Saturday, February 26, 2005

a bridge on the river Vltava

It was another long walk to Staromestske namesti. The sky is clear but the air is still chilling. Had a very good night rest and eager to start the day.
We had good dinner last night. A pot of vegetable and crab stick soup and fried eggs. The first rice we had after several days.
This morning, it was french toasts and hot tea, enough to sustain us for a whole day of walking ahead. True enough, after donning our heavy coats, we started our journey to the old square. Its sight-seeing time.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Praha - the next day

It was already 9am when someone knocked on the door. It was the front office - I don't know his name - told us to go to the office first because he wanted a copy of our passport. Okay! Will do!

Done that. Asked him how to go to the attraction. Was given a map and a direction to go to the old city Stare Mesto. He said it would take 10 mins walk to the old town. Asked him how to go to Sparta Praha the stadium. Ahhh.. you have to take a tram no 9 to go there. Okay! Will do!

Oh but the most important place is, where is the supermarket, hehehe

So armed with a simple map, we embarked on our journey to the old city.. well instead of 10 minutes, the journey took us twice the time. Typical of us, instead of finding the old historical city, we found the shopping roads. So the first day was spent on checking out the departmental stores hehehe. The shopping area here was not bad, of course most of them are branded stuff and expensive. Popular British stores like Marks and Spencer, C&A (cheap and awful), Bhs and others are crowded with people. Of course, now that these stores were offering "Sales".

However, small shops tucked between these giant stores also have its own charm. The clothes are cheaper yet still stylish. Juli got her sweater that she proudly said only cost her RM35.

Along this road, we saw some men holding newspapers in arabic, so we figured that there may be a few Muslim communities in this city. They must have come from Turky, Bosnia Harzegovina or other muslim countries in Europe.

View from the castle
View of the castle
At the square

Well, our day would not be completed without a stop at Mc Donalds so into the outlet we went. While back home a fish meal is called Fillet-O-Fish, here it is FishMc. And, a complete meal with coke, fries (or deluxe) and fish burger are accompanied with strawberry jam sprinkled with sugar "McDonut". The damage for the meal, a whopping RM24!

To end the day, we stopped at the supermarket and shopping for food. From bananas to rice, butter for cooking, vegetables and of course RM14 crab sticks, sugar and tea. Not forgetting some instant noodles. Hope that the food can sustain us for the six days we will be here.

Thursday, February 24, 2005


All the way from Valladolid, Spain to London Stansted, I was praying very hard. Never in my life I felt that God finally listened and more than generous to grant my prayers.

I prayed that we have more time to catch the flight to Prague so God answered by working up the weather that caused the flight to delay for almost two hours!

This was what happened, yesterday; Deal was already waiting for us at Stansted and after collecting our baggage at the carousel, we ran to the Easyjet counter to check in for the flight to Praha.

Alhamdulillah we made it! I was so excited, really excited to go to Prague/Praha. This would be our first destination in Eastern Europe. Not to mention that every travel books that I read about Praha praised the beauty of the city. I can wait to go to the Hradcany Castle, Charles Bridge and of course Sparta Praha (famous football club in Czech Republic).

It was snowing heavily in London, so all flights were delayed. Our Easyjet flight finally took off around 7pm London time (European time 8pm). So we finally reached the airport around 10pm. Did some money exchange and later took a small bus to the David's apartment Křižíkova 9”.

As instructed, in case we were late, which we were last night (we arrived around 11pm) we should take the key from another a restaurant nearby. Fumbled to open the main door, couldn't find the light switch, again fumbled to open the connecting door. Took the stairs up one floor and proceed to the Room no 19. Tried the light switch. Viola got light. Fumbled to open the door. Two tries. Yea! We were inside.

I love the apartment. It is big enough for four beds, a tiny kitchen with small table for four. I took the bed near the kitchen. Dubbed "The Maid's Room". Em took the one near the tv, while Juli and Deal took the double beds.

Everything about the apartment was delightful. Not just the colour scheme was warm and "happy", we can cook our meals thus we can budget, has a one-door refrigerator and a bath tub if one needs to soak oneself during winter!

There's nothing much to do that night except sleep and get ready to start our adventure the next day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

My birthday

I celebrating my birthday today. Feeling quite malancholy, I think it was because of the age factor.

Here I am sitting on my single bed in Chello Hostel, thinking about my life. Yes, I have done what I always want to do - travelling. I have a job that I had always wanted - although now I am almost bored of it. I am working at an establishment, the top in the industry. But, why I have this nagging feeling that there is something missing from my life?

Submit yourself to your God and you will never feel alone.
When you feel that no one listen to you, pour it all to God.

Here I am sitting on the bed, pouring my wish, thoughts and thanks to Allah. Submitting myself to the One and Only. Please guide me ya Allah!

Oh Tuhan Tidaklah aku layak untuk syurgaMu, namun aku tak berdaya menahan panas api neraka Mu. Terimalah amal ibadahku, ampunilah segala dosa ku dan segala dosa kedua ibu bapaku. Dan mereka yang gugur memperjuangkan agamaMu. Sesungguhnya aku insan yang sangat lemah. Tetapkan imanku dan panjangkan usiaku, semoga aku dapat memperbaiki diriku dan menyerahkan jiwaku padaMu ya Allah. Amin ya robbul alamin.

Monday, February 21, 2005



Cahaya mu bagai sabitah
Doa ku kau sejahtera
Biar warna kubah-kubahmu kian pudar
Untuk mu setanggi ini kubakar
Cahaya mu sediakala
Aku rindukan zaman kebangkitan
Pabila nurani bersulamkan fikiran
Seganding dan bersatu
Lafaz niat ku bertemu
Cahaya mu tiada tara
Pohon salam ku pada fakir-fakir mu
Pohon izinkanlah aku menyelami irama asyik mu
Pohon ku dipinjamkan gabus dan ghazalmu jadi azimat
Supaya dapat aku tari menongkah arus
Sahutlah Andalusia
Apakah sudah kering lautan darah
Yang tertimbus di bumi Alhambra
Ataupun masih bergelora menanti saat
Melimpah mengikut mata air
Antal hadi antal haqqu Laisal hadi Ilaahu

Today, we visited Toledo.

It was an hour ride from Sur Estacion de Autobuses . The weather was fair and crisp and just nice for walking along the labyrinth of streets and lanes inside the old fortified city.

There is public buses (route no5) that would bring tourists and locals alike from the Toledo bus station to the main square in the old city. The majestic fort beckons tourists regardless seasons. Even during the 10 minutes bus ride, we were mesmerized by the beautiful scenery.

The fortress itself is the main attraction. Sitting majestically atop the Castillian plateau with rio Tajo (Tagus river) divided the two most important cities - Talavera de la Reina and the capital itself.

Walking and getting lost in the maze of small cobblestone lanes, we stumbled into many old mosques that have been converted into churches and basilicas, synagogues that have been used by the people living there thousands of years ago. Houses with beautiful and intricate mosaics are still wellkept and inhabited by the locals so it is no wonder that the UNESCO declared Toledo a World Heritage in Dec 1987.

It is quite difficult to find our way eventhough we are equipped with maps. The only way is, to purposely lost ourselves and hope that the roads and lanes would not bring us farther and farther away from the Alcazar - our point of direction.

Today's aim is to find the mosque, like the one we look for in Granada. Saw one in the map - Mezquita de Cristo de la Luz. Of course along the way, we were distracted with the small shops selling souvenirs. Bells are a must!

The mezquita is a tiny tenth-century mosque, one of the oldest Muslim
constructions in Spain, built on the site of a Visigothic church and reclaimed
as a church later, so the nearly square nave is actually the only Muslim part,
and is quite interesting and charming enough to warrant the visit, though the
apse is said to be the earliest Mudéjar construction in Toledo.

It is one of the most important monuments and the best example of Islamic
art in Toledo. Erected in the year 999 by the architect Musa Ibn Ali, it has a
square ground plan with the aisles and columns forming nine architectural spaces
covered by caliphal vaults. The Romanesque-Mudéjar apse was added in the 12th
century, comprising a semicircular apse and a straight presbytery. Inside, it
was decorated with Romanesque frescoes with a view of adapting it to Christian
worship. The exterior is decorated with blind horseshoe arcades. Unfortunately,
visiting hours are very irregular, and it is not easy to find it open.

It was not easy to find the mezquita actually, but we managed to find it among the labyrinth of lanes. Although there are a few signs, they are very confusing. You may thought that you are in the right direction, but then you may end up at the other part of the city entirely.

Toledo, was once a city where all Muslims, Jews and Christian (Mudejar) live in peace, but after the reconquisition, this harmonious balance between these religions fall apart. What was left is only the history...

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Madrid over the years has become one of the favourite place for tourists. During the recent years, the city popularity had risen because of the Real Madrid fans. And this brought problems to tourists.... pickpockets.

I forgot to tell that tourists like to buy Real Madrid souvenirs or memorabilia thus they become the target of unscrupulous gypsies who normally worked in a group at crowded areas such as tourist spot, Cebeles or the underground metro station.

We had already taken precaution by putting our pasports in zipped pockets and wallet into jeans front pockets. But still being the target of these gypsies or pickpockets were annoying.

It happened at the metro station. We were about to embark into a train when we were suddenly pushed and jostled by a group of young people. All of us were carrying our backpacks at the back but there was nothing valuable inside except my heavy camera. (I would definitely feel if somebody would to take my camera out from the bag because it is heavy).

So, these people pushed us inside, giving us no space to move away from them. One of them put his hand on top of Jules's backpack while his other hand was underneath his coat, opening the zip. I tapped her on the back but she said there is nothing inside.

At that time, I had already brought my bagpack to the front and discovered that it was already half opened but fortunately nothing was missing. We just glared at the youngsters. My hands were itchy wanting to punch at least at one of the group members.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

the smell

Here we are, in front of a tiny window of the favourite Italian pizza parlour waiting for our pasta spinach y cream while feasting our eyes on the expert ways our both beloved "abangs" throwing the pizza doughs up in the air. The truth? It was freezing outside and we huddled near the window just to get some heat from the oven hehehehe. It has become a ritual for us that after all the walkabout in the city, we must buy pasta at the famous pizza place to end the day. Although spinach y cream used to be my favourite to eat with lays chips, now I turned to just a simple tomate pasta. But then, these are our staple food...

This morning, without any need for planning or much decision, we knew where we are going to start the day. Santiago Barnabeu. The famous stadium in Madrid, where the famous Real Madrid starring Luis Figo, Raul Gonzales, Ronaldo, Zidane and Michael Owen are playing. (notice that I purposely left out Bekham? *wink* *wink*)

Instead of taking a metro directly to the stadium, we decided to walk so that along the way we can pose and take picture at some of the tourists spots. Places such as the Cebeles and the view of the recently burned Windsor Tower near El Corte Ingles at the business district. It was a long walk. Anyway the news of the burned tower went on even that it occurred almost a week before we arrived in Madrid.

Speculation that it was not an accident was debated especially when one footage of the burning building showed a shocking silhouette of two men were captured on tape. The blackened building was another attraction to both the locals and tourists. People flocked the nearest El Corte Ingles's second floor patio just to take picture of the melted building. It was eerie yet how the building remains standing was some sort of ..amazing..

Anyway, at the stadium, Jules managed to buy a ticket for la campiones league. It cost Euro100, but she is happy. Started praying that Real will win this match..

Friday, February 18, 2005

aahh... the joy

After spending the night at Heathrow Airport, it was good to finally catching a plane to Valladolid, Spain.

Last night we went out looking for Arsenal Stadium. What an adventure! We got down at different underground station and spent three hours walking, looking for the old stadium. After asking people here and there, we finally found the old stadium tucked between houses. It was easy to miss it! Should have got down at the Arsenal station!

Since there is nothing else we could do or go last night, we decided to head back to Heathrow airport and sleep there before taking a bus to Stansted Airport to catch the Ryanair to Valladolid.

At first we thought that Stansted was a small aiport but was pleasantly surprise to see that the airport was quite big and we need to get on aiport train to go to the departure gate.. hehehe. As expected there wasa delay in our flight but not that long. Finally we were already inside the Ryanair on our way to Valladolid.

It was a weather transformation. From the cold and gray London to cold and sunny Valladolid! This airport is small. I mean once you enter the airport, it was already pasport control line. But for a small airport,it took them almost an hour to bring our baggages to the carousel.

From the airport, we bought a ticket to the main bus terminal and from there bought a bus ticket to Madrid. Finally we reached the estacion de autobuses at 9pm and took a cab to the Hostel Chelo at Hortaleza near the Gran Via.

First agenda for the day.. eat and sleep.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

flying away..

I did not sleep a wink last night. We are all busy for the last minute packing. I don't know how I made it but I packed almost everything that I would need for this trip... I hope.

Em had made the arrangement with a taxi driver to come and picked us up at 5am. So half and hour earlier we had already bathed, packed and ready to go. It was excited for Em because this will be her first trip to Europe. I got excited watching her so excited.. (wei! don't think bad laaaa)

I don't felt the real excitement yet. Probably the idea of holidaying has not fully settled in my head yet. Or the fact that I did not tell the whole truth to mom. Im such a LOSER. Well.. I did tell her that I am going overseas, its just that I did not tell her that it was a holiday trip. How can I tell her that Im going for my holiday trip. She will scream and jumped through the rooftop! Just told her that I got an invitation in Budapest. Which is trueeeee.... It just that I would have to stop at Madrid first and Prague, Bratislava, Vienna and then Budapest....

my break

I think I need to update this blog. It has been in hiatus for quite some time now.

Anyway, I'll be leaving for my annual trip to Europe tomorrow. Bought the flight tickets already and it burnt a huge hole in my pocket now... Am doing this for the sake of my sanity and happiness. Please.. please be happy for me hahahaha.. (insane).

I haven't packed anything yet. Don't know where to start. Looked at the new leather jacket in the closet. Guess its time to coat it with baby oil TLC. Maybe I don't need to bring too many clothes, just a few tshirts and jeans. Ahhhh.... the idea of going away.......