Sunday, June 28, 2009

Neuschwanstein in Füssen


So that morning we went to a floehmarkt yg x best kat nuremberg. On the train, ada la sorg mabuk ni came and sat beside me, cuak gak ler. Dia naik train bwk botol n nyanyi gile kuat tak stop2. Aku pon duduk keras je n pura2 tgk luar tingkap sampai senget2 leher. Alm ni pulak pakai t-shirt nuremberg FC. Nuremberg is not a big club rasanya, tp kalu pakai kat Bayern ni, sah2 la org tegur, dah la Asian, x ckp german, minat Nuremberg, pelik tu.

Kat Koenigsee hari tu, ada sorg pakcik tu tegur, alm x perasan, pakcik tu siap tarik tangan dia sambil dok tunjuk2 kat t-shirt dia, big deal tu! Tu ok lg, on the train today, mamat mabuk pon tertarik gak! Takotnya aku. Dahla ckp x clear, mabuk kan, pastu tak stop2 nak alm layan dia membebel. Nasib ada sorg mamat yg tgh dok baca buku ni tension sbb dia bising, pastu mamat bookworm tu marah dia.

Takot aku kot dia ngamok ke apa. Tp germans ni mabok pon ok lg, dia ngomel2 kat mamat bookworm tu and turned his attention to alm, and i caught him saying something like, "Ahhhhh, Nuremberg is number 1, my friend!". Nasib fan gak kalu fan club lain kang, tak ke naya?

Anyway, lepas g Nuremberg, we decided to go Füssen to see the famed Neuschwanstein castle that inspired the Sleeping Beauty castle of Walt Disney. Jauhnya tak terhingga. Tapi mmg besar dan cantek, sampai nak bankrap Bavaria layan kerenah King Ludwig yg nak bina benda2 pelik camni. But visionaries mmg camtu kekadang. Time hidup, org kutuk, lama lepas tu, baru org nmpak hasil visionsnya.

Neuschwanstein mmg no 1 attraction la kat germany, time naik train balik, coach kami full of foreigners, germans sekor pon tarak. Asians ramaiiiiiii! koreans, japanese, indonesians, 2 ekor malaysian, mexicans (or maybe spanish), americans toksah cite aaa, dia ckp je, satu train bole dgr, tu tak dgr dia lg.

the castle taken from the not-so-nice angle. Nampak part yg diorg tgk sibuk nak restore.

So kononnya, nak panjat bukit to get a nicer view. Tapi dah tua2 ni, cam takot2 lak, dah dgn lapar lg, panjat halfway je, then patah balik, tapi ambik je la gmbar hutan, bukti usaha tu penting.

So we decided, g je la Neuschwanstein trus. Dah nak lewat dah pon, takot x dpt kejar train balik. Tak dpt view menarik pon x pe la, naik turun bukit bertar pon dah cukup penat.

Mmg majestic ler.

Seeing this, I could almost imagine seeing jesters entertaining the court some 200 years ago.

From here, u can hear a river flowing fast down in the gorges below, tenang rasanya.

Yang kuning tu is the much smaller Hohenschwangau castle. Tp dalamannya lg cantek sbb this was where Ludwig II spent his childhood, hence, it's older than Neuschwanstein.

Hari nak ujan ler, mendung je

Dekat public WC ada tasik cantik, so amik la gmbar b4 balik erlangen

Friday, June 26, 2009

Muenchen... yet again

I know, I've been to the BMW show room before, but this time, I followed the plant tour. The tour took around 2 hours, and we had to walk for around 2-3km around the plant, looking at various stages of the production line.

I forgot what I saw. Plus, not being a big fan of cars, tah pape je la diorg tunjuk ni. But I remember seeing the different types of engines of different horse powers. Guide dia is a senior engineer kot, has access to everywhere, knows everything about the car production, lawak lak tu. Dia cerita la, when they were to come out with a new more powerful engine, the practical Germans would ask, "What for?", but the Americans would go, "So when can I order it?" Tu la nak cerita the difference that probably drove the American economy down the drain skarang ni, blanja sesuka hati, nak enjoy jerrrr. Tp tht's good for BMW ler, sbb tu diorg smpai bukak factory kat US, sbb market diorg sana besar gler, cume certain model je still buat kat HQ dia kat Munich ni.

Teringin la tu...

he died...

he

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Herzogenaurach

for those who are not in the know, Herzogenaurach is the home of adidas and puma. They were founded decades ago by 2 brothers, adolf n rudolf dassler. Originally, they both worked for the family shoemaking business. But there were some disagreements, and Rudolf decided to leave the company, crossed the Aurach river, and started his own company.

Adolf renamed the company to his name, Adi and added 'das' to Adidas, and Rudolf aka Ruda named his Puma, and for several decades following the events, the people of Herzogenaurach were also divided into groups that suported Adi and Ruda so much so that each side of the river had their butcher, baker etc. The relationships between the descendants of the two weren't too great either. When the grandson of Rudolf decided to leave and work for Adidas some 10 years ago, it caused a bit of a storm. But things are probably much better now. I was there last week, and nobody really cared if u supported puma or Adidas. To them, they are just 2 great international sports brand.

Anyway, we were there twice.The first time, we only went to adidas, i didnt buy much, but alm bought quite a lot. he said, the things there, while they may not be very cheap, (some were, but not all), they are not easy to find in asia, plus the quality's so much better.

The second time we went to Herzo was just 2 days later. This time, we went to puma, but the selections werent too great, so we walked for almost 2km across the field to adidas (again, cam tak puas-puas je), and this time, i got myself a shirt n a pair of sneakers.


the puma outlet, a new one is under construction nearby

crossing the field to go adidas

finally there

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Euro Trip 2 - Ulm (21 June)

After 20 hours of being on the bus and surviving a multitude of problems including perut berangin and bontot berdarah, akhirnya we made it to Ulm. Why Ulm, no reason really, it's just tht from Ulm, we could get the longest ride on ICE (fast train) at the lowest price.

Tapi dah smpai tu, pusing2 la amik angin. Ulm ni actually the birthplace of Einstein... tu je la yg aku tau.

Lama2 tgk bgn camni, lama2 dah tak rasa cantek dah.

Hmmmm... where did i see this astronomical clock before? Aha! Either the designer didnt really die or he did die, hence, he couldnt sue the plagiarizer.

We know there's a river somewhere, so lalu la kawasan rumah org yg sunyi sepi and all u could hear was a sound of someone playing the piano...

Walk thru that little tunnel in the previous pic, and u get a glorious field. My guess is the wall used to surround a town and perhaps a castle much like those u get in robin hood movies

Pigeons and ducks everywhere

Pusing2, sampai pon ICE, boleh balik erlangen.

Muka org excited nak naik train laju. Perhaps it's a guy thing kot ye? My fren's 4-yr-old kid pon suka main Thomas and Friends.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Euro Trip 2 - Kraków (18 - 21 June)

So we arrived late at nite, sesat lak tu. Last2 I approached this one man at the gas station, and he offered a ride to the guest house. Desperate, aku on je. Said that he had to drive (his boss kot, mamat gumok yg dok sebelah dia, cam mafia pon ada gak) for about 20 mins or so before he could take us to the guest house, tp alih2 he drove straight to the place. Terharu n thankful for his kindness n bersyukur sbb tak diapa-apakan.

Anyway, pagi tu, keluar2 je dah hujan, with nothing to do, dah sejuk lakt u, terus je g minum kopi at the center square. First impression, mmg tak selawa Prague, cam bosan pon ye gak, budak sekolah in uniforms bersepah kat city center tu, despite the rain. Pastu sini memang nampak la the difference between the rich the poor country, in fact, u can feel it the minute u step into Poland. (miskin2 pon mahal skit dari malaysia, but the rate is almost the same as RM). Being under communism for a long time mmg puts it in a backseat in its effort in trying to catch up with the rest of the European countries. Rata2 nampak makcik2 jual roti gelang RM1. Beggars pon ramai, trus teringat Little Matchbox Girl by Hans Christian Andersen. Walopon dah 21st century, mmg ada feel cam dlm story tu, cite kat alm, dia tak penah dgr pon cite tu, ceh. Kat sini, the youth pon nampak kurang bergaya. Retails stores pon cam tak byk.

Anyway, city square dia tu ala2 Prague gak la, ada some old buildings, mostly cam still under construction je. Kat dataran tu, hari2 ada cam org buat flea market. Tapi kalu dah hari2 tu, tau2 je la barang2 yg jual tu ala2 tak laku yg mmg org tak teringin nak beli kan, dan mmg kami x beli pong.

City square dia pon mmg kecik, pusing2 skit dah tatau mana nak g. Pastu ada la org2 yg pakai pelik2, as we walked past these ppl, dia cam tarik kita, pastu mintak tips, hampeh.

tapi mamat ni tak mintak tips, sbb time dia cam jalan nak beli roti, i saw him and i thot he was dressed like tht for some special event ke apa, so aku mintak la amik gmbar skali, he obliged, tp cam muka malas je, then terus dia blah. pastu nampak dia g kat mangkuk dia, oooooooh, rupanya aku approach time dia off duty, patut la muka cam malas je td tu.

But this one mmg tarik time kami jalan kat sebelah dia, pastu x dpt lari, so bg la 20 sen.


bgn dia kurang skit seni architecturenya, tp bole la...

But if u walk further away from the square, ada satu castle overlooking a river yg agak lawa.

ni gmbr kt castle tu, tak ambil full kekonon gmbar artsy2 gitu aaaa

Thank God i brought an umbrella, it was probably one of the most useful things i had with me the whole of those 8 days, mana taknya, every day kat Poland hujan.

One of the highlights was probably the visit to the Salt Mine. The mine is now a UNESCO heritage site. The salt there used to be exported to the other EU countries, ni sejak berabad2 dulu punya cerita, now it's closed but the top 3 levels yg dalamnya dah around 150 meter (tu baru 3 levels. ada 9 levels altogether, ok?) are open to public. Lenguh gak ler turun tangga punya dalam, jalan 2-3 km gak ler ikot tour tu.

Mine tu mmg cam labyrith (mmg tmpt ni la inspiration utk the filmmaker cite 80s the Labyrinth), ada tasik garam. Gelap, tp laluan kami ada la lampu skit2. Sejuk lak tu dlm tanah tu. The tour was very informational, syok dgr history dia, masalahnya aku dah lupa, otak RAM camni mmg tak lama retain info.

putih2 tu salt. ada gak yg garam stalactite gantung kt dinding

jalan2 skali smpai cam hall. miners dulu2 ada yg tinggal underground, yg tak naik terus pon ada gak (mati la tu jawabnya). So diorg mmg buat cam ada underground town lak kat bawah ni. ada hall, ada church, tmpat tidur tu mmg ada la.

chandelier ni buat dari kayu n salt crystal. sbb besi reacts (negatively) with natrium, tp salt preserves wood, tu la psl guna kayu je trus.

ni view from the floor up

Pastu at the end, penat, g la mkn jap.

Cream cake ni nama dia KREMOWKA, favorite Pope John Paul II. Sedap aaa, creamy, layer yg sandwich the cream tu cam crispy2, and tak manis sgt, tp mkn byk2 muak.

Pastu, the last nite there ada a big cultural event called Wianki. It falls on the 20th of June, supposedly when the nite is the longest and the day is the shortest (tp realitynya musim2 ni tak la se-exact tu pun). Asalnya, it's a pagan celebration, tp skarang Poland kan dah negara Christian, so event ni jd event suka2 je.

So ada la concert besar2an, kami pon g la join nak tgk2 org sini enjoy2 camne. Ada Lenny Kravitz yg seksi main. Tp manusianya... mmg selaut manusia la, dah la stage tu was located across the river (ada la cerita di sebalik kepentingan river tu, hence, the main celebration had tu be there), so dah la manusia ramai, stage jauh lak tu, mmg dgr je la kravitz, skali-skala nmpak the big screen. Nak buat camne, dah la ramai org, tinggi2 lak tu.

bodoh tak stage dia? ni zoom abih power dah ni.

nyebok je diorg ni. time aku posing with the thousands of ppl in the bground, tetiba, dtg hantu2 lilin yg made their presence known, siap suruh alm on flash lg, dah tak nmpak ribuan manusia kat blakang tu.

kalu dok kat castle kat atas tu, mesti dpt tgk lenny dgn puas hatinya, janji bwk teropong la

last event, ada pyro show, not bad aaa sbb ada music, tp hampeh, tak punctual pukul 12. ingatkan dah cancel, alih2 12 suku camtu baru start, ada technical glitch kot

Anyway, personally, i feel Krakow tak la best sgt, too grey for my taste, tak colorful sgt, tp mungkin sbb ujan kot, so xleh jalan2 sgt. Pastu culturally pon, tak rasa cam rich sgt. Pastu, for those yg nak rasa cosmopolitan skit, better g warsaw kot. Makanan halal lak toksah cite aaa, mmg tarak langsung. We basically cooked for dinner the whole time we were there, but tht's not really a big issue, at least not for me.

Pastu kan, last day, before taking the bus back to Germany, lepak jap kat this one big shopping mall close to the train station, but far from the city center. Haaaaaaaaaa, situ baru nampak golongan yg middle to high class. Baru la nampak those retail shops yg offer sale sana sini. Baru la tak nampak miskin sgt pon polish ni, ceh, all these while city center tu rupa2nya helah semata2, kalu dah kat Europe tu mmg sure tempias gak la angin2 EU tu ...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Euro Trip 2 - Prague (16 - 18 June)

we arrived in prague pretty late at nite, so late that we met the reception guy when he was locking the door, nasib sempat tahan. the room itself was pretty shabby and not cheap, but at least, it's next to the bathroom. But the ppl at the reception were great, so i got very little complaint.

anyway, first thing we did was to go out and check out the city. my first impression? it' like a poor man's Amsterdam. I mean, it was late, but there were still lots of (pretty women n ugly fat men) people (and of course, tourists like us) around. being used to the way things are in Germany, that felt kinda odd.

some gothic structure

the museum

make a 180 degree turn from the museum, and u get this view of the modern part of prague

the main city square during the day

the historical astromical clock. it was said that the authorities liked it so much thatthe designer/builder of the clock was killed after he completed it so that he wouldnt be able to design another one elsewhere.

apa darling cabaret tu? dunno, alm was excited to take a pic of it, i decided to do the same

beggars everywhere, even in prague

But that was how that first nite. The longer I was there, I actually kinda liked it. Of course, there were sooooooooo many people, heck, i bet there were more tourists than locals (but then again, it's summer), even saw 5/6 faces that were probably malaysians. but despite the crowd, it's a really beautiful n colorful city with a long history that the locals are very proud of. So proud that there are groups offering free tours - no kidding. I enjoyed the tour, the guide was funny, really good in playing with words, talked really fast with a strong american accent too. alm didnt really enjoy it, in fact he didnt even wanna do it, he thot that 2 1/2 hours was a waste of time. I thot tht was a good deal, I mean, u get to learn about the city and its rich history for 2 1/2 hours for free!!! tarak nak dpt la kat tmpt lain, and even if u could get it, yr guide is probably not as good as this one.

we switched from one group to another several times, and decided to stick with this guy 'cos he's the best we found that day

So why do I like Prague? it has beautiful, gothic-style historical buildings and castles all in the city itself (it even claims to have the oldest ancient castle in the world). then, u turn the other way, and u'd find the modern cosmoplitan city with summer sales everywhere.

As for halal food, we didnt find any on the first 2 days there, so we had vegetarian food, which i think wasnt too bad. u know, those meat like-soy thingy, yeah, i like them a lot, so tht was fine with me. But on the third day, with the advice from the hostel reception, we found this indian/pakistani restaurant and had an amazing tandoori briyani, puasnya makan. portion gedabak, so we shared a plate, tapau the other. And right before we left, the man at the cashier tanya, 'r u guys from malaysia?'. wah terenya teka, so i asked, 'how did u know?' to which he replied, 'i know', ceh, berlagaknya...hehehehe

vege food

halal food

anyway, just a reminder, when u're in prague (unless u live there) take a map with u everywhere u go. the city is like a labyrinth, we got lost countless times it was not even funny.

the famous dancing building. took a pic of it before we left for krakow