I finally start to write a “real” travel blog post, and it will be about the first time I ever step on the land of Europe!
I firstly entered Europe through Brussels, Belgium. It’s like more than 10,000 km from where I live! (it’s 11,429 km to be precise) it’s literally on the other side of the earth. It took me 16 hours of flight in total (I flew with Emirates, 8 hours from Jakarta to Dubai, then another 8 hours from Dubai to Brussels). Before this journey, my farthest flight was to Tokyo which took around 7 hours. So,yeah, I was pretty damn excited to fly to Europe! (hell yeah I was frickin’ excited!! who wouldn’t?! hahaha)
My main purpose to go to Europe was to attend my close friend’s wedding who married a Dutch guy. My friend is one of the kindest person I’ve known in my life, for me she was always there for me as a friend, as a sister, and even sometimes as a mother to me. I ‘m so happy to see how she is now with her family there in Netherlands, she deserves all the happiness she lives in now.
So, there I was, planning on going to Netherlands to attend her wedding. Firstly I didn’t really plan on going around the continent, but then she kinda whacked me in the head, “Ayu..? You’ll be in Europe and you’ll just gonna spend a few days in Netherlands? Are you kidding? You can go to Paris from here in the same amount of time you usually go to Jogja! (even less than that!) And you can go to other cool cities & countries around Europe!” so there I was, changing mode from “family visit” plan (actually, I don’t need any plan at all for this, just visa + flight and done) to “ultimate solo journey” plan mode (now this.. is a real detailed & long planning, because who wouldn’t want to make the most of every dime I spend on the entire journey?)
From a 4 days plan to visit, I extended it to 21 days, and I plan to visit Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, & Germany. Ambitious much? Hahaha well, yeah I guess I was pretty ambitious with the plan of how many cities & places I want to visit on those countries I’ve mentioned earlier. Plus, later on my mother also begged so she can came along,haha. So, yeah, I toned down the ambitious plan to a “mother-friendly trip” plan, lol. I decided that first we’ll visit my friend until the day of the wedding, then after the wedding we’ll start the trip around.
I book a round trip flight with Emirates for 2 persons, Jakarta – Brussels departing on June 10 2015, & return on July 2 2015, it costs me 1,484 USD. It was an economic promo flight, it was cheaper than usual, but the extra cost was to wait in transit in Dubai for 8 hours (yep, a looooong nap waiting for the next flight).
But Hey, I have no complains, Emirates surely is one of the best airlines in the world, the stewardesses are extremely friendly & polite, the service was amazing, all the foods were delicious, I didn’t feel it was an economic flight at all, any drinks you’d want they’ll provide if for free (as for me, I asked for some whiskey & coke, which made my Mom gazed me with anger & disgust for a second, hahaha). I also remember my mom “fell in love” with one of the stewardess because she is very very very beautiful (a miss universe type of beautiful, & I totally agreed with her), and asked me to ask her (my Mom can’t speak English at all) if she can take photo together with her, and she was all blushed and happy and tried to talk back with my mom, but since my mom doesn’t understand, so I become her interpreter (which is exactly what I am to her during the whole trip in Europe, lol). The stewardess name was Imanuella, she talked a little about how usually people will like other stewardess more than her, then I asked her “which one?” then she pointed out one of her colleague there who was handling other passenger, then I exchange look with my mom and we both agreed and shook our heads “Naaah.. you’re a lot more beautiful than her” and she was so happy seeing our reactions.
Then we took several photos together, and she lend me her iconic Emirates hat to me & mom to wear for the photo, my Mom was too shy to wear it so she said I should wear it. Those laughs & blushes between my Mom & Imanuella, for me it has become a sweet “opening moments” for the entire trip.
My friend and her husband lives in Zundert, which is near the southern border of Netherlands & Belgium, so I decided we better enter the continent through Brussels airport than Amsterdam, because it is much nearer from Brussels (plus the price of the flight is cheaper to Brussels than to Amsterdam, lol). It took around 40 minutes of driving from Brussels to Zundert, while if from Amsterdam it will took around 2 hours of driving. We landed in Brussels around 8 PM, but since it was summer, the sun was still shining bright. For me & my Mom who never really experienced any summer or winter before, we were super confused, “why the heck is it still daylight here while it should be already dark now??” Apparently, in northern Europe, the dusk is at around 10:45 PM in the summer, and around 4:30 PM in the winter. Both of mine & my mom’s mind & body were so confused. We usually eat dinner around 8 PM because we will be hungry by then, and now there I was, 8.30 PM in the airport, a bit hungry for dinner, but it’s not even “night” (yet?!) For people who always lived in tropical atmosphere, experiencing what we had on those first 2-3 days in Europe really is unforgettable. Silly, but unforgettable.
When the plane finally touchdown the tarmac and made the screeching sounds, I can feel the joy filled me up immensely that I dropped a tear out of my eye out of happiness. This similar feeling I also experienced when I first arrived in Tokyo in 2007 (here’s some of those memories if you’d like to know https://ayoeravenclaw.wordpress.com/category/tokyo-nov07/ ).
My friend and her father-in-law picked us up at Brussels international airport, after a long 24 hours of journey (16 hours of flight + 8 hours of transit), at that moment we only think of getting a shower and relax. But turned out that my friend and her father-in-law already have a surprise for me, they took us to a spot where it’s the border between Zundert (Netherlands) & Antwerp (Belgium). I asked her, “Umm.. what is this..?”, she answered me “Do you remember, that one of your wishes in life is that you’ll be able to be in 2 different places at the same time?”, then I responded slowly and almost excitedly “Yes….. wait a minute, is this… the border?”, her father-in-law answered “Yes, Ayu, this pole right here is the mark that this is the border between Belgium & Netherlands”. The next thing I know is that I just screamed excitedly and hug my friend real tight and thank her for that, it’s one of the silly wishes I have in my life but she have made it came true!
So there I was, spreading my leg beside the pole, putting my left leg on Netherlands & my right leg on Belgium at the same time! Aaaaaaah… (pardon my screams but yeah, I just can’t help it, if I’m happy I can’t just have a smile about it, I’ll jump and scream and laugh about it 😀 )
What a first day! (^0^)/
Until next post about the next day of the trip! ;D
You love traveling? I’d like to hear your reasons why, on this next polling 😉 :