Sunday, June 29, 2014

Eat and Travel in Europe Winter Wonderland

Hi everyone ^___^

Yes, I'm participating in "EAT and Travel With B Blog" Competition why? Because I'm a travel addict myself and I would love to share my experience as well. If you have an experience regarding eat and travel, please do participate and jotted down. Here's the details regarding the competition with BBlog Indonesia:


(sponsored by,, and )


(Just click HERE and you'll go straight to the facebook page of BBlog Indonesia.)

Now, hmm, like said, as a travel addict of course I've been to many places around the world, locally I've been to Bali, Jogjakarta, go on top of Mt.Bromo, canoeing at a beach in Bintan Island, indulging Milk Fishes in Semarang and many more. Outside Indonesia, I've been to the United States of America, visiting Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Fransisco, Hollywood, and even cross the border at Tijuana, Mexico. And then, went to China a few times, Singapore, Malaysia, and then live in Singapore for more than 4 years, learn English at New Zealand, visit a friend in Perth, Australia. Enjoying Japan, a few times to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, thanks to some beauty companies in Singapore for those trips to Japan. Went to Seoul, South Korea courtesy of Korea Tourism Board for a week, and went cruising sponsored by a very famous cruise company in Asia, and hmm, which of these experiences I want to share? I think I'll pick the one where I went to Europe with my sister, sponsored by one of the biggest traveling agency in UK.

A 9 days 8 nights tour to Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and France. I found this experience as unique and enriching at the same time, plus, this is my first time traveling together with my sister and just the two of us.

In this post, I'll share our experiences, tips and some fun facts as well. Hope you'll enjoy reading it!

Total traveling cost incl flights is around USD 2500


We arrived at Schiphol after a 16 hours flight, fresh and happy because we are welcomed by a 0 degree Celsius temperature in the mid of January. The winter there is comfortable and oh well, perhaps because me and my sister did pick winter as our traveling time since it is the complete opposite from Jakarta, Indonesia. So we pretty much prep our self in the plane with all our jacket and coat on the carry on luggage.

Tips: Always finds out the temperature of the place you're going too and prepare your clothing attire only with a reputable brand. Once I went to Auckland in July wearing a polyester jacket, it was far from warmth, I'm shivering even when indoor.


What do I do the minute I stepped out from the plane and done with the immigration? Try the local snack! It was french fries, it was so thick and juicy, crisp on the outside and delicious inside. This is a french fries should be. I wish I can eat it everyday ^__^

Since Indonesia is under Dutch for 350 years, some of the language we have are adopted from them, words such as kantor, parkir, gratis, and many more.


Since our hotel is near to the airport, there's a free shuttle bus going back and forth daily. Inside the hotel there's a bunch of vending machines, haha! This is what I called instant gratification.

Do you know that you could learn about local favorites just by looking at their vending machines? Only 'famous' food are made into available for just about anytime. In Singapore most vending machines are for drinks, since that is the 'most wanted' items by the locals.


I don't care how cold it was, I'm still a big fan of ice cream. Btw, do you know that January is the low season of traveling in Europe? So if you're on a budget and hate cramped in a crowded tourists locations, go on a low seasons and you'll feel like local.

Personally, I dislike having to queue or asking people to please take turn in taking pictures on a famous sites, by going on the low seasons, I don't have to do that and there's no queue either.


Since we got some free time waiting for the other members of the tour to arrive, me and my sister are taking the times on our own, we took a long bath and a nap, those 16 hours flight is not so friendly to our joints. Tips: When going on a long haul flight, prepare yourself with skincare minis on your purse, the dry air will make your skin craves from some attention, you really don't want to get some instant wrinkles don't you?!
drink plenty of water but not all at once, drink a small amount every now and then should help your body and skin.

After taking a break we are ready for some adventure on our on and went on shopping!!


There's a big shop that sells winter attire, snacks, restaurants, pubs and bars. Everything can be purchase with Euro, in fact when in Europe, Euro is suffice for almost all the countries here. And since I'm traveling to several countries in Europe, I only need one visa, Schengen visa.

How to get a Schengen visa? Apply at the embassy where you'll be at the longest, so if let say you'll travel to France for 2 days, Germany 3 days and Italy for 4 days, then you should get the Schengen visa by applying at the embassy of Italy.

If you're traveling equally like 2 days on each country, then you should apply the visa at the embassy of the first country you're in.

Prepare all the document wisely and truthfully, answer all the questions needed and always apply at least a month before since sometime it need to be checked by more than one country.


Back to Amsterdam, here's what it can offer,
Experience Amsterdam’s coffee shops, museums and cool, quirky boutiques. Wander along shady canals and pass gabled houses or hop on two wheels like the laid-back locals and bike through the centre of town.
Chill out while the coach follows the Rhine River, weaving through valleys dotted with castles and vineyards.


On the next day, me and my sis continue to wander around on our own.
It was truly a beautiful city, picturesque in every angle, I love the fact that the people here enjoy bicycle more than cars, imagine the cool air, clean and safe city.

We like to wander off the beaten path, in fact I like to get lost. I did get lost once when in Perth, I was 16 and late at night, I took the wrong bus, and to make it worst, it is the last bus that day, luckily the bus driver is so kind and change his bus number so he can bring us back home, by this experience I know that there are still people out there whose genuinely kind and care about others, ever heard the saying, "World without strangers"?! If I go on a scheduled tour every day, I wont have a personal experience, I wont talk to the locals as much as I do when walk outside the group, I wont eat those yummy meat skewers outside a leather jacket factory in China with some factory workers who looked at me like I'm some kind of weirdos and then laugh together knowing that we share the same interest, their daily local food, funny how small things brings people closer, even when I'm not talking their language.

I remember explaining to a group of Japanese tourists in their senior years how I get there (Singapore, while traveling in 1997), we both spread our hands and yes, plane, we laugh at each other knowing that none of us speaks the language their opposite understood but we're still human with many abilities, we can speak with our body language.


Beside human to human interact, I also enjoy the silent experience with the nature and surroundings. The city, the streets, the roads, they all have a story to tell, a story that you'll never understand until you're there. It could be the smell, it could be how you feel when traveling there.

On the image above,

isn't it amazing? It's like those images we've seen on postcards. Every time I look at that picture, I feel like I'm going back there, remembering everything, the cold air, the peace and comforts.

During traveling, I always pick a perfume to be used only when I was there, so every time I want to remember my experiences, I sprayed it on and it helps the memory to get back to that particular moments.


While strolling around, we found this small cafe that sells pannekoek, we bought our self a banana and rum. The surely put a whole lotta rum in it.This is how the local beat the cold, by taking alcohol heehee. Almost everyone in our tour also takes alcohol on daily basis, even until they get drunk, only me and my sister are from Indonesia, the rest of them are from Australia, USA, New Zealand, Japan and South Africa. We're a group of people aged 18-35 and loves adventure.

Did you know that most travel agency now provide a private tour for a group? So you can get with your friends only or family or those who want to go with instead of going with a bunch of stranger. But again, meeting a bunch of stranger is not a bad idea after all. You'll broaden your network as well.


We walk and walked until it was quite late and it's time to continue our journey. I love this kind of tour that only provide transportation and hotels, so there's plenty of time to wander around on our own.

Then, the next day, we went to.... Germany!


Travelling south, pull into the home of the world-famous Oktoberfest, Munich - a city that blends traditional Bavarian culture with modern lifestyle.
Explore the heart of Munich’s old town with the crew, and head to Marienplatz. It’s a central gathering spot famous for the Glockenspiel - a Gothic clock, complete with 32 dancing figures and 43 chiming bells.
Get off the beaten track and onto Munich’s side streets with our Local Guide on a fun biking tour around the city – it’s a great way to see the sights.
Then, get a taste of tradition at a typical beer hall. Park yourself at a long wooden table, order yourself some hearty local food, like roasted pork knuckle, and quench your thirst with a stein of one of Germany’s 5000 brews.


Yes, the local food, there's nothing more pleasing for me than to eat local food, but one particular food that really made my day, is the meal made by the wife of the innkeeper. A German Spaetzle, it's like a German's pasta dish. Chewy, a bit salty, delicious! It was quite simple, meats, spaetzle, peas and carrot but I found them irresistible, I've tried to recreate the meal by buying an instant spaetzle, it was far from that perfect meal I had in Sankt Goar.


Yes, we made it to - the pretty, old-world village of St. Goar, complete with fairy tale castle and even a free-hanging cuckoo clock! Kick back with a glass of local wine.

There are some folk stories as well regarding mythical creatures at Lorelei Rocks, cool isn't it?! This fun 'facts' also made this travel even better.

Oh and the image above, yes, they are having a flood at that moment, so I have to missed a pleasing night stroll since they take safety seriously, we aren't allowed to even stay outside the inn for more than an hour.


We left the inn and Sankt Goar at dawn, continuing our road trip to Austria, we visited Innsbruck.

Located near the mountain the temperature is cooler here, which means the skin feels dryer too. During this trip, I only use products that provide high hydrating properties that probably not suitable to be used in Jakarta. From skincare to body care, I made sure everything is made and suitable for a dry air. Daily maintenance is important, once the lips are chapped or the skin cracked because it's so dry, it already become painful, so start piling on moisturizers since you're on board.


 Innsbruck, a down-to-earth student city. Walk around the medieval streets of the old town, grab some lunch, and check out Innsbruck’s landmark Golden Roof and Royal Palace. Catch a glimpse of the impressive Olympic Ski Jump, used in both the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympics.

Countries in Europe may seems to be so close to each other and at a glance looks similar, but they are not. I'm amazed how they can be so different, the shapes of their historical or modern buildings, their local dish, clothes, art and even almost everything. Like I know I'm in which country not just because of their language but the people too. German people are more practical, while the people in Austria are more lay back and hmm, countryside, the Italians are warmer and more approachable than the Parisian in French. It is an experience that brings that sense of awe in me. 


And back to Innsbruck, it is famous for it's Sachertorte too at Cafe Sacher, a very yummy chocolate cake served with a fresh cream on the side. Suitable for those who loves dark chocolate and it's history since 1832 by Franz Sacher. Inside the cafe there's a lot of famous people around the world has visited this not so big cafe, it is much smaller than most cafes in Jakarta but I get a goosebumps while in there, some very famous people has sit on the same chair as I am, wow!


With it's signature coin sized chocolate made the mark the thick chocolate play a contrast to the beautiful cake under it.
Without staying overnight we're back on the coach, take it easy and watch the world go by as we wind through the Bavarian Alps and the Brenner Pass to Italy, land of passion!

We're in Venice, Italy.


Known as the “floating city”, Venice is packed with character, crammed with hidden lanes and linked by a network of canals.
Using a private boat through the waters of the lagoon to visit the city’s historical heart. The limestone Bridge of Sighs, the Gothic arches of the Doge’s Palace and the expanse of St. Mark’s Square (pigeons and all!) show off Venice’s unique beauty and way of life.
Take some time to explore the floating city and lose ourself in the backstreets. There’s an optional walking tour where we discovered the labyrinth of interweaving lanes, waterways, palaces, piazzi and markets with our Local Guide. See the historic monuments, hidden treasures and the Rialto market – a local favourite for food shopping.
We enjoy some local delicasies on St. Mark’s Square and eat some delicious Italian food al fresco. The espresso there is a must try! And the pizza? It is exactly like they say, we haven't eat the real pizza like the ones in Italy.

Tips: never get full in one cafe or restaurant during traveling, since you'll never know what's next, it could be a very famous dessert or drinks, as for me, I found the espresso to be a gem, real fragrant and suitable for a die hard coffee fan in one cafe and pizza in another.
Cap off the day with a gondola ride &  we share this amazing experience with our friends from around the world - seeing Venice from on the water is unforgettable!


Red nose? It's really cold there. Perhaps it's due to the near-to-the-water, so the damp air made the cold temperature feels worst, like I'm dryly soak in the freezing air.

Despite of the cold, nothing keeps me away from strolling around and look for goodies to be found, one particular souvenir from Venice is their masks.


And it's not just that, it turns out Venice does act like a true shopping paradise, tax free and full of sales post new year.

One of the most iconic store, the Disney Store also located right in the heart of Venice. Oh and did you know that no car nor motorcycle is allowed in Venice? It is for walking only. The weight from vehicles can make Venice sink faster than they already do. The government try to keep them floats, they already spent billions of dollars and will keep doing it to make sure it stays above the ground water.

We walked to the small streets and find this small eatery that sells a slice of pizza for 2 euros, it is not a huge restaurant, just a tiny eatery kept by a man and woman around 60-70 years old. We have a chat and it turns out this is their first time talking to someone from Indonesia, they asked me what's my country look like and I asked them about Venice. We shared small stories and you know what?! We found ourselves not much of a difference. In the end, it's all about family. We shared the same value about life, how we should never take things for granted and enjoy the smallest thing that God gave us everyday.


Dreams do come true, isn't it?! It's always been my dream to visit Europe.

Tips on walking in Venice, use your walking shoes instead of heels since the city doesn't provide any public transportation, so you really have to walk everywhere and not all the streets are paved. Regarding restrooms, there are paid restrooms like most cities in Europe but you have to pay around 1-2 Euros, so anytime you stop by at the cafes or restaurants, make sure to visit the loo before you go.


Our one day one night adventure at Venice has to over, we continued our journey on the next day by bus.


Catch a glimpse of stunning Lake Como as we make our way into the massive Swiss Alps.
With covered wooden bridges, cobbled lanes and quaint buildings, Lucerne’s centre is perfect to explore on foot. Also to stock up on lots of genuine Swiss chocolate! Our Tour Manager gave us pointers on where to pick up the best-priced watches that Switzerland is so famous for.


Then we walked around the city and got caught up with the beautiful surrounding. It was also snowing that day, we love the atmosphere here, so peaceful and serene.

Tips on walking outdoor. Always put layers instead of one giant coat, by putting layers of attire it would be more effective in keeping ourselves warm. Invest in a good invention that provide heat tech technology, it might be super thin, but it packed a punch by keeping us warm better than thicker material.


Lucerne is a great place for shopping too, even with the heavy snow fall later on. It's still very convenient to walk here and there. Bring an umbrella when snowing as when it touches us, eventually, they'll melt and we'll get wet.

We kept wandering around while paying attention at the locals, they all walk in ease, and after asking here and there, I found this city to be super safe. We stayed in a Jail Hotel, it is once a jail alright but have to closed down due to no 'visitors' as in the low criminal rate made the prison empty. So they turned it into a hotel. Isn't it cool?! I hope someday my country can be as safe as this one.


Again, it is best to use your walking shoes here, the road is not made to be a runway ^__^

I can find just about anything in Lucerne, from famous clothing attire, cosmetic brands to irresistible sweets. I found out that sour powder sweets are a big hit here, I can find it almost everywhere. It comes in many flavors. I prefer my sweets to be sweet, not sour thou'.


Oh gosh, the scenic view here is beyond words, it's a small city but overlook at the image above where me and my sister is at one of the bridge, actually the one whose taking a picture is standing on the famous Chapel Bridge. Behind us, a majestic castle.

Tips: It never hurt to learn about the places you're going to so you wont missed a spot. When traveling alone (without joining a tour) always plan everything in details, like which train or bus you should take, which bus stop and their timetable.
Last but not least, learn a few words of their language, a simple 'thank you', 'excuse me', 'please help me', 'English please' or 'can you show me where the restroom', will definitely be handy and even thou most of the people around the world does speaks English, you might won their heart by at least trying to speak like native.


Guess which country we will be heading to? Clue: Crepes.

Yes, it's Paris, France.


Tonight, the whole group kick-starts Paris with the 'Tour of Illuminations', which shows off the French capital’s transformation into the “City of Lights”. Lamp-lit bridges and cool little cafés give us a real taste of Paris’ romance. The Tour Manager filled us in on the world’s most-recognised monuments, like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.
Then, a stunning view of the entire city with included entry to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Oui, oui, Paris!

see the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées, and Notre Dame Cathedral

The Notre Dame Cathedral looks so scary and kinda Gothic, they say they made it that way to scare the demons.


The iconic, Eiffel Tower, it lights up every hour and don't be surprise when it glows with different colors and movement. During Valentine, you might find it beaming in pink.

Truth need to be told, I'm not expecting much from Paris, I thought the whole city is overrated, I was so wrong, it was surreal, and the minute I saw Paris, I understood the whole big fiasco. The city is beyond beautiful, artistic, elegance and I do feel the love there, like who doesn't want to spend their honeymoon here?!


Then our bus spin around the Arc de Triomphe, a national monument where car accidents happen like almost every time. The only place in the world where insurance have 50-50 policy where in every accident both parties is at fault. We do witness a very interesting incident there, no one wants to take turns and the car next to us bumped into the one in front of him. Then the car in front, reverse her car and bumped back, yikes!
Next up: Fragonard! This perfumery has an elegant interior and is a unique setting for a look into the history of perfume. It’s also a chance to pick up some French perfume at great prices.

Oh I did enjoy my time at Fragonard, I can't resist all those beautiful scents. They also taught us about the Nose and how it become the job with the highest salary there. The Nose can not eat spicy food, have to keep their lifestyle super healthy, do not smoke nor have their smelling sense compromised.

France is all about perfume, but perfume is not all they got.
This town is loaded with possibilities. Discover its many bistros, museums, tree-lined avenues and diverse quartiers (neighbourhoods). Get a feel for French flair by window shopping on the Left Bank. Step into the Notre Dame or explore the endless galleries of the Louvre, where you can get up close to the famous Mona Lisa. In your free time, try indulging in some delicious pastries and relax in one of Paris’ many city parks.

Parks? We do visited one of the most famous 'park' in the world, the Disneyland themed park.


A place where we can be a kid again, where we all sing, "it's a small world after all, it's a small world after all, it's a small world after all, it's a small, small, worldddd" ^___^ 

So there it is, my adventure in Europe, where I see historical majestic buildings that aged more than 200 years, where I drank the German beers and sang Hofbrauhaus-Lied and swing the glass with the locals, where I ate the famous cake, where I hear folk songs and stories, where I see the steins with actual pieces from the Berlin walls, where I bought a traditional dress for my daughter and found out it was made in China (LOL), where I meet a bunch of people without looking at our skin colors, race, or even religion, but smiled at each other and have a toast, where I laugh out loud listening to the local tour guide explaining how lame a mullet is when he's the one with the mullet, where I actually walk on the street of Paris, where I see the fluffiest and whitest snow falls from the sky furiously, where I almost got pickpocket in the subs of Paris, where I witness the scenic Mt Alpine, where I breathe the cold crisp air, where I got lost during a trip to Versailles because I overslept in the train, where I heard a friend of us whose from South Africa pronounced chicken in Bahasa Indonesia as 'ah-yum', where I know, my life would not be the same after traveling, where everything become more colorful, richer, better, inspiring and beautiful. That's what travel do to me, it made me more alive.


So, bring out your 'appetite' and explore the world!

berpartisipasi dalam "EAT and Travel With B Blog" Competition


  1. omg! that is just so fun! :D

  2. Looks soo fun ! and its snowing !!
    and the food looks delicious too !

  3. going to europe is my dream.....

    Love, Leonita