3 cities + 1 + 3. The actual itinerary was Prague, Vienna and Salzburg. Then we added Bratislava because it is just an hour train ride from Vienna. The night before took off, we stayed at Uul's place in
Prague was great. A beautiful city indeed, with unique architectures and lively streets. Crowd was ok. Karluv Most and Old Town Square were of course packed with tourists, but they were still nice. After that, Vienna was—to be honest—a little bit lame. Still a beautiful city though, just didn't offer anything new for me. But it was all paid off in Salzburg. Nice little city, great crowd, and I really had fun tracking The Sound of Music's sets as much as I could. I also found Bratislava as quite nice. Not as beautiful as Prague, but still unique. So I am very pleased with my choice of places. Love them!
Don't Take Your Friends' Words. When your friends tell you not to go to a place because "gak ada apa-apa" (there's nothing), it's probably only nothing for them, not for you. Of course, it also goes the other way around. It's your bad luck then I don't travel that much, but it's about experiencing. It can't be the same for everyone.
But do contact your friend there if possible. Andreas helped us get hostel in Prague and Reo took us around, explaining everything like a professional tour guide. I actually emailed Janna, my Czech friend, but she was on vacation so she just replied after I got to Aachen. I stupidly didn't email Tomas. Why... why...?
In Vienna, through Mbak Rara, we were hosted by Kang Dindin. Rangga and his wife Hanum kindly took us around. Thank's to all of them, and to Polpot for these contacts
Mozart. There are at least two reasons to visit Salzburg: The Sound of Music and Mozart. Of course, I know Mozart through another movie Mozart was born in Salzburg, it was also the place where his family lived. But he travelled a lot. Vienna was of course an important place for his career. What I didn't know is, so was Prague. And Munich, apparently. Funny enough, I failed to find the hostel that lays on Mozartstraße in Munich, but I did find a Mozartstraße in Aachen. This trip could easily be a Mozart-trip
Early Birds Get the Worms. Or Something Like That. When I explored Salzburg in my last morning, I had so much to tell in my mind. But I forgot them all
Bottom line is, it's worth to do. Get up and go early in the morning (it's not that early for us, about seven is fine). See the locals. See things beyond crowd of tourists. See people opening shops and markets (I LOVE markets. except the ones in Holland, I guess ) You don't know what you've missed until you do that
Getting the Most Out of Your.. umm... Things Remember my lousy handset? I still use it, by the way. I do wish I had a PDA/smartphone sometimes. Especially on travelling, when I need to load some documents. Printing them would be a mess, not to mention it's environmentally unfriendly Anyway, when we were some sort of trouble, Ahmad remind me that instead of drawing or taking notes of some information with my lousy handwriting, I can easily use my camera with 3-inch LCD display that Canon presents oh-so-proudly. We also made use of Ahmad's cell that can load Google Maps, just to make sure that we were really lost Oh well...
On Wearing Hijab. Let's see. It got us rejected in a hostel in Prague (well... I don't know if it really was because of that. my suspicious-conspirationist mind suggest that ). It made us given free ice cream in Bratislava. And it got me greeted "Assalamu alaikum" in Salzburg's Cathedral. Ah... I'm sure Marina has much more experience on this
Travelling Alone. Ahmad and I splitted in Vienna. He had to go back because his girlfriend was sick. I had trouble with my bank card, but I managed to draw enough money on the last minute and caught the train to Salzburg. So technically I left him, because the last thing I know was he still sit somewhere in Wien Westbanhof, doing his cost-benefit analysis
On Vienna-Salzburg train, I just realized how bad the situation was. It was the 12th. On 13th night we were supposed to take night train to Munich, and spent night in Munich Airport on 14th night. These things I promised my dad not to do alone. The problem was, I only booked hostel for 12th, so I had to extend it for the 13th and get a hostel in Munich for the 14th. The Prague's experience, having listed about 30 hostels and almost couldn't find beds, was a bit discouraging. Plus, I was short of cash and I wasn't sure I can use my card. If it were a movie, it would be like this.
INT. VIENNA-SALZBURG TRAIN - DAY
RANI is sitting in a compartment with two middle age women and a girl. Her mind is troubled, don't know what lays ahead. She grabs her half-charged iPod, plugs it into her ears while staring the breathtaking mountainous view running accross the window.
(song: jazz version of Lenny Kravitz's
It Ain't Over 'til It's Over)
So many tears we've cried... So much pain inside
Although it was probably better be Björk's My Favorite Things
Anyway, I managed to work things out.
And I finally did travel alone. I'm so proud of myself
The drawback was of course there are things that I couldn't (or didn't dare to) do. And it was easier to give up. Physically, I mean. If you have friend, you don't really feel if you're tired or anything. When I was alone then feel tired, I didn't push myself. Just sit down until I get my energy back.
But the main drawback was, quite obvious, there was no one to take your picture What you can do in this situations are:
- Take the picture yourself. And if you don't have tripod or a place to place your camera, you have to hold it as far as you can with your hand, resulting in those lame narcissistic pictures
- Ask someone to take the picture for you. But if you have bad communication, it can easily result in this kind of picture
(the trick is, find another narcissistic tourist, probably a couple, and ask he/she/them if you can take the picture for them and vice versa. it works )