Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A solo traveler.

I almost forgot about my experience travelling alone in Amsterdam, Budapest and Edinburgh until one of my cousins brought up the story. All my uncles and aunties asked me all sorts of questions. For them, I'm always a fragile girl and can't do anything on my own. -.-' I told them some of my friends had traveled around Europe and South Africa alone. What I did was just a pinch of  it and one day I want to travel to North America alone. Then, one of my cousins said, "Dah laki kau nanti kau nak tinggal mana ?"  and that question was left hanging in the air. I can hear glass cracking sound effect in my head. heh.

Day 2 in Netherlands. ( a continuation from this post Day 1)

A day before I went to Amsterdam I googled 'things to do in Amsterdam'. I found one website showing 20 unconventional things to do and one of them was jogging along the canals in Amsterdam. I thought it's a good and healthy idea. So, I brought my trainers with me. After subuh, around 7.00 a.m I went out to run ( as expected, I ended up walking). It was so nice and apparently not so unconventional things to do  because many other travelers decided to run too. The road was so clear you can do gangnam style dance without getting hit by a car or tram.
See! No cars or bicycles and it was 7:30 a.m.

There are still 200 houseboats in Amsterdam. The waterlines here are filled with houseboats forcing the city council to adopt policy limiting the number of houseboats. There are many nice houseboats hotels around Amsterdam if you are up for it. 
This is the last canal before I ran back to my hotel because I was so hungry. If you look up, most of the buildings here have gables and hooks and they are not there just for decoration. Since the stairs are very steep in every building, people here use hooks to enable them bring in furniture or large items into the buildings. The church in the picture above is the oldest church in Amsterdam. I ran with a Dutch. He told me this stuff. I won't look up to see gables and hooks if he didn't ask me to. Seriously, who wants to look up while running with a good looking Dutch man? Heh.

Next, breakfast time. 

I went out again for a half-day tour to Zaanse-Schans, Marken and Volendam. I booked the tour online. It is easier and safer to book online because sometimes the tour bus could be fully booked and it is safer because you don't have to bring a lot of cash with you. Plus, you can plan your itinerary earlier. I can be a very hardcore planner. So, I booked all the tours online including hop-on and hop-off bus and cruise ticket. You know the places you want to go and things you want to do beforehand. For a solo traveler it is actually so much easier and safer to book everything online.

Anyway, Zaanse-Schans is a countryside and it is only 20 minutes away from Amsterdam. It is a small village along Zaan river and famous with its tidy green houses and working windmills. It is just 20 minutes away from Amsterdam but the landscape is totally different. I can smell Milo in the air because of the chocolate factories there. Swans and ducks in the river and pretty windmills along the river gave me the picture of what it must have been like. I'm not a big city person, so I fell in love with Zaanse-Schans instantly. Plus, the weather, Mashaallah, was so nice and sunny that day.

It used to be a working windmill and now it is a house! 
A family is actually living in this windmill. 

 Every house owns a boat. 
I had to tebalkan muka and asked a random people to take my photo.

Our tourist guide. She comes from Columbia and now married to a Dutch man. I'm a huge fan of Modern Family series. She reminded me of Gloria (Sofia Vergara) because of her accents.

The first supermarket in Amsterdam.

Just like those houses I used to draw when I was a kid in kindergarten.

Some of the houses here were literally moved from another places just to preserve Dutch architectural heritage. 

 All of the windmills here are industrial windmills which means they are not used to pump water or generate energy.

 It was so awkward because more than 10 people were watching me. Well, they were actually waiting to take my spot to take photo of themselves too. -.-'

Then, we headed to another village to see how wooden clogs are made. The Dutch have been wearing the wooden clogs or they call it klompen long time ago to protect their feet and keep them dry. 

Free clog making demonstration by this pakcik. 

Nothing much to see here other than the clogs. We spent less than one hour here before heading to Volendam where you could find all the Ducth cliches like wooden shoes (again), traditional costumes and my favorite, the cheese factory called Cheese Factory Volendam. One of the locals told me, if you come to Holland but you don't visit Volendam, your life is not complete. He just wanted to say that Volendam is a must visit place. over tau pakcik tu sampai hidup tak sempurna gitu. haha. 
 Volendam is a fisherman village which is best explored by walking. You can walk between the houses here that compete for a trophy for the best window decoration. I was told that they have that competition every year here. So cute! How I wish we could have windows like this in Malaysia. Thanks to ugly window grilles we have in Malaysia!

My favorite place of all. I can live in this cheese factory. I tried all kinds of cheese until I burped and it smelled like cheese. They have free demonstration on how they make cheese here. They said, making cheese is not just a process, but it is an art. Well, when you think again, it is an art. It starts as milk then, after a few processes it becomes a tasty slice on your bread.See,it is an art. Get it? No? Me too. 

I bought a few slices of cheese here and ate them while watching movies in my hotel room later that night. Some women prefer chocolate, I prefer cheese. 

A house here worth 1.5 millions euro. You know, in case, you want to buy a house here.

After that, I went back to Amsterdam and.... I'm too lazy to continue writing about it. Till then. Chow! 

P.s : While writing this, I'm eating buah durian belanda. I totally forgot what we call it in English, so I asked my dad and he said Dutch durian. Fair enough.  -.-' It's soursop!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Coffee withdrawal

I used to take coffee every morning as much as I admit I'm a morning person. I love having coffee at any nice cafes with my friends and a slice of victoria sandwich with it would be perfect but believe it or not I never like its taste on my toungue.I love cafes more than coffee. heh.I just need the caffeine and a good catch up with friends at any coffee shops and of course it works as the eyes opener. So, if I'm not going to hospital, no friends to hang out and nothing to study ( which is impossible in Dublin), I would rather not take coffee at all. My hate-love relationship with coffee is so complicated. Since I started my summer holiday, I only took coffee less than 4 times. Man, the withdrawal effects are crayyyyyzy. My sister asked me to drink fresh fruit juice instead of caffeine everytime the 'coffee satan' try to possess me. It's good for our health and skin too. The withdrawal effects are still there but it's getting better  until yesterday. I was so stressed with my wedding preparation and I cheated by drinking one cup of ice blended mocha ( I blended it using my juice maker. What a felony!). You see, I have to plan it now since I'm not going to be in Malaysia for the next 10 months and only come back a few weeks before the wedding. Being a good procrastinator, I just started to contact wedding planner last week and oh boy, wedding is a serious business! Now, the workload is piling up and just like that I took coffee again yesterday. When I woke up this morning, I felt awful and hello,withdrawal effects! Damn. Do you know caffeine withdrawal now is considered as a mental illness? Yesh, a mental illness. Whatever.

I should be packing now. I have a flight to catch in a few hours. I'm going to KL to settle a few wedding things. I used to be excited but all I'm feeling now>>> nauseous!

Can't wait for my little getaway to Penang  on Merdeka Day, though. 

Wedding. It's starting to take its toll on me. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My spa day

The last time I went to spa was a few weeks before I got engaged last year. That was after my mom's long lecture on how a woman should take a good care of their beauty. I love spa but I hate when people massage my body while I half naked. I kid you not, I almost kicked one of the stuff at the spa center for trying to massage my legs last year. This time I had volunteered myself to go there again without the long beauty lecture from my mom since now I can choose not to go to full body massage but mandi lulur instead. You see, the spa is a zen bali-ish spa, hence mandi lulur instead of 'bath scrub'. heh. At the spa I was brought to a room for a foot massage. There was this one aunty around my mom's age inside the room. When I was about to close my eyes and hold my legs from accidentally kicking the masseuse, she tried to have a small talk with me. She told me she just got back from Jakarta and she was so impressed how Indonesians take care of their beauty. Spas in Jakarta are always fully booked and all the women there love to groom from head to toe . Teenagers as young as 15 year-old drink jamu to keep them gorgeous and slim.  I just nodded while trying to close my eyes and enjoyed the soothing music.
She added, their everyday make up is our bridal make up and she thinks Malaysians should be like that too. -.-' . I just kept smiling because I, myself hate make up . Heck, I don't even own a lipstick. I do admit taking care of our beauty is very important but not to some extent I have to change my face into a canvas and put so many colors on it every single day. Plus, it is not really solat-friendly as I need to wipe them off everytime I want to pray. Emm.. now I know why I always look so dull. ahah. I do adore those people who put extra effort and always look good with make up at the same time still manage to jaga their solat.
Well, for me, true beauty is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, but also good personality and intelligence.  Bad personality can accentuate the first glance beauty, no?

Anyway, going to spa and facial once a while won't hurt, I guess. ( I love it now and just booked another appointment before going back to Dublin.heeee)

Muka tahan geli.

p.s : dear future husband, please include spa and facial as your nafkah to me. Thank you..