Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eastern Europe: What we have missed...

when we agreed to go for the trip, i've decided not to read much malas nak plan beriye 1 - because i have a friend who will do the planning. 2 - i just wanna go with the flow without byk sgt thinking and tick list. nak relax2 je and enjoy the time with wife and friends. amazingly, i really loved it. seronok bila aku tak payah nak think aheads of time and do the itinerary. aku seronok n nak buat lagi mcm ni. but still there are things that we have missed, more or less not because of poor planning cumanya mcm mana nak buat semua if we only gave 2 days in each cities. we need more time to explore more. so the below regrets are mostly, if only we have more time...

1. Budapest - there were plenty of museums in the city especially on top of the buda hill. Ada hospital museum etc. but one that i remember and probably quite good was the terror museum. This museum is dedicated to Nazi & Russia rasanya. Terror Haza. Aku takde lah baca review yg museum ni best, tp aku rasa if i got more time, i'll go.

2. Budapest - Szechenyi Bath and Spa Budapest ni sebenarnya very famous. it's a place for thermal bath. dok mandi ramai2... even masa sejuk pun, it is said that the bath is good. tp aku ni tak lah adventurer sgt nak pakai swimming trunk mandi beramai2... tambah plak mcm mana wife aku nak join. but perhaps, this is one activity kalau korang g sana blh pergi.

3. Budapest - where ever kitaorg g tgk menu restaurant mesti ada goulash soup as the starter. aku ada check dkt kedai turkish if they know any halal goulash soup around, tp depa kata tu makanan local yg takde turkish or halal restaurant. kitaorg ada skali nak masuk kedai kosher utk try, tp kedai tu tutup plak for sabbath day. but the experience was very eerie masa masuk kedai tu, my wife bertudung rasa intimidated. so we decided not to go even when the kedai is open. we got the recipe, so we might try to cook ourselves. anyway, from the recipe mcm masak kuah dalca without santan and dalca je.

4. Prague - I missed to see this:

Prague - kitaorg g kejap sangat. it is a small romantic old town. we tak discover pun the new town. certainly the city deserved a day if not two more days. period.

Vienna - i should have bought the opera ticket, i.e. the cheap tickets. although there's no seat. although u wont understand. although you have to stand for an hour. although u have to dress a bit. it's the experience. and the view and perhaps to see the real thing. the concerto we went, can be missed. don't go.

Vienna - we should hang out more minum2 coffee... (not only in vienna though, in other places as well). but luckily we had coffee at sacher cafe which was good.

Vienna - Bratislava - we wanted to take the danube river boat ride to travel between the two. tp sbb weather and season, the boat ride takde.

Vienna - The Scrobrunn Palace garden yg tutup from November onwards.

All in all - we've been using train to travel between the cities. it was 4 of us, we should have thought of travelling by a car. rent a car can get us to many other side places. tp kalau banyak sidetrack pun tak bagus jugak. so, because of timing kitaorg ambik train. tp kalau ambik kereta, maybe we could explore more on the country side. but sleeping in the sleeper train was certainly an experience which i didn't regret at all.

as i said, ni jalan2 suka2 without any comitment utk cover semua benda. punya relax sampai kenkadang aku rasa mcm aku tak berada kat negara org pun. mcm tempat2 ni aku akan senang2 je pergi lain kali. walhal, this might be the first and the last utk aku pergi i.e. next time baik aku gi tempat2 lain. tp... sebenarnya i've been to vienna before - year 2004 tp for 24 hours je and i think i wanna go to prague again :-)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Travel Report : Eastern Europe - Budapest (Day 9-Last)

we arrived at Budapest dah mlm. had our dinner at the turkish stall at the train station. mmg sedap n murah. then back to our apartment which we had stayed on the first 2 days.
Day 9 ni, kitaorg plan nak g ke Adrassy Avenue and the freedom square which both located kat Pest. The whole strecth Adrassy Ave ni considered as Unesco site sampai lah ke freedom square. apparently, the metro station underneath the avenue is the second oldest underground train in europe. and bila kitaorg try, mmg jauh beza dgn train yg ada sekarang. in fact, laluan dia tak lah jauh ke dalam tanah, cuma lebih kurang 20 anak tangga dah sampai station. mmg ancient.

lepas jalan2 kat avenue tu yg kitaorg keluar pukul 8am right after breakfast. terus ke vaci utca or fashion street. takde apa pun designer kat jalan tu, in fact adrassy avenue ada byk kedai lagi. kitaorg ke situ sekadar nak abis kan beli souvenir. by 12pm dah kena balik ke hotel sbb nak kejar ke airport sebelum pkl 2pm. but we arrived quite early even more than 3 hours sebelum flight. lepak2 je kat airport.

the trip overall was a relax and exciting. first time for my wife felt the autumn weather. pretty cold especially the last day (sampai 3 degree). and first time jalan2 dgn kawan2 doha mcm ni. seriously we can do again!!! :-)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Travel Report : Eastern Europe - Vienna/Bratislava/Prague (Day 8)

It's travelling day today with approximately 5 hours stop at Bratislava, Slovakia. Luckily we decided to stop for a while kat bratislava, sbb mmg bandar ni tak besar mana, half a day pun dah cukup.
what's the main thing kat bratislava? it's the old town yg ada 4 statue unik... and the clock tower and the main square... but for sure our aim was to take a picture with the four statues. pic below - the clock tower - with man by the bench - paparazi - man at work. aku tak ambik gambar satu lagi statue... so korang cari sendiri lah kat internet. :-)then we also went to the main city. tp tak g mana lah, just the main street across the old town. ada satu kedai turkish jual kebab dekat situ yg katanya ada masjid nearby. while we were looking around n tak jumpa aku g tanya kat sebuah lagi kedai turkish and nasib kitaorg baik sbb org yg pegang kunci masjid tgh makan kat restaurant tu. so for you guys yg singgah kat bratislava. go find turkish restaurant near cordoba cultural center. depa tahu sapa pegang kunci masjid. masjid tu terletak di cordoba cultural center. which is on the main street.

oh... from train station to get to old town ada satu bas. aku tak ingat lah nombor berapa. u can ask around. and take the same bus back to the train station. beg boleh letak kat train station 2 euro for 15kg beg. sini pakai euro, and fridge magnet tak mahal :-)

another place to visit is the bratislava castle, as we all went to 2 castles kat vienna, tak larat dah nak tgk satu lagi castle. read before, castle tu tak de apa sgt, cuma view from the hill top je best. tak larat nak naik atas sana.

once our mission - cari 4 statue - tu complete we went back to the station and shoot to budapest. tiket vienna - bratislava dan bratislava - budapest, kena beli asing2. tp tiket tu tak letak timing. so once u beli blh je naik bila2 within 1 month rasanya. and check jugak, kenkadang tiket return lagi murah dr tiket one-way. so beli je return, and ignore je utk patah balik. so u save there.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Travel Report : Eastern Europe - Vienna (Day 7)

the second day kat vienna, kitaorg plan utk cover hofburg palace, mcm lanjutan dr visit ke palace the day before lah. Hofburg palace ni dekat dlm vienna... huge complex yg dulunya palace now rasanya dijadikan government office. only some part of it yg dibuka utk visit. we bought the grand tour, byk bilik blh tengok. the ticket also cover museum pinggan mangkuk and sisi museum.

museum pinggan mangkuk tu was at first quite interesting. rajin lah aku tgk satu2 n dgr audio guide. tp after dah berpuluh2 set pinggan mangkuk dia display, pastu plak setiap inci gold n bunga nak diexplain, tak larat aku dengar... aku settle 1/3 dr museum, lepas tu... aku skip skip je... tak larat wo...

but the second part was interesting, the sisi museum. ni cite pasal wife kepada the emperor of austria and king of hungary i.e. Franz Josef 1. Boleh baca detail di mana??? di wikipedia.... anyway, secara ringkas sisi ni kawin masa muda. awalnya emperor ni masa belum jd emperor nak dijodohkan dgn kakak dia. tp sbb kakak dia gelap skit masa dipertemukan dgn emperor, the emperor pilih sisi. sisi mmg tak nak jadi empress terpaksa... so hidup dia dlm keadaan dia benci kan perkahwinan and semua benda dia perlu buat as empress... dan dia pun selalu travel n tak dok kat umah jaga husband dia. Sisi museum tu byk lah tunjuk apa yg sisi tu buat and melahirkan perasaan sisi. apparently, sisi ni keje dia sikat rambut n bersenam (kurus giler and said to be most beautiful dlm negara dia) and tulis poem. so poem dia byk menceritakan kisah duka dia dan dia rasa nak mati. dia finally mati dibunuh. Frankly museum ni mmg best, sbb kitaorg mmg terasa moved by the poem n exhibits.

then baru masuk the main rooms of hofburg palace. since kitaorg dah g schrobrunn the day before, hofburg ni takde apa sgt... ada byk bilik fungsi dia sama. tp since ada citer pasal sisi, agak boleh relate n ada lah skit2 berbeza.

after hofburg, we had lunch at Naschmarkt. said to be the biggest open air market. tp banyak nya restaurant je. we again ate chinese food yg super delicious.... restaurant ni tak serve pork, so kitaorg ambik seafood and veggie je lah.after that we took a train utk ke islamic center... aku salah pilih route, so agak panjang gak perjalanan. but we were surprised that the masjid kat islamic center ni besar and boleh nampak from train station. if you go to vienna, g la ke neue donau. dr station tu blh nampak masjid. tak jauh walking distance je.ohh... sebelum makan, kitaorg ada lah ke opera house, dekat stephanplatz tu. plannya nak g cari tiket tengok opera. and kitaorg beli lah tiket utk show yg gabungkan opera and some ochestra. so mlm tu lps solat maghrib terus ke tempat show tu. the show was ok, tp sgt touristic. byk dr china dtg situ. not really impressive. the set up pun mcm majlis makan malam sultan2 kat malaysia. ada tak sampai 10 pemain muzik. tp yg aku impress is the opera singer sorang ni. kalau dia ni standard show cikai ni pun dah best. kalau the real one mesti lagi best. i do not really recommend korang tgk show ni. and kalau nak tgk jugak, try get the cheap ticket for the real opera. although tak faham i guess the experience to be in the hall pun dah best :-)

after the show.. straight shoot balik. masa balik ari tu sbb dah lewat, takut jugak kalau2 kena follow org mabuk lagi. tp nampaknya timing masa balik tu mcm ramai org2 lain yg dtg dr some other event. dr gaya mcm some opera show jugak, sbb mostly dress up cantik. anyway, that's the end of our vienna trip. tomorrow... balik ke budapest, via bratislava, slovakia.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Travel Report : Eastern Europe - Vienna (Day 6)

First day in Vienna... no breakfast from hotel, tp ada cafe near the place. our main destination today was the schrobrunn palace. we were unlucky sbb palace ni actually for summer, so masa winter dia kurang best. to be exact from 1st Nov, byk attraction dlm compound palace ni ditutup i.e. the maze, the garden, the fountain etc... tp the main palace was open and it was excellent tp tu pun tak perfect sbb the main gallery was closed for refurbishment, tahun depan br siap :-(kitaorg visit the palace using the audio guide. the audio guide price was included dlm palace fee. it was good 1 hour plus gak dlm palace tu. but we spend another 1 - 2 hours jalan2 dlm garden. ye kami agak jakun tgk daun2 kuning2 autumn ni... so bergambar lah macam2 gaya... the leaves all turn golden... cantik ya amat!!! lepas separuh hari kitaorg melepak kat garden tu, we kind of spend byk masa nak cari kedai makanan halal, as we wanted to try schnitzel - rupanya chicken chop je... lepas makan kitaorg terus ke stephanplatz, by then hari pun dah gelap. its the center of vienna town. jalan2... makan2... ambik2 gambar... ooh.. we tried sacher cake masa kat stephenplatz.. very nice chocolate cake :-) and malam tu had dinner at Malaysian restaurant - one of the 3 malaysian restaurants. the food was good - way better than malaysian restaurant kat doha ni... taste sucks... opps sorry ye!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Travel Report : Eastern Europe - Prague/Vienna (Day 5)

ya ya... vienna not eastern europe, dia pakai euro...

day 5 started quite early. we had a train to catch to get us to vienna. pagi tu lepas breakfast, we went to John Lennon Wall... bukannya kitaorg peminat john lennon pun, but since the wall was very near to the hotel, kitaorg gi lah situ kejap... saja abiskan few minutes before shoot to the train station utk ke vienna... by the way, our hotel in prague was Charles Bridge Residence. the hotel was excellent to superb. no services in the hotel, takde reception but i gave them 1 trillion extra marks for tak kisah org check in early. the breakfast was served in a small cafe across the street... the food was good especially the ommelette, quite big and blh tahan sampai tghhari. (nampak sgt aku suka hotel ni, dah 2 entry promote dia)

Our 5th day was not that eventful. 5 hours train ride to vienna... get to vienna pun dah late afternoon... sbb mencari hotel agak susah skit, kitaorg agak penat utk venture to main town mlm tu. anyway, we have another 2 days kat vienna... so lets get a good rest. had our dinner in a chinese restaurant... and kena ikut by some org mabuk (tak kena kejar pun, kena tegur... n perasan sendiri kena kejar... jalan je laju2... hehehe). we ended the night quite early.

Hotel kat vienna very very spacious. amenities was excellent. ada tv. ada couch ada chess set lagi. tp antara hotel ke metro was a distance lah jugak.. 200 metres... tak lah jauh, tp bila malam n sejuk n gelap, it does matter... tp sejak dimanjakan ngan cheap apartment n near to town hotel kat budapest and excellent hotel in the old town itself in prague, hotel kat vienna ni dpt rate rendah from us. the price pun paling mahal between the 3 - 70 euro per night but still cheaper than the sleeper cabin :-).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Travel Report : Eastern Europe - Prague (Day 4)

it was our 2nd day in Prague... it was sunny and perfect for jalan2... as hari sebelumnya kitaorg tak sempat gi prague castle, we did the castle on the second day (above is the picture of Prague castle from Charles Bridge, taken the day before - tu sbb agak gloomy). jalan kaki je dr hotel... took a good 30 mins (x termasuk breakfast) to get there... yeah, kitaorg sesat skit... tp the sesat tu menyebabkan kepenatan maksimum... prague castle ni terletak atas bukit, sbb tersesat tu, kitaorang panjat bukit tu lebih tinggi dr prague castle itself... hehehe...

half a day is good kat prague castle ni... mcm2 ada... see some pictures below (akan upload later) and rajin2 lah tgk wikipedia and the tourism website... hehehe.. byk benda jugak kat sini... tp palace dia tak lah best sgt, i think versailles (france) and schrobrunn (austria) lagi cantik. but there's one area call golden lane was quite interesting. And from the castle you can see the whole prague old town area, cantik!!! masa breakfast pagi tu, kat hotel breakfast tu dia promo tgk the best of swan lake. me and wifey mmg minat tgk black swan and thought it would be nice to watch the show... it was a ballet show, the first time for both of us. so masa jalan2 around the old town petang tu, kitaorg cari booth utk beli tiket, it cost us 900 koruna per person for the ticket (around RM180). the show was superb for a newcomer like us. sbbkan tak pernah tgk ballet show before (not even kindergarten ballet show). and mmg the music was exactly mcm cite black swan... and mmg giler2 best best best... worth every penny :-) the show was located very near to powder tower, another part of the old town. (in front of the building below) it was not on a big scale stage (music pun bukan live) tp, it was good enough. comparable to the broadway show kat NY. that's the end of Day 4.the castle from Charles Bridge at night.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Travel Report : Eastern Europe - Prague (Day 3)

Kami sampai di Prague awal pagi. gelap lagi masa tu. we got lucky as the hotel yg kitaorg booked for Prague let us to check in very early in the morning. Kitaorg sampai je hotel, kunci dah disediakan dlm envelope, ambik n boleh masuk bilik. another budget hotel, takde reception pun. and takde service apa2... no complaint about that, dpt check in early ni mmg bless... bayangkan kalau dia kata check in only at 12 noon or 2 pm mcm sesetengah hotel. kami ni sampai 5am... mati lah penat melangut sampai tghhari. ni dpt masuk bilik, rehat2 kejap and blh turun breakfast. and we can start early and fresh.

sidetrack skit - both Prague, Rep. Czech and Budapest, Hungary masih menggunakan local currency and not euro. both rate almost similar, cumanya 10-12 duit hungary forint = 1 duit rep. czech koruna = RM 15 sen - 20 sen. walaupun nampak murah... tp value czech forint ni mahal skit sbb depa tak de nomination sen. so... kalau g toilet for example, kena bayar 10 koruna = RM2! and benda2 mcm fridge magnet, key chain (basic souvenir ni) mahal lagi kat czech dr kat budapest. back to topic. first day kat prague ni kitaorg concentrate kat old town which started from visiting the charles bridge. Our hotel mmg best, it's located 15 metres from the charles bridge (mmg aku recommend hotel ni) check outCharles Bridge Residence. above is gambar tengahari depan hotel, see how busy is the area shows how central the location is.One of the major places to visit kat Prague ni is the Charles Bridge (pic above). Dr bridge ni akn menghala ke old town center square ni ada clock tower and byk2 cathedral. we didnt enter any cathedral but we went up to the clock tower/astronomical clock. As any other old town kat europe mmg ada clock tower mcm ni kat square and bila time2 tertentu dia akan berbunyi n ada some 'movement' kat jam tu. pada aku it is good to go up to the tower utk dpt the view and better still kalau ada lift naik ke atas. tp utk clock tower kat prague ni, the movement/show ni kureng skit. i found the one kat strasbourg and munich to be better. anyway, strolling around kat old town ni very interesting. loads of thing to see. at first ingat nak g naik ke prague castle (another must see place kat prague - pic above, the tiny castle kat atas sebelah kiri gambar) tu tgh hari. tp cuaca agak gloomy that day. we cant deny, we were also a bit tired jugak. so we took a boat ride at Vlatava river. frankly, u can skip the boat ride, nothing much. but if you have no plan on what to do and what to see... ok je boat ride ni. at least ada gak org cite skit2 sejarah pasal prague. otherwise, aku pun tgk kat wikipedia je.

ptg tu, kitaorg cari kedai makan muslim kat area near train station. we also went out jalan2 kat area mustek. byk kedai2 baju around ni. we ended the day early (sbb mmg start the day very early pun). below - charles bridge at night...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Travel Report : Eastern Europe - Budapest (Day 2)

Hari kedua ni kitaorg start awal skit. Since we were staying all in an apartment senang nak manage. Apartment ni terletak kat Kirali Utca. tak berapa jauh sgt dr the main bridge. Apartment is a better option utk dok kat budapest. Murah je, around 70 euro for 2 bedroom apartment. Since kitaorg akan ada 1 hari lagi utk budapest i.e. last day sebelum fly. At first, we've planned to settle part Buda Hill on the second day and kept Pest i.e. town area on a later day. but considering kitaorg nak check out tghhari lepas zohor, we've walk around hotel area, beli tiket ke prague and bergambar kat parliment dulu in the morning, then only ke buda hill after check out.

Utk ke Buda area ni kena naik furnicular (budavari siklo). And sbb kan semua benda touristic majority kat atas Buda Hill ni, jalan2 tak susah... jalan kaki utk discover semua benda. The whole Buda hill ni rasanya considered as Unesco site. you can check out more about Buda hill ni kat wikipedia (as usual) and buda castle. You can spend good half day to cover the whole buda hill. pics below - places of interest on top of buda hill - fisherman's bastion - Matthias Church- view of pest from buda hill.After spent half a day kat atas hill to, kitaorg ambik beg and terus ke train station. we took a sleeper train to Prague. Left Budapest around 9pm (rasanya) sampai Prague at 5am. kitaorg ambik 2 berth sleeper cabin. 1 cabin kena charge euro 99 euro per person and satu lagi 79 euro per person. apparently masa beli n masuk cabin tak terfikir sgt harga moreover, we were astonished dgn kemudahan yg ada. the higher priced cabin ada toilet n the other ada wash basin tp both connected with connecting door. so senang lah nak ke toilet. tp bila dah balik (sampai doha) br terfikir, gile mahal sleeper train ni... average euro 160 per cabin that's a 5 star hotel equivalent!!! so the idea that tukar dr tido kat hotel kepada tidor kat train tak lah jimat mana... in fact rugi. cuma nya dpt save time lah. tp maybe kalau tak ambik sleeper, ambik seat boleh berjimat. But satu hal plak, bila dah sampai sakit2 belakang n penat, pun tak save mana...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

5th year annivesary...

Aku dtg doha ni 2 bulan sebelum company aku keje ni launch... so today is AJE 5th year annivesary... enjoy this video...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Travel Report: Eastern Europe - Budapest (Day 1)

Woot woot... aku dah balik dr menjelajah part of eastern europe - main cities je, last Friday. Best best best... lagi best sbb dpt bawak wife g jalan2... best jugak sbb g ngan kawan2 so dpt ambik gambar berdua, suruh kawan2 je ambik... tambah best, ada kawan kaki travel, so aku tak payah fikir sangat nak jalan mana, ikut saja... :-)

so, hari khamis (2 minggu sudah) kitaorg berlepas ke budapest, hungary. Nape budapest? sbb tetiba qatar airways bg tiket murah ke sana. since ada 2 member blh cuti raya haji gak, so four of us plan a trip to budapest - Prague - vienna - bratislava. agak impromptu preparation, tp maintain a very low budget.

flight dr doha ke budapest makan masa lebih 5 jam. berlepas 9++ am (delay dekat sejam sbb traffic bz kat airport) dan sampai kat budapest dah dekat pkl 2 pm (waktu sana). maghrib plak kat sana pkl 4.30pm... so tak byk masa lah blh jalan on that first day. we get our orientation right, and plan for the following days je mlm tu... tp sempat lah g ke town and see the night. here are some pictures...

quick orientation pasal budapest. Bandar ni terbahagi dua, tgh2 ada sungai... part buda, kat atas bukit, mainly bangunan lama - ada castle, cathedral etc... manakala pest on the other side adalah bangunan-bangunan moden. bandar ni kecik je, boleh get around jalan kaki. train dia very effective, tp tak lah cover semua part, takde pun g ke buda hill. so agak susah nak travel around. anyway, train dia ni dah lama wujud, siap masuk dlm unesco list.