Thursday, 23 May 2013

Travel Logs

Today I'd like to talk about my travelling experience, my honeymoon travelling experience to be precise. I went to Europe for my honeymoon. I know that Europe sounds so cliche for a honeymoon destination but since I am from South East Asia, travelling to beautiful countries far far away and observing their amazing architecture, culture and culinary has definitely been on the top of my wish list for a long time.

As a teenager. I used to dream of going to practically every country in the world. Flipping page by page of travel magazines, gazing at beautiful photos of the best scenic lookouts in the world, reading about the various cultures and people from different places was one of my favourite pass time.Time flew, I grew up and lived my life. I travelled to my neighbouring country - Singapore, my place of origin - India and the land down under - Australia, where I now live in. 

When my husband (who at that time was still my fiance) made up his mind that we were going to Europe, I was super excited. 


Get proposed before getting into a hot air balloon which says, "Will you marry me Monica?" - Check!!!

On his knees
Fly fly away

Have an amazing wedding surrounded by all my relatives and friends. - Check!!!


Well, Sid and I sat through long hours of Skype calls and internet research many many days before we had our itinerary set. We bought a Eurail Pass, booked airline tickets and accommodation for 36 beautiful unforgettable days of our life. In my opinion, Trip Advisor is very useful to check out reviews of hotels as well as the photos uploaded by the guests themselves. This makes the photos very realistic with as little touch up as possible. We also used the app to find out the best restaurants in each town. Finally we had everything booked and prepared and our itinerary was ready -

  • 28th - 30th November 2012, Amsterdam.
  • 1st - 5th December 2012, Paris.
  • 5th - 6th December 2012, stay one night in Barcelona to watch a Champions League match Barcelona vs Benfica.
  • 6th - 9th December 2012, Madrid.
  • 9th - 12th    December 2012 back to Barcelona because nobody can ever get enough of Barcelona.
  • 12th - 16th December 2012, the beautiful unique water city Venice.
  • 16th - 19th December 2012, Captivating Cinque Terre.
  • 19th - 23rd December 2012, Florence.
  • 23rd - 26th December 2012, Siena.
  • One night in Rome from the 26th - 27th December 2012 before leaving for our tour the next day.
  • A magnificent tour of Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri from 27th December to 29th December 2012.
  • Last but not least, all roads lead to Rome at least for us from 29th December 2012 - 3rd January 2013.

First and foremost, since we decided to be a little adventurous and depend on the public transport in Europe (taking buses, trams and trains), we knew we had to travel light. Lucky for us, I have never been one of those girls who travel with a 30 kg luggage for a one week trip and even for our honeymoon, Sid and I shockingly managed to carry a combined weight of about 30 kg for our luggage. We travelled really light because we didn't want to lug our suitcases up and down the myriad of staircases in train stations between cities. Judging from the above type of itinerary of more than 10 cities, everyone in their right mind would have done the same thing. 
It was really fun depending on the public transport in these cities especially the major cities of Paris, Barcelona, Madrid and Rome. Their Metro system may be quite old but their service is amazing. A train every 4 minutes. That is magnificent. I finally understood why Melburnians complain about the public transport they have here. Although for me, coming from Jakarta, I cannot complain much. For NOW, I am still quite content with Melbourne Public transport. Ask me again after a year. hahaha...!!!
There was another important thing my husband had to carry with him, his new DSLR. He had just started this hobby not long before our wedding and in such short time, he had learnt a lot and thanks to him, we have beautiful photos of our honeymoon. We took about 4000 photos, yes, 4000.. that was not a typing error. More than that, since he is a tech savvy guy, he got this little card called en eye-fi card which had wifi on it. When you insert this card into your camera, and you start clicking photos, all you have to do is switch on the wifi on your phone and connect to the card's wifi and those GB eating photos jump onto your phone. I loved that. That was why we managed to upload our photos on Facebook daily after our fun day out in each city. So all the marvellous photos I have put up are courtesy of my beloved hubby.

I'm going to share everything based on my perception and would like to say before I start that..Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.

The moment you hear the word Netherlands, you would probably think of pancakes, stroopwafels, Dutch cheese, poffertjes, windmills, clogs, The famous Red Light District and of course their amazing drug policies. I observed and enjoyed a lot in Amsterdam within the short 3 days that we were there. We reached early in the morning on 28th of  November 2012. The weather was quite chilly that morning. My first impression was how clean Schipol Airport was. I had already loved the feel of the place but the moment we stepped out onto the roads, my love grew deeper. The city was vintage and beautiful. The roads, the bicycle paths, the trams, birds flying around, the view of the river canals, everything was so perfect. One of my favourite and most memorable experience in Amsterdam was walking by the train station as the sun began to set while listening to beautiful music from a street accordion player on the road side. I felt a certain rush, a magical feeling inside of me that made me fall in love with Amsterdam. It was definitely a moment that words alone cannot describe. 

Love this shot of Amsterdam. Shows how vintage and beautiful the city is. Kinda reminds me a little bit of Melbourne but seems a lot more peaceful here.

Places we visited in Amsterdam 
3 nights and we had to make the most of it. Fortunately, our hotel was a short tram stop away or even walking distance to Amsterdam Central station, Dam square, Madame Tussaud Museum, Red Light District and more. Basically, we were at the heart of the city. All the places of attraction were still closed at that time so we took a power nap and when we were all freshened up, we headed to the magnificent Madame Tussaud Museum. The biggest Madame Tussaud museum is in London but this one was pretty big as well. We must have spent at least a good 3 hours admiring the statues of celebrities. We also found out that the statues were not made ENTIRELY of wax. If they were, they would sag easily. The body of each figure is produced using fibreglass. If anyone is interested, more information is given on their website on how these figures were produced. 

Madame Tussaud Museum

So after spending half the day with Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and all our other famous friends, we went around town, booked train tickets to Paris, had Dutch food and bought some souvenirs  I can't remember the sequence of our activities in Amsterdam but we did a lot of things. We met some friends from Jakarta who were also in Amsterdam, we checked out the Red Light District, went into one of the "coffee" shops, visited Heineken brewery, Anne Frank Museum and went on a half day trip to the countryside to check out windmills, clogs and cute little houses. It was like nothing I've ever seen. 

Cute houses 

Dutch Countryside

I was feeling cold brrrrrrrrrrr!!

Dutch countryside windmills

We were ecstatic to visit a cheese factory/store Volendam as Sid and I are both cheese lovers. They showed us a demonstration on how they made their cheese which was very educative but I couldn't wait to get to the store and check out the many types of cheese that was available there. It was also interesting to visit a clog maker in Marken who explained to us the use of clogs and the method of making them.

He couldn't have been happier

We got free cheese samples..........Yummy!!

Was trying to grab this wheel of cheese out of her hands but she was way stronger

Trying to conquer the place and showing who's the boss.

Mousing around for more cheese

Tried these clogs that are supposed to be my size. Made by a clog maker in Marken. These clogs are heavy.

Thought of getting this one for a moment.

Finally got this one..Yay!!

For those beer fans out there, visiting Heineken Brewery is a must. Go even if you're not. It was a lot of fun. We paid about 30-35 Euros for the two of us for an amazing Heineken Experience. Going through their hall of fame and reading about their history, checking out their interactive screens, playing all sorts of games, going on a beer splashing ride, being explained about the ingredients of their beer and where they come from was very interesting. Plus we got free beer with that. The experience ended with a short boat cruise from the brewery to their store where we were given free Heineken bottle openers. Pretty cool I must say.

Anne Frank Museum was really something else. It gives you a vivid idea of the times when many Jews were hiding in their bunks for a long time without being able to go out or even seeing the light of day. That was really sad. I felt chills down my spine. We were actually in Anne Frank's hiding place where she wrote her diary. With complete information of the sequence of events step by step in each room, everything felt so real. A very historic place to visit when in Amsterdam. Too bad we were not allowed to take photos in there. After we were done, we just had to have Dutch Pancakes in a place very close to Anne Frank's Museum. This place was actually recommended by a very nice and friendly man working in Madame Tussaud Museum. There is nothing more precious than the experience of meeting people you don't know and yet can still connect and speak for a good 10 - 15 minutes. He told us to go to the best Pancake House in Amsterdam and based on our experience.....must listen to locals!!!

I really really enjoyed Amsterdam and would not hesitate to go back there especially in Spring or Summer where I can cycle along to most places without wearing thick boring jackets. 
This wraps it up for today. Dank u wel. Tot ziens.:)

A sneak preview to my next post :


  1. Good work gorgeous! Well-written and great photos. Keep it up!

  2. Ummmm!! Hmmmmm!! Ummmmm!!! Hmmmmmm!!! Me thinks you have a lot of time on your hands!!! When I first saw the link and had a quick read, I thought it was going to be just a brief mention and some pics. You see, I like detail!! And now I have finished reading it, I really enjoyed it. I would have a bit more but I'm guessing you are saving that for later. Well done.

    1. Ajay, I'm going to add to this post tomorrow, stay tuned ok!!! :)