Our 1st Paris Bucket Lists Checked: Sacré-Cœur

This is the first place which we put as our first must visit place while we were in Paris. Well, I actually was insisted on making our itinerary trip to Paris. I hardly in love with Sacré-Cœur and it was on my bucket list in 2015, but I didn’t have so much time to visit this Basilica. That is why I am the one who insisted on putting this in our first Paris Bucket Lists (and thank youuu for being so nice and received my idea, love ❤ hahaha).

Here I am gonna show you my amateur pictures which I took with my phone. Hope you’ll enjoy it!

The first #OurParisBucketlists checked!

La Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre

A popular landmark, the basilica is located at the summit of the Montmartre, the highest point in the city. The Sacré-Cœur Basilica was designed by Paul Abadie. The construction began in 1875 and was finished in 1914. It was consecrated after the end of World War I in 1919.

This Roman Catholic church construction began in 1875 and was finished in 1914

The inspiration for Sacré Cœur’s design originated on 4 September 1870, the day of the proclamation of the Third Republic, with a speech by Bishop Fournier attributing the defeat of French troops during the Franco-Prussian War to a divine punishment after “a century of moral decline” since the French Revolution, in the wake of the division in French society that arose in the decades following that revolution, between devout Catholics and legitimist royalists on one side, and democrats, secularists, socialists, and radicals on the other.

There is a King Saint Louis IX statue above

The overall style of the structure shows a free interpretation of Romano-Byzantine features, an unusual architectural vocabulary at the time, which was a conscious reaction against the neo-Baroque excesses of the Palais Garnier cited in the competition. Many design elements of the basilica symbolise nationalist themes: the portico, with its three arches, is adorned by two equestrian statues of French national saints Joan of Arc (1927) and King Saint Louis IX, both executed in bronze by Hippolyte Lefebvre; and the nineteen-ton Savoyarde bell (one of the world’s heaviest), cast in 1895 in Annecy, alludes to the annexation of Savoy in 1860.

Stunning interior of the Basilica
A beautiful polaroid picture from us ❤

 

Source: Wikipedia

Picture taken by: Astrid Maharani

#7th Review: Clarion Hotel, Stockholm – Sweden (Ringvägen)

I know I know, sorry for being so ignorant these days and not posting something on my blog lately. I travelled to Stockholm and Paris (again) for two weeks! I could say, I am a very very very lucky girl that I got chances to attend one of an international forum which has been held in Stockholm in the midst of May 2017. It was my second time went there, the first one back to October 2015, during an autumn season which was super cold (I mean, for a girl who lives in a tropical country) and now I got a chance to feel a spring season in Stockholm! Super-YAY!

Super-YAY!

Different with the last time, this year I’ve stayed in one of a four-stars hotel in Stockholm, namely the Clarion Hotel Stockholm! Don’t be wrong, as they also have another Clarion Hotel which located nearby the Arlanda Airport. But this one,  it is located in a very strategist location at the heart of Stockholm, in Södermalm area. And I will give my review of the hotel for your recommendations as below.

Hotel view from the outside

Yes as you can see, the picture above is the hotel which I took from the small street just behind the building. It’s face to the highway which connects to the city. I got a super comfortable and spacious bedroom only for myself! And I often wonder, why the four stars hotel in Stockholm very different with the one that we have in Jakarta, Indonesia?

And I often wonder, why the four stars hotel in Stockholm very different with the one that we have in Jakarta, Indonesia?

Well, maybe it’s a perk living in developing country like in Indonesia, I think! 😉

view of my room from the entrance

So, yup, this is the entrance of my room. It’s a quite narrow aisle, where you can see the right of the entrance is the shower room (sorry, I forgot to did not take a picture of it, but it’s quite spacey) and the left is the big mirror (I really love it) and wardrobe, where I put my suitcase, shoes and stuff.

Let me rephrase it again, oh I love the big mirror in this room!

the super-warm bed!

And this is the super warm bed! It supposed to be used for 2 people, but they gave us each room for every participant, which was super nice. Even though the weather was cold for someone who used to live in tropical country, but this hotel room also provide an AC and a heater, for sure!

Well, every night, I always turned on my AC because I feel bit hot, don’t know why. I even was sweating a lot during the night under my blanket. Overall, it was super-nice stay in Clarion Hotel Stockholm!

There was a TV and I was super happy because I was hoping that I may watch HBO or any movies in there but in fact, they only have Swedish channels and some Asian channel which only Thai and some Chinese channel, I guess. Since I don’t have movies also on my harddisk, so I just left the TV off all days during my stay in there, haha.

And plus, who need the TV, when we travel to another country? Wohoo!

Another thing I love about this hotel was… the BREAKFAST! They have many choices and various food. But my favourite was the scrambled eggs with creamy cheese, crepes with the chocolate cream, their fruits, also raspberries juice which was perfectly VERY FRESH! Besides they also have any kind of cereals, granola, croissant, any kind of salads, sausage, rice, omelette, and many more.

I was disappointed with their coffee, anyway. For me and some of my friends, the coffee taste was very bad. So I never took the coffee again after I tried during the first day I stayed there. But they have very spacious breakfast restaurant and I loved to sit nearby the window to see beautiful cherry blossom which left some after the spring effect.

About the service? I could give 8 out of 10. At the second day, I stayed there, I put the “Clean My Room” sign mark in front of my room and then I left it maybe for an hour to breakfast, then when I came back, surprisingly my room and bathroom was already clean and tidy! And they were super friendly and helpful because I gave my postcards that I wanted to send to my boyfriend and his Mom postcards but didn’t found any post box, then I just gave it to the receptionist and they will exactly help you! 😉

I love the area because, in the neighbourhood, we can easily found Subway Resto, 7/11, minimart, H&M, Telia counter (if you want to buy new sim card), and small shops surround.

 

View in front of the entrance of the hotel

 

If you want to go to the central, it is easier to take the train or subway just in front of the hotel. The name of the subway station is Skanstull. They have a single trip, a week trip and a month trip if I am not mistaken, but since I have stayed only for 3N4D (and most of the times I only stayed at the conference), so I bought the single trip, which only valid for an hour (as written on the ticket). The cost for the single trip was Kr. 43 which is equal to EUR 4,5.

Yes, it is VERY expensive.

It’s very different with the one that I bought in any other European countries, like for example in Paris. For single trip during an hour, the price around EUR 1,85 where it is included RER (central), bus and metro. And what I know from a friend who live in Stockholm, the transportation in Sweden it’s very expensive compared to other European countries, even Geneva, Switzerland.

So the mechanism by using this single trip ticket is we have to show the ticket to someone who stays at the ticket counter, then they will open the gate, from inside the counter, for us to go in. And we don’t have to tap or insert the ticket if we want to go out from the station. Because the door will be automatically open.

But I will tell you a little bit secret, so the first time I bought the single trip, I used it for more than  4-5 hours! You must be wondering, how come I did that? Because most of them who standby at the ticket counter, they don’t really check for the duration which written on your ticket and they just open the door for you.

And yes… I was lucky because of that. I just showed to them my ticket and pretend that I was in hurry, then they will just open the door for you 😉 Hahaha, I know it was very bad and I may get a fine if they knew I was cheated. I AM SOOOO SORRY SIRS/MADAMES. It’s just because your subway ticket was crazy expensive for (cheap) Asian people like me, hahaha.

Anyway, sorry if it’s out of context from the hotel review, I just want to share my experience with you haha.

Ok, so for me, it was very easy to go to the city or old town from the hotel. If you want to take the subway, it will only take like 5 minutes and if you want to go there by walking its around 30-45 minutes.

Some cherry blossom left, after spring effect
view from the other side of the hotel entrance

How about the hotel price? Well, I didn’t know how does it cost for the hotel room which the organiser paid for me to stay 4D3N in there?! But I’d checked the price in Booking.com, the price is around IDR 2.160.000 or equal to EUR 145 as per night, which if I rent a hotel room with that price in Indonesia, I could get a room in 5-stars hotel, for sure!

So, I could say, I was very lucky (again) for many times in my life! And I had a pleasant stay in Clarion Hotel Stockholm 🙂

xoxo

 

 

Summer fireworks in Geneva!

Well, hello for those who’s the biggest fan of fireworks! I am gonna show you beautiful pictures of me during Fêtes de Genève or Geneva Festivals on last summer 2016! I was very lucky, yes, because I got fellowship during the best season in Geneva, Switzerland. Why? Because you can easily found many nice festivals in the Jet d’eau lake and for being honest, the warm weather during summer much look alike in Jakarta or even some cases, even hotter in Geneva.

And to see the feu d’artifice or fireworks, it commonly held by August each year. The fireworks long last between 45-55 minutes which located in the lake. You need to be sacrificed yourself first, if you want to watch this and get a very strategic place, like what I did last year. So I came to the lakeside, since the afternoon like around 4 pm to get a place right in front of the lake.

And the fireworks itself, just started, at 10 pm.

Yes, it was an amazing experience, to wait for the fireworks for 6 hours in the lake accompanied with crazy windy during the afternoon, hahaha. If you want to get the best place to see the fireworks, you must go to the lake at least 3 hours advance, before the fireworks begin.

And, for the better, you can bring folding chair/cushion/pillow/bean bag or anything so you can sit comfortably and also the blanket, as it will start to get cold during the evening. Not to forget to bring snacks and drinks as you will stay there for hours!

So, enjoy the fireworks, guys!

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The fireworks started to play

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📷 Astrid Maharani (by Samsung S7 Edge)
📍 Jet d’eau Lake, Geneva – Switzerland

#5th Review: My first flight to Europe with KLM

Just a little bit flashback to my first journey to Europe. In October 2015, luckily, I got a recommendation from my colleague in the office to attend one of the biggest Internet Forum which has been held in Stockholm, Sweden. You don’t know, how I was very happy and very excited to had a wonderful chance like that!

And it was completed by the chance that the organiser was booked me economy class flight ticket by KLM! So here is my review during my first flight to Europe with KLM, check it out…

At this time, I would like to write my review during my first flight to Europe with KLM, check it out…

Their TV and other entertainment facilitate!
Their TV and other entertainment facilitate!

Well, the seat was quite comfortable and spacious (maybe for Asian like me). The flight was at night, and the flight had one stop in Kuala Lumpur and then transit in Schiphol, Amsterdam. The total journey was almost 20 hours and my flight from Jakarta was a lil bit delayed likely for 30 minutes. I was a little bit worried too because my transit time in Schiphol will only take around 1 hour, but finally, I made it even that time my plane was already boarding! (Fiuuuh…)

During the flight from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur, they served us nice dinner completed with the cake as dessert.

Delicious welcome dinner by KLM on board
Delicious welcome dinner by KLM on board

Then we stopped in Kuala Lumpur, all of the passengers should have to go out from the plane and wait at the boarding gate while they cleaned the plane because there will be another passenger from Kuala Lumpur to Amsterdam.

Well, again… They gave us late night snack to eat. I really need to take a good rest even on the plane, so I ordered the red wine to make me sleep better 😉

Late night food with the wine? Why not!
Late night food with the wine? Why not!

It’s sleeping timeeeee! I got this cute little thingy goodnight goodies, which is very cute! Inside this goodies were blindfold, earplug, toothbrush and the paste. All with blue colour!

Very cute 'Goodnight Goodies' which they gave us before sleeping time
Very cute ‘Goodnight Goodies’ which they gave us before sleeping time

The cabin crew was very powerful! I saw many of them were already above 45 years old and for me, it’s awesome, because they were still very strong to do work as cabin crew, which is for me not so easy to do. They were very polite and always asking what we need (oh well, that’s their job for sure, haha). Most of them could speak either Dutch, Indonesia and English and the most important, their service was also very fast!

After around 15-17 hours flight to Amsterdam, finally, we arrived in Schiphol! The airport was. verrrrrrrrry verrry big, that time I need to find the Gate which I will take my flight to Stockholm and after spent like 1 hour 15 minutes at the security check and 15 minutes at the immigration, I finally arrived at the Gate with my body was sweating a loooot because I was running to the gate hahaha. I even dropped my visa documents somewhere on the floor while I ran, but someone very nice was helped me! Thank youuuu!

When I entered the plane, I looked to the left and right of the seats, and I didn’t found any Asian people. Yes, it was only me surrounded by bule-bule (red: tourist) Scandinavian! Hahaha.

My flight from Amsterdam to Stockholm was around 6 am in the morning, that is why I want to show you some of my pictures from the window where I sat.

Beautiful white skies around
Beautiful white skies around and the sun started to risen
Sea of clouds up high in Scandinavian country
Sea of clouds up high in Scandinavian countries

Long story short, it was a pleasure for me to had a flight with KLM during my first flight to Europe. It was super awesome experience with KLM, thank you KLM! Hope I will have chances to fly with you again ❤

Autumn Sunsets in Vasabron Street, Stockholm

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Norstedts – Vasabron Street, Stockholm – Sweden

Beautiful? Definitely! I am so grateful that I had a chance to capture this beautiful sunset in Stockholm during an Autumn season on last 2015. It was very windy evening but dared myself to hold on for couple minutes just to took this beautiful scenery in Vasabron Bridge. And hopefully, I will see this beautiful sunset (or sunrise) during Spring season this year. Bismillah! ❤

Vasabron Bridge or The Vasa Bridge is a bridge over Norrström which located in central of Stockholm, Sweden, that connecting Norrmalm to Gamla Stan, the old city. The bridge is, unintelligibly, named after King Gustav Vasa (1496-1560), perhaps because of the vicinity to the statue of the king in front of the House of Knights.From Vasabron a much smaller bridge, Strömsborgsbron, connects to the islet Strömsborg. Nearby bridges include Riksbron, Stallbron, Norrbro, Centralbron, and Strömbron.

📷 Astrid Maharani
📍 Norstedts, Vasabron – Stockholm

Unexpected journey : Padova, Italy

I am one of a kind of girl who believes a hundred percents that life is (indeed) full of surprises. That’s what I felt during 3-months lived and well-travelled in some Europe countries last summer. My travel plans have changed a lot once I arrived in Geneva, Switzerland, where I started my first living and working abroad experience in 2016. How was it feel? Oh, it was wonderful and unforgettable moments that I ever experience.

Since long time ago, I always believe “what you give to others, that’s what you’ll get back” in return. So if you do good to people, people will treat you exactly the same how did you treat them. It is what I actually felt, during my 2nd trip in one of beautiful country in Europe.

Here is…. Italy!

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Palazzo Moroni, Comune di Padova

During my second trip to Italy, I had a chance to visit Venice and Padova (or Padua). I won’t talk more about Venice, as some of you may already know and saw many beautiful pictures about the city of love and plus, you may already know because you have watched movies like The Tourist or even the latest ones, Inferno. But here, I’d rather talked about my unexpected journey in Padova, Italy.

Why I called it the unexpected journey?

Because Padova was never been on my Europe or even Italy bucket-list. But I made it happened because of my Couchsurfing host (you can also add me on my Couchsurfing account) who were very kind to me and invited me to see another city in Italy where the location is 45 mins drove by car from Venice and last time I only had half-day visit time with my host before I flew back to Geneva. Padova is a small city, where located in Northern Italy’s Veneto region. It’s well-known by Giotto’s creation in Scrovegni Chapel and Basilica of Saint Anthony.

Like any other cities in Italy, for me, Padova has the sense of history, art and culture. Just like in Rome. When I have discussed with my host, he shared to me about the history of the city where the city was well-known with the renaissance era and modern architecture. There are some medieval palaces, artistic churches and cobbled streets, the shops, markets and locals, also a vibrant modern life.

These are some must-visit lists that I make for you who wants to visit and passing by the Padova city:

1. Basilica of Saint Anthony

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Sant Antonio Basilica di Padova
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The byzantine-style domes in Basilica Sant Antonio di Padova
This is the Basilica Sant Antonio from outside the building which taken by me, during my travel to Padova. It was a very sunny day around 35 degrees Celsius during the summer. Fantastic, huh? It is a Roman Catholic church which is for me the dome is similar to the mosque dome in Muslim worship place.
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The yard of the Basilica
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Inside of Basilica

Although the Basilica is visited as a place of pilgrimage by people from all over the world, it is not the titular cathedral of the city, a title belonging to the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Mary of Padua. The basilica is known locally as “il Santo”. The construction itself has begun around 1232, just one year after St. Anthony death.

2. Church of the Eremitani

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Church of the Eremitani

The Church of the Eremitani, or Church of the Hermits, is an Augustinian church of the 13th century in Padova. I didn’t do much in here because that time I only had very short time to visit so I was just looked around at the Church’s yard which there were many sculptures

3. Piazza dei Signori

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Piazza dei Signori

And this one of the famous and historical square in Padova. Around this square, you can easily found some cafe or coffee shop and many local people or tourists were sitting around the square just for hangout with friends and family.

4. Prato della Valle and Abbey of Santa Giustina

According to Wikipedia, this square has 90,000 square meters elliptical square in Padova, Italy. It is the largest square in Italy and one of the largest in Europe. Today, the square is a large space with a green island at the centre, l’Isola Memmia, surrounded by a small canal bordered by two rings of statues.

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The building of Abbey of Santa Giustina appears on behind

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The Abbey of Santa Giustina is a Benedictine abbey in the centre of the City of Padua, facing the Prato della Valle, which dates from the 10th century. The abbey is attached to the Basilica of Santa Giustina, which was built in the 6th century (Wikipedia). And today, the Prato della Valle square usually use for festival music, to see fireworks during the New Year, or even just have a picnic day with friends and family by the local people.

5. Palazzo della  Ragione

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The Palazzo della Ragione is a medieval town hall building in Padua, in the Veneto region of Italy
There were some of the touristic and historical places which you should have to visit during your travel in Padova, like; Scrovegni Chapel, Orto Botanico di Padova, Santa Sofia Church, Padova Cathedral, Ponte San Lorenzo, Palazzo Giusti, and much more. I didn’t have many chances to go to those places and to took a picture, because I have run out of batteries, both my phone and my camera (Yes, poor me!). But as you can see in above pictures, there are some places which very worth to visit once you are in Padova, Italy!

2017 Europe bucket-list!

  1. Zermatt, Switzerland
  2. Paris, France done
  3. Stockholm, Sweden done
  4. Copenhagen, Denmark done
  5. Vienna, Austria
  6. Hallstatt, Austria
  7. Venice, Italy done
  8. Rome, Italy done
  9. Vatican City, Italy done
  10. Florence, Italy
  11. Milan, Italy
  12. Zurich, Switzerland
  13. Montreaux, Switzerland
  14. Provence, France
  15. Marseille, France
  16. Lyon, France done
  17. Prague, Czech
  18. Brussel, Belgium
  19. Barcelona, Spain done
  20. Cordoba, Spain
  21. Seville, Spain
  22. Santorini, Greece
  23. Athens, Greece
  24. Sicily, Italy
  25. Oslo, Norway
  26. Amsterdam, Netherlands done
  27. Geneva, Switzerland done
  28. Kiruna, Sweden
  29. Annecy, France done
  30. Chamonix, France done
  31. Toulouse, France done
  32. Lausanne, Switzerland done
  33. Cannes, France
  34. Dijon, France done
  35. Grenoble, France
  36. Strasbourg, France
  37. Alsace, France
  38. Colmar, France
  39. Normandy, France
  40. Bordeaux, France
  41. Nice, France
  42. Nancy, France