga halal). Kalau taiyaki sendiri adalah kue berukuran kecil yang dicetak di cetakan berbentuk ikan. The price is expensive tho, menurutku mereka menjual experience ngeliat proses pembuatannya juga. I bet it’s interesting untuk orang-orang Western, kalau aku sih udah biasa liat kue cubit 😀 (but no, the texture is not the same as kue cubit).

Albert Hall

Our final destination of the first day, where we watched the Swan Lake Ballet. The building is just amazing and the show was even more amazing! That was my first experience to enjoy a ballet performance. I didn’t expect myself to like it that much. Perhaps it’s also because of the stunning orchestra (an orchestra always amuses me, it reminds me so much about my childhood as a violinist). I’m not a football person, jadi instead of nonton match sepakbola, aku lebih interest nonton art performance (but not a concert). If you love art, di UK ada banyak performance yang menarik untuk ditonton.

 

Camden Market

Pardon me if I’m not giving any direction in this post. Peta tube lumayan membantu kok dan aku pakai apps andalanku juga: City Mapper selama jalan-jalan di London and I didn’t get lost even for once. Camden Market itu pasar yang tumpah ruah semua jualan ada disitu. It’s like Chatuchak but in London. Ada makanan, minuman, mainan, aksesoris, baju, souvenir, lampu, dan lain-lain you will find almost everything. Banyak barang-barang yang lucu dan menarik di sini. On our way to the market, kami melewati sebuah jalanan yang penuh manusia dimana di kanan dan kirinya terdapat toko-toko. Penampakannya persis Cihampelas (like for real).

 

Baker Street

Ada dua tempat tujuan di Baker Street. Yang pertama tentunya 221B Baker Street alias rumahnya Sherlock Holmes dan yang kedua adalah masjid besar di sekitar Baker Street karena kami harus solat zuhur dan ashar. The home of Sherlock Holmes is actually a museum, which you have to pay to get inside. As I’m only a moderate fan of the detective, I didn’t go inside. I went to the shop instead. It was a small shop and I didn’t find anything that interest me. So we kind of spent just less than 15 minutes there and then moved to the next destination: the mosque (alim). Masjidnya gede banget, aku ngga expect akan sebesar itu masjidnya. Bersih dan nyaman juga di dalamnya. It’s around 5 to 10 minutes walk from the 221B Baker Street, passing the London Business School on the way.

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Buckingham Palace

I have been here once but one of my friend haven’t been there. So, we decided to visit the palace. The front side of the palace has a quite huge open space for people to take pictures and chilling out. We’re basically exhausted  by the time we reach the palace (a short trip will definitely makes you more tired because you have to move fast and not to waste any time). So we just sat there, watching people passing by.

 

It’s a wrap! That’s basically it. Someone said when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life for there is in London all that life can afford. Well, that’s a bit exaggerated. But I do want to explore more of London when I have time (and money) one day 🙂 I hope you’re entertained by this post 😀

 

♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

North Wales: Places to Visit

Berhubung aku anaknya lemah banget di pelajaran sejarah dan geografi, sebelum sampai di UK, aku ngga tau apa-apa tentang negara Wales. It is obviously not as popular as England. Tapi scenery-nya indah banget! Bahkan beberapa tempat di sana termasuk dalam UNESCO world heritage sites. If you fancy to go traveling in a not so urban area and would like to enjoy the nature, North Wales is definitely a place that you must visit.

Isle of Anglesey

Menginjakkan kaki di negara Wales yang terletak di luar daratan England adalah salah satu tujuanku di liburan ini. Untuk menuju ke Isle of Anglesey, kita harus melewati jembatan yang menyebrangi lautan. Salah satu iconic structure di pulau ini adalah Menai Suspension Bridge yang bisa dilalui dengan mobil ataupun jalan kaki. I did not have any guts to cross the bridge by my own feet, ngeri juga karena setiap dilewati mobil, jembatannya akan sedikit goyang. Jembatan ini, waktu baru selesai dibangun, adalah suspension bridge terbesar di dunia. No wonder this bridge is so famous. By the way, aku ngga bisa jelasin apa itu suspension bridge hehehe, kalau penasaran boleh googling sendiri ya 😀

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The name is way too long and to my surprise, it has a meaning!

Yang paling menarik dari Isle of Anglesey adalah sebuah desa yang namanya panjang banget. The longest in Europe! Apart from the unique name, desa ini sebenernya seperti desa lainnya. Isle of Anglesey juga punya sebuah castle bernama Beaumaris Castle di pinggir laut. Di perjalanan menuju kastil, aku dan teman-teman melewati pusat perbelanjaan. By pusat perbelanjaan, i mean a street full of shops and restaurants. Aku suka banget model pusat perbelanjaan yang kayak gini, keluar-masuk toko-toko kecil di pinggir jalan (maklum anaknya terlalu banyak exposure dengan mall fancy berlantai tinggi di Jakarta).

Satu pelajaran dari perjalanan ke North Wales adalah: berburu sunset di waktu spring (yang rasanya masih kayak winter banget) adalah ide yang kurang baik. Pergi ke pantai di UK ngga sama kayak pergi ke Bali atau pantai-pantai di negara tropis. Pakaian harus lengkap dan kalau bisa yang windbreaker karena angin kencang khas pantai yang berhembus itu dingin. Ngga bisa pakai sandal juga ke pantainya. Aku dan teman-teman sampai di pantai kira-kira jam 5 sore, sedangkan sunset baru terjadi sekitar jam 7. Hampir beku karena kedinginan, kami pun memutuskan untuk menghangatkan diri di mobil dan say bye to sunset in Llandwyn Beach.

Snowdonia

Dari segala tempat yang ada di Wales, sepertinya Snowdonia adalah salah satu yang paling terkenal. Snowdonia itu adalah national park yang alamnya juara banget. Aku yang bukan pencinta alam aja terpukau. Pagi-pagi aku terbangun dan menyadari kalau semalam turun salju. It was so cold, tapi udaranya enak. Such a fresh air, berbeda dengan Manchester (and do not ever compare it to Jakarta). Buatku, Tuhan bener-bener menunjukkan kebesaranNya di Snowdonia. The scenery is totally amusing, even your most sophisticated camera won’t ever capture it the same way as when you see it bare eyes.

Duh. Jatuh cinta.

Trekking to the summit could have been nice if we’re prepared. Sayangnya, most of us adalah anak-anak lenjeh yang ngga punya pengalaman trekking sama sekali which means kami ngga punya equipment-nya juga. Akhirnya, kami naik kereta menuju ke 3/4 summit gunung Snowdonia. Fare keretanya £23 return dan kita diberi waktu 30 menit untuk jalan-jalan di sekitar pemberhentian kereta di puncak. I know it sounds a bit expensive, tapi itu worth it untuk semua keindahan yang bisa disaksikan di sepanjang perjalanan.

Waktu sampai di 3/4 summit, hujan es turun disertai dengan angin kencang. Ketika foto-foto pun mukanya meringis semua karena menahan sakit ditampar-tampar oleh kerikil es. Aku yang niatnya mau jalan-jalan jadi cuma bisa foto-foto sebentar lalu menghangatkan diri di dalam kereta. Angin yang kencang juga bikin pergerakan melambat. I was scared of falling down atau kebawa angin. Tangan dan kaki pun rasanya numb sepulang dari puncak. A perfect time for hot chocolate 😀

Aku dan teman-teman kemudian menghabiskan hari dengan menyusuri jalanan yang memutari taman nasional Snowdonia. To be honest, sebenernya kita lebih ke arah nyasar dan ngga sengaja menyusuri jalanan ini. Niatnya mau mengunjungi sebuah danau kece yang sampai detik ini kita ngga tau dimana letaknya. But, not all who wander are lost. Bahkan ternyata di jalanan yang tak terduga, kita jadi menemukan sesuatu yang indah. Serendipity, maybe? Or simply ketika segala sesuatu berjalan melenceng dari rencana yang kita buat, itu adalah cara Tuhan menunjukkan sesuatu yang lebih baik untuk kita.

A bit of information, di kawasan Snowdonia, agak susah cari restoran yang proper (by proper I mean semacam fast food atau chinese restaurant). Jadi kami harus ke kota lain untuk makan siang. Ngga jauh sih, paling hanya 20 menit perjalanan. So, consider this or pack your own lunch.

Portmeirion

Tempat ini adalah alasan utamaku main ke North Wales! I’m in love with pretty colors. Desa penuh warna ini sengaja di-design seperti desa-desa di Itali dan pernah digunakan untuk shooting tv series The Prisoner (ini kayaknya jadul banget sih, aku pun ngga pernah denger hehe). Harga entry-nya adalah £11 untuk students dan bisa sepuasnya main di sana. Snap here, snap there. Pokoknya kerjaannya foto-foto aja di sana cause it’s so pretty! Ada penginapan dan restoran juga di kawasan ini, in case you plan to stay here for a while.

Once again, jatuh cinta.

 

Great Orme

Kayak belum cukup mataku melihat warna-warna segar di Portmeirion, tempat selanjutnya yang aku dan teman-teman kunjungi adalah Great Orme. Sebuah bukit di pinggir daratan. Kalau berada di puncaknya, aku bisa melihat laut lepas. Perpaduan warna hijau rerumputan bukit dan birunya laut dan langit di batas horizon bener-bener seger banget. Lelahnya menatap jurnal dan laptop langsung hilang. Seperti biasa, kalau ada di dataran tinggi, anginnya kenceng dan dingin. But that did not stop me from posing an taking a lot of pictures (for sure).

Llandudno Pier

Beach again, kali ini di pagi hari. Mataharinya hangat dan banyak orang akhirnya keluar rumah untuk menikmati kehangatan. They definitely don’t take the sun for granted. Aku berjalan menyusuri pier (bahasa Indo-nya pier tuh apa ya?) sendirian sambil melihat orang-orang berjalan bersama anjingnya atau bersama keluarganya. Such a lovely sight. Terutama banyak pasangan lansia yang super sweet.

Di sepanjang pier banyak toko-toko yang menjual makanan, minuman, souvenir, dan lain-lain. Pokoknya semacam pasar deh. Aku membeli donat kemudian duduk di salah satu bangku di ujung pier sambil menikmati birunya laut yang mengkristal karena terkena cahaya matahari. It was so relaxing. Indeed, liburan itu perlu banget. Apalagi untuk orang-orang yang kesehariannya punya ritme hidup yang cepat.

Aku dan teman-teman lumayan lama bermain di sekitar Llandudno pier. Menikmati udara segar dan pemandangan indah. Anyway, di sana banyak burung dari berbagai spesies. They are beautiful dan seru banget melihat mereka terbang bergerumul.

Smallest House in Great Britain

This is the last place that i’m going to share in this post. Waktu pertama lihat informasi tentang tempat ini, aku langsung penasaran kayak apa isinya. Setelah masuk dengan membayar £1, ternyata rumahnya fine kok. It’s a real house for a real human being. Tapi ukurannya kecil, ngga sesempit yang aku bayangkan dan untuk janga waktu yang sebentar ngga bikin sesak nafas juga. In fact, I think it must be very comfortable to live there. Sederhana, hangat, walaupun pastinya sepi karena cuma muat untuk satu orang hehehe.

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Aku yakin sih ada banyak tempat menarik lainnya di North Wales yang belum sempat aku kunjungi. But I hope this much is enough to inspire your trip to North Wales. If you’re about to travel to UK, i know London is fancy and is a must, but do visit North Wales too. You’re going to find a lot of gems here. Enjoy 😀

 

♥  Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

North Wales: Pre-Departure

Holiday time! Saatnya menggunakan uang tabungan untuk jalan-jalan di UK. My ambition so far is to visit all countries in UK, dan perjalanan ke Wales saat Easter break kemarin meninggalkan Northern Ireland sebagai satu-satunya negara di UK yang belum aku datangi. So, I visited Wales yang masih satu daratan dengan England. Aku menghabiskan 4 hari 3 malam di sana dan fokus muter-muter di bagian utaranya aja. Letaknya di sebelah barat dari Manchester dan hanya sekitar 2-3 jam perjalanan untuk sampai di sana. Ini road trip pertamaku di UK. It was so fun since day one, bahkan sejak mulai membuat itinerary.

Aku pertama kali jatuh cinta dengan North Wales waktu melihat foto temanku di Portmeirion, sebuah desa warna-warni di pinggir laut. Dari situ, aku mulai mengajak dan memengaruhi teman-temanku untuk pergi kesana. Si A mengajak si B, si B mengajak si C sampai akhirnya berkumpulah tujuh orang yang excited banget mau berlibur di North Wales.

Itinerary

Aku anaknya suka membuat planning, like literally for everything. I rarely come late to an appointment unless I plan to (LoL). Untuk perjalanan kali ini, aku mostly merujuk pada website visit Wales dan melihat top attractions yang ditawarkan. Website-nya helpful banget dan interface-nya menarik, something I definitely wish to be present in Indonesian tourism websites. Sekali dua kali aku double check ke trip advisor supaya lebih yakin kalau tempatnya memang recommended. Yang paling menarik adalah, sebagian besar nama daerah ataupun tourist attractions yang aku dan partner membuat itinerary-ku lihat, ngga bisa kami pronounce dengan benar. Bahasa Wales itu didominasi oleh konsonan sehingga ngga paham gimana harus melafalkannya. We ended up saying “bwlewlelebwele” all the time.

Sewa Mobil

Banyak orang yang ngga percaya waktu aku bilang kalau SIM Indonesia itu berlaku selama satu tahun di UK (SIM biasa, it doesn’t have to be international driving license). I don’t quite know why, mungkin karena we drive in the same side of the road. Oh ya, di sini orang-orang bukan menyebut setir kiri atau setir kanan kayak di Indonesia (which is literally letak setir mobilnya), melainkan menyetir di sebelah kiri jalan atau menyetir di sebelah kanan jalan (letak mobil berada kalau di jalanan). So, di Indonesia dan di UK sama-sama drive in the left side of the road (berarti setirnya ada di kanan). Ok, not so important but I hope it’s nice for you to know hehe.

Jadi, selama punya SIM dan belum lebih dari satu tahun tinggal di UK, we all are eligible to rent a car. Tapi, umurnya harus di atas 22 tahun dan driver dengan umur di bawah 25 tahun dikenakan surcharge. Plus, harga insurance-nya lebih mahal. Pilihan mobilnya pun lebih sedikit. Young driver cuma bisa pinjam mobil tipe city car yang maximum seat-nya adalah 5. Sounds funny to me, secara dulu waktu umurku belum 20 tahun aja aku udah nyetir mobil tipe SUV. Well, anyway, sewa mobil itu harganya sekitar £60-an per hari (belum termasuk surcharge dan insurance). Jadi, tipsnya kalau mau road trip adalah: cari teman jalan-jalan yang umurnya udah lebih dari 25 tahun supaya lebih hemat dan bisa nyewa mobil besar.

Booking Hotel

Kendala jalan-jalan tanpa punya teman di daerah yang akan kita kunjungi adalah harus keluar uang untuk biaya penginapan. Sebagai mahasiswa yang hemat, kami mencari penginapan yang murah meriah, yaitu hostel dan airbnb. Selama tiga malam, kami menginap di tempat yang berbeda-beda setiap harinya. Harganya bervariasi dan yang paling murah adalah £15 per malam untuk satu orang. Menurutku, semua penginapan yang aku tumpangi selama liburan ini memuaskan banget.

Itu semua adalah hal-hal yang aku dan teman-teman persiapkan sebelum berangkat ke North Wales. If you got any questions, just drop me a line and I’d be happy to answer 😀 Next post adalah tentang tempat-tempat yang aku kunjungi selama liburan kemarin. Read on!

 

♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

 

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The theme park junkie is back!

HAPPY EASTER BREAK 😀

Aku memulai Easter break dengan mengunjungi salah satu theme park di England, which called Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Harga day pass-nya £15 karena sedang promo dan lokasinya terhitung dekat dari Manchester, makanya aku dan teman-teman memilih untuk bermain ke sana.

Don’t expect much, karena theme park ini bukan Disneyland dan umurnya udah cukup tua. It’s only a walking distance from the train station, you should get off at Blackpool Pleasure Beach Statio. Kesan pertama waktu melihat kawasan theme park-nya, i thought ‘it feels like I’m back to the 80s’. Terutama dari bangunannya. Mostly permainannya pun udah tua, honestly it looks older than Dufan, walaupun ada beberapa wahana yang dari struktur dan penampilannya terlihat baru.

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Aku excited banget karena ada banyak roller coaster di sana. Salah satunya adalah roller coaster yang track-nya panjang banget. Sayangnya aku ngga sempat nyobain, karena hari itu theme park tutup lebih awal dan antriannya panjang banget. Salah satu roller coaster ride yang menarik buatku adalah roller coaster yang dipadukan dengan slides. Jadi saat meluncur turun, keretanya ngga lagi berjalan di atas rel melainkan sliding (ngga ada relnya, bener-bener kayak main perosotan di waterboom). I wonder how that works.. kapan-kapan i will ask my friend who loves physics that much to explain it to me hehe

Selain beragam roller coaster, ada wahana Nickelodeon yang colorful dan sangat cerah ceria. Mostly permainan di Nickelodeon Land adalah permainan untuk anak-anak. But still, i love bright colors!

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Ada beberapa permainan yang bikin pusing juga di sana, which i hate the most. Bukan hanya di Blackpool, di mana pun theme park-nya, aku ngga pernah suka dengan permainan yang diputer-puter jungkir balik. It feels like a never ending torture. Biasanya permainan jenis itu durasinya akan lama and you never know when will it ends. I prefer fast rides, always.

Seusai puas main-main (well, ngga akan pernah puas sih sebetulnya), aku dan teman-teman nyebrang sedikit untuk melihat pantai. Jangan pernah membandingkan pantai di Indonesia dengan pantai di UK. They’re different in many ways. Tapi yang menarik adalah kami bisa melihat sunset di depan mata hari itu. Melihat tiap perubahan warna langit dari biru, ke jingga, ke abu-abu. It was a wonderful evening 🙂

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♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

York

I’ve been to York twice. First time i went there was with my family and the second one with my friends in uni. York is indeed a beautiful city, the one you’ll never get enough of. It is situated in the north of England, just after Leeds if you go there from the south. Traveling within York, most of the tourist attractions can be reached by walking. Come, read this post till the end, i’ll show you around 🙂

Railway Museum

Five minutes walk from the York train station, you can enter the Railway Museum for free. It’s a big museum with lots of train locomotives, even one of the exhibition room is designed like a train station. It has great spots to take a picture, so if you’re not that museum-type of person you can just take pictures all around the museum. Once in a while, the museum also offers a demonstration of train machine. Probably an interesting experience for a mechanical engineer.

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York City Walls

I already told you that you can go around York by walking and one thing you shouldn’t miss while walking in York is to walk on the York City Walls. It’s not something fancy like the Great Wall of China, but it’s nice to know. You can see the city from a higher level of surface. The wall pretty much surrounds the whole city area. But if you want to walk around and see some local shops, it’s better to walk in the pedestrians as there are only several gates to enter and get out from the wall.

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Clifford’s Tower

This is one of the icons of York. A tower located in a small hill, which is formerly a part of York Castle. If you want to enter the tower, you have to pay £5. I didn’t get in but of course i took a picture from the outside.

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York Castle Museum

Located just across the Clifford’s Tower, a huge museum called Castle Museum is a must visit place! The admission fee is quite expensive (£10) but trust me it’s worth it. A very well-managed museum with interesting exhibitions. They are basically the history of York, but the museum recreated the whole old city inside a building. You can see how the shops, bedrooms, school, and even jail look like in the past.

On my way from York Castle Museum to the next place that i visited (York Minster), i passed through the authentic York’s small road full of shops. It’s just like being in Diagon Alley. I also passed York Viking Museum (Jorvik Viking Centre) and York Chocolate Story.

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York Minster

York Minster is a famous cathedral in York, also known as St Peter’s Cathedral. I met a local on the train to York and he really recommend my friends an I to enter the cathedral and go to the tower. However, due to a limited time and also because it’s expensive to go inside, we just walked around it. The architecture of the cathedral is pretty similar to Notre Dame in France, it has several Gargoyle statues (which actually there to convey water from the roof, preventing it from running down the walls although there is also a legend that the Gargoyle is there to scare evil spirits). Even though I’m a Muslim, i always admire the architecture of cathedral and other religion’s prayer building. They all were built so beautifully.

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St Mary’s Abbey

A huge garden for people to chillax (chill and relax). Lucky me, i went there when it was so sunny. I embraced the sunlight, and sun is also good for taking pictures! The abbey is already ruined now, but still it’s beautiful with a lake on its side (or is it a river?).

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Betty’s Cafe Tea Room

This tea place is so popular and i suggest you to reserve a place (if possible?) or be there early because it has a very long queue. My friends and I finally ended up in a local small cafe which serves the best hot chocolate ferrero rocher (I didn’t order this one but my friends said it was sooo good).

I also bought some hot pastries in a bakery near Betty’s (too bad i forgot the name) but it was so delicious with pretty good deal: 2 for £2.

York’s Designer Outlet

If you have plenty of time in York (and also not on a tight budget), do have a visit to York’s Designer Outlet and get the best price for your favorite brands! You have to take a bus to get to the outlet right from the train station. If you’re lucky, you can get a lot of stuffs with a lot less money spent 😀

 

There you go, would you fancy a visit to York? Well, you should. Have a nice stroll!

 

♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia

Enabling the Disabled

I’m impressed by the way the governments in Europe and UK treat people with disability. Totally impressed.

In Indonesia, i always pity those who use a wheelchair. Because they look so fragile and they seem like very dependent to other people. My grandma use a wheelchair and i definitely find some difficulties when taking her outside the house, either to the mall, supermarket, or a wedding hall.

In Europe and UK, people with disability are treated very nicely. They have all accesses to go anywhere they want to. Even in some cities in the UK, people with disability do not have to pay the transportation cost when they are traveling by bus (i’m not sure about train and airplane tho). The bus is very disabled-friendly. The bus driver can lower the bus height (the same height as the pavement) so the disabled can enter the bus. The bus also has a special space for a wheelchair.

Moreover, truth to be told, i have never seen any people with disability in Dufan. Maybe yes in Taman Safari or Taman Mini but not in a theme park like Dufan. But i saw many people with disability in Disneyland Paris. They played the ride. They had a special access card that makes them didn’t have to wait in the line. When the parade started, Disneyland had prepared a space for the disabled. they can enjoy the parade without any difficulty.

One last thing. There are special dogs that are specially trained to accompany the blind. It’s a special dog because it wears a green dog-shirt. The dog will lead the blind to go anywhere.

Aren’t those facts amazing? I wish the government can do such things in Indonesia, someday. Because people with disability may have a great super talent but sadly, they have to bury the talent because their movements are confined. It’s also a loss for the country, isn’t it? And above all, people with disability have the same rights as healthy people.

 

♥ Atiqah Zulfa Nadia