Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Last Double Birthdays

May is the month when two of my close friends were born. Wanji's birthday is on 10th by Fyruz on 12th. Only two days apart. As usual, we had our own celebrations. Their birthdays were actually happened to be on our busiest week of all. Final exams. But we still managed to surprise both on them with cakes on midnight like usual.

Surprise Wanji

Surprise Fyruz

The actual proper birthday party for them was organized on the 17th where we all had finished our exams. The girls took the tender to cook the main dishes which were suggested by me and Cipak. We were cooking corn rice and ayam merah with some veggies. I, like I would normally did, was in charged of cakes. In addition, I made several fruits chocolate tart which I learned from a cooking blog. The cakes for that day were a chocolate cake and Oreo cheesecake. Other dishes included curry puffs and sardine rolls. Looked like we had an extra guest today which was Kak Pah' sistah, Kak Leyha.

We spent most of our times eating and chitchatting as this might our last time celebrating birthday together. We got only two months left in UK, and each minute is very precious to us.

Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Wanji & Kak Long. Semoga panjang umur, dimurahkan rezeki dan berjaya di dunia & akhirat. Semoga ukhuwah kita berkekalan hingga ke anak cucu. =)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Easter Trip Day 5 - Mini-Europe, Brussels

We checked out from the hostel early in the morning and asked the receptionist about the direction to Mini-Europe. At first we want to take taxi, but later she helped us finding a bus route. Thus, we got to save up some cash. However, we had to wait for her quite a long time until we had to delayed our departure. We took the bus at the main road which we had to walk for several minutes to reach there. There's a group ticket, therefore it's much cheaper.

We arrived at Mini-Europe at around 10 am which was I thought very late. It opened at 9 am, therefore we had one hour delay. The girls were already there taking photos. The entrance fee is €13,80 per person. There are several other attractions here such as Atomium and Oceade (this park is collectively known as Bruparck!) but we only went to Mini-Europe because we had time constraint. Plus, we all carried our big backpacks thus it's more tiring walking in this condition. Sakit bahu tau. At the entrance, there a big orange turtle mascot who was eager to take photo with us. Saje nak charge kitorang ehhh..

Mini-Europe is a park which exhibit a collection of miniatures from all over Europe. The models were made in detail to resemble the original buildings. These masterpieces are a must see attraction. Some notable miniatures are Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Royal Palais, Colloseum, Pisa Leaning Tower and Windmill. Some models are functioning such as the trains, flights and windmills. They all can move. This park is very fascinating for me. So much hard work had been place in creating this models and a lot money had been spent on them. 

We spend about 3 hours here. The park looks small, but actually you will take a lot of times admiring each and every one of the miniature. We had a quick bite at the cafe. I bought a plate of french fries.

Then, we're off to find a bus back to city. It's very difficult to find a bus here since we didn't know which bus to take. There's a sister who was willing to help us to call the cabs. Four cabs to be precise. So, we left the place group by group. Our destination was Gare du Midi where we would take the bus to Charleroi Airport there. Our flight to Manchester departed at 7 pm.

At Manchester, some of us stayed at Kak Meah's house (Kak Pah's sister). That night, we had our dinner at Al-Jazeera Restaurant. This restaurant is located at Rusholme. One platce of rice with half chicken for each of us. Melantak ke tidak? Hahaha.. It's quite cheap though. Thanks Kak Pah who belanja us milkshakes. It was very creamy and delicious. I orders a few flavours such as Ferrero Rocher, Bubblegum, Mint Choc, Honeycomb and Cookies 'n Cream to shared together. Some of the girls went back to Glasgow that night.

We left Manchester in the next morning. We took Megabus from Shudehill Interchange to Glasgow Buchanan Bus Station. I miss Glasgow so much.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Easter Trip Day 4 - Bruxelles, Belgium

Assalamualaikum wbt..

Finally, I've finished writing about Amsterdam. So now we move on to Brussels which is located at the neighbourhood country.

We checked out out hotel at 7 am and then caught a tram to Amstel Station where we were going to take our Eurolines bus to Brussels. Luckily the tram started early in the morning. Our buses were at 8.30 am and 9 am. We had to book separately to get cheaper tickets. We bought the ticket just for €8. The journey from Amsterdam to Brussels consumed 4 hours. The bus stopped at Brussels Noord Station.

Since we arrived first, we waited inside the station for the rest to reach here. We we so unlucky this time because the worker informed us about the transport strike that occured today. That meant we had no public transport access such as trams and buses. However, there was a limited bus services provided. When the others had arrived, we walked to the city to find our hostels. Boys and girls stayed at different hostels due to unavailability, which are located 2 km apart. 2 km is really a long distance! We had to walk half an hour from the girl hostel to our hostel. The girls were staying at 2GO4 Quality Hostel, while we stayed at Brussels Hello Hostel.

Brussels Hello Hostel
Rue de l'Armistice 1, Brussels, Belgium

2GO4 Quality Hostel
Boulevard Emile Jacqmain-Laan 99, Brussels, Belgium 1000

I would like to suggest that it's better if you stay at 2GO4 Quality Hostel as it is located in the middle of city. Therefore, it will be easier to walk around compared to Brussels Hello Hostel. However, Brussels Hello Hostel is located just beside Simonis metro station.

Our first activity here was city tour. After settling ourselves in the hostels, we went out again to the city centre to visit some famous attractions. We had to do everything by walking since the metro didn't operate today. We walked straight to Palais Royal which one of the significant landmarks in Brussels. It's square surrounded by royal builidings and souvenir shops. We did shop for some souvenirs here. The Hard Rock Cafe Brussels was not opened yet. It's expected to open in summer. Rugi sangat..

We had our lunch at Sultans of Kebap. There are loads of halal food restaurants here, so no worries if you are looking for some. The population of Muslims here is quite high as well. Most of us tried the Chicken Sultan Special which cost €6 each. This kebab was definitely yummy and the sauces made it special. We had to asked for extra sauce though. Very typical Malaysian. We love sauce so much!

Next, we walked further to Manneken Pis statue. Manneken pis is a statue of a boy which pee into the fountain. It's very famous in Brussels. Even the Belgian chocolates are shaped into this statue. This time, the statue was dressed as a vampire. We also took the chance to enter some chocolate shops as well as souvenir shops. I bought several fridge magnets, a snowglobe, a miniature, postcards and key chains.

And then we walked, walked and walked again to the edge of the city and took photos with more buildings and gardens. There are several interesting buildings here such as Parliament building, museums and the rail stations.

We also hunted for the Belgian waffle. Since it's nearly getting dark, we headed back to the city and found a waffle shop. Most of us shared the waffle since it's quite tedious to eat with the melting chocolate whatnot. I shared mine with Fariz and we tried the waffle with whipped cream and caramel sauce. It was veryyyyy delicious. No wonder waffle has become one of the attractions in Brussels. Some of us also bought Belgian chocolates.

After done with the tour and shopping, we all headed back to our hostel.

For tomorrow's agenda, we were going to Mini-Europe which is located a bit further from the city centre.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Easter Trip Day 3 - Keukenhof Garden

Our main activity for today was tulip sighting at the famous Keukenhof garden which is located miles away from Amsterdam city centre. This tulip garden is located at Lisse. Early in the morning, we took the bus to Schiphol Airport (bus no. 197). The journey took about 30 minutes. From the airport, we took another bus to Keukenhof which was also took 30 minutes. We bought Keukenhof tickets through online and it costs €21 for entrance and bus from airport. The bus from city centre to airport cost €13.80 (for 2 person, return). So the total cost from the city centre to Keukenhof is €27.90 per person.

Keukenhof only opens in spring from April to May so this was the best time to visit it. We reached Keukenhof at 9 am and there was already a long queue at the main entrance. Many tourists came in groups because I could see a lot of buses parked there. So, as soon as we got off the bus, we lined up. Once inside the garden, we all walked separately in small groups. So I walked with Bella most of the time. Plenty of tulips were planted here. I really mean A LOT! They came in pink, purple, red, white, off-white, yellow and they got their own unique names. Not only focussed on tulips, the garden also includes several species of flowers as well.

Besides flowers, there is an animal area where they were left to roam freely in a fenced small field. There were rabbits, pigs and goats. More than one species of rabbit were kept here. Towards the back of the garden, there is one big windmill where we could enter freely without fee. From above, we could see tulip field where the workers planted a lot of tulips before they were transferred into the gardens.


We moved to the next area where we entered an orchid glasshouse. This place was full of different species of orchids and several fashion dresses were exhibited here. We dropped by a souvenir shop here to buy some fridge magnets. Fridge magnets were sold at a normal price range between €2.50-3.00 each.

Then, we entered the tulip house. Inside this building, more tulips were exhibited here. More colours and species could be observed. There is also a cafe here just in case you need to take a coffee break. Walking in this huge garden is surely very tiring. In fact, I already felt extremely sleepy when I'm inside this building. My eyes couldn't bear anymore. (-.-)


At noon, we all gathered back at the entrance to take our bus back to the city. We had our lunch at Crystal Restaurant where the price is very bling bling. It's quite expensive but I think it's worthy since the food portion is quite large. I ordered lamb ribs where it was served with chips and veggies. 

Right after finishing our meal, Wanji & co headed to Ajax Stadium while I tagged along with Anis, Cipak and Bella to Dam Square. They said there is a lot of cheap souvenir shops here and I found out that it's quite true. Madame Tussaud also could be found here. If your got extra money and time, feels free to enter this wax museum. I bought one t-shirt and a lot of fridge magnets here. €5 for a t-shirt and magnets could be sold at €5 for 3 pieces. Quite a bargain. =)

After satisfying our souvenir hunting needs, we went back to out hotel. We had to pack our stuffs because tomorrow we were going to leave Amsterdam for Brussels which is located in Belgium.
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