Where to go near Paris : Château Chantilly

If you’re bored of Paris (OMG, how could you), and want to explore somewhere else nearby, there are some places within 1-2 hour drive from the capital. I don’t drive in France (no driver’s license yet), so I go wherever that’s accessible by public transportation, and Château Chantilly has a pretty easy access for someone like me. I read the booklet that we could take … Continue reading Where to go near Paris : Château Chantilly

Hiking at the highest sand dune in Europe

Between hiking and sandy beach, usually I always pick the latter. I’m not too keen of hiking, especially the mountainous trails.

But hiking at Dune of Pilat, in Le Teste de Buch, in the Arcachon Bay, not too far from Bordeaux, I thought, might be different. It’s hiking, but I could have the sands too. So, nearly win-win!

This famous dune is quite accessible with public transportation from Bordeaux. I chose to take the TER train (regional train) from Bordeaux to Arcachon (around 50 minutes), and took the bus line 1, the stop is just outside the station (at the parking lot, near public toilet, if you want to ask me!). The train ticket costs 15 euros only return trip using the Ocean pass (during summer), and the bus costs only 1 euro one single trip).

The bus comes every hour, and I just missed it, thanks to my bladder emergency. So I started to talk to the guys at the bus stop, they were nice and also resourceful. So don’t hesitate to talk to them, you’d get some great tips to get around – and they’re pretty chatty too, not bad to accompany till the bus comes!

The bus is quite full inside, and I can assure you that most of the passengers get off at Dune of Pilat, Continue reading “Hiking at the highest sand dune in Europe”

Sète (fake) baywatcher..

I know Sète from one of my team at the office, who used to study in Montpellier. He said that I should go there if I love the port, fishing village and stuff. OMG. I adore them! The port and fishing village always excite me. I was once told that I was a bohemian and used to live by the mediterranean sea and my house was not far from the port, where I transport coffee (hence explains my deep interest of sea, port, style and coffee…).

There are two ways to go to Sète from Montpellier, by train (intercity train, costs only around 8 euros one way, around 30 min trip), or by bus. But the bus is rather far, I had to reach the bus station from the other way of the tram line. And my rental apartment was only 5 min walking from the main train station, so I think that was the easiest way.

I got the early train ticket (and surprisingly I was early for the train, that never occurred to me:p), but the thing is there was fire accident at Lunèl, one city that is in my train line (direction Bordeaux), so everything was postponed…..and after 3 hour of waiting frustration, the train was canceled.

This was quite the first time I got early and bought the ticket just to be efficient. Had I been late or last minute as usual, I’d know that the train got held up and I wouldn’t have bought the ticket and bought the bus ticket right away….

Bref. Under the 36 degree heat,  I rushed to the tram line 2 from Place de la Comédie to Sabines, and there I waited for another hour for the bus to come…And finally, the bus number 102 that costed only 1,6 euros came and hopppppp, I was on the way and one hour later I arrived by the port of Sète! Yayyyyyy

My reflex was always go to the tourism office to get information on how to get around, and how to get to the beach. The information was not too sufficient, Continue reading “Sète (fake) baywatcher..”

Summer in Montpellier

When I was not a french speaker by then, and my mom kept repeating a name of a place that I could hardly pronounce, let alone remember, I’d thought never hear the name again. It was Montpellier. Reason why my mom liked it was the spelling was intriguing;  mont- pe-ye or mont- pe-li-ye. I didn’t care that much, then.

Until sometime in France, and there’s a sudden urge to go there. I love the beach, and I’ve been to the almost southern side of the country :  côte atlantic (south west – Biarritz, San Sebastian), côté d’azur (mediterranean sea – Nice, Cannes, Antibes, and around ), but I’ve never been to the other primary south – Montpellier. The place just pops out of my head, out of nowhere, that I wanted to go there. Had a  row at the office and to calm me down, I needed to see the sea. So summer direction : Montpellier for a week!

DSC_2708Cheap tickets and me, are inseparable, and this time my train departs not from the city centre,  but from the suburbs – Marne la Vallée, from Disneyland, to be precise. It’s a low cost train of SNCF – OUIGO, where the tickets varies from 10 euros to around 50 euros…I remember that I booked the tickets less than 90 euros return trip – first class. So it was quite a bargain! Had I booked early, I could’ve had the ticket for 10 euros, for sure….

I wanted to couch surf, but it was in plain summer, so the locals were not there to host either. I booked through airbnb instead, and I got a very nice host and great experience together!

I was briefed by one of my team who used to study there, so at least this time I had some plans already. Plus, I downloaded an app called “Montpellier tours”, a self guided walking tours, which allows you to make your own walking itinerary, or simply follow their guide.

My airbnb apartment is just 5 min walking from the main train station, and it’s already in the city centre – and plus, it’s just walking distance to Old City.

Montpellier vielle ville is a living medieval city where you can stroll along narrow street, surrounded by old aged houses, buildings (of the 17th and 18th century), but now is mixed with some modern colors. It’s one of the student cities (thus prices are nicely friendly), and you can see bars, restaurants scatter along and in the corner of the city, side by side with the ancient church and other historic buildings.

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Continue reading “Summer in Montpellier”

Foodrinks in Bordeaux

The sun is always inviting. And they say that it’s always sunny in Philadelphia, and also in Bordeaux! so, with the promo ticket – buy one for two (me and cheap ticket…:p), me and my friend Violetta decided to visit the city, to have a coffee break.

Left at dawn (earlier than 8 am is always dawn to me) – around 6h45 from Gare Montparnasse, and we passed the 3.5 hour trip on the train sleeping. Woke up to vineyards view was thrilling (and made me thirsty), and we arrived safely at Gare Bordeaux St. Jean at snacking time.

It wasn’t really a discovering holiday, but really was just a coffee break outside Paris. We decided to have quick late lunch, and we found PHO, an asian restaurant at rue Pas Saint Georges, near the intersection strip of cafés of Place Camille Jullian. The Chicken caramel, chicken pop corn and pho, were not bad, and they have it in XL portion as well with 2 euros more. Not bad!

The sun was bright, despite the cloud here and there, but the cold wind struck us. The city centre is nice, but the breeze is not, especially when we’re not prepared for the autumn clothes since it’s already spring!

However, I managed to wear my new sunglasses, and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee at Place Camille Jullian, with the view of typical buildings, and beautiful people passing.  Continue reading “Foodrinks in Bordeaux”

my kind of colours

Woooot Wooot. On my way from Paris to Netherland to meet my friends Indah, Ririn, Suci, Toto. Leaving on a jet plane? Certainly not, simply take TGV (train a grande vitesse) from Gare du Nord, direct to Rotterdam, where Indah will see me at Rotterdam Centraal, stay there for a while before going to Utrecth, Amsterdam, Den Haag, and Breda. Pictures taken from my seat, … Continue reading my kind of colours

Métro Parisien : missiiiii misssiiiii

Métro Parisien, dengan 16 jalur nya itu dianggap salah satu metro terbaik di dunia (di bawah subway nya Rusia yang pakai ubin marmer itu).  Beroperasi dari jam 6 pagi sampai 12.30 malam, metro cukup membantu orang-orang untuk se déplacer atau pergi kemana-mana,  dari ujung ke ujung, murah, jelas jadwalnya, cepat, dan jarang terkena imbas kalau sedang ada grêve (mogok) atau manifestation di Paris. Kecuali kalau yang sedang grêve itu orang SNCF atau PJKA nya atau RATP Prancis:p

Hubungan gue dan métro itu kadang baik kadang biasa kadang malesin.  Kalau buru-buru dan males mikir, memang pakai métro lebih jelas karena kita tinggal cari mau naik jalur apa, dan mata awas di station yang kita tuju untuk keluar atau ganti line lain, dan voila. Sampe. Yang malesin adalah ketika mulai banyak SDF atau pengemis yang rusuh, pengamen yang maksa (ya beda tipis deh..sama KRL Depok atau Bogor), atau rusuh sama anak-anak sekolah yang rusuh. Juga copet.

Hati-hatilah barang-barang, juga misalnya main telefon, blackberry, I-phone, pas duduk atau berdiri di dekat pintu. Copet akan beraksi Continue reading “Métro Parisien : missiiiii misssiiiii”

don’t leave home without checking it!

Ada 2 hal yang penting dilakukan sebelum berangkat kemana-mana. Cek meteo atau cuaca hari ini (biar gak salah kostum), dan cek jadwal keberangkatan bus/metro. http://www.ratp.fr, ini salah satu situs kegemaran gue. Mungkin kegemaran kita semua sih. Karena disitu kita bisa cek jadwal bis, metro, sampai Kereta RER (kereta dari Paris ke Suburb), dan yang penting, kita bisa atur jadwal keberangkatan kita, naik apa yang paling … Continue reading don’t leave home without checking it!

tunes to tune in during 10 hour trip

I took a train from Berlin to Wien (Vienna) last winter, and the trip took about 10 hours! Didn’t know it would take such long time since I thought naively that Germany and Austria share the same language, so it must have close proximity also distance wise. Such a silly thought.

Despite being in first class compartment, it felt so lonely to see parade of snowy towns, snowy lakes, snowy forests by yourself with no counterparts along the journey. And the mood kept changing from excited (that I could stretch my leg and didn’t have to bother to ask permission),  serene feeling to see the snows covering everything, lonely (i kept talking to my own reflection!), happy (that I was liberated), sad and moody (suddenly missing everyone) to sleepy. (hey, that’s not a mood…). Anyway, what to do from sunshine to sunset time? the train felt creepy especially during sunset time, so I definitely needed some sort of distraction.

To boost my mood up and keep my self busy, I made a karaoke system in the compartment. Turn on the ipod, and sing out loud!

Here’s some of the tips. Continue reading “tunes to tune in during 10 hour trip”

ciao italia, bienvenue a Suisse!

Leaving Italy today,  so sad! It has been wonderful 10 days! From the smelly canals in Venice, Ponte Vecchio and David in Firenze, stunning vineyards in San Gimignano and Siena, lovely afternoon in Portofino ports, Bernini  and beautiful pebble stone alleys in Roma,  train strike in Santa Margherita Ligure, to got sprayed in Milan Carnivale! And all the gorgeous men J I’m so gonna miss you all!

Sebelum pergi ke Milano Cle, menyempatkan diri dulu pamitan ke Lleonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper – in Santa Maria Della Grazie.  Walaupun gak antri gila-gila an seperti di summer time, tetep direkomendasikan untuk book ticket online. Otherwise….gigit jari kayak kami 2 tahun lalu. Habis ‘pamitan’, itu juga menyempatkan diri untuk bengong sejenak di Piazzale Baracca, untuk melakukan “art of doing nothing di Italy” – alias bengong baca koran gratisan Immobilier (koran khusus property), sambil minum kopi dan lihat-lihat harga apartemen dan rumah. Yang ada ngayal babu deh!

Jam 11 an baru deh ngangkat pantat menuju Central Stazione, dan menukar duit Euro gue ke Swiss Franc. Continue reading “ciao italia, bienvenue a Suisse!”