#1550 – 2015 Spring Trip (Part III: Tokyo (3))


Previous post on the 2015 Spring Trip to Japan series:
1. Getting to Japan
2. Part I: Tokyo (1)
3. Part II: Tokyo (2)

Previously on 2015 Spring Trip: Zilko went to Japan for a conference where he would later extend his stay in Japan for a trip after the conference where he would meet his parents and brother. He stayed in Tokyo for twelve days and this post is the third and final one of the Tokyo part of the trip.


Mount Fuji

Probably one ofย the most famous mountains in the entire planet, Mount Fuji was definitely in our itinerary to visit. To get there, we decided to just book a local tour so we did not have to arrange anything ourselves. We chose the Mount Fuji and Hakone one day tour with a Shinkansen (bullet train) ticket to go back to Tokyo (if we did not want the Shinkansen ticket, there was a cheaper tour for around โ‚ฌ30 cheaper. But heck we were in Japan so obviously we needed to try the famous Shinkansen as well! ๐Ÿ˜€ )

Our tour departed at 9 AM from Hamamatsucho Bus Terminal. We arrived there a little bit early, at around 8:15 AM, and it turned out to be a blessing to us because at that time the queue for the tour was still tame. A few minutes later, the bus terminal was flocked with people going on tours (the tour agency organized a few different tour packages everyday, and it was Sunday) so the queue becameย crazy.ย Anyway, our bus departed a little bit late at around 9:15 AM. Our tour guide today was Katsu, whose name reminded me of “chicken katsu” or “beef katsu”, haha ๐Ÿ˜ณ .

Our first destination today was Mount Fuji Visitor Centre which was around 2 hours drive from Tokyo. On the way, Katsu gave a nice lecture on general information about Japan, like the size, the number of population, the season, etc; on the Japanese language, like the reason for the existence of the hiragana, katakana, and kanji characters; and on the geological history of Mount Fuji. I was probably one of the few people on the bus who actually listened to him, haha ๐Ÿ˜† . But honestly, it was a good lecture actually!

Katsu giving a lecture on the Japanese geography

Katsu giving a lecture on the Japanese geography

Anyway at 11 AM we arrived at the Mount Fuji Visitor Centre where apparently our sole purpose there was a toilet break, haha ๐Ÿ˜† . We had 20 minutes and thanks God I was a guy so there was no queue in the men’s restroom, haha. So I had a few minutes to take picture of the majestic Mount Fuji there; which turned out as a blessing because this turned out to be the last place today where I could get good view of the mountain.


Mount Fuji as seen from the Visitor Center

The weather was not the best today. And by not being the best I mean it was actually snowing quite hard in Mount Fuji. Snowing as in when we were there, the snow was actually falling down! WOW!! It has really been awhile since I experienced that! The past two winters in the Netherlands have been tame so it was quite nice to experience an actual winter weather in Japan! Haha. But because of it, the road to Mount Fuji’s 5th Station was closed so we could only go to the 4th station.

Here is a short vlogging video from Mount Fuji’s 4th Station:

From the 4th station, we went back down to have lunch at a pre-arranged restaurant somewhere in Kawaguchi. The lunch was, unfortunately, extremely horrible. It was basically a bowl of horrible soup with noodles. They made distinction between vegetarian and non-vegetarian but I honestly saw only very little difference between the two options.

I would be lying if I said I enjoyed this meal

I would be lying if I said I enjoyed this meal

From there, we went to Hakone where we were taken to the Hakone Ropeway. Initially, the plan was to go to the Hakone Komagatake Ropeway but due to poor weather, the Komagatake Ropeway was closed today. So they changed the plan and went to the other one instead. Even here, we only had like literally 3 minutes at the top of the Hakone Ropeway at Owakudani where I managed to snap a few shots before having to go back down immediately.

Really bad weather at the Hakone Ropeway

Really bad weather at the Hakone Ropeway today ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Owakudani at the top of the Hakone Ropeway

Owakudani at the top of the Hakone Ropeway

From there, theyย took us to Lake Ashi where we were supposed to take a boat ride. At first I thought the boat would look like this:

A pirate-themed ship

A pirate-themed ship

but then it turned out to be a “normal” catamaran boat:

A catamaran

A catamaran

haha ๐Ÿ˜† .

After the boat trip finished, we were taken by bus to Odawara where we would catch our Shinkansen train back to Tokyo. As if we had not been unlucky enough today, the traffic from Lake Ashi to Odawara was also horrible today with a long traffic jam. Instead of the normal 40 minutes ride to Odawara, it took us 1.5 hours! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ .

The Kodama Shinkansenย 

Long story short, we arrived at Odawara Station and took the Kodama Shinkansen train back to Tokyo. We got the unreserved seat ticket so we got into the unreserved coach where we could sit literally at any empty seat. Luckily I found an empty window seat so I sat there, haha ๐Ÿ˜† .



The Shinkansen ride turned out to be just okay to me, if not a little bit underwhelming. I mean, it was a cool high-speed train indeed but it was not my first time riding a high-speed train. I have tried Thalys a few times, Eurostar, TGV, and Eurostar Italia before and I have to say that this Shinkansen ride was no better than any of the European high speed train. It was okay (but indeed extremely punctual though). Even actually I think the seats in the European high-speed trains are wider than Shinkansen; even though it seems thatย the seat pitch in Shinkansen is longer.

Asakusa and Ueno Park


A giant lantern in the Sensoji Shrine in Asakusa

A giant lantern in the Sensoji Shrine in Asakusa

In Tokyo, we stayed in Asakusa. So naturally our first destination in Tokyo was the famous Sensoji Temple in Asakusa. It was on a Friday so it was full of people! And it was beautiful! In Sensoji, we decided to also enter the garden next to it which was only opened in the spring.ย In Asakusa, we also went to the Kunitsu Sumida Park just by the Sumida River.

Ueno Park

The reason why Springย is the best time to visit Japan is none other than the cherry blossom, or sakura, which blossoming is peaking in, usually, early April and the local celebrates it as the Hanami season. So obviously we know that we must enjoy this given that we are in Japan inย exactly this period! Haha ๐Ÿ˜†

So on the day where we knew the weather would be good, we decided to go to Ueno Park; a park in the heart of Tokyo where many deemed as one of the best place in Tokyo to enjoy the cherry blossom.

And it was, indeed, AMAZING!! I don’t think any word can fully describe the awesomeness of the cherry blossom season in Japan, especially the Ueno Park! It was just very stunning!!

The Food

Another superb restaurant which we visited during our trip to Tokyo was the Mutekiya ramen. For this, I must say my biggest thank you to Jendluvu who posted aย story about her visit thereย which inspired me to pay a visitย as well, haha ๐Ÿ˜† .

The ramen restaurant was in Ikebukuro and was not that far away from the JR Ikebukuro station. It was not that difficult to find the restaurant; but probably to add a bit of more detail to what Jen described in her post on how to get there, it was indeed just across the Junkudo building and was exactly in the corner of the main intersection with traffic lights.

Mutekiya Ramen was just accross this building

Mutekiya Ramen was just accross this building

We knew it was a super famous restaurant so we decided to come early for an early dinner at 4:30 PM, hoping to find no queue. But when we arrived at 4:30 PM, it was already like this:

The queue for Mutekiya Ramen at 4:30 PM

The queue for Mutekiya Ramen at 4:30 PM

Dang! Haha ๐Ÿ˜† .

What I immediately liked about this restaurant was its efficiency. The queueing time was actually quite productive where they asked us to place our order while we were queuing. Therefore, inside we would just sit and not long after our orders would be served right away! Great job!

We ordered while queuing

We ordered while queuing

And how was the ramen? Well:


From the scale of 0 to 10, I score it 11! Seriously! It was just SOO GOOD!! Everything about it was just so perfect. The noodles. The broth. The vegetables. The pork slices. Everything! We ordered three different kind of ramen dish, and all of them were so good. Seriously!

Three extremely delicious ramen at Mutekiya

Three extremely delicious ramen at Mutekiya

If you ever come to Tokyo, this small ramen shop is A MUST to visit! Heck if I am back in Tokyo in the future, for sure I will pay a visit again!


Next on 2015 Spring Trip:
– Hakodate
– Sapporo
– Otaru
– Kyoto
– Osaka


Posting-posting sebelumnya dalam seri 2015 Spring Trip ke Jepang:
1. Getting to Japan
2. Part I: Tokyo (1)
3. Part II: Tokyo (2)

Sebelumnya dalam 2015 Spring Trip: Zilko pergi ke Jepangย untuk sebuah konferensi dimana nantinya ia akan memperpanjang masa tinggalnya di Jepang setelah konferensi berakhir dimana ia akan bertemu dengan orangtua dan adiknya. Ia tinggal di Tokyo selama dua belas hariย dan posting ini adalah posting ketiga dan terakhir dari bagian Tokyo dari perjalanan ini.


Gunungย Fuji

Salah satu dari gunung paling terkenal di dunia, Gunung Fuji, jelas berada di dalam itinerary kami di perjalanan ini. Untuk kesana, kami memutuskan untuk menggunakan jasa tur lokal sehingga kami tidak perlu repot-repot mengurus segalanya sendiri. Kami memilih paket tur satu hari Gunung Fuji dan Hakone dengan tiket kereta Shinkansen (kereta peluru) untuk kembali ke Tokyo (kalau kami tidak mau tiket Shinkansennya, ada tur yang harganya sekitarย โ‚ฌ30 (sekitar Rp 450.000) lebih murah. Tetapi berhubung kami sudah berada di Jepang jadi kami harus nyobain yang namanya Shinkansen lah ya! ๐Ÿ˜€ )

Tur kami berangkat jam 9 pagi dari Terminal Bus Hamamatsucho. Kami tiba disana agak terlalu awal, sekitar jam 8:15 pagi, yang mana ternyata malah menjadi berkat bagi kami karena jam segitu antrian di turnya masih oke. Beberapa menit kemudian, terminalnya penuh oleh orang-orang yang ingin ikutan tur-turnya (agen turnya menyediakan beberapa paket yang berbeda setiap hari, dan hari itu adalah hari Minggu) jadi antriannya menggila dah. Akhirnya, bus kami berangkat agak terlambat, jam 9:15 pagi. Oh iya, pemandu tur kami hari ini adalah Katsu, yang mana namanya kok mengingatkanku akan “chicken katsu” dan “beef katsu” ya? Haha ๐Ÿ˜ณ .

Destinasi pertama kami adalah Pusat Pengunjung Gunung Fuji yang mana lokasinya sekitar dua jam perjalanan dari Tokyo. Di sepanjang perjalanan, Katsu memberikan sebuah kuliah tentang Jepang, seperti ukurannya, jumlah penduduk, musim, dsb; kuliah tentang bahasa Jepang, seperti misalnya alasan terdapatnya aksara hiragana, katakana, dan kanji; dan juga kuliah tentang sejarah geologisnya Gunung Fuji. Aku mungkin adalah satu dari tidak banyak orang di bus yang memperhatikan kuliahnya, haha ๐Ÿ˜† . Eh, tetapi kuliahnya adalah kuliah yang bagus lho!

Katsu giving a lecture on the Japanese geography

Katsu memberikan kuliah tentang geografi Jepang

Jam 11 pagi, kami tiba di Pusat Pengunjung Gunung Fuji yang mana ternyata satu-satunya tujuan kami berhentiย disini adalah istirahat untuk mampir di toiletnya, haha ๐Ÿ˜† . Kami memiliki waktu 20 menit dan untungnya aku laki-laki dimana tidak ada antrian di toilet laki-laki, haha. Jadilah aku memiliki beberapa menit untuk foto-foto Gunung Fuji yang keren banget itu dari sana; yang mana ternyata adalah berkat juga karena ini adalah kali terakhir hari ini aku bisa mendapatkan pemandangan yang bagus tentang gunungnya.


Gunung Fuji seperti yang terlihat dari Pusat Pengunjung

Cuaca hari ini bukanlah yang terbaik. Dan dengan bukan yang terbaik maksudku adalah hari ini bersalju lumayan banyak loh di Gunung Fuji. Bersalju dalam artian ketika kami berada disana, saljunya itu sedang turun! WOW!! Sudah lama juga kan ya semenjak terakhir kali aku mengalaminya! Dua musim dingin terakhir di Belanda habisnya jinak sih jadi sebenarnya asyik juga malah merasakan turunnya salju di Jepang! Haha. Tetapi karena cuaca yang seperti ini, jalan ke Stasiun Kelima Gunung Fuji ditutup sehingga kami hanya bisa mencapai Stasiun Keempat saja.

Berikut ini sebuah video vlogging singkat dari Stasiun Keempat Gunung Fuji (dalam bahasa Inggris):

Dari Stasiun keempat, kami turun untuk makan siang di sebuah restoran yang sudah ditentukan di area Kawaguchi. Makan siangnya, sayangnya, nggak enak banget. Pada dasarnya hanyalah semangkok sup dengan mie. Sebenarnya ada dua pilihan untuk menu vegetarian dan non-vegetarian tetapi menurutku kedua pilihanย ini pada kenyataannya hampir sama.

I would be lying if I said I enjoyed this meal

Aku bohong kalau bilang aku menikmati makanan ini

Dari sana, kami pergi ke Hakone dimana kami dibawa ke Hakone Ropeway. Awalnya, rencananya adalah pergi ke Hakone Komagatake Ropeway. Tetapi akibat cuaca yang kurang baik, Komagatake Ropeway-nya ditutup hari ini. Oleh karenanya rencananya diubah dan kami dibawa ke kereta gantung yang satunya deh. Itu pun kami hanya memiliki waktu 3 menit saja dong di puncaknya Hakone Ropeway itu di Owakudani dimana aku untungnya masih sempat menjepret beberapa foto sebelum harus langsung turun.

Really bad weather at the Hakone Ropeway

Cuaca yang amat buruk di Hakone Ropeway ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Owakudani at the top of the Hakone Ropeway

Owakudani di puncaknya Hakone Ropeway

Darisana kami dibawa ke Danau Ashi dimana kami akan menaiki sebuah kapalnya. Awalnya aku kira kapalnya bakal berbentuk kayak gini:

A pirate-themed ship

Kapal dengan tema bajak laut

tetapi ternyata kapalnya adalah kapal catamaran “biasa”:

A catamaran

Sebuahย catamaran

haha ๐Ÿ˜† .

Setelah perjalanan dengan kapalnya selesai, kami dibawa dengan bus ke Odawara dimana dari sana kami akan menaiki kereta Shinkansen untuk kembali ke Tokyo. Karena kesialan kami masih belum cukup, lalu lintas dari Danau Ashi ke Odawara juga buruk banget hari ini dimana kami terjebak macet panjang. Waktu tempuh yang seharusnya 40 menit saja ke Odawara molor menjadi 1,5 jam! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ .

Shinkansen Kodamaย 

Singkat cerita, tibalah kami di Stasiun Odawara dan kami menaiki kereta Shinkansen Kodama untuk kembali ke Tokyo. Kami mendapatkan tiket tanpa kursi sehingga kami menaiki gerbong unreserved dimana kami bisa duduk di kursi kosong yang mana pun. Untungnya aku menemukan satu kursi jendela yang kosong dan duduklah aku disana, haha ๐Ÿ˜† .



Perjalanan dengan Shinkansen rasanya biasa saja untukku ternyata, kalau tidak mauย dibilang agak di bawah ekspektasi. Maksudku, memang sih ini kereta super cepat yang amat kerenย tetapi ini bukanlah kali pertama aku menaiki kereta super cepat. Aku sudah pernah mencoba Thalysย beberapa kali,ย Eurostar, TGV, danย Eurostar Italia sebelumnya dan harus aku bilang pengalaman dengan Shinkansen ini tidak banyak bedanya dengan pengalaman naik kereta super cepatnya Eropa. Biasa saja gitu (tetapi memang sangat amat tepat waktu sih). Bahkan menurutku kursi di kereta super cepatnya Eropa lebih lebar daripada yang di Shinkansen loh, walaupun sepertinya seat pitch-nya kursi di Shinkansen memang lebih lapang sih.

Asakusa dan Taman Ueno


A giant lantern in the Sensoji Shrine in Asakusa

Lentera raksasas di Kuil Sensoji di Asakusa

Di Tokyo, kami menginap di Asakusa. Jadi jelas tujuan pertama kami di Tokyo adalah Kuil Sensoji yang terkenal itu di Asakusa. Hari itu adalah hari Jumat jadi kuilnya penuh orang! Dan memang indah banget! Mumpung disana, kami juga memasuki taman di sampingnya yang hanya dibuka di musim semi saja. Di Asakusa, kami juga mampir di Taman Kunitsu Sumida di sampingnya Sungai Sumida.

Taman Ueno

Alasan mengapa waktu terbaik untuk mengunjungi Jepang adalah di musim semi adalah bunga sakura yang mekar kembangnya memuncak, biasanya, di awal April dan masyarakat setempat merayakannya dengan nama Hanami. Jadi kami tahu jelas kami harus menikmatinya dong ya karena kami berada di Jepang tepat di musim ini! Haha ๐Ÿ˜†

Jadilah di hari dimana kami tahu cuacanya akan bagus, kami memutuskan untuk mengunjungi Taman Ueno; taman di jantung kota Tokyo yang banyak dibilang orang sebagai tempat terbaik di Tokyo untuk menikmati bunga sakuranya.

Dan ternyata tamannya itu memang KEREN BANGET!! Aku rasa tidak ada kata-kata yang mampu mendeskripsikan keindahannya musim bunga sakura di Jepang deh, terutama Taman Ueno! Benar-benar menakjubkan!!


Satu restoran lagi yang amat enak yang kami kunjungi di Tokyo adalah Ramen Mutekiya. Untuk ini, aku harus berterima-kasih kepada Jendluvuย yang mem-postingย cerita kunjunganya kesanaย yang menginspirasiku untuk mengunjunginya juga, haha ๐Ÿ˜† .

Restoran ramennya berlokasi di Ikebukuro dan tidak jauh dari stasiun JR Ikebukuro. Tidak sulit kok untuk menemukan restorannya; dan mungkin untuk memberikan petunjuk tempatnya dengan lebih detail daripada yang dituliskan Jen di posting-nya: lokasinya di seberangnya gedung Junkudo dan tepat beradaย di pojok perempatan utama dengan lampu merah.

Mutekiya Ramen was just accross this building

Ramen Mutekiya berada di seberang gedung ini

Kami tahu restoran ini amat terkenal sehingga kami memutuskan untuk datang awal saja jam 4:30 sore, berharap tidak ada antrian gitu. Tetapi ketika kami tiba jam 4:30 sore, antriannya sudah kayak gini dong:

The queue for Mutekiya Ramen at 4:30 PM

Antriannya Ramen Mutekiya jam 4:30 sore

Sial! Haha ๐Ÿ˜† .

Yang langsung kusuka dari restoran ini adalah tingkat efisiensinya. Waktu mengantri kami lumayan produktif karena sembari menunggu kami diminta untuk sekalian memesan makanannya. Jadilah ketika sudah di dalam kami tinggal duduk dan tidak lama kemudian pesanan kami langsung disajikan! Idenya bagus ya!

We ordered while queuing

Kami memesan makanannya sembari mengantri

Dan bagaimanakah ramennya? Well:


Dari skala 0 sampai 10, aku beri nilai 11 deh! Beneran! Karena memang ramennya itu ENAAK BANGETT!! Semua elemen dari ramennya sungguh sempurna. Mienya. Kuahnya. Sayurannya. Potongan daging babinya. Semuanya! Kami memesan tiga jenis ramen, dan semuanya enak. Serius!

Three extremely delicious ramen at Mutekiya

Tiga ramen yang terlampau enak di Mutekiya

Jadi kalau akan berkunjung ke Tokyo (dan bisa makan makanan non-halal), ramen ini WAJIB untuk dikunjungi! Kalau aku kembali lagi ke Tokyo nanti kapan-kapan, aku yakin aku pasti akan mampir lagi!


Selanjutnya dalamย 2015 Spring Trip:
– Hakodate
– Sapporo
– Otaru
– Kyoto
– Osaka


#1430 – Hello from Lombok!

So now I am actually still in the middle of the Eastern Indonesia Trip part of my one month Indonesia Trip. Well, not actually at the middle though; but more like the second half already! Man, time flies so fast, haha. Anyway, after staying for five nights on the Sulawesi soil, now I am in the island of Lombok! Haha…

I won’t write the details of this trip yet, obviously. But I can say that FINALLY I am visiting Lombok! This island has been on my list for quite awhile though. But for some reasons I have not made it come true until before this trip! So it feels really nice to finally be here.

Anyway, to sum this short post up, here are a few teasers from the Lombok part of this trip ๐Ÿ˜‰ .




#1309 – Hello from Seoul!

So currently I am in the middle of the South Korean part of my one month Asia trip. I am in Seoul now! I arrived here two days ago and tomorrow I am off to Jeju.

What can I say about South Korea at this point? Well, one thing is that the food is SO HOT and spicy!! But well, it comes from me who can’t eat spicy food though, hahaha… ๐Ÿ˜†

Right now I am not feeling that well so I decide to take a rest in my hotel. Well, maybe that is all for now. And here are a couple of pictures I took lately here in Seoul as a preview of this trip of mine ๐Ÿ˜€


The famous Namiseom


Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul


#1304 – Posting at 35000 Feet!

So this is a special post. Special because I am posting this while flying at 35000 feet! I mean, NOW I am flying! Huahaha. And yes, they have wifi onboard. Not free though but the price is okay (especiaoly if you want to show off, lol ๐Ÿ˜† ).


Anyway, now I am on board an Emirates’ Airbus A380-800 reg code A6-EEI flight EK148 from Amsterdam to Dubai.



#1273 – Story from Tuesday


Just like two weeks ago and last week, I worked in my Utrecht office yesterday. And here are some stories that I can share about my day in Utrecht.

Barely Made the Train

Obviously, to work in Utrecht, I must travel from Delft to Utrecht. For this, I chose to take train. There was no direct train from Delft to Utrecht, so we had to make one transfer (at least) in either Den Haag or Rotterdam. Yesterday, I chose the one with the transit in Rotterdam Centraal Station. The train that took me from Delft to Rotterdam stopped at platform 3 at Rotterdam Centraal, while my connecting train to Utrecht would depart from platform 13 of the station. So I had to take the stairs and cross the bridge to get to my connecting train. And I barely made it! Just when I entered my connecting train, the doors were closed and the train departed! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Hahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . Well, it wasn’t that big of a deal though because if I had missed it, I would (only) have to wait for 15 minutes for the next departure to Utrecht Centraal. But still…

(Dutch) Gado-gado

So far, my Utrecht office’s cafeteria hasn’t failed to amaze me yet with their service. After a nice beef noodles and babi pangang I had two weeks ago and last week respectively, guess what they had as one of the warm meals yesterday? Gado-gado! Yes, gado-gado! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† .

Okay, it was not really like the original Indonesian gado-gado, as I would like to refer it as a “Dutch interpretation of gado-gado”, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . For the vegetables, carrot and cauliflower were used, and tortilla chips took place as the crackers. It was ย very interesting though, and very nice as well ๐Ÿ™‚ .

Payment System

Speaking of lunching in Utrecht, yesterday I realized a “unique” system in the cafeteria. So the computer in the cashier counter of the cafeteria (I always paid there in my previous two visits) went down yesterday and so we had to make use of the self-service payment computer. How the computer worked was very simple. We just needed to tick the pictures in the screen of the items/meals that we bought, the total ammount would then be shown, and we paid with our pinpas/debit card at the pinpas/debit card machine connected to the computer.

Simple, right? Well, not really in the sense that, what if someone was “dishonest”? Because it was self-service, one literally had the freedom to choose whatever they “wanted” from the list in the screen. So (s)he could just pick a cheap item in the screen while (s)he took the more expensive item from the cafeteria, and it would still appear that (s)he had made a payment.

So basically the whole system “relies” on people’s honesty ๐Ÿ™‚ . Well, I am sure the catering company feels “safe” to have this system because the cafeteria is situated inside the company’s headquarter, so only the company’s people can enter the cafeteria. And obviously because they (we ๐Ÿ˜› ) are educated enough, it is less likely to encounter dishonesty. But it does not eliminate the possibility. And I am sure that in case it happens (because a simple cross-check between what is paid and the actual sales can, of course, be made so they know if it happens), the catering company can have a talk or done deal with the company itself, haha ๐Ÿ™‚ .

But it feels nice though, knowing that if this system exists in our daily life. It means we are living in a place where people believe in the value of honesty, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

A Dutch interpretation of "gado-gado". I only remembered to take the tortilla chips after this photo was taken, lol.

A Dutch interpretation of “gado-gado”. I only remembered to take the tortilla chips after this photo was taken, lol.


Seperti dua minggu yang lalu dan seminggu yang lalu, aku bekerja di kantor Utrecht-ku kemarin. Dan inilah beberapa cerita yang bisa aku bagikan dari hariku di Utrecht kemarin.

Nyaris Tertinggal Kereta

Tentu saja, untuk bekerja di Utrecht, aku harus bepergian dari Delft ke Utrecht kan. Untuk ini, aku memilih untuk naik kereta. Nah, nggak ada kereta langsung dari Delft ke Utrecht, jadi kita harus transit (minimal) satu kali di Den Haag atau Rotterdam. Kemarin, aku memilih untuk transit di Stasiun Rotterdam Centraal. Kereta yang membawaku dari Delft ke Rotterdam berhenti di jalur 3 di Stasiun Rotterdam Centraal, sementara kereta lanjutanku ke Utrecht bakal berangkat dari jalur 13 di stasiun itu. Jadi artinya aku harus naik tangga dan menyebrang jembatan kan untuk menuju kereta lanjutanku. Dan aku nyaris tertinggal keretanya loh! Jadi begitu aku memasuki keretanya, pintunya ditutup aja gitu dan keretanya langsung jalan! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Hahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . Ya, bukan sesuatu yang wow banget juga sih soalnya andaikata aku tertinggal keretanya beneran, aku hanya perlu menunggu 15 menit untuk keberangkatan selanjutnya ke Utrecht Centraal. Tapi tetap aja lah ya…

Gado-gado (Ala Belanda)

Sejauh ini, kantin di kantor Utrecht-ku masih belum gagal untuk membuatku merasa wah loh dengan pelayanan mereka. Setelah mie daging sapi dan babi pangang yang aku beli dua minggu dan satu minggu yang lalu, coba tebak apakah salah satu menu yang mereka sajikan kemarin? Gado-gado! Iya, gado-gado dong! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† .

Oke, memang sih gado-gadonya nggak asli seperti gado-gado ala Indonesia gitu, dan aku lebih suka menyebutnya sebagai “interpretasi orang Belanda akan gado-gado”, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . Untuk sayurnya, wortel dan kembang kol dipakai juga loh, dan untuk krupuknya, dipakailah tortilla chips, hahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . Rasanya menarik juga, dan enak juga sih ๐Ÿ™‚ .

Sistem Pembayaran

Ngomongin makan siang di Utrecht, kemarin aku menyadari sistem “unik” di kantinnya. Jadi ceritanya komputer di bagian kasir kantinnya (di dua kunjunganku sebelumnya, aku selalu membayar disana) lagi rusak sehingga kami hanya bisa memakai komputer pembayaran self-service. Cara kerja komputernya sederhana banget kok. Jadi kami tinggal perlu mencentang di layar gambar makanan/barang yang kita beli, total harganya kemudian muncul, dan kemudian dibayar dengan kartu pin/debit dengan mesin kartu debit/pin yang terhubung dengan komputernya.

Sederhana kan? Hmm, nggak juga sih karena bagaimana kalau ada yang “nakal” dan “nggak jujur” coba? Karena self-service, seseorang memiliki kebebasan untuk memilih apa saja yang mereka “mau” di layarnya loh. Jadi bisa aja dia memilih item yang murah di layarnya padahal ia mengambil item yang lebih mahal di kantinnya, tapi sekilas dia terlihat sudah membayar sesuatu kan.

Jadi pada dasarnya sistem ini “bergantung” pada kejujuran orang-orangnya ๐Ÿ™‚ . Ya, aku yakin sih perusahaan kateringnya merasa “aman” dengan sistem ini karena kantinnya berlokasi di dalam kantor pusat perusahaan, jadi hanya orang-orang perusahaannya aja yang bisa makan di kantinnya. Dan tentu saja karena mereka (kami ๐Ÿ˜› ) berpendidikan, relatif cenderung kurang mungkin untuk menghadapi ketidak-jujuran kan. Tapi tetap aja bukan berarti kemungkinannya menjadi nol. Ah, aku yakin sih kalau ini terjadi (kan sebuah cross-check sederhana antara apa yang terbayar dan apa yang terjual, tentu saja, bisa dilakukan dengan mudah), perusahaan kateringnya ada negosiasi atau deal dengan perusahaan, haha ๐Ÿ™‚ .

Tapi rasanya enak juga ya, mengetahui bahwa sistem semacam ini ada dan diterapkan dekat dengan kehidupan sehari-hari kita. Ini karena setidaknya menunjukkan bahwa kita hidup di suatu tempat dimana orang-orangnya percaya dengan nilai kejujuran. Iya nggak? ๐Ÿ˜‰


#1262 – Friday Story


From when I got up from my bed in the morning until when I was about to get back on it in the night, I lost 3 kg on Friday (yes, so I also have a weight scale in my apartment. And coincidentally, yesterday morning I weighed myself, hahaha ๐Ÿ˜† ). So what happened?

I started the morning with panicking for losing my bicycle key. I could not find it anywhere in the apartment. You know, I hadย a new apartment and I practically had just lived for one night there (because I had just moved in on Thursday) and so I was still quite unfamiliar with where I put my stuffs and everything. I spent the whole morning looking for it at every corner of my apartment (not only my bedroom) but it came with no success. I knew it must be somewhere there because the evening before, I did some grocery shopping and I used my bike for that. My bike was still safely parked and locked in the bike stand so the keys must have had fallen down or gone missing somewhere in between the bike stand and (including) the apartment.

I was very stupid because I had two keys for the bike, with one of them was meant for as a spare key in case the other key gone missing. But since I bought my bike (and, thus, got the key), I was too lazy to separate the two keys apart. So both of them were still hanging on the same key chain. And in this situation, I “lost” both of them simultaneously because of that. Seriously, I felt like an idiot.

Anyway, because I had to go to work, I walked to the university (about 30 minutes one way with my speed). On campus, I emailed my roommates to ask if they, somehow, saw my bicycle key. And apparently, one of them did! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Yay! ๐Ÿ™‚ So he saw it on the mat just outside our apartment’s door and because he didn’t know whose key it was, he just put it under the mat. Ah, it made sense now! The night before, when I was coming back from grocery-shopping and was about to open the door with my apartment key, the bicycle key somehow fell out of my pocket and I did not realize it.

It was 13:30 at that time and I would have a meeting at 14:30. The time was quite tight but I decided to go back to my apartment to take the key (because even though it was under the mat, the key was still outside my apartment after all). My calculation was that if I walked back to my apartment and biked back to the university as fast as I could, I should be able to be back at 14:15 and, thus, was still in time for the meeting which was in another building. And I did! It was just in time to make the meeting! ๐Ÿ˜€

I had the meeting until 17:00; and because I had a dinner plan with my friends at 19:00 in the centrum, I decided to stay in my office until 18:45. This was another reason why I decided to take the key and bring my bike to the university before the meeting: so I could just go directly from the university to the centrum without having to go back home first.

So at 19:00 I met my friends and we had dinner at a new vegetarian restaurant in the centrum. I ordered a vegetarian lasagna which was quite nice. Then we had an ice cream at an ice cream parlor near the Oude Kerk (Old Church). After that we went to a bar for a couple of drinks.

I arrived at my apartment at around midnight. After showering, I was quite intrigued to see if I lost some weight after the quite stressful day that I had. And apparently I lost 3 kg! Hahaha ๐Ÿ˜† .

Yeah, what a crazy Friday indeed.

Vegetarian lasagna that I had in the centrum

Vegetarian lasagna that I had in the centrum


Dari waktu aku bangun pagi di pagi hari sampai ketika aku mau tidur di malam harinya, berat badanku turun 3 kg loh di hari Jumat (iya, jadi di apartemen baruku, aku juga mendapatkan timbangan berat badan gitu deh. Dan kebetulan, kemarin pagi memang aku iseng menimbang berat badan, hahaha ๐Ÿ˜† ). Nah, apakah yang terjadi?

Aku memulai pagi hari dengan panik soalnya aku nggak bisa menemukan kunci-kunci sepedaku. Tahu kan, aku mendapatkan sebuah apartemen baruย dan aku baru tinggal disana selama satu malam (soalnya aku baru saja pindahan di hari Kamis) sehingga aku masih belum terlalu familier dengan dimana aku menaruh barang-barangku dan sebagainya. Seluruh pagi aku habiskan mengecek setiap sudut apartemenku (nggak hanya kamar tidurku saja) tapi hasilnya nihil. Aku tahu seharusnya kuncinya ada di sekitar situ sih soalnya semalam sebelumnya, aku berbelanja di supermarket dan aku menggunakan sepedaku untuk itu. Sepedaku masih terparkir dan terkunci dengan aman di parkiran sepeda jadi kuncinya pasti jatuh di antara parkiran sepeda dan (termasuk) apartemenku kan.

Aku merasa bodoh banget karena aku memiliki dua kunci untuk sepeda ini, salah satunya dimaksudkan sebagai kunci cadangan untuk situasi kalau-kalau yang satunya hilang. Tapi semenjak aku membeli sepedakuย (dan, oleh karenanya, mendapatkan kuncinya), aku merasa malas untuk memisahkan kedua kunci itu. Jadi keduanya masih tergantung di gantungan kunci yang sama. Dan di situasi ini, jelaslah aku jadi “kehilangan” keduanya karenanya. Bener deh, tolol banget kan.

Anyway, karena aku harus pergi bekerja, jadilah aku ke universitas dengan berjalan kaki (sekitar 30 menit satu kali jalan dengan kecepatanku). Di kampus, aku meng-email roommates-ku untuk bertanya, siapa tahu kan, kalau mereka melihat kunci sepedaku dimana gitu. Dan ternyata, salah satunya beneran melihatnya loh! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Yes! ๐Ÿ™‚ Jadi ia melihat ada kunci di atas keset di luar pintu apartemen kami dan karena ia nggak tahu kunci itu milik siapa, jadilah kuncinya ia pindahkan ke bawah kesetnya. Ah, sekarang semuanya masuk akal deh! Semalam sebelumnya, ketika aku kembali dari berbelanja itu dan mau membuka pintu dengan kunci apartemenku, kunci sepedanya entah bagaimana, mungkin, tertarik dan jatuh dari kantongku dan aku tidak menyadarinya.

Waktu itu sudah jam 13:30 siang dan aku akan ada meeting jam 14:30. Waktunya memang cukup mepet tetapi aku memutuskan untuk berjalan pulang ke apartemenku untuk mengambil kuncinya (karena walaupun berada di bawah keset, bagaimanapun kuncinya masih berada di luar apartemenku kan ya). Menurut perhitunganku sih, kalau aku berjalan kaki ke apartemenku dan bersepeda kembali ke kampus secepat yang aku bisa, seharusnya aku bisa lah sampai kembali di kampus jam 14:15 dan, artinya, waktunya pas kan untuk meeting yang akan diadakan di gedung seberang. Dan berhasil loh! Aku sampai tepat waktu jadi nggak terlambat untuk meeting-nya! ๐Ÿ˜€

Meeting-nya berlangsung hingga jam 17:00; dan karena aku ada rencana makan malam bareng bersama beberapa temanku di centrum jam 19:00, aku memutuskan untuk tinggal di kantorku sampai jam 18:45 deh. Inilah alasan lain mengapa aku membela-belain mengambil kunci dan membawa sepedaku ke universitas sebelum meeting: jadi aku bisa langsung pergi dari universitas ke centrum tanpa harus pulang dulu.

Jadi, jam 19:00 aku bertemu teman-temanku dan kami makan malam di sebuah restoran vegetarian baru di centrum. Aku memesan lasagna vegetarian yang lumayan juga. Lalu kami membeli es krim di sebuah kafe es krim di dekat Oude Kerk (Gereja Tua). Setelahnya, ke bar deh seperti biasa.

Aku sampai kembali di apartemenku sekitar tengah malam. Setelah mandi, aku jadi merasa ingin tahu kalau berat badanku turun setelah satu hari yang bikin stress ini kan. Dan ternyata beneran loh, berat badanku turun 3 kg! Hahaha ๐Ÿ˜† .

Ya, memang satu hari Jumat yang gila deh.


#1104 – 2012 London Summer Trip (Part IV)


Previously on 2012 London Summer Trip: Zilko went to London to do sightseeing and watch the Wimbledon Championships. After spending five days in the capital city of England, he was now ready to go to Wimbledon for the third time on Day 6, which would be his last visit to The Championships during this trip.


Day 6 (Saturday, 30 June 2012)

As I said before, I was thinking about arriving at the Queue much earlier today because it was a Saturday. The first train service from Waterloo Station was at 5 AM, but I needed something that was much earlier than this. So, train was, apparently, not an option. After a little bit of research the night before, the only way to get to Wimbledon as early as I wanted was by taking some series of bus rides, with two transits from my hostel. I must tell you that taking (a series of) public bus rides in a big metropolitan city was quite ‘scary’ in the sense that there were a lot of bus services and the map of the service was a lot more complicated than trains or tube which had more “exact” routes. I must be really careful and aware of where I was while I was on the bus so that I would not miss the stop where I had to get off at. But whatever, for Wimbledon, I would do this, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜Ž .

I got up at 3.15 AM and I departed from my hostel at 4 AM. It was London so there were still quite a lot of night bus services running at the time (overall, public transportation in London was a 24/7 service basically). And it was (still) a Friday night, so there were a lot of drunk people on the street, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . So, when some of them were going home from parties or whatever, I had already had my night sleep and was ready to start my day, ๐Ÿ˜† . Even, inside the buses, it smelled beer, so yeah… .

Long story short, I successfully took the three bus rides that I must take to arrive at the Queue earlier; and I was able to arrive there at around 5.10 AM. As before, they handed me the Queue Card, and guess what my number was? This:

Arriving in the Queue at 5.10 AM on a Saturday and I was already the 2519th person in it!!

๐Ÿ˜ฏ Yes, I arrived at the Queue much earlier but I was already the 2519th person in it!! I felt a little bit disappointed and relieved at the same time: disappointed because this number basically said there was no show court for me today; but relieved because I made a correct prediction that this Saturday would be a busier day and my number still pretty much guaranteed a groundpass ticket.

The queuing process went exactly the same as the previous two days. It was just that it was raining while I was queuing! Damn! But lucky I did not forget my umbrella this time so it was still alright. And as expected, no show court ticket for me today. I entered the grounds at around 10 AM and had my breakfast which was, again, a fish and chips.

Seeing the schedule of play for the day, the first match at one of the outer courts which I was interested in would be held at No.14 Court. So, after breakfast, I walked there with the hope to get a good seat. But there, I found out that there was already an event going on. I saw some kids hitting some balls with two men and so I thought it was a tennis clinic or something; until I recognized one of the two men. He looked familiar, and then I realized he was Tim Henman,ย a retired English player who was once the world no.4 in singles!! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ The other man turned out to be Oliver Golding, a young British player (18 years old) who used to be a child actor. It was a very fun event, and those kids were really good!! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

At 11 AM, the clinic ended and the preparation for the first match at 11.30 AM started. Lucky I was able to get a seat there. The first match would be a second round clash between my favorite men’s doubles team of all time: Bob and Mike Bryan and a British wildcard team, Jamie Delgado and Ken Skupski. The first set was really tight and a tiebreak had to be played. From hereon, the Bryan twins took control of the match completely and won the tiebreak 7-2. They brought the momentum to dominate the second and third set; and won handily 7-6(2), 6-0, 6-2.

Next, I left the court and walked to the Henman Hill (or Murray Mound, hahaha ๐Ÿ˜† ) to watch the Centre Court match at the big screen there. The match in the Centre Court would start at 1 PM, just a perfect timing after the conclusion of the doubles match that I just watched. The match would be between Serena Williams [6] and Zheng Jie [25]. I found a nice free bench at the top of the hill with good view towards the screen and sat there. The first set went really tight; but I noticed that even though Serena’s serve was on display today, her return was definitely off. A tiebreak had to be played, and an error caused Serena to lose the first set 6-7(5) (and a lot of Chinese people there were cheering when it happened).

I decided to leave my spot to look for something to eat (it was kinda nail-biting for me that now Serena was trailing, haha) while still keeping an eye on the score (there were live score boards everywhere in the grounds so it wasn’t difficult to follow the score). I decided to buy a dutchee, which was an English-style hotdog. And it tasted really good btw!! ๐Ÿ˜€ At this time, Serena showcased her champion spirit and took control of the second set by winning it 6-2.

I was going around the area while still keeping my eye on the scoreboard; and the third set went super tight again. Really nail-biting. But in the end, after a long time of battling, Serena got her break at 7-7 in the set. In the next game, she closed out the match to come on top with score 6-7(5), 6-2, 9-7 in about two and a half hour!! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ And I was so relieved! huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† .

Then, I decided to settle at the No.6 Court to watch a mixed doubles match between a German team, Angelique Kerber/Philipp Petzschner, versus an Italian team, Roberta Vinci/Daniele Bracciali. I stayed until the first several games of the second set (Vinci/Bracciali took the first set) before finding out that the Williams sisters’ doubles match was moved to one of the outer courts (No.12 Court) due to the lengthiness of the preceding match. (Yes, Serena Williams played two matches today; a trend she continued also in the second week but in the end she won both titles! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ) But it was late, the match had been started; and it was the Williams sisters so that all seats had been taken by then. I had to queue to wait until some people left the court. I was queuing for about 20 minutes before finally giving up, hahaha.

Somehow, it was 8.30 PM already and I was so tired. After taking a quick look around the grounds, I decided to go back to my hostel and here my adventure to Wimbledon Championships this year ended…

Day 7 (Sunday, 1 July 2012)

Wimbledon is a classic tournament; and one of the tradition is that there is no match played during the mid-Sunday (it is like a “free” day). So, there would be no match at Wimbledon today which meant that I had to spend my time in London…

I went to Trafalgar Square and noticed something “different” there (compared to my visit on Day 3). There seemed to be a festival going on; and indeed there was a festival which apparently was a celebration of the Canada Day (the festival was hosted by the Canadian embassy). I went in, looked around, and left, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† .

I had no plan for today and so I decided to go to a tourist agency near Trafalgar Square and asked if there was still available seat on a half-day tour to Stonehenge today. There was, and so I decided to grab the seat. The tour would start at 2 PM, and it was still like noon or so. This was perfect though as I was already quite craving for lunch and so now I had some time to look for a place to eat. I decided to walk around and somehow I was in the Chinatown. Because of this, somehow, I was craving for Chinese food, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . I was in Chinatown so of course it was not difficult to find a Chinese food restaurant. I stopped by at one and decided to have roast duck rice for lunch.

After lunch, I took the tube to go to Victoria Coach Station. I still had a long time to go and so I decided to kill time by deliberately taking the longer route to get there, hahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . At around 1 PM, I arrived at the coach station. After waiting for about one hour, the tour finally started.

To get to Stonehenge, we were riding a coach with capacity of around 30 people. There were only 3 seats left that day so it was quite a busy day indeed. The driver would take care of everything, including getting the tickets in Stonehenge. Because he couldn’t remember all faces of the tour members, he decided to set up a password. In Stonehenge, he would give us the tickets only if we said the password, which was: “Thank you, Derrick” (Derrick was his name).

Well, Stonehenge was quite far from London as it took us about two hour one way to get there. This was the route of the trip that day btw:

At around 4 PM, we arrived at the site. Finally, I ticked off one more place from my list. When I was a kid, I wanted to see Stonehenge with my own eyes. And now, it became a reality!! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ It was amazing!!

The tour I bought was including an audio-guide, which was really nice because it explained a lot about the history of Stonehenge. Apparently, this set of Stonehenge was the third that was built here on this particular site!! Anyway, we were spared 75 minutes on the site, which was more than enough if we only wanted to stay around the structure. There were other things as well surrounding the area, like the Stonehenge Cursus; but this area was too large to be covered in 75 minutes with the trip to Stonehenge itself.

In my opinion, Stonehenge is really worth it for once in a lifetime visit especially for those who have really wanted to see the structure themselves (like me :D). Will I visit Stonehenge again when I am around there? Well, it’s likely not; it is so far away from anywhere else so maybe I will choose to visit something else.

At 5.15 PM, all people were back in the coach and then we went back to London. ย We arrived in London at around 7 PM; and it was a perfect timing for dinner!! ๐Ÿ˜€ It would be my last dinner in London on this trip and so I decided to have another meal at Jamie’s Italian Restaurant.

This time, I treated myself with some more expensive menu, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . I ordered Angus sirloin steak as my main dish and Polenta Chips (I didn’t order the amazingly delicious Posh Chips as I had two days earlier because they dubbed this Polenta Chips as “Our Famous Polenta Chips”; and because it was dubbed asย famous, it was supposedly really good, right? :D). The Polenta Chips was really good, but it was not really “chips”; it was like fried mashed potato but with Cheetos-y flavor. Really unique and nice, but I kinda liked the Posh Chips a little bit better. The Angus steak was also really good. Even though the portion did not look that big, but I still felt full after finishing it, so it was fine. Because I was treating myself, I decided to treat myself also with a dessert. Out of all the options, I narrowed it down to two menus: either a pannacotta or aย Chocolate and Vin Santo Pot. I asked the waitress and she suggested the chocolate pot one; and so chocolate pot it was. And yes, it was also a yummy dessert…

After dinner, I decided to walk around a little bit before going back to my hostel. I walked towards Soho (Piccadilly Circus). You might still remember that today, the final of Euro Cup was being played. And at that time, Spain just beat Italy. As a result, Spain’s supporters went crazy and celebrated the win at the square (one guy even climbed the Eros statue in the square; and I was curious what would have happened if he had damaged that statue somehow, hmmm); while Italy’s supporters were devastated. Some policemen had to step in to avoid the celebration turned into a riot or something…

From there, I took the tube back to my hostel, and this day was over…

Day 8 (Monday, 2 July 2012)

I left my hostel at around 10 AM and went directly to St. Pancras International Station. But before getting there, I chose to drop by at King’s Cross Station which was just literally next to St. Pancras. Why? Well, to take a picture with the famous Platform 9 3/4 from Harry Potter, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . And it was perfect because I was bringing my big luggage so that I could pose as if I was walking out from Platform 9 3/4 to the Muggle World, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† (I put the photo in the preambule).

My Eurostar train was scheduled to depart at 12.57 PM from St. Pancras International. I still had some time to go and so I decided to have breakfast at one restaurant in the station. After breakfast, I checked in and passed through the immigration desk. In the waiting room, apparently there was a wifi connection and so I decided to surf the internet while waiting for the departure time of my train.

At 12.57 PM, the Eurostar train left London St. Pancras. I arrived at Brusells Midi Station at 4.08 PM and luckily there was a train heading to Rotterdam which left at 4.15 PM. But the problem was that it left from the platform at the other end of the station! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ So I ran from one end to the other end, and luckily I made it!! hahaha ๐Ÿ˜€ I boarded the train, and two hours later I arrived at Rotterdam Centraal. I took another InterCity ride to Delft Station, and here this trip officially ended ๐Ÿ™‚



Sebelumnya dalamย 2012 London Summer Trip: Zilko pergi ke London dalam rangka jalan-jalan dan juga menonton Kejuaraan Wimbledon. Setelah menghabiskan lima hari di ibukota Inggris itu, di hari keenam ini ia siap untuk pergi ke Wimbledon untuk ketiga kalinya, yang mana akan menjadi kunjungan terakhirnya ke kejuaraan ini di perjalanan ini.


Hari 6 (Sabtu, 30 Juni 2012)

Seperti yang aku bilang sebelumnya, aku berencana untuk tiba di the Queue lebih awal hari ini karena hari ini adalah Sabtu. Kereta pertama dari Stasiun Waterloo baru berangkat jam 5 subuh, padahal aku membutuhkan sesuatu yang lebih awal dari ini. Makanya, kereta ternyata bukanlah sebuah pilihan. Setelah riset sedikit di hostel semalam sebelumnya, satu-satunya cara untuk tiba di Wimbledon di waktu seawal yang kuinginkan adalah menaiki serangkaian layanan bus, dengan dua kali transit dari hostel. Harus kubilang bahwa menaiki (serangkaian) layanan bus di kota metropolitan itu agak ‘menyeramkan’ loh karena kan layanan busnya ada banyak banget dan peta layanannya juga sangat lebih ribet gitu dibandingkan kereta atau subway yang “pasti-pasti” aja rutenya. Aku harus berhati-hati dan selalu memasang mata agar tahu posisiku ada dimana sehingga aku nggak kelewatan halte bus dimana aku harus turun. Tapi biarlah, untuk Wimbledon, apa pun kan kujalani, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜Ž .

Aku bangun jam 3.15 subuh dan berangkat dari hostel jam 4 pagi. Karena kota ini adalah London, masih ada banyak layanan bus malam yang beroperasi di jam segini (secara keseluruhan sih, layanan transportasi umum di London itu 24 jam deh pada dasarnya). Dan karena saat ini masih terhitung malam Sabtu, ada banyak orang mabuk gitu deh di jalan, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . Jadi, ketika mereka baru pulang dari parties atau apa lah gitu, aku sudah tidur semalaman dan siap menjalani hariku itu, ๐Ÿ˜† . Bahkan, di dalam busnya itu bau bir loh, jadi ya gitu deh… .

Singkat cerita, aku dengan sukses menaiki tiga layanan bus yang harus kuambil itu untuk tiba di the Queue lebih awal; dan aku tiba disana jam 5.10 pagi. Seperti biasanya, mereka memberiku Queue Card, dan berapakah nomorku kali ini? Ini:

Tiba di the Queue jam 5.10 pagi di hari Sabtu dan aku sudah merupakan orang ke 2519!!

๐Ÿ˜ฏ Ya, aku tiba di the Queue jauh lebih awal tapi aku sudah berada di posisi 2519 dong!! Aku merasa kecewa sekaligus lega pada saat yang bersamaan: kecewa karena nomor segini praktis berarti aku tidak akan mendapatkan tiket show courtย (lapangan utama); tapi lega karena aku memprediksi dengan tepat bahwa Sabtu akan menjadi hari yang sibuk dan nomor segini pada dasarnya masih menggaransi aku akan mendapatkan tiket groundpass.

Proses mengantrinya sih pada dasarnya berlangsung sama kayak dua kunjunganku sebelumnya deh. Hanya saja, hari ini sewaktu ngantri itu hujan dong! Menyebalkan!! Tapi untungnya aku tidak lupa membawa payung jadi masih nggak papa deh. Dan seperti yang telah diduga, nggak ada tiket show court untukku hari ini. Aku memasuki area turnamen jam 10 pagi dan langsung sarapan deh, yang mana lagi-lagi adalah fish and chips.

Melihat jadwal permainan hari ini, pertandingan pertama di lapangan luar yang menarik perhatianku akan diadakan di Lapangan No.14. Jadi, setelah sarapan, berjalanlah aku kesana untuk mendapatkan kursi yang oke. Tapi, aku melihat bahwa sedang ada sebuah acara gitu di Lapangan No.14. Aku melihat beberapa anak kecil gitu memukul bola dengan dua pria sehingga aku mengira ini adalah semacam klinik tenis gitu; sampai aku mengenali salah satu dari dua pria itu. Kok tampangnya nggak asing ya, dan aku kemudian menyadari bahwa ia adalahย Tim Henman,ย mantan pemain Inggris yang dulu pernah berperingkat 4 di dunia!! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Pria yang satunya ternyata adalah Oliver Golding, pemain Inggris muda (18 tahun) yang dulu sewaktu kecil adalah aktor cilik. Acara klinik tenisnya menarik juga, dan anak-anak kecil itu hebat-hebat dong mainnya!! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

Jam 11, kliniknya selesai dan persiapan untuk pertandingan pertama yang jam 11.30 pagi dimulai. Untungnya aku berhasil mendapatkan kursi. Pertandingan pertama adalah pertandingan ganda putra babak kedua antara tim ganda putra favoritku sepanjang masa: Bob dan Mike Bryan melawan tim wildcard dari Inggris, Jamie Delgado dan Ken Skupski. Set pertama berlangsung ketat sehingga tiebreak harus dimainkan. Dari sini, si kembar Bryan mengambil kontrol pertandingan dan memenangi tiebreak itu 7-2. Momentum ini terus mereka pertahankan dengan mendominasi set kedua dan ketiga; sehingga mereka menang dengan mudah 7-6(2), 6-0, 6-2.

Lalu, aku meninggalkan lapangan itu dan berjalan menuju Henman Hill (atau Murray Mound, hahaha ๐Ÿ˜† ) untuk menonton pertandingan di Centre Court di layar lebar disana. Pertandingan di Centre Court baru dimulai jam 1 siang, yang mana timing-nya pas banget setelah berakhirnya pertandingan ganda putra yang barusan kutonton itu. Pertandingan di Centre Court yang akan dimainkan adalah antara Serena Williams [6] dan Zheng Jie [25]. Aku menemukan satu bangku yang oke banget di atas bukit itu dengan pandangan yang oke menuju layarnya dan aku duduk disana. Set pertama berlangsung cukup ketat; dan aku bisa melihat bahwa walaupun servisnya Serena bagus hari ini, return-nya sedang off. Tiebreak harus dimainkan, dan sebuah kesalahan sendiri membuat Serena kehilangan set pertama 6-7(5) (dan banyak orang dari China disana yang bersorak-sorai ketika ini terjadi).

Aku memutuskan untuk meninggalkan kursiku untuk mencari makan (agak deg-degan gitu ya karena kini Serena kan posisinya tertinggal gitu, haha) sementara aku tetap memasang mata pada skornya (ada banyak papan skor live di seluruh area turnamen jadi nggak sulit deh untuk mengikuti skor pertandingan). Aku membeli sebuah dutchee, yang ternyata adalah hotdog ala Inggris gitu deh. Dan rasanya enak juga loh!! ๐Ÿ˜€ Di waktu ini, Serena menunjukkan mental juaranya dan mengambil kontrol set kedua dan memenanginya 6-2.

Aku berkeliling area sambil terus memerhatikan papan skornya; dan set ketiga berlangsung ketat lagi. Sangat ketat loh. Tapi pada akhirnya, Serena mendapatkan break yang telah sangat ia incar di posisi 7-7. Di game selanjutnya, ia menutup pertandingan dengan sebuah kemenangan 6-7(5), 6-2, 9-7 dalam waktu sekitar dua setengah jam!! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Dan aku merasa lega deh! huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† .

Lalu, aku memutuskan untuk duduk di Lapangan No.6 untuk menonton pertandingan ganda campuran antara tim Jerman, Angelique Kerber/Philipp Petzschner, melawan tim Italia, Roberta Vinci/Daniele Bracciali. Aku tinggal disana sampai beberapa game pertama di set kedua (Vinci/Bracciali memenangi set pertama) sebelum akhirnya menyadari bahwa pertandingan gandanya Williams bersaudari dipindah ke salah satu lapangan luar (Lapangan no.12) karena panjangnya pertandingan yang dijadwalkan sebelumnya (Ya, Serena Williams bermain dua pertandingan hari ini; sebuah hal yang harus terus ia lakukan sampai di minggu kedua tapi toh pada akhirnya ย ia menjuarai kedua event itu! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ ) Tapi sudah terlambat deh, pertandingannya sudah dimulai; dan ini adalah Williams bersaudari gitu jadilah semua kursinya sudah penuh deh. Aku harus mengantri sampai beberapa orang keluar gitu. Aku mengantri selama sekitar 20 menit sebelum akhirnya menyerah deh, hahaha.

Entah bagaimana, tiba-tiba sudah jam 8.30 malam dan aku merasa lelah. Setelah berkeliling melihat arena turnamennya sekali lagi, aku memutuskan untuk kembali ke hostel dan berakhirlah petualanganku ke Kejuaraan Wimbledon tahun ini…

Hari 7 (Minggu, 1 Juli 2012)

Wimbledon adalah turnamen yang klasik; dan sebuah tradisinya adalah tidak ada pertandingan yang dimainkan di hari Minggu tengah (jadi semacam hari “libur” gitu deh). Makanya nggak ada pertandingan di Wimbledon hari ini yang artinya aku harus menghabiskan waktuku di London…

Aku pergi ke Trafalgar Square dan menyadari ada sesuatu yang “berbeda” disana (dibandingkan dengan kunjunganku di Hari 3). Sepertinya ada sebuah festival yang tengah berlangsung; dan ternyata memang beneran sedang ada sebuah festival memperingati Hari Kanada (festivalnya diadakan oleh Kedutaan Kanada gitu). Aku masuk sebentar, melihat-lihat, trus pergi deh, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† .

Karena tidak ada agenda lain untuk hari ini, aku memutuskan untuk pergi ke sebuah agen tur di dekatnya Trafalgar Square dan bertanya apakah masih ada kursi tersisa untuk perjalanan tur setengah hari ke Stonehenge hari ini. Ternyata masih ada, dan aku ambil deh. Turnya baru akan dimulai jam 2 siang, sementara saat ini masih sekitar jam 12. Waktunya pas banget karena toh aku juga sudah lapar ingin makan siang dan jadilah sekarang aku mencari makan. Aku berjalan berkeliling dan tiba-tiba aku berada di Chinatown. Karena ini, entah kenapa, aku jadi ingin makan chinese food deh, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . Aku sedang berada di Chinatown sehingga tentu tidaklah sulit untuk menemukan sebuah restoran chinese food. Aku mampir di salah satunya dan memesan nasi bebek panggang untuk makan siang.

Setelah makan siang, aku menaiki tube menuju Terminal Bus Victoria. Masih ada banyak waktu sehingga aku memutuskan untuk membunuh waktu dengan mengambil rute yang lebih panjang untuk kesana, hahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . Jam 1 siang, tibalah aku di terminal busnya. Setelah menunggu selama sekitar sejam, turnya berangkat.

Untuk pergi ke Stonehenge, kami menaiki sebuah van besar (atau bus kecil gitu) yang muat sekitar 30 orang. Hanya ada 3 kursi kosong hari ini, memang hari ini sedang cukup sibuk deh. Sopirnya akan mengatur semuanya, termasuk mengurus tiket masuknya di Stonehenge. Karena ia tidak bisa menghafalkan semua muka peserta turnya, ia memutuskan untuk membuat sebuah password. Di Stonehenge, ia akan memberikan tiket kepada kami hanya kalau kami menyebutkan password tersebut, yang mana adalah “Thank you, Derrick” (Derrick itu namanya).

Yah, Stonehenge itu terletak cukup jauh dari London ya karena kami membutuhkan waktu sekitar dua jam sekali jalan untuk tiba disana. Ini adalah rutenya btw:

Sekitar jam 4 sore, kami tiba di lokasinya. Akhirnya, sekali lagi, aku mencentang satu tempat lagi dari daftarku. Ketika aku kecil, aku ingin sekali melihat Stonehenge itu langsung gitu. Dan kali ini, beneran kejadian dong!! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Asyik banget deh!!

Turku ini sudah termasuk audio-guide, yang mana oke juga karena audio-guide ini menjelaskan banyak sejarahnya Stonehenge. Ternyata, satu set Stonehenge yang ada sekarang ini adalah yang ketiga lho yang dibangun di area ini!! Anyway, kami diberi waktu 75 menit disana, yang mana lebih dari cukup sih kalau kita hanya ingin berkeliling di strukturnya. Ada beberapa tempat tujuan lain juga sebenarnya di sekitar area itu, seperti misalnya Stonehenge Cursus; tapi tidaklah sempat untuk dikunjungi kalau hanya ada waktu 75 menit termasuk waktu untuk di Stonehengenya.

Menurutku, Stonehenge adalah sebuah tempat yang layak untuk dikunjungi sekali seumur hidup, terutama jika seseorang sudah ingin melihat strukturnya secara langsung (seperti aku). Apakah aku akan mengunjunginya lagi ketika aku di sekitar sana? Hmm, mungkin tidah sih; lokasinya itu jauh sekali dan mungkin aku akan lebih memilih mengunjungi suatu tempat lainnya.

Jam 5.15 sore, semua peserta tur telah kembali di bus dan kembalilah kami ke London. Kami tiba di London sekitar jam 7 malam; sebuah waktu yang amat pas untuk makan malam!! ๐Ÿ˜€ Karena ini adalah makan malam terakhirku di London di perjalanan ini, aku memutuskan untuk makan lagi di restoran Jamie’s Italian.

Kali ini, aku mentraktir diriku sendiri dengan menu-menu yang lebih mahal, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . Aku memesan sirloin Angus sebagai menu utama dan juga Polenta Chips (aku tidak memesan Posh Chips yang enaknya nggak ketulungan seperti yang kupesan dua hari sebelumnya itu karena mereka melabeli Polenta Chips ini dengan: “Our Famous Polenta Chips“; dan karena dilabeli famous, seharusnya enak banget kan ya? :D). Polenta Chips-nya ternyata memang oke, tapi bukan seperti “chips” (kentang goreng) pada umumnya gitu; ini seperti mashed potatoย goreng tapi dengan rasa seperti Cheetos gitu. Sangat unik dan enak, tapi aku masih lebih suka Posh Chips-nya deh. Steak Angus-nya juga oke banget. Walau porsinya tidak nampak besar, tetapi setelah selesai memakannya tuh tetap terasa kenyang kok, jadi nggak masalah deh. Karena aku sedang mentraktir diriku sendiri, aku juga memutuskan untuk memesan menu penutup. Dari semua pilihan yang ada, aku berhasil menyempitkan pilihan menjadi dua saja: antaraย pannacotta atau Chocolate and Vin Santo Pot. Aku bertanya ke pelayannya dan ia menyarankan pot coklat; dan jadilah aku memilih pot coklat. Dan ya, memang enak loh itu dessert-nya…

Setelah makan malam, aku memutuskan untuk berjalan-jalan di area itu sebentar sebelum kembali ke hostel. Aku berjalan menuju arah Soho (Piccadilly Circus). Mungkin masih pada ingat bahwa hari ini adalah hari diselenggarakannya final Euro Cup. Dan waktu ini, Spanyol baru saja mengalahkan Italia. Sebagai akibatnya, pendukungnya Spanyol gila-gilaan gitu deh merayakan kemenangannya di lapangan itu (satu orang pria malah memanjat patung Eros di lapangannya itu dong; dan aku penasaran deh apa ya yang bakal terjadi andaikata patungnya patah gitu, hmmm); sementara pendukungnya Italia lemah lesu gitu deh. Beberapa polisi juga harus turun tangan untuk mencegah perayaan ini menjadi kekacauan…

Setelah itu, aku kembali ke hostelku dengan menaiki tube, dan berakhirlah hari ini…

Hari 8 (Senin, 2 Juli 2012)

Aku meninggalkan hostel sekitar jam 10 pagi dan langsung pergi ke Stasiun Internasional St. Pancras. Sebelum kesana tapinya, aku mampir dulu di Stasiun King’s Cross yang lokasinya berada persis di sebelahnya St. Pancras. Untuk apa aku kesana? Yah, untuk foto-foto samaย Peron 9 3/4-nya Harry Potter yang terkenal itu dong, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† . Waktu itu beneran pas banget deh karena aku membawa koper besarku jadi aku bisa berpose seakan-akan aku baru keluar dari Peron 9 3/4 gitu menuju dunia Muggle, huahaha ๐Ÿ˜† .ย (Fotonya sudah aku upload diย posting pembukaan).

Kereta Eurostarku dijadwalkan berangkat jam 12.57 siang dari St. Pancras International. Artinya, aku masih ada banyak waktu dan jadilah aku sarapan dulu di sebuah restoran di stasiunnya. Setelah sarapan, aku check in dan melewati meja imigrasi. Di ruang tunggu, ternyata ada wifi dan jadilah aku internetan sambil menunggu keberangkatan keretaku.

Jam 12.57 siang, kereta Eurostar berangkat dari Stasiun St. Pancras London. Kereta tiba di Stasiun Brussels Midi sekitar jam 4.08 sore dan untungnya ada kereta tujuan Rotterdam yang berangkat jam 4.15 sore. Hanya saja, kereta ini berangkat di peron yang mana ada di sisi lain stasiun dong! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Jadilah aku berlarian dari satu ujung stasiun ke ujung satunya, dan untungnya masih keburu!! hahaha ๐Ÿ˜€ Aku menaiki kereta itu, dan dua jam kemudian tibalah aku di Rotterdam Centraal. Aku menaiki kereta InterCity lain tujuan Stasiun Delft, dan disinilah perjalananku ini resmi berakhir ๐Ÿ™‚