Friday, October 09, 2015

Yogyakarta Impressions

Some snaps from the trip to Yogyakarta this month...


(above) These ladies above are the "Abdi Dalem", meaning people who work at the Keraton Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta Palace) to serve the Sultan & his family. I'm lucky enough to bump into them as they walk in to one of the buildings in the Palace compound for a tea ceremony. Every day, the "Abdi Dalem" have a specific tea time, where they enjoy a glass of tea and traditional snacks, while chatting with one another. They walk barefoot, even if it's hot outside. And yes, they walk fast, almost half running. One of them say, "The ground (outside) is so hot, that's why we have to walk fast!" 



(above) This picture is taken in the underground tunnel on the way to the old mosque "Sumur Gemuling", Taman Sari. My friend, Windy Ariestanty, is on her way to grab her bag and chat with the lady. She spends a few minutes chatting with this lady. When traveling, it is actually the people who make the journey memorable. 




(above) Learning how to make batik at the Museum Batik. It is not as easy as it seems. I find batik painting needs a lot of patience and a peace of mind. If one's mind is stressed out, the lines would be messy. On the other hand, when one's mind is in peace and relax, then the outcome would be beautiful. Just like our life, isn't it? ;) 



(above) How about learning to make some silver jewellery? In Kota Gede, one could learn to do so. The actual workshop takes more than half a day, but on this trip, we only spend a few hours, designing a silver pendant. This is how mine looks like. Just like batik painting, it needs a lot of patience to stick the thin silver sticks into the heart shaped pendant. Sometimes I just want to give up. But I'm stubborn enough to give it up easily. So... voila! I've finally made it! Cheers to my masterpiece! :D 



(above) This photo is actually taken in Ratu Boko Temple in Sleman regency, not far from the Prambanan Temple. I glance over to the left of the temple and my eyes can't stop looking at this scenery. It somehow reminds me of winter in Europe. The dead trees without leafs. But, what makes it different is that one healthy tree in between those no-leafs tree! How could he survive the dry season, while all of his friends have got not a single leaf on their branches? A survivor, he is. 




(above) This sunset picture is taken at the Hindu's Prambanan Temple, built in the 10th century. The Prambanan Temple itself is a complex consists of 240 temples! Head your way to this historical complex just before the sunset and enjoy the serenity of the temple as the sun goes down. If you happened to be here during full moon, treat yourself to witness the Ramayana traditional dance performance here in the complex, with the Prambanan Temple as the background. It's beautiful :). 

*Thank you the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia for having me at this #INATopBucketList #WonderfulIndonesia trip. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The misty sunrise in Borobudur Temple

It was still dark outside, still half asleep, I tried hard to wake up. I didn't want to miss the sunrise in Borobudur Temple. Not this time.

Believe it or not, I've never witnessed the magnificent sunrise in Borobudur Temple, even though I've visited this World's Wonder for countless of time. I still remember, one day, I traveled alone and tried to catch the sunrise, traveling by taxi from Yogyakarta, but once I reached this temple, the sun was already high up in the sky. Other times, I couldn't be bothered waking up in the morning. Yes, I'm not a morning person! :D

But I didn't want to miss it again this time. With a bunch of international travel bloggers from 14 countries and some of the top notch Indonesian travel bloggers, we marched ourselves to the Manohara Hotel, one of the entrance points to see the sunrise at the temple. The hotel staff gave us a torch, so it would be easier to climb up the temple's steps. Walking up the steps in the dark, early morning, still half asleep... what do you think? But hey, beautiful things don't come easy, right? ;)

To my surprise, once we reached the top, some people were already taken the best spots. Oh wow, we had some competition here. Hahaha.. I wondered how early they woke up? Respect!

As soon as I took a spot to sit, suddenly I could feel the magical vibes this world's biggest Buddhist temple has. It was so peaceful and quiet there. The mist covered the trees, one could only see its shadows, making the whole scenery even more mystical and magical.


I just loved sitting there, by myself, listening to the sound of nature.

And slowly, the sun was coming up... shining the 9th century of this Buddhist temple. And people started snapping some pictures from their cameras.



I had the chance to walk around the first level of the temple, listening to the guide as he told the story of the life of Buddha. Each stone carvings represents different phase of Buddha's life. People claim that this temple has the most complete ensemble of Buddhist reliefs in the world. I was stoked to know that Buddha actually has a son. I've never heard that story before. If Buddha has a son, that means, some people might be his descendant. Who could that be? You?

That morning, enjoying the misty sunrise in the ancient Borobudur Temple, I took a deep breath and thanked the Universe for granting me such a beautiful life. Life that's filled with adventures, wonders, and sweet memories.


May all of us be granted with beautiful life and happiness... forever..


** Thank you the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia for having me at this #INATopBucketList #WonderfulIndonesia trip. 

Monday, October 05, 2015

Bandung... Beyond Factory Outlets!



There are two destinations in Bandung that you shouldn't miss.

First, it's Tangkuban Perahu. Everybody knows this site. It's also famous for its legend of "Sangkuriang".

This volcano is still active.  And once you're here, you cannot miss the huge crater with its wonderful view (and its sulfur smell, too!). Take a look at it and see if you can spot some smoke coming out of the crater.

Some street vendors selling its ashes, which they believe are good for rejuvenating your skin. They sell them in plastic bottles. Curious to try it at home? Why not. But don't forget to bargain before buying anything from the vendors here, otherwise you'd end up purchasing a product with three times higher than it should be.



Second destination is Danau Kawah Putih or the White Crater Lake, which located about 50 km from Bandung. This is actually my first time visiting this site. And, I LOVE it! It looks like you're on a beach, but you're actually not. Weird, huh? 

The lake is 2,430 meters above the sea level. So, bring your jacket if you're planning to visit this place. And don't forget to bring a mask, because the sulfur smells can get really strong.

What I love most is the fact that we're all surrounded by the turquoise green and white colours. It feels like we're in fairytales. Really. This place has this mystical vibe, probably because of the mist and the dead trees by the crater. Or perhaps I just inhaled too much sulfur in the air! :D 





And, how about some kungfu moves by the lake? ;)

                           

*Thank you the Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia for having me at this #INATopBucketList #WonderfulIndonesia trip to Bandung. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Shop 'til You Drop in Roermond




For shopaholic, Roermond in the Netherlands is heaven. Why? Let me tell you why.

Because it has McArthurGlen, a designer outlet, that has many branded stores offering those products with big discounted prices! You name it.. from Gucci, Prada, Hugo Boss, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ermenegildo Zegna, Michael Kors, Coach, Mulberry, and many many more!

                         

Entering the McArthur Glen designer outlet feels like visiting a whole little town. A shopping heaven, you may say. It's like the Disneyland for women :)). Be careful, if you're not ready to shop, don't go to this place. I warn you. Seriously. It's dangerous. You might just want to do some window shopping, but this place has its own charm that in the end you go home with at least one shopping bag. Ufffttt... But, if you're all up for shopping, then you will have a lot of fun and go crazyyyyy! :D



But, Roermond is more than just McArthur Glen. The town itself has a "small town vibe". It's quiet, nice, and relaxing. I just love walking around the town - exploring this place - beyond the designer outlet.


The markt is also cute :). In the summer, people love to sit outside to have lunch, drinks, or dinner with their loved ones. 




And we bumped into this lovely newly weds!


Just like in any other cities in the Netherlands, the locals cruise around with their bicycles :). Pollution free!



Can you bring your baby with you while you're shopping? Of course you can! There are plenty of restaurants in this small town where you can just stop to feed your baby or to change his/her diapers :). My advice is to bring the baby stroller, because you might want to have your hands free while shopping! Yeayyy! 

Happy shopping, ladies! ^^

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tips for Traveling with Baby on a Plane

Since I've started taking Sienna Little Explorer on adventures since she was 3 months old (includes flying, yes!), I thought I could share some travel tips for moms who wish to bring their baby on a plane.

Preparation:

  • If you're going to do a long flight, then you book your ticket, please make sure you will get a basinet for your baby. 


If your baby still breastfeeding… 


  • You're lucky! Because you don't need to bring too many stuff in your diaper bag! Check out the "What to bring check list" below. 

  • During take off and landing, make sure you nurse your baby to ease the pressure on his/her ears. Before landing (when you're still up in the sky), as soon as you feel the pressure, nurse your baby as fast as you can. If it's too late, your baby will already feel the pressure in her ears and she'd cry. You don't want this.

  • If you're baby asleep, let her sleep. You can still try nurse her during take off and landing, but if she didn't wake up, it's fine. 



If your baby already eats solids…

  • The list of items to bring is a bit longer than the breastfed baby, unfortunately :) But, it's fine! 

  • During take off and landing, you can either put a pacifier into his/her mouth and let him/her suck, or give them some snacks or drink. Snacking is better because when they chew, their ears will equalise automatically. 


The "What to bring" Checklist: 


  • For short flights (2 hours or 3 hours): 2 pairs of clothes (I normally includes a long pants, shirts, and a jacket with hoodie to keep his head warm), 2 diapers & wipes 1 pair of socks. 

  • For long flights (more than 12 hours): 2 pairs of clothes, 1 set of pajamas, jacket with hoodie to keep his head warm, 4 diapers and wipes (depends on how many times you normally change his/her diapers) and 2 pairs of socks. 

  • Pad to put under your baby during diaper changes

  • Blanket

  • Bib

  • Hand sanitizer 

  • Favorite toys (you will need them, because sometimes they get bored on the plane, so having their favourite toys help to calm and keep them entertained) 

  • Children's books (you can also use this when they're bored or start being fussy) 

  • Ziplock bags to put wet clothes

  • Diaper rash cream

  • Tissues 

  • Sun hat

  • Sling or front baby carrier

  • Baby's medical record (in case you need to take her to the hospital, this book will come handy because it has all the record of her immunisation, etc)

  • Pacifier (it comes handy!) with clipper, so you can clip it on his/her shirt. 

Additional items to bring if your baby already eats solids:
  • Snacks -- I normally bring some biscuits or her favourite snacks 

  • Food -- instant baby food, such as instant rice cereals or baby food that come in jars (you just ask the stewardess to warm it up for you). For long flights, I normally bring 3x meals and fruits that come in jars (puree fruits)

  • Formula

  • Bottle to keep hot water for your baby's food (just in case your baby is hungry in the boarding room and you need to feed her right away), baby bottler or cup 

  • Light weight plastic feeding set with utensils 

ps: for long flights, normally airlines will give you a baby package. Some airlines' package are better than the other ones. Sometimes you even get baby food (in jars), diapers, and tissue. But other airlines only give you a package of tissue, that's all (booooo…!!) :D

ON THE PLANE

Walk around with your baby, so he/she doesn't feel too bored. Sienna Little Explorer loves other babies or kids. So, whenever she gets a bit fussy, I take her around and try to find parents with other babies or kids. Once she sees the other small human beings, she starts smiling and excited again! It's so nice to see how she interacts with the other kids. And it also makes everyone's happy, you, the other parents, and also the other passengers around us :).

For diapers change, do it in the toilet. They have a board where you can lay your baby. Don't forget to always put at least one hand on your baby, in case there's any turbulences. If possible, bring a small toy to keep his/her hands busy, so he/she doesn't move much. Try doing it faster than you normally do, then go back to your seat afterwards with a happy and clean baby!

Another tip is to always put your diaper bag underneath the seat (below the seat in front of you), so you could easily reach it whenever you need to get something for your baby. Never put the diaper bag in the cabinet above your head. It's troublesome.

For long flights, I normally separate her food, snacks, her plastic feeding & utensils and bibs in a separate plastic bag, so I don't have to dig the diaper bag nervously once she's hungry.

That's all for now. I wish you an enjoyable flight with your baby! Happy holiday!! :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Visit to Gouda, the Cheese City!

Who loves cheese?

If you are a cheese lover and happen to be in The Netherlands, make your way to visit Gouda. You must be familiar with Gouda cheese, right? So, why not visit the place where the Gouda cheese is born? :D


From April to August, every Thursday morning, one can visit the cheese market in Gouda. The location is in front of the City Hall. It's madness. As a cheese lover, you'd go crazy! Tons and tons of cheese are displayed on the street, cheese farmers and traders bargain in such a way, they've been doing this for hundreds of years! You can also come across the local farmers in their wooden shoes. At first, I thought it's only for "tourist attraction". But, apparently, according to the locals, up until now, the Dutch farmers still wear those wooden shoes! Wow. I wonder whether those shoes are comfortable to walk with! They seem ok walking around with them, though.


It's better to visit the cheese market early in the morning, because it's close at 1pm. So, make sure you wake up early! I imagine how it was back then, hundreds of years ago, when the farmers sell their cheese to their customers or traders. And the scene before me is pretty close to it. The Dutch still maintain the "tradition" and they even make some girls wear the Dutch "milk lady" costume to give a more perfect touch to the whole scene. Awesome.


And oh, not only that, those farmers carry the cheese with horse carts! I love it.

An entire cheese (one wheel) weighs around 10 kilograms and it costs around 100 Euro, depending on the age of the cheese. The older the cheese, the more expensive it is.

The cheese market is pretty crowded. You can hear the whole bargaining process of the cheese trading through the loud speaker. The locals and tourists blend together. Approaching the closing time, the cheese farmers start to load the cheese to the horse carts. They make a line and throw the cheese one by one to one another until it reaches the cart. And slowly, you'll see the numbers of cheese displayed in front of the City Hall decrease... as the crowd fade away..



After experiencing the fun at the cheese market, I head to the gorgeous City Hall building with Sienna Little Explorer and my Mom. Apparently, the back part of the City Hall, the one facing the cheese market has turned into a lovely cafe. We have some drinks there and I feed Sienna there, too. She takes a nap after I breastfeed her. I'd love to think of how fancy she is, taking a nap in the oldest gothic city hall in the Netherlands! This gothic City Hall was established in 1450 and is now serves as a museum and venue for wedding receptions, parties, etc. The interior itself dates from the 17th and 18th century.



The room in the upper floor is quite special. It's used to hold meetings and once you're there, you could smell the wood that's dominating the entire room's structure.

I also love the stairs. The handle of the stairs is very gothic, to my opinion. And, if you pay attention, the first stairs from the bottom are uneven. It shows that people tend to step on that side, making the stairs leaning down. It's just amazing to note that this thing happens over the years.



While you're in the area, go visit the Cheese Museum. Even though it's pretty small, but you can learn about the cheese making process and see all the tools they use to make cheese. And after that, you can buy all the Gouda cheese you want in the shop at the ground floor! Woohooo!!!

We also visit the Sint Janskerk, this 123 meters long church is the longest in Holland and is world-famous for its Gouda windows. The windows are super tall and impressive.


 Have a great "cheesy" day in Gouda, folks! :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

My Favorite Museums in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has many museums for everyone. They even have the so called "Museum Night", in which, once a year, on the first Saturday in November, 42 museums in Amsterdam open until 2 am! It's a festive in itself! I remember going to a Museum Night a few years back and it was a blast. I bumped into some Dutch celebrities that were also visiting some of the museums. That's how fun and popular the Museum Night is!

Anyway, my favourite museums in Amsterdam are Van Gogh, the Rijksmuseum (the National Museum of The Netherlands). Both museums are located in Museumplein.

Van Gogh Museum. 

I never get bored of visiting the Van Gogh Museum, even though I've been there many times. It's just amazing to see the different phase of Van Gogh's life influence his artworks. I also love the letters that he sent to his fellow painters. One could see that he thrived to improve his skills all the time, by learning from the other painters, moving to new places, and.. studying about arts, too. Impressive.

So, I took my Mom (she is also a painter!) to visit this museum. I knew she would love it. Even though the line was super long, we didn't give up. (the line is always long. It would actually save you a lot of time if you have a museum card or buy the ticket one day before - online).



The first floor of the museum has a convenient restaurant and displays some of the best Van Gogh's self portraits as well as his life's milestones. The second and third floor houses Van Gogh's paintings from different era. You could see how he evolved and changed his style.

In overall, this museum houses the largest collections of Van Gogh's paintings in the world. You can easily spend a good three hours (or more) here.

ps: Ticket price for Van Gogh Museum is 17 Euro for adult.

                          

The Rijksmuseum.

The building itself is breathtaking! Pierre Cuypers, the architect of the Rijksmuseum also designed the Amsterdam's Central Station. One could see that both buildings have the same style. He also designed some other buildings in Amsterdam, as well as houses. If you happened to walk around the city, you would see some buildings or houses look similar to the Rijksmuseum or the Central Station. All gorgeous!

One should spare plenty of time to explore this museum. One day is not enough. Really. And please wear comfortable shoes or sandals, because this museum is HUGE!

The museum displays 8,000 objects of arts and history from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years of 1200-2000. It houses the Rembrandt's famous painting, the Night Watch.

Walking around this museum, one would be amazed not only by its collection, but by the building itself. Everything looks huge and 'royal'. I just love it, even though my feet always screams, asking to be massaged. :))

When you're tired from walking and enjoying the masterpieces in the Rijksmuseum, you can take a rest and have a little picnic on the grass at the Museumplein. In the summertime, the locals love to do this. Sunbathing on the grass overlooking the beautiful building of the Rijksmuseum in the sunny day, breathing the fresh air, sounds like a great way to spend the summer, right? :)

And yes, my Sienna Little Explorer also loves it!

                         





ps: Ticket price for the Rijksmuseum is 17.50 Euro for adult.