North America Trip, USA, Vacation

#2055 – 2017 Year End Trip (Part IV: The City of San Francisco)

ENGLISH

Posts in the 2017 Year End Trip series:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to California
3. Part II: A Tourist in San Francisco
4. Part III: Alcatraz and Yosemite
5. Part IV: The City of San Francisco
6. Part V: The City of Los Angeles
7. Part VI: Hollywood and Griffith
8. Part VII: More of LA
9. Part VIII: Back to Europe in Business Class

San Francisco

San Francisco

Before the trip when I thought of San Francisco, I thought of a big city. Well, it turned that especially for American standard, this was wrong! Even Bandung was actually larger than San Francisco!

While this might sound positive in the sense that theoretically most part of the city was within walking distance, actually there was a third dimension to be considered here: elevation. San Francisco was very hilly, even there were hills in the city center (See, for instance, the Lombard Street in Part II). So to get around, utilizing our own feet was not the best way, IMO, haha.

Hilly San Francisco

In this trip, I tried to rely as much as possible to public transport (even later in LA, in Part V). And the San Francisco public transport was quite sufficient for that.

The Public Transport and Clipper Card

The public transport in San Francisco (and the Bay Area) was run by several different companies. Luckily, there was the “Clipper Card” which could be used in all of them, including the BART train which provided train service to San Francisco International Airport. It worked by charging the card with some credit and tapping it before every ride.

A BART train at San Francisco International Airport

I bought my card at San Francisco International Airport when I had just arrived from Amsterdam. You could ask the Information Desk where you could buy one. There was a $3 non-refundable cost for each card but to me it was well worth it even when only considering the practicality! Also, with the card I got a $0.25 discount from each single ride with a MUNI vehicle (the normal price was $2.75) which was valid for 90 minutes. So I liked it indeed.

The Clipper Card

Anyway, speaking of public transport, the most popular (and touristy) one was definitely the cable cars which crossed the hills of San Francisco. They were packed with tourists in most of my time there! I mean, the lines just to ride one were just so long! The cable cars were operated by MUNI but had a special fare. Instead of $2.75, a single ride fare was $7! Yep, they were that popular! The price was literally 2.5 times more expensive than other modes of transport yet they were that busy! Haha. I didn’t ride a single one when I was there, btw; even when my hotel was close to one of the stops. You know, I just couldn’t stand the crazy line! 😛

A San Francisco’s cable car

Instead, my favorite mode of transport there was the streetcars! They had regular fare ($2.75, which I only needed to pay $2.50 with the Clipper Card), not as busy as the cable cars, and they all had classic look and cute colors! Hahaha 😆 .

A San Francisco’s street car
A San Francisco’s street car

My favorite line was the historical line F which went around the hills and connected Fisherman’s Wharf and Embarcadero with the Market Street in the city center.

Beside those classic modes of transport, regular buses and subways also ran throughout the city.

Bus 76X to Golden Gate Bridge

The Living Cost

I had a few trips to some supermarkets while I was in San Francisco. And there, somehow I felt like the price of everything was generally quite expensive. Even I did not remember New York to be this expensive when I went there two years ago!

But you know, maybe I did not remember it correctly so I kept it to myself. This was until Noni (Nyonyasepatu) asked me if I also felt that San Francisco was expensive! Lol 😆 . We agreed that San Francisco was, indeed, an expensive city!

San Francisco

During the course of the trip, I also heard from a few locals that indeed the living cost had surged a lot. You see, the booming economy (driven by the Silicon Valley nearby) and the relatively small size of the city resulted in demand that was always on top of supply, thus pushing the living cost up.

The Food

Speaking of food, I felt like San Francisco (and California in general) had wide varieties of food from all over the world, and especially East Asia! Having said that, there was one particular dish which I would like to try out: the clam chowder. I immediately had the chance to try one out for brunch when I was in Pier 39.

Clam chowder

And … the soup was great!! However, the bread tasted really strange to me, hahaha 😆

I also noticed that, somehow, I had quite some Japanese food in San Francisco. I had a yakitori (this was actually my first meal there, lol 😆 ), a pork ramen, and a bento! They were good, even though I felt like the original one in Asia was still better. But I was not complaining at all.

A salad and Cheetos from the supermarket for dinner

Speaking of eating out, most restaurants were closed on Christmas day in San Francisco. However, a lot of people would still like to eat out. And this resulted in unbelievably long queues at those few restaurants that were open! That evening, I had to resort to supermarket stuffs because I did not want to queue for a long time just for a Burger King, for instance, haha. Even then, I was not the only one with this idea because the supermarkets were also busier than the other days!

TO BE CONTINUED…

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting-posting dalam seri 2017 Year End Trip:
1. Introduction
2. Part I: Getting to California
3. Part II: A Tourist in San Francisco
4. Part III: Alcatraz and Yosemite
5. Part IV: The City of San Francisco
6. Part V: The City of Los Angeles
7. Part VI: Hollywood and Griffith
8. Part VII: More of LA
9. Part VIII: Back to Europe in Business Class

San Francisco

San Francisco

Sebelum berangkat jika aku berpikir akan San Francisco, aku akan membayangkan kota yang besar. Ternyata, apalagi untuk standar Amerika, ini salah loh! Bahkan Bandung pun sebenarnya lebih besar daripada San Francisco!

Walaupun mungkin ini berita baik dimana secara teori kebanyakan tempat di kotanya bisa ditempuh dengan berjalan-kaki, sebenarnya ada dimensi ketiga yang harus dipertimbangkan di sini: ketinggian. San Francisco adalah kota yang amat berbukit-bukit, dimana ada beberapa bukit di pusat kotanya (Lihat, misalnya, Jalan Lombard di posting bagian II). Jadilah untuk berkeliling kota, aku rasa mengandalkan kaki sendiri bukan lah cara yang paling efisien, haha.

San Francisco yang amat berbukit-bukit.

Di perjalanan ini, aku mencoba untuk mengandalkan transportasi umum semaksimal mungkin (termasuk di LA, di bagian V). Dan menurutku sih transportasi umum di San Francisco lumayan memadai untuk itu.

Transportasi Umum dan Kartu Clipper

Transportasi umum di San Francisco (dan Bay Area) dikelola oleh beberapa perusahaan yang berbeda. Untungnya, ada “Kartu Clipper” yang bisa digunakan di semuanya, termasuk juga kereta BART yang jaringannya terhubung ke Bandara Internasional San Francisco. Kita bisa menggunakan kartunya dengan cara mengisi credit ke dalamnya dan menempelkannya ke mesin sebelum setiap perjalanan.

Sebuah kereta BART di Bandara Internasional San Francisco.

Kartuku aku beli di Bandara Internasional San Francisco ketika aku tiba dari Amsterdam. Lokasinya bisa ditanyakan di meja informasi kok. Ada biaya non-refundable $3 untuk kartunya tetapi menurutku sih ini worth it banget bahkan hanya dengan mempertimbangkan kepraktisannya! Juga, dengan kartunya aku mendapatkan diskon $0,25 dari setiap perjalanan dengan kendaraan yang dioperasikan oleh MUNI (tarif normalnya $2,75) yang juga berlaku selama 90 menit. Iya, aku memang suka kartu ini.

Kartu Clipper

Anyway, ngomongin transportasi umum, jenisnya yang paling populer (dan turistik banget) adalah cable cars yang menyeberangi bukit-bukitnya San Francisco itu. Cable cars ini selalu penuh dengan turis ketika aku di sana! Bahkan, antrian untuk naiknya aja juga panjang banget loh! Walaupun cable cars-nya dioperasikan oleh MUNI, tarif khusus dipasang untuk mode transportasi ini. Bukannya $2,75, tarif satu kali jalannya dipatok $7! Iya loh, seterkenal itu memang! Bahkan ketika tarifnya sudah dipatok 2,5 kali lipat dari mode-mode transportasi lain, tapi masih ramai banget! Haha. Aku nggak naik satu pun sih ketika aku disana, walaupun sebenarnya hotelku berlokasi dekat dengan salah satu pemberhentiannya. Ya soalnya malas sih melihat antriannya yang gila-gilaan itu! Haha 😛

Sebuah cable car di San Francisco

Nah, mode transportasi favoritku justru adalah streetcars-nya! Tarifnya dipatok reguler ($2,75, yang mana aku hanya perlu membayar $2,50 dengan Kartu Clipper), tidak seramai cable cars, dan disainnya kece klasik dengan warna-warna yang lucu gitu! Hahaha 😆

Sebuah street car di San Francisco
Sebuah street car di San Francisco

Jalur favoritku adalah jalur bersejarah F yang memutar mengelilingi bukit-bukitnya dan menghubungkan Fisherman’s Wharf dan Embarcadero dengan Market Street di pusat kota.

Di samping mode-mode transportasi klasik itu, ada banyak pula bus reguler dan subway di kotanya.

Bus 76X menuju Jembatan Golden Gate

Biaya Hidup

Cukup sering aku mampir di supermarket selama di San Francisco. Dan di sana, aku merasa harga-harganya kok cenderung mahal ya. Bahkan, seingatku New York pun nggak segitunya deh mahalnya ketika aku pergi ke sana dua tahun yang lalu!

Ya tapi ini kan mungkin perasaanku aja ya sehingga bisa jadi salah. Jadilah pikiran ini aku simpan sendiri. Sampai Noni (Nyonyasepatu) bertanya kepadaku apakah aku juga merasa San Francisco itu mahal! Haha 😆 . Dan kami setuju bahwa San Francisco itu memang beneran kota yang mahal!

San Francisco

Di perjalanan ini, aku dengar dari beberapa orang yang tinggal di sana bahwa memang biaya hidup di sana memang menanjak naik banget. Jadi kemajuan ekonomi (yang kebanyakan dimotori oleh keberadaan Silicon Valley di dekat sana) dan ukuran kotanya yang relatif kecil membuat permintaan selalu berada di atas penawaran, sehingga otomatis biaya apa-apa juga naik.

Makanan

Ngomongin makanan, aku merasa San Francisco (dan California pada umumnya sih) memiliki keberagaman makanan yang luas banget dari seluruh dunia, terutama Asia Timur! Walaupun begitu, ada satu masakan lokal yang ingin banget aku cobain: clam chowder. Aku langsung mendapatkan kesempatan untuk mencobanya untuk brunch ketika aku berada di Pier 39.

Clam chowder

Dan … supnya memang enak banget!! Tapii, rasa rotinya itu aneh banget untukku, hahaha 😆

Aku juga perhatikan bahwa aku cukup banyak makan masakan Jepang di San Francisco. Aku makan yakitori (bahkan ini adalah makanan pertamaku di sana, haha 😆 ), ramen babi, dan bento! Semuanya enak sih, walaupun masih enak yang aslinya di Asia, haha. Tetapi aku nggak komplain kok dalam hal rasa.

Salad dan Cheetos dari supermarket untuk makan malam.

Ngomongin makan di luar, kebanyakan restoran di San Francisco tutup dong di hari Natal. Masalahnya, masih banyak banget orang yang ingin makan di luar hari itu. Sebagai akibatnya, terbentuklah antrian yang panjangnya gila-gilaan di sedikit restoran yang memilih buka hari itu! Malam itu, aku memutuskan untuk makan makanan supermarket aja soalnya aku ogah antri lama bahkan untuk Burger King doang, haha. Walaupun begitu, ternyata bukan aku saja lho yang memiliki ide ini karena supermarketnya lebih ramai daripada di waktu-waktu lain!

BERSAMBUNG…

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Asia Trip, Southeast Asia, Vacation

#1620 – 2015 SEA Trip (Part IV: Langkawi (2))

ENGLISH

Previous post on the 2015 SEA Trip series:
1. Part I: Bandung.
2. Part II: Kuala Lumpur.
3. Part III: Langkawi (1).

Previously on 2015 SEA Trip: After spending five days in Bandung and two days in Kuala Lumpur, Zilko went to the island of Langkawi in Malaysia with his friends. They spent his first (almost) 24 hours in the island hopping around the beaches of the Malaysian island. Now they are ready to see what more Langkawi offer.

***

Our next agenda was to explore the island of Langkawi beyond Pantai Cenang. So …

Transportation

… first we need to decide how to get around. We dismissed our original plan of hiring a taxi and decided to rent a car ourselves instead, because we found out a good deal at Pantai Cenang for a 12 hour rent! Haha 😆 .

The rent did not include a driver but it did not really matter because the three of us drove (including myself, though I had not been doing that too often in the past five years 😛 ). Map? Well, we were quite confident with our navigation skill. Abroad driving experience? Well, here is what was lacking as none of us had this experience, haha. But we thought it should not be a big problem as the traffic was very similar to Indonesian traffic anyway.

Filling in the gas myself
And I had to fill the gas myself

And being excited for having not driven a lot, I offered myself to do most of the driving today 😀 . And it was my first time ever driving outside Indonesia! 😀

Langkawi Cable Car and Sky Bridge 

Our first destination was the Langkawi Cable Car and Sky Bridge. So there was a Sky Bridge at the top of Mount Mat Chinchang and to get there we should take the (very steep) cable car!

Before getting to the cable car, we were asked to enter the Sky Dome first (already included in the Cable Car ticket). It was a fulldome theater which offered a 10 minute super cool 3D projection of stuffs. Today, the show was about a roller coaster in Mars. And it was amazing! Even though it was just a theatre, our bodies literally felt like we were riding a real roller-coaster! (Thanks to the dome and projection effect!).

A view from the cable car up
A view from the cable car up

After that we got our gondola and went up Mount Mat Chinchang. The view from the gondola was stunning! We stopped for about 15 minutes at the intermediate station where there was a platform to enjoy the view. Then, we took another gondola to get to the top station.

At the top station, we went to another viewing platform (but this time this was the highest) and got another nice outlook of the island. Btw, being at the top of a mountain, I expected the temperature there to be quite cool. But it was not. In fact, it was so scorching hot! Really!! 😦

The skybridge in Langkawi
The skybridge as seen from the top station

From there we walked towards the Sky Bridge. And by walking, I mean trekking down a narrow mountain track for about 15 minutes (one way). Anyway, so we arrived at the Sky Bridge, which was indeed quite cool!  If I had to trek down to get to the Sky Bridge, to come back to the top station I had to trek up! And it was quite tiring but already a good exercise! Haha 😆

The Seven Wells

From the Cable Car and Sky Bridge, we went to the Seven Wells. There were two sites there: the Seven Wells or the waterfall. Somehow I was asked to make a decision regarding which one we would go to, and I chose the Seven Wells. To get to the Seven Wells, however, we had to, again, trek up a long series of stairs! Wow, we were exercising a lot today! Haha 😆 . Oh, btw, the entrance was free! 😀

At the top, there were natural pools (where at one edge it was the top of the waterfall) where people could bath.

The seven wells in Langkawi
The seven wells in Langkawi

We spent about 40 minutes at the pools before going back down. We decided to skip the waterfall because (1) it was just a waterfall, like, we have so many in Indonesia! 😛 and (2) time was ticking.

Kuah

We also visited the town of Kuah, the capital city of Langkawi. The main attraction we wanted to visit there was the “Dataran Lang” (Eagle Square) where a big statue of eagle (the symbol of Langkawi) stood firmly.

Dataran Lang, Langkawi
Dataran Lang, Langkawi

At Kuah, we also visited two malls there, haha. At one of them, we played two other rounds of bowling 😛 .

More of Langkawi

We visited a few more places in Langkawi as well. One of which was Pantai Pasir Tengkorak (the “Skull Sand Beach”). The reason was its super cool, name, lol 😆 . So it turned out to be a small beach with white sand but with a good view.

With the car, we literally circled the island of Langkawi (clock-wise). Doing this made us realize that the island of Langkawi was very small! Haha 😆 . Sites that looked far in a map (our map did not have a scale) turned out to not be very far away. Quite funny!

The Food

Seafood Feast

Seafood dinner
Seafood dinner

While in Langkawi, obviously we had a lot of seafood for our meals, haha. In our first evening, we had dinner at a seafood restaurant in Pantai Cenang. It was quite good, and I certainly liked the salted-egged crab 🙂 . In our third evening, we had dinner at another seafood restaurant near Kuah which a taxi driver recommended us to go. It was also quite good.

Pasar Malam

Our second evening happened to coincide with a pasar malam (night market) near Pantai Cenang. So we decided to pay a visit.

Pasar Malam Pantai Cenang
Pasar Malam Pantai Cenang

It turned out to be a small pasar malam with some food stalls. I bought some food there, of course, and afterwards I got a small dose of tummyache 😆 .

TO BE CONTINUED…

Next on 2015 SEA Trip:
– Back to Singapore
– Gardens by the Bay
– Universal Studio Singapore
– Johor Bahru
– Legoland Malaysia

BAHASA INDONESIA

Posting-posting sebelumnya dalam seri 2015 SEA Trip:
1. Part I: Bandung.
2. Part II: Kuala Lumpur.
3. Part III: Langkawi (1).

Sebelumnya dalam 2015 SEA Trip: Setelah lima hari di Bandung dan dua hari di Kuala Lumpur, Zilko pergi ke pulau Langkawi di Malaysia bersama teman-temannya. Mereka menghabiskan (hampir) 24 jam pertama dengan ber-island-hopping beberapa pantai di pulau tersebut. Sekarang mereka bersiap untuk melihat apa lainnya yang ditawarkan Langkawi.

***

Agenda selanjutnya adalah melihat ada apa sih di pulau Langkawi di luar Pantai Cenang. Jadi …

Transportasi

… pertama-tama jelas kami harus memutuskan bagaimana berkelilingnya kan. Kami membatalkan rencana awal kami untuk menyewa taksi dan memutuskan untuk menyewa mobil sendiri aja, karena kami menemukan persewaan yang harganya oke di Pantai Cenang! Haha 😆 .

Sewanya tidak termasuk sopir sih tapinya tetapi toh tidak masalah karena tiga orang dari kami bisa menyetir mobil kok (termasuk aku, walaupun aku nggak terlalu sering menyetir sih lima tahun terakhir ini 😛 ). Peta? Ah, kami percaya diri kok dengan kemampuan navigasi kami. Pengalaman menyetir di luar negeri? Ya, memang disini kami sama sekali tidak ada pengalamannya, haha. Tetapi kami rasa ini tidak akan menjadi masalah toh lalu-lintasnya mirip sama di Indonesia kok.

Filling in the gas myself
Dan isi bensinnya harus dilakukan sendiri loh

Dan karena masih bersemangat karena sudah lama nggak nyetir, aku menawarkan diri untuk banyak menyetir hari ini 😀 . Dan ini adalah kali pertama aku menyetir mobil di luar Indonesia loh! 😀

Langkawi Cable Car dan Sky Bridge 

Tujuan pertama kami adalah Langkawi Cable Car dan Sky Bridge. Jadi ceritanya ada Sky Bridge gitu di puncak Gununh Mat Chinchang dan untuk naiknya kesana kami harus menaiki kereta gantung (yang terjal banget)!

Nah, sebelum naik kereta gantungnya, kami diminta untuk memasuki Sky Dome dulu (sudah termasuk di dalam tiketnya Cable Car). Ini adalah sebuah teater berbentuk kubah yang menawarkan proyeksi 3D selama 10 menit yang keren. Hari ini, acaranya adalah tentang roller coaster di planet Mars gitu. Dan keren banget lho! Gila! Walaupun cuma teater aja, badan kami benar-benar berasa seperti sedang menaiki roller coaster beneran! (Berkat kubahnya itu dan efek proyektornya!)

A view from the cable car up
Pemandangan ketika kereta gantungnya naik

Setelahnya kami menaiki kereta gantungnya dan naik ke atas Gunung Mat Chinchang. Pemandangan dari kereta gantungnya keren banget! Kami turun di stasiun tengahnya dan berada disana selama sekitar 15 menit untuk menikmati pemandangannya. Lalu, kami menaiki kereta gantung lainnya untuk naik ke stasiun paling atas.

Di stasiun paling atas, kami menaiki platform panorama lagi (tetapi ini yang paling tinggi nih) dan mendapatkan pemandangan pulaunya yang bagus banget. Btw, karena di atas gunung, aku kira suhu udaranya bakal lumayan adem kan ya. Ternyata engga loh. Malah temperaturnya panas banget gila menyengat! Beneran!! 😦

The skybridge in Langkawi
Skybridge seperti terlihat dari stasiun paling atas

Dari sana kami berjalan ke arah Sky Bridge-nya. Dan dengan berjalan, maksudku adalah trekking turun melewati jalan setapak di pegunungan gitu selama 15an menit (sekali jalan). Dan tibalah kami di Sky Bridge-nya yang memang keren! Btw, jika kami harus trekking turun untuk ke Sky Bridge-nya, ini artinya kami harus naik dong ya untuk kembali ke stasiunnya! Ih! Ya udah deh lumayan kan buat berolahraga! haha 😆 .

Telaga Tujuh

Dari Cable Car dan Sky Bridge, kami pergi ke Telaga Tujuh. Ada dua tempat tujuan disana: Telaga Tujuhnya sendiri atau air terjunnya. Entah bagaimana kok aku yang diminta untuk membuat keputusan kami mau kemana dulu, dan ya udah aku memilih Telaga Tujuh aja. Untuk ke Telaga Tujuh tapinya, kami harus, lagi-lagi, berjalan mendaki ke atas gunung loh dengan melewati banyak banget anak tangga! Yaa, memang kami banyak olahraganya hari ini, haha 😆 . Oh btw, masuknya gratis loh! 😀

Di atas, ada telaga-telaga kecil alami (dimana di satu ujungnya itu adalah bagian atas air terjunnya gitu deh) dimana orang-orang bisa mandi-mandi.

The seven wells in Langkawi
Telaga Tujuh di Langkawi

Kami menghabiskan sekitar 40 menit di telaga-telaganya itu sebelum turun. Kami memutuskan untuk melewatkan air terjunnya karena (1) toh cuma air terjun doang, di Indonesia kan banyak ya! 😛 dan (2) alasan waktu.

Kuah

Eh kami juga mengunjungi Kuah loh, kota utamanya Langkawi. Atraksi utama yang ingin kami kunjungi disana adalah “Dataran Lang” yang mana disana terdapat sebuah patung elang besar (simbolnya Langkawi) yang berdiri kokoh.

Dataran Lang, Langkawi
Dataran Lang, Langkawi

Di Kuah, kami juga mengunjungi dua buah mall disana, haha. Di salah satunya, kami main bowling dua ronde lagi 😛 .

Lebih Banyak dari Langkawi

Kami mengunjungi beberapa tempat lain di Langkawi juga. Salah satunya adalah Pantai Pasir Tengkorak. Alasannya kami memilihnya adalah karena namanya kan keren gitu ya, kayak nama siluman apa gitu di Kera Sakti, hahaha 😆 . Ternyata pantai ini adalah pantai kecil dengan pasir putih yang pemandangannya indah.

Dengan mobil kami, kami juga melingkari pulaunya loh (searah jarum jam). Dengan begini, kami jadi menyadari betapa kecilnya pulau Langkawi ini! Haha 😆 . Tempat yang nampak jauh di peta (peta kami nggak ada skalanya memang) ternyata nggak jauh-jauh amat aslinya. Hahaha

Makanannya

Pesta Seafood

Seafood dinner
Makan malam seafood

Mumpung di Langkawi, jelas kami harus banyak makan seafood dong ya, haha. Di malam pertama, kami makan seafood di sebuah restoran seafood di Pantai Cenang. Enak juga, terutama aku suka kepiting ikan asinnya 🙂 . Di malam ketiga, kami makan malam dengan seafood lagi di sebuah restoran di dekat Kuah yang direkomendasikan oleh seorang sopir taksi. Rasanya juga enak.

Pasar Malam

Malam kedua kami kebetulan bertepatan dengan waktunya pasar malam di dekat Pantai Cenang. Ya udah kami kesana.

Pasar Malam Pantai Cenang
Pasar Malam Pantai Cenang

Ternyata ini hanya lah sebuah pasar malam kecil dengan beberapa penjaja makanan. Aku membeli beberapa makanan disana, jelas, dan setelahnya langsung dong aku sedikit sakit perut, hahaha 😆 .

BERSAMBUNG…

Selanjutnya dalam 2015 SEA Trip:
– Kembali ke Singapura
– Gardens by the Bay
– Universal Studio Singapore
– Johor Bahru
– Legoland Malaysia

Asia Trip, East Asia, Vacation

#1553 – 2015 Spring Trip (Part V: Sapporo)

ENGLISH

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

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 met his parents and brother. After staying in Tokyo for twelve days, he flew north to the city of Hakodate in Hokkaido. After one night there, he was ready to go to the largest city in Hokkaido, Sapporo.

***

Getting to Sapporo

The train route map from Hakodate to Sapporo
The train route map from Hakodate to Sapporo

From Hakodate, we took the train to go to Sapporo, the largest city in Hokkaido. Btw, the rail transport in Hokkaido was ancient in comparison to the ultra modern rail transport in Honshu Island. For instance, there was no Shinkansen (bullet train) service in Hokkaido, even though as of 2015 they were constructing an extension of the Tohoku Shinkansen to Hakodate so later on Tokyo and Hakodate would be connected by this bullet train.

Anyway, to go to Sapporo, we decided to take the Super Hokuto Express which departed at 12:29 PM. The train looked like this btw:

The Super Hokuto Express
The Super Hokuto Express

Quite cool, wasn’t it? 😀 As I said, the 315 km distance between Hakodate and Sapporo was covered in just 3.5 hours with this Super Hokuto Express. Well, actually not that ancient if I think about it, but it just fell short if I compared it with what I could find in Honshu Island, haha 😛 .

Anyway, the train arrived in Sapporo late according to my watch. By how long? Well, 20 seconds, haha 😛 . #firstworldproblem #Japaneseproblem

Otaru

Otaru
Otaru

During our stay in Sapporo, we actually also went on a one-day trip to the town of Otaru just to the north west of Sapporo. On our way to Otaru, we planned to take the train. But there was a disruption on the track between Sapporo and Otaru so they could not run the train all the way to Otaru.

Oh, we knew this only because there was an extremely nice Japanese lady who was, in her own initiative, approached us and helped us! Seriously! We did not ask for any help (yet) but she just came to us and explained the situation! HOW NICE OF HER!! 😯 Apparently she was also going to Otaru. Upon knowing that we were going to Otaru as well, she offered us if we wanted to go with her and her family together by bus. Of course we agreed. And btw, she also helped us adjust our Suica Card balance because of this train fiasco.

So long story short, we arrived at Otaru and had to say goodbye to the nice Japanese lady and her family. We wandered around the town of Otaru. To me, Otaru was a nice little town with a lot more tourists than Hakodate, haha 😆 . Oh, and while in Otaru, despite the 6°C temperature, I felt like having a cone of ice cream. So I went to one, and bought a cone. Yes, just a cone, like this:

Technically a cone of ice cream ;)
Technically a cone of ice cream 😉

Huahaha 😆 .

The ice cream was delicious btw, with eight different flavors at once, haha 😆 .

Sapporo

Being the largest city in Hokkaido, Sapporo was not like Tokyo. Despite all the skyscrapers and towers, it was still nothing like Tokyo. It felt more subdued and calm, not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion. But if you expect a big and crowded city with “life” practically everywhere, Sapporo is not your city.

The TV Tower of Sapporo
The TV Tower of Sapporo

Anyway, what we really liked from Sapporo was its brilliant 500 meter underground walkway which stretched from Sapporo Station to Odori. The weather was not the best when we were in Sapporo (read: it was very windy and was raining a lot). It happened that just outside of our hotel, there was an entrance to this underground walkway. So it helped a lot that we did not have to physically fight the wind and rain for some distance, haha 😆 .

The Historic Village of Hokkaido

In Sapporo, we went to the Historic Village of Hokkaido (Kaitaku no mura) in the suburb of Sapporo because why not, haha 😆 . To get there we took the subway to Shin-Sapporo station and from there the bus number 22 to Kaitaku no mura. It turned out that we had a bit of too much expectation on this site, haha. We felt a little bit underwhelmed there. It was not bad though, but we just somehow expected more.

Enjoying tea at a traditional Japanese house
Enjoying tea at a traditional Japanese house

It was actually quite a nice place with a lot of different old buildings from all regions in Hokkaido. Even some had some history and story which they told. And we could enter some of them and, of course, took some pictures, haha 😆 .

Shiroi Koibito

The beautiful Shiroi Koibito in Sapporo
The beautiful Shiroi Koibito in Sapporo

If we were feeling underwhelmed in Kaitaku no mura, we actually were nicely surprised in Shiroi Koibito where it was actually much nicer than what we expected! 😆 . Shiroi Koibito was a chocolate factory in the west part of Sapporo.

And you know what, upon entering the place, I felt like I was in Willy Wonka‘s chocolate factory! So there was this Tudor-styled garden which people could enter for FREE, and it was very beautiful! On top of that, every hour, there was a show in the garden every hour where the things in the garden, like the statues, dolls, trash cans, etc, actually “performed”. Seriously, it was magical!

The show
The show

There, we also decided to go into the museum, where this one was not free. But inside it was actually really cool where we got to see some parts of the factory through a few of large windows. And the factory was super cool with all these machines and workers. The museum itself was very nice where, at first, they explained about chocolate and stuffs. But later on, they showcased the hobbies and collections of the owner’ (I think) family in several different rooms based on the types. For instance, there was the gramophone room, then the sport room, then the (Japanese) modern toys room, etc. Really cool!

Mount Moiwa

In Sapporo, just like Hakodate, we could also go to the top of a small mountain and see the skyline of the city from there. We could do this in Mount Moiwa. To get there, we took the streetcar and got off at Ropeway Iriguchi. From there, we could either walk to the station or took the FREE shuttle bus service. Obviously we took the shuttle bus, haha 😆

Sapporo as seen from Mount Moiwa
Sapporo as seen from Mount Moiwa

To get to the top, we had to take two cable cars. The second one was quite unique because the cable car was not actually hanging, haha 😆 . Anyway, the view from the top of Mount Moiwa was indeed really good, especially because we did it in the evening where the light had been on. And indeed Sapporo was a much bigger city than Hakodate. However, actually I still found the view in Mount Hakodate to be more breathaking though just because of Hakodate’s unique geography.

The Food

The food that I had been wanting to try badly in Sapporo was the genghis khan. Indeed I already had one in Hakodate but of course I was still curious with the one in Sapporo.

The Genghis Khan in Sapporo Bier Garten

Once I read a review of a good genghis khan meal in Sapporo Bier Garten. So after our day trip to Otaru, we decided to go there. It turned out there were three genghis khan restaurant in there. We went to the one which they recommended, which was inside the brewery building.

Apparently there was a good offer for the all you can eat genghis khan menu, so we decided to go for it, haha. Luckily they let my mom, who did not eat that much, to not buy the all you can eat menu and just ordered a normal-sized meal on her own.

Cooking genghis khan
Cooking genghis khan

Genghis khan was basically a Hokkaido-style barbeque and in Sapporo Bier Garten, we grilled the meat ourselves. And it was SO delicious! Haha 😆 . And oh, I ate a lot today and I blamed this on the all you can eat menu because with this I tend to want to eat more, haha 😛 .

A nice restaurant in Sapporo

There was a low-key small restaurant in Sapporo which was really good. It was really good that we actually dined there twice. Yeah, twice! 🙂 They offered quite some varieties of Japanese food, like crab, fried chicken, fried shrimp, beef steak, etc. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the restaurant even though they did tell me once and actually gave me their name card (but I lost it and the name card was only written in Japanese anyway). But this restaurant was just accross the Sapporo Clock Tower.

A nice dinner at a low-key restaurant in Sapporo
A nice dinner at a low-key restaurant in Sapporo

Sukiya

For our breakfast, Sukiya gyudon was our hero because they opened 24 hour, haha 😆 . And the gyudon was definitely really good and very affordable. They actually had a few varieties of gyudon and I tried some of them. The basic one was good, but my favorite was the rich cheese gyudon 🙂 .

TO BE CONTINUED…

Next on 2015 Spring Trip:
– Flying to Kansai
– The city of Osaka
– The palace in Kyoto
– The temple in Kyoto
– Back to the Netherlands

BAHASA INDONESIA

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

Sebelumnya dalam 2015 Spring Trip: Zilko pergi ke Jepang dalam rangka sebuah konferensi dimana ia memperpanjang masa tinggalnya disana dimana ia bertemu dengan orangtua dan adiknya. Setelah tinggal di Tokyo selama dua belas hari, ia terbang ke utara ke kota Hakodate di Hokkaido. Setelah menginaps satu malam, kini ia siap untuk pergi ke kota terbesar di Hokkaido, Sapporo.

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Pergi ke Sapporo

The train route map from Hakodate to Sapporo
Peta rute kereta dari Hakodate ke Sapporo

Dari Hakodate, kami naik kereta untuk pergi ke Sapporo, kota terbesar di Hokkaido. Btw, sistem transportasi kereta api di Hokkaido itu kuno banget loh dibandingkan dengan sistem transportasi kereta api yang ultra modern di pulau Honshu. Contohnya, tidak ada Shinkansen (kereta peluru) di Hokkaido, walaupun per tahun 2015 ini mereka sedang membangun perpanjangan infrastruktur untuk Shinkansen Tohoku sih sehingga nantinya Tokyo dan Hakodate akan terhubungkan oleh kereta peluru ini.

Anyway, untuk pergi ke Sapporo, kami memutuskan untuk naik kereta ekspress Super Hokuto yang berangkat jam 12:29 siang. Keretanya nampak kayak gini btw:

The Super Hokuto Express
Kereta ekspres Super Hokuto

Keren ya? 😀 Seperti yang aku bilang, jarak 315 km antara Hakodate dan Sapporo ditempuh dalam waktu 3,5 jam dengan Super Hokuto. Sebenarnya nggak kuno-kuno banget sih ya kalau dipikir-pikir lagi, tetapi memang kontras banget kalau dibandingkan dengan apa yang bisa aku temukan di pulau Honshu, haha 😛 .

Btw, kereta kami terlambat dong sampainya di Sapporo menurutku jamku. Terlambat berapa lama memangnya? Umm, 20 detik, hahahaha 😆 😛 . #firstworldproblem #masalahorangJepang

Otaru

Otaru
Otaru

Di waktu kami di Sapporo, kami juga pergi satu hari ke kota Otaru di barat lautnya Sapporo. Untuk ke Otaru, kami memutuskan untuk naik kereta. Tetapi ternyata sedang ada gangguan di rel di antara Sapporo dan Otaru sehingga keretanya tidak bisa dioperasikan hingga Otaru.

Oh, kami tahu informasi ini karena ada seorang ibu-ibu orang Jepang yang, berdasarkan inisiatifnya sendiri, mendatangi dan membantu kami! Serius! Kami tidak bertanya apa-apa lho tetapi ia langsung datang ke kami dan menjelaskan situasinya! BAIK BANGET YA!! 😯 Ternyata ia juga akan pergi ke Otaru. Dan setelah mengetahui bahwa kami akan ke Otaru juga, ia menawarkan apakah kami ingin ikut ia dan keluarganya untuk bersama-sama ke Otaru naik bus. Tentu saja kami setuju. Dan btw, ia juga membantu kami untuk menyesuaikan balance di Kartu Suica kami lho akibat permasalahan dengan kereta ini.

Singkat cerita, kami tiba di Otaru dan harus berpisah dengan ibu-ibu orang Jepang dan keluarganya yang baik hati itu. Kami berjalan-jalan di Otaru. Untukku, Otaru adalah kota kecil yang indah dan ada lebih banyak turis disana daripada di Hakodate, haha 😆 . Oh, dan ketika di Otaru, walaupun waktu itu suhu udaranya 6°C, aku memutuskan untuk makan satu cone es krim. Ya, cuma satu cone aja kok, kayak gini:

Technically a cone of ice cream ;)
Secara teknis ini satu cone es krim kan ya 😉

Huahaha 😆 .

Es krimnya enak lho btw, dengan delapan rasa yang berbeda sekaligus, haha 😆 .

Sapporo

Sebagai kota terbesar di Hokkaido, Sapporo berbeda sekali dari Tokyo. Walaupun ada banyak menara yang tinggi disana, suasananya sama sekali berbeda dari Tokyo. Rasanya lebih sepi dan kalem gitu. Jadi kalau kita mencari kota yang ramai dengan banyak “kehidupan” dimana-mana, Sapporo bukanlah kota yang kita cari.

The TV Tower of Sapporo
Menara TV di Sapporo

Dan yang aku suka dari Sapporo adalah koridor bawah tanah sepanjang 500 meter yang merupakan ide yang super brilian dari Stasiun Sapporo ke Odori. Cuaca ketika kami disana waktu itu tidak bersahabat (baca: amat berangin dan hujan deras). Kebetulan banget di luar hotel kami ada pintu masuk ke koridor bawah tanah ini. Jadi ini sangat membantu banget dong ya sehingga kami tidak harus melawan angin dan hujannya, haha 😆 .

The Historic Village of Hokkaido

Di Sapporo, kami mampir di Historic Village of Hokkaido (Kaitaku no mura) di pinggiran kota Sapporo, haha 😆 . Untuk kesana, kami menaiki subway ke stasiun Shin-Sapporo dan dari sana naik bus nomor 22 ke Kaitaku no mura. Ternyata kami memiliki ekspektasi yang terlalu berlebihan dengan tempat ini, haha. Kami merasa agak kecewa deh jadinya. Nggak jelek sih tempatnya sebenarnya, tetapi kami memiliki ekspektasi yang agak berlebihan saja.

Enjoying tea at a traditional Japanese house
Menikmati teh di sebuah rumah tradisional Jepang

Sebenarnya tempatnya lumayan bagus juga kok dengan beberapa bangunan tua dari berbagai daerah di Hokkaido. Bahkan beberapa di antaranya memiliki sejarah dan cerita yang bisa diceritakan. Dan kita bisa masuk juga loh dan, tentu, foto-foto, haha 😆 .

Shiroi Koibito

The beautiful Shiroi Koibito in Sapporo
Shiroi Koibito yang indah di Sapporo

Jika kami merasa agak kecewa di Kaitaku no mura, kami mengalami yang sebaliknya di Shiroi Koibito dimana tempatnya lebih bagus daripada sangkaan kami! 😆 . Btw, Shiroi Koibito adalah sebuah pabrik coklat di barat Sapporo.

Dan ketika memasuki tempatnya, aku merasa seperti di pabrik coklatnya Willy Wonka loh! Jadi disana ada taman bertemakan Tudor yang bisa dimasuki dengan GRATIS dan tamannya indah loh! Di samping itu, setiap jam juga ada show gitu di tamannya, dimana patung-patung, boneka-boneka, tempat sampah, dll-nya, “tampil”. Serius, keren banget!

The show
Salah satu show-nya

Disana, kami memutuskan untuk memasuki museumnya, yang mana kalau ini nggak gratis ya,. Tetapi di dalamnya sungguh keren loh dimana kami juga bisa melihat beberapa bagian pabriknya melalui beberapa jendela besar. Dan pabriknya keren loh dimana ada banyak mesin-mesin yang keren gitu. Museumnya sendiri lumayan bagus dimana di awalnya berupa penjelasan mengenai coklat. Selanjutnya, dipamerkan koleksi-koleksi keluarga pemilik pabriknya (aku duga) dalam beberapa ruangan dan sesuai tema. Misalnya aja, ada ruangan khusus untuk gramofon, ruangan olahraga, dan ruangan mainan modern (Jepang), dll. Keren!

Mount Moiwa

Di Sapporo, seperti di Hakodate, kita juga bisa naik ke puncah gunung kecil dan melihat pemandangan kota Sapporo dari atas. Untuk ini, kita bisa melakukannya di Mount Moiwa. Untuk kesana, kami naik streetcar dan turun di Ropeway Iriguchi. Dari sana, kita bisa berjalan kaki ke stasiunnya atau naik shuttle bus GRATIS. Jelas kami naik shuttle bus-nya dong ya, haha 😆 .

Sapporo as seen from Mount Moiwa
Sapporo terlihat dari Mount Moiwa

Untuk naik kesana, kami harus naik dua kereta gantung. Kereta gantung yang kedua unik sih karena keretanya tidak menggantung, haha 😆 . Pemandangan dari Mount Moiwa memang bagus banget, terutama karena kami naiknya di malam hari dimana lampu-lampu sudah dinyalakan. Dan memang Sapporo lebih besar daripada Hakodate. Namun, menurutku pemandangan dari Mount Hakodate masih lebih bagus akibat geografi uniknya Hakodate.

Makanannya

Makanan yang sudah ingin banget aku coba di Sapporo adalah genghis khan. Memang aku sudah mencicipinya di Hakodate, tetapi aku masih penasaran dengan yang di Sapporo.

Genghis Khan di Sapporo Bier Garten

Suatu waktu aku membaca review rumah makan yang menyediakan genghis khan yang enak di Sapporo Bier Garten. Jadilah setelah perjalanan kami ke Otaru, kami pergi kesana. Ternyata disana ada tiga rumah makan yang semuanya menyediakan genghis khan, haha. Kami pergi ke rumah makan yang mereka rekomendasikan, yaitu di dalamnya gedung brewery (tempat pembuatan bir).

Ternyata waktu itu ada penawaran menarik untuk menu genghis khan all you can eat. Jadilah kami memilihnya. Untungnya juga mereka membolehkan mamaku, yang tidak bisa makan banyak, untuk tidak membeli menu all you can eat dan ia bisa memesan menu ukuran biasa.

Cooking genghis khan
Memasak genghis khan

Genghis khan pada dasarnya adalah sebuah barbeque ala Hokkaido dan di Sapporo Bier Garten, kita bisa memanggang dagingnya sendiri loh. Dan rasanya memang enak BANGET! Haha 😆 . Oh, dan aku makan banyak banget hari ini dan ini gara-gara menu all you can eat karena dengan menu ini aku jadi ingin makan banyak kan biar nggak rugi, haha 😛 .

Restoran yang enak di Sapporo

Ada sebuah restoran kecil di Sapporo yang enak banget. Enak banget sampai-sampai kami makan disana dua kali loh. Iya, dua kali! 🙂 Mereka menawarkan berbagai macam masakan Jepang, seperti kepiting, ayam goreng, udang goreng, steak sapi, dll. Sayangnya, aku tidak ingat nama restorannya walaupun mereka memberi-tahuku dan bahkan memberiku kartu nama (tetapi kartu namanya hilang dan dalam bahasa Jepang sih). Tetapi lokasi restoran ini adalah di dekatnya Menara Jam Sapporo.

A nice dinner at a low-key restaurant in Sapporo
Makan malam enak di sebuah restoran kecil di Sapporo

Sukiya

Untuk sarapan, Sukiya gyudon adalah pahlawan kami karena rumah makannya buka 24 jam, haha 😆 . Dan gyudonnya memang enak banget dan harganya murah. Mereka menjual berbagai macam gyudon dan aku mencoba beberapa di antaranya. Gyudon biasanya juga enak sih, tetapi favoritku adalah rich cheese gyudon 🙂 .

BERSAMBUNG…

Selanjutnya dalam 2015 Spring Trip:
– Terbang ke Kansai
– Kota Osaka
– Istana di Kyoto
– Kuil di Kyoto
– Kembali ke Belanda

Asia Trip, East Asia, Vacation

#1552 – 2015 Spring Trip (Part IV: Hakodate)

ENGLISH

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

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 met his parents and brother. After staying in Tokyo for twelve days, it was time for him to leave the city and fly north to the island of Hokkaido.

In total, I spent four days in Hokkaido and so the story is divided over two posts.

***

Getting to Hokkaido (Hakodate)

We decided that the first city in Hokkaido to visit was the third largest city in Hokkaido, Hakodate, which was located at almost the south tip of the island. The reason was simple, it seemed more convenient to do so because geographically it was closer to Tokyo than, say, Sapporo. Plus, we also read a few positive articles about Hakodate so we were curious about it.

The flight route map today from Tokyo - Haneda (HND) to Hakodate (HKD). Map created with: gcmap.com
The flight route map today from Tokyo – Haneda (HND) to Hakodate (HKD). Map created with: gcmap.com

Originally we planned to take the trains (yes, plural) to get to Hakodate; but upon further research, I calculated that the optimal solution (price-wise and time-wise) for our trip was to use the “Air Pass” ticket (more about this in a later post); which means that we would fly to Hakodate. Well, much to my delight of course 😉 .

And to get there, we would fly with All Nippon Airways (ANA) so it would be my first time this year to fly with a Star Alliance member, haha 😆 . Speaking of which, I found it cool that my last three flights up to this point were with members of three different airlines alliance: (1) Amsterdam – Paris with KLM (SkyTeam); then (2) Paris – Tokyo-Narita with Japan Airlines (Oneworld); and now (3) Tokyo-Haneda – Hakodate with ANA (Star Alliance), haha 😆 .

ANA's Boeing 777-200 reg JA 8198 which would bring me to Hakodate as NH553 today
ANA’s Boeing 777-200 reg JA 8198 which would bring me to Hakodate as NH553 today

Another reason I was excited today was that the flight would be operated with a Boeing 777-200!! Yes, on the short domestic sector from Tokyo to Hakodate, ANA operated a Boeing 777-200 which could carry 405 passengers! 😯

Anyway, long story short, we checked-in and walked to the gate. Oh, I found Tokyo-Haneda Airport to be more aesthetically beautiful in the eyes than Tokyo-Narita Airport btw. At 10 AM, we boarded our plane: the 19 year old Boeing 777-200 reg JA8198 flight NH 553 to Hakodate. It was not a busy day today, where I estimated the flight was just around 20 – 30% full.

See you, Tokyo!!!!
See you, Tokyo!!!!

Then, we took off from runway 34R of Tokyo-Haneda Airport. The flight itself was quite uneventful as the Boeing 777-200 was not equipped with any IFE. The service on board was just complimentary drinks (but the flight attendants were so cute btw 😛 ). About 1 hour and 20 minutes later, we landed at runway 12 of Hakodate Airport. Here is the landing video:

Hakodate

Despite being the third largest city in Hokkaido, Hakodate was a very quiet city. It was definitely not like Tokyo where anywhere you turned around, you would see some activities. Okay, it is probably not really proper to use the word “quiet” here because of the negative nuance that the word brings; instead “serene” or “peaceful” are probably more fitting, haha 😆 .

The city of Hakodate
Serene afternoon in Hakodate
Seafood in Hokkaido
Seafood in Hokkaido

But seriously though, it was also nice to travel somewhere where there was no other tourist around. With the exception of the super famous Mount Hakodate Ropeway (I will get to this shortly), I barely found any other tourist in the city. But the problem was, there was not much going on in the city itself too. While there was almost no tourist in the city, I also do not recall seeing a lot of activities by the locals in Hakodate. When we strolled around the city randomly (Okay, not really “randomly” though. We did take the route randomly but it was still towards the Mount Hakodate Ropeway, haha), we also did not see a lot of people. Probably most of them were having their life inside though because it was still quite cold in Hokkaido in early April.

Mount Hakodate Ropeway

One place in Hakodate which we knew we must visit was the Mount Hakodate Ropeway where we could take a cable car to go to the top of Mount Hakodate. So the geography of Hakodate was extremely unique where the city was sandwiched by two curvy bays. So if we could somehow see it from above PLUS doing that in the evening when the light had been turned on, that would be amazing, wouldn’t it be? And the answer to that was, indeed, the top of Mount Hakodate. You see, indeed the geography of Hakodate was really unique with two bays and a small mountain just literally next to it, haha.

My. Hakodate Ropeway
Mt. Hakodate Ropeway

Anyway, we arrived at the ropeway station in the city a little bit earlier than expected. But whatever, we bought a return ticket each and went straight up to the top. Because we were early, the cable car was almost empty at the time of our ride. Beside us, there was just one other guy who was going up, haha 😆 .

So we were up there, took a few pictures of the city during the day, and looked around at the shop. We noticed there was a cafe which we figured would have provided extremely beautiful view of the city. It was still closed by the time we were there but there was an announcement that they would open at 4:30 PM. It was 4 PM already and we were okay with waiting a little bit. But then it turned out the cafe opened at 5 PM, haha 😦 .

It was coffee time in Hakodate!!
It was coffee time in Hakodate!!

But indeed the view from the cafe was stunning btw. We chose the table that was just next to the window facing the city. So we could enjoy the view by relaxing on the nice table. We were there until around 7 PM, just after the sunset so indeed we witnessed how the view dramatically change from the day view to the night view. It was quite cool!

Hakodate during the day
Hakodate during the day
Hakodate with its geographically unique location. The city faces two sides of sea
The iconic night view of Hakodate

We went out the cafe and found out that the station had been packed with tourists! Haha 😆 . Indeed the best time to visit Mount Hakodate Ropeway was during the dark so this was why. We went up one more time and took some other pictures before finally going down with the cable car. Btw, on the way down, unsurprisingly, the cable car was packed as well 🙂 .

The Morning Market

Being famous for its seafood, apparently Hakodate’s morning market (which obviously only opened in the morning) was also an attraction to visit. We visited it a little bit only to find out that the price there, even though being only a “market”, was actually quite outrageous. Some were even more expensive than the price we would find in a restaurant!

Hakodate Morning Market
Hakodate Morning Market
Hakodate Morning Market
Hakodate Morning Market

But anyway, it was still quite nice to see the array of seafood products which they sold there. Boy they had giant crabs over there which looked so delicious!

The Food

We did not try a lot of Japanese food while we were in Hakodate because (1) we only stayed there for one night; and (2) as I said above, there appeared to be no life in the city so we felt it was a little bit difficult to find an inviting restaurant. In fact, two of our meals there were in KFC and McDonald’s, lol 😆 .

Salmon roe
Salmon roe

But luckily, at least we still got a “proper” dinner in our only evening there, where unsurprisingly we decided to have dinner at a seafood restaurant. My brother ordered literally a box of salmon roe, which apparently came with rice underneath (lol 😆 ); and I have to say that I just could not enjoy it. He said it was good though; so probably salmon roe was just not my cup of tea. I myself chose to play it safe by ordering a genghis khan (it was actually the name of the dish 😆 ), a popular dish from Hokkaido which I knew I would want to try. It was quite good, even though at the time I couldn’t wait to compare it with the one in Sapporo.

Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan

TO BE CONTINUED…

Next on 2015 Spring Trip:
– Sapporo
– Otaru
– Kyoto
– Osaka
– Back to the Netherlands

BAHASA INDONESIA

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

Sebelumnya dalam 2015 Spring Trip: Zilko pergi ke Jepang untuk sebuah konferensi dimana ia akan memperpanjang masa tinggalnya di Jepang setelah konferensinya selesai dimana ia bertemu dengan orangtua dan adiknya. Setelah tinggal di Tokyo selama dua belas hari, sudah waktunya baginya untuk meninggalkan kotanya dan terbang ke utara ke pulau Hokkaido.

Totalnya, aku menghabiskan empat hari di Hokkaido dan ceritanya aku bagi ke dua posting.

***

Pergi ke Hokkaido (Hakodate)

Kami memutuskan bahwa kota pertama di Hokkaido yang akan kami kunjungi adalah kota terbesar ketiga di Hokkaido, Hakodate, yang terletak di ujung selatan pulaunya. Alasannya sederhana saja sih, karena secara geografis kotanya nampak enak karena lokasinya lebih dekat ke Tokyo daripada, katakanlah, Sapporo. Apalagi, aku membaca banyak artikel tentang Hakodate yang membuatku penasaran dengan kota ini.

The flight route map today from Tokyo - Haneda (HND) to Hakodate (HKD). Map created with: gcmap.com
Rute penerbangan hari ini dari Tokyo – Haneda (HND) ke Hakodate (HKD). Peta dibuat dengan: gcmap.com

Awalnya rencana kami adalah naik dua kereta untuk pergi ke Hakodate; tetapi setelah aku riset lebih jauh, solusi optimal bagi perjalanan kami (dari segi biaya dan waktu) adalah dengan menggunakan tiket “Air Pass” (akan aku jelaskan lebih mendetail di sebuah posting yang akan datang); yang mana artinya kami akan naik pesawat loh ke Hakodatenya. Jelas aku senang banget dong 😉 .

Dan untuk kesana, kami akan terbang dengan maskapai All Nippon Airways (ANA) yang mana artinya ini akan menjadi kali pertama tahun ini aku terbang dengan maskapai anggotanya Star Alliance, haha 😆 . Ngomong-ngomong, aku rasa keren juga lho bahwa tiga penerbangan terakhirku hingga saat itu adalah dengan tiga maskapai dari tiga aliansi yang berbeda: (1) Amsterdam – Paris dengan KLM (SkyTeam); lalu (2) Paris – Tokyo-Narita dengan Japan Airlines (Oneworld); dan sekarang (3) Tokyo-Haneda – Hakodate dengan ANA (Star Alliance), haha 😆 .

ANA's Boeing 777-200 reg JA 8198 which would bring me to Hakodate as NH553 today
Sebuah Boeing 777-200 milik ANA dengan registrasi JA8198 yang akan membawaku ke Hakodate hari ini sebagai NH553

Satu alasan lain aku senang dengan penerbangan hari ini adalah karena penerbangannya akan dioperasikan dengan pesawat Boeing 777-200 loh!! Iya, di penerbangan sektor domestik jarak pendek ini ANA mengoperasikan Boeing 777-200 loh yang kapasitasnya 405 kursi! 😯

Singkat cerita, kami check-in dan berjalan ke gerbang keberangkatan. Oh, aku merasa bahwa Bandara Tokyo-Haneda itu lebih enak dipandang mata daripada Bandara Tokyo-Narita loh btw. Jam 10 pagi, kami naik pesawatnya: sebuah Boeing 777-200 yang berumur 19 tahun dengan registrasi JA8198 dengan nomor penerbangan NH553 ke Hakodate. Penerbangan hari ini cukup sepi, dimana pesawatnya aku kira hanya terisi sekitar 20 – 30% saja.

See you, Tokyo!!!!
Sampai jumpa, Tokyo!!!!

Lalu, kami lepas landas dari landasan pacu 34R Bandara Tokyo-Haneda. Penerbangannya sendiri sih biasa-biasa saja dan cenderung uneventful karena Boeing 777-200-nya tidak dilengkapi dengan IFE. Servis di dalam penerbangannya juga hanyalah minuman saja (eh tetapi pramugarinya cute-cute loh). Sekitar 1 jam 20 menit kemudian, kami mendarat di landasan pacu 12 Bandara Hakodate. Berikut ini video pendaratannya:

Hakodate

Walaupun merupakan kota terbesar ketiga di Hokkaido, Hakodate adalah kota yang sepi. Jelas berbeda banget dari Tokyo dimana kemanapun kita memalingkan muka, kita akan melihat orang-orang beraktivitas. Oke, mungkin kata “sepi” bukanlah kata yang tepat untuk digunakan disini karena nuansa negatif yang dibawanya; jadi mungkin kata “tenang” dan “damai” mungkin lebih tepat, haha 😆

The city of Hakodate
Siang yang tenang di Hakodate
Seafood in Hokkaido
Seafood di Hokkaido

Eh, serius lho, seru juga jalan-jalan ke sebuah tempat dimana tidak ada turis lain yang berkeliaran, haha. Dengan mengecualikan Mount Hakodate Ropeway (ini akan aku bahas segera), aku nyaris tidak melihat keberadaan turis lain loh di kota ini. Tetapi masalahnya adalah, tidak terlalu ada banyak kegiatan lain yang nampak berlangsung di kota ini juga. Ketika kami berjalan-jalan random di kotanya (Oke, nggak random juga sih. Walaupun memang kami asal mengambil jalan tetapi arahnya adalah ke arah Mount Hakodate Ropeway, haha), kami tidak melihat ada banyak orang. Mungkin sih kehidupan disana lebih banyak di dalam ruangan ya mengingat waktu itu, di bulan April, masih cukup dingin di Hokkaido.

Mount Hakodate Ropeway

Satu tempat di Hakodate yang kami tahu harus kami kunjungi adalah Mount Hakodate Ropeway dimana kami bisa menaiki kereta gantung ke puncak Gunung Hakodate. Jadi secara geografis kota Hakodate itu amatlah unik dimana kotanya diapit oleh dua pantai yang berbeda yang lekukannya aduhai *apaseh*. Jadi kalau kita bisa melihatnya dari atas, somehow gitu, DITAMBAH LAGI dengan suasana malam hari ketika lampu kotanya sudah dinyalakan, pasti keren banget kan ya? Dan jawaban untuk itupertanyaan ini adalah puncak Gunung Hakodate. Nah kan, geografinya Hakodate ini memang sungguh unik dengan dua pantai itu dan sebuah gunung kecil tepat di sebelah kotanya, haha.

My. Hakodate Ropeway
Mt. Hakodate Ropeway

Kami tiba di stasiun kereta gantungnya agak lebih awal dari yang kami perkirakan. Nggak masalah sih, dan jadilah kami membeli tiket pulang pergi dan langsung naik ke atas. Karena masih awal, kereta gantungnya nyaris kosong loh ketika kami naik. Selain kami, hanya adalah satu orang lain yang juga naik ke atas, haha 😆 .

Jadilah kami naik ke atas sana, mengambil foto kotanya ketika masih siang, dan melihat-lihat toko di atasnya. Kami melihat keberadaan sebuah kafe yang mana kami duga pemandangan dari kafenya pasti premium banget deh. Sayangnya kafenya masih tutup waktu itu tetapi ada pengumuman bahwa kafenya akan dibuka jam 4:30 sore. Karena sudah jam 4 sore, ya nggak masalah deh kami tunggu. Eh ternyata baru bukanya jam 5 sore dong, haha 😦 .

It was coffee time in Hakodate!!
Saatnya ngopi di Hakodate!!

Tetapi pemandangan dari kafenya beneran keren banget deh. Kami memilih meja tepat di samping jendelanya yang menghadap ke arah kota. Kami bisa menikmati pemandangan itu sambil bersantai di meja kami yang enak. Kami duduk-duduk disana sampai sekitar jam 7 malam, setelah matahari terbenam sehingga kami menyaksikan bagaimana pemandangannya berubah dari siang ke malam. Keren abis!

Hakodate during the day
Hakodate di siang hari
Hakodate with its geographically unique location. The city faces two sides of sea
Hakodate di malam hari

Kami keluar dari kafenya dan baru tahu bahwa di luar sekarang ramai banget penuh dengan turis! Haha 😆 . Memang waktu terbaik untuk mengunjungi Mount Hakodate Ropeway adalah di saat gelap sih jadi memang inilah alasannya. Kami naik ke atas sekali lagi dan mengambil foto kotanya lagi. Kali ini di malam hari. Kemudian kami akhirnya turun dengan kereta gantung. Btw, di perjalanan turun, jelas kereta gantungnya penuh! 🙂

Pasar Pagi

Terkenal dengan seafood-nya, ternyata Pasar Paginya Hakodate (yang jelas bukanya pagi doang) terkenal untuk dikunjungi juga lho. Kami mengunjunginya sebentar tetapi kami kaget ketika mengetahui bahwa, walaupun namanya “pasar”, harganya itu gila-gilaan lho mahalnya. Bahkan lebih mahal daripada harga yang bisa kami temukan di restoran!

Hakodate Morning Market
Pasar Pagi Hakodate
Hakodate Morning Market
Pasar Pagi Hakodate

Tetapi, masih asyik-asyik juga sih melihat-lihat bermacam-macamnya produk seafood yang dijual disana. Wow itu kepitingnya raksasa banget dan nampak enak!

Makanannya

Kami tidak mencoba banyak makanan Jepang di Hakodate karena (1) kami hanya semalam disana; dan (2) seperti yang kubilang di atas, ternyata tidak banyak kegiatan di kotanya sehingga kami merasa sulit untuk menemukan satu restoran yang mengundang untuk dikunjungi. Bahkan ya, dua dari makanan yang kami makan disana adalah KFC dan McDonald’s loh, hahaha 😆 .

Salmon roe
Salmon roe

Tetapi untungnya, setidaknya kami masih mendapatkan makan malam yang “pantas” sih di satu-satunya malam kami disana, dimana tidak mengejutkan bahwa kami makan di sebuah restoran seafood. Adikku memesan satu kotak (dalam artian sebenarnya) salmon roe, yang mana ternyata di bawahnya itu ada nasi (haha 😆 ); dan harus aku akui bahwa aku tidak bisa menikmatinya. Menurutnya enak sih; jadi mungkin memang lidahku saja yang tidak cocok dengan salmon roe. Aku sendiri memutuskan untuk main aman dengan memesan genghis khan (ini adalah nama menu makanannya loh 😆 ), sebuah makanan asli Hokkaido yang amat populer dan pengen aku coba banget. Lumayan enak juga, walaupun waktu itu aku masih penasaran dengan genghis khan di Sapporo.

Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan

BERSAMBUNG…

Selanjutnya dalam 2015 Spring Trip:
– Sapporo
– Otaru
– Kyoto
– Osaka
– Kembali ke Belanda

Uncategorized

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

ENGLISH

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 of 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 €30 cheaper. But heck we were in Japan so obviously we needed to try the famous Shinkansen as well! 😀 )

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 became crazy. 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 😳 .

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 😆 . 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 😆 . 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.

Fujiyama
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 😦
Owakudani at the top of the Hakone Ropeway
Owakudani at the top of the Hakone Ropeway

From there, they 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 😆 .

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! 😦 .

The Kodama Shinkansen 

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 😆 .

#ShinkansenSelfie
#ShinkansenSelfie

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 that the seat pitch in Shinkansen is longer.

Asakusa and Ueno Park

Asakusa

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. In Asakusa, we also went to the Kunitsu Sumida Park just by the Sumida River.

Ueno Park

The reason why Spring 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 in exactly this period! Haha 😆

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 a story about her visit there which inspired me to pay a visit as well, haha 😆 .

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 😆 .

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:

IT. WAS. THE. BEST.

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!

TO BE CONTINUED…

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

BAHASA INDONESIA

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 Jepang 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 hari dan posting ini adalah posting ketiga dan terakhir dari bagian Tokyo dari perjalanan ini.

***

Gunung 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 sekitar €30 (sekitar Rp 450.000) lebih murah. Tetapi berhubung kami sudah berada di Jepang jadi kami harus nyobain yang namanya Shinkansen lah ya! 😀 )

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 😳 .

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 😆 . 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 berhenti disini adalah istirahat untuk mampir di toiletnya, haha 😆 . 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.

Fujiyama
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 pilihan 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 😦
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
Sebuah catamaran

haha 😆 .

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! 😦 .

Shinkansen Kodama 

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 😆 .

#ShinkansenSelfie
#ShinkansenSelfie

Perjalanan dengan Shinkansen rasanya biasa saja untukku ternyata, kalau tidak mau dibilang agak di bawah ekspektasi. Maksudku, memang sih ini kereta super cepat yang amat keren tetapi ini bukanlah kali pertama aku menaiki kereta super cepat. Aku sudah pernah mencoba Thalys beberapa kali, Eurostar, TGV, dan 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

Asakusa

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 😆

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!!

Makanannya

Satu restoran lagi yang amat enak yang kami kunjungi di Tokyo adalah Ramen Mutekiya. Untuk ini, aku harus berterima-kasih kepada Jendluvu yang mem-posting cerita kunjunganya kesana yang menginspirasiku untuk mengunjunginya juga, haha 😆 .

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 berada 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 😆 .

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:

RAMENNYA. ENAK. BANGET.

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!

BERSAMBUNG…

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

EuroTrip, Two-Week Trip, Vacation

#1152 – Southern France and Austria Trip (Part VI)

ENGLISH

Previously on Southern France and Austria Trip: Zilko went on a trip to southern France and Austria with his parents who were visiting him this October. After spending five nights in France and five nights in Austria, they were now in the city of Innsbruck, their last stop of this trip.

***

Day 11 (Monday, 29 October 2012)

As usual, we started the day with checking the weather forecast. And for today, the forecasted temperature was –11ºC in the afternoon 😯 . Yes, freaking MINUS ELEVEN degree!! And it was supposed to be “fall”?? 🙄

Anyway, so, we left our hotel at around 9:00, obviously after buying the very useful (and recommended) Innsbruck Card from our hotel’s reception. Our first destination was the Swarovski Kristallwelten in Wattens, near Innsbruck.

It was nice that the shuttle bus to get there also had a stop not so far away from our centrally-located hotel, so we did not have to go far to the train station to catch the bus. 🙂 At around 9:04, the shuttle bus arrived at the bus stop and our 30 minute trip to Swarovski Kristallwelten started. It was also snowing all night long in Innsbruck btw, and the view along the journey to Wattens was SO STUNNING!! It just snowed so the snow wasn’t all cleared up yet, so beautiful!

At around 9:35, we arrived at Swarovski Kristallwelten. Again, this was not my first visit to this wonderful place; but this time, because it just snowed, the garden looked different and more “winteresque”. The museum was still pretty much the same as my previous visit btw, including almost all of their collections, as far as I remembered though. After spending about two hours there, we went back to Innsbruck catching the 11:30 shuttle bus.

We decided to have lunch in the Altstadt, and we picked an Italian pizzeria. I insisted to order a calzone because apparently my parents didn’t try one when they were in Italy. The calzone was a bit watery (as far as I recalled, it shouldn’t be that watery though, at least based on the one I tried while I was in Italy a couple of years ago); but it was still so good! 😀

After lunch, we went to our next destination which was the Nordkette, one of the peak of the Alps to the north of Innsbruck. To get to the top, of course we chose the Nordkettenbahn (well, the other option was: hiking, huahaha 😆 ), which consisted of three legs: the Hungerburgbahn (funicular ride to Hungerburg), the Seegrubenbahn (cable car to Seegrube, the longest leg of the three), and the Hafelekarbahn (cable car to Hafelekar, this was the top stop). And with our Innsbruck Card, it was for free (for 1 way up and 1 way down)! 😀

The view along the Nordkettenbahn was breathtaking! Because it just snowed, all the trees were covered with snow; and it was just amazing! I mean, I liked this view much more than the view of the same place when I previously visited it in the summer. It was just that it was very misty at the top of the mountain so the visibility was quite low. And at the top, it was, literally, freezing!! I mean, you know, I did not bring my winter equipments and stuffs with me so I had pretty much minimalist protection against the cold (like I did not wear any gloves or winter hat); so it was very cold for me! I think it was –15ºC at the hottest 😯 . But still, it was amazing. We reached Hafelekar (of course), but decided not to be outside for too long.

After awhile, we went back downtown to Innsbruck. In Innsbruck, we visited the Hofkirche, a church I did not have the chance to visit in my previous trip there (because it was already closed while I was there). It was quite a very interesting Gothic church, with 28 large bronze statues in it. It was already 16:30 when we got off from Hofkirche (we also visited the Volkskunstmuseum next to Hofkirche), and decided to take the sightseeing bus, which was also for free because we had the Innsbruck Card 😎 .

We had dinner at around 19:30 near our hotel before calling it a day…

Day 12 (Tuesday, 30 October 2012)

The theme of the day would be going back to the Netherlands. While planning for the trip, we realized that there was no direct flight service from Innsbruck to the Netherlands in the period of our visit. Hence, I got the idea to go to the neighboring country of Switzerland and took a flight from there. My choice went to easyJet which had direct service to Amsterdam from Basel. To get to Basel, we took trains with one transit in Zürich (and we got super-promo tickets for the trains, yay! 😀 ). This was pretty much our plan for the day btw:

Our planned route for the day to go from Innsbruck back to the Netherlands (via Zürich and Basel)

So, we took the 9:54 train service departing from Innsbruck to Zürich. Again, the view along the way was very beautiful, because of the snow. It was quite funny that at the village of Buchs, our train changed direction. So if we sat at the same seat, if before Buchs we were moving forward, we would move backward after Buchs.

Anyway, we arrived at Zürich Hauptbahnhof at 13:20. We did not have any time to go out from the station though (let alone to go around the city) because our connecting to Basel, which turned out to be a TGV train, would depart at 13:34. Our double-decker TGV train departed on time, and arrived on time as well 53 minutes later at 14:27 at Basel SBB Station.

Our flight back to Amsterdam was scheduled to depart at 19:20 that evening. This meant we had tons of time to kill in Basel. Yet, based on my experience, there was nothing so interesting worth the effort to go to in Basel, hmm. But first things first, we needed to find a place to eat, and we were in Switzerland where everything was so expensive (even in European standard (in my opinion)). Like I found a restaurant in the train station which offered steak, but it was like CHF 37, or around €30.73 (as of mid-November 2012) 🙄 . And so we decided to eat at Burger King instead, huahaha 😆 .

We left Burger King, which was just across the train station, at 16:00. The shuttle bus to the airport left at around 16:15 from the train station, so the location was already quite convenient. We arrived at the airport at 16:40-ish. From hereon, it was just another standard procedure at the airport. So we were dropping our luggage (we were already checked-in as we were flying with easyJet), going through the security check, waiting at the gate, and so on.

We were finally boarding at around 18:50. Our flight would be on an Airbus A319-111 reg code HB-JZT as EZS 1045. At 19:20, it took off from runway 15 of Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Airport. At around 20:40, we landed at runway 18R of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

After taking our luggage, we took the InterCity service to Den Haag, where my parents would stay for two nights before moving to Delft. So, after taking my parents safely to their hotel in Den Haag, I went back to Delft. At Den Haag Centraal Station btw, I literally missed my train by 10 seconds! 😯 The next train would leave 30 minutes later, so I decided to try my luck by walking to Spui to see if I could take Tram no.1 instead to go to Delft. Luckily, the tram was there when I arrived at Spui, though I had to run (but the driver was kind enough to wait for me 😀 ). And here my trip to southern France and Austria officially ended…

THE END.

BAHASA INDONESIA

Sebelumnya dalam Southern France and Austria Trip: Zilko pergi ke Prancis selatan dan Austria dalam rangka menemani orangtuanya yang sedang mengunjunginya di bulan Oktober. Setelah menghabiskan lima malam di Prancis dan lima malam di Austria, kini mereka berada di kota Innsbruck, perhentian terakhir mereka di perjalanan kali ini.

***

Hari 11 (Senin, 29 Oktober 2012)

Seperti biasa, kami memulai hari ini dengan mengecek ramalan cuaca untuk hari ini. Dan untuk hari ini, temperatur udara diramalkan –11ºC loh di siang hari 😯 . Ya, MINUS SEBELAS derajat dong!! Yang kayak gini ini “musim gugur” darimananya coba?? 🙄

Anyway, kami berangkat dari hotel kami sekitar jam 9:00, tentu saja setelah membeli Innsbruck Card yang amat berguna (dan sangat direkomendasikan loh) dari lobby hotel kami. Tujuan pertama kami adalah Swarovski Kristallwelten di Wattens, tidak jauh dari Innsbruck.

Asyik juga bahwa shuttle bus menuju kesana juga memiliki pemberhentian tidak jauh dari hotel kami yang lokasinya memang oke banget, jadi kami nggak perlu berjalan jauh ke stasiun pusat gitu untuk naik busnya. 🙂 Sekitar jam 9:04, busnya tiba di halte ini dan dimulailah perjalanan selama 30 menit ke Swarovski Kristallwelten. Semalam sebelumnya, cuaca bersalju semalaman di Innsbruck, sehingga pemandangan sepanjang jalan ke Wattens itu KEREN BANGET loh!! Karena baru saja bersalju, jadi saljunya masih belum hilang/mencair gitu deh, jadi masih indah banget!!

Sekitar jam 9:35, tibalah kami di Swarovski Kristallwelten. Lagi-lagi, ini bukanlah kali pertama aku mengunjungi tempat yang keren ini; tapi karena kali ini baru saja bersalju, jadi tamannya terlihat berbeda dan lebih berasa “musim dingin” gitu deh. Museumnya sih kurang lebih masih sama aja ya dibandingkan dengan kunjunganku sebelumnya itu, termasuk koleksi-koleksinya, sejauh yang kuingat sih. Setelah menghabiskan waktu sekitar dua jam disana, kami kembali ke Innsbruck dengan menaiki shuttle bus yang jam 11:30.

Kami memutuskan untuk makan siang di Altstadt, dan kami memilih sebuah restoran pizza (pizzeria) Italia. Aku bersikeras untuk memesan calzone karena ternyata orangtuaku belum mencobanya ketika mereka berada di Italia. Calzone-nya agak sedikit berair sih (sejauh yang kuingat, seharusnya tidak terlalu berair deh, setidaknya berdasarkan yang kucoba di Italia ketika aku kesana dua tahun yang lalu ya); tapi rasanya masih enak kok! 😀

Setelah makan siang, kami pergi ke tujuan kami berikutnya, yaitu Nordkette, salah satu puncak pegunungan Alpen yang berada di utaranya Innsbruck. Untuk naik ke atas, tentu saja kami naik Nordkettenbahn lah ya (pilihan lainnya adalah: jalan kaki dong, huahaha 😆 ), yang terdiri dari tiga bagian perjalanan: Hungerburgbahn (funicular ke Hungerburg), Seegrubenbahn (kereta gantung ke Seegrube, ini bagian yang paling panjang nih), dan Hafelekarbahn (kereta gantung ke Hafelekar, yang mana berada di paling atas). Dan dengan Innsbruck Card, naiknya kan gratis ya (untuk 1 kali naik dan 1 kali turun)! 😀

Pemandangan sepanjang perjalanan dengan Nordkettenbahn itu keren abis lho! Karena baru saja bersalju, jadi pohon-pohonnya itu terselimuti salju gitu deh, keren banget! Maksudku, aku jauh lebih suka pemandangan yang ini daripada pemandangan tempat yang sama ini ketika di musim panas, seperti pada waktu kunjunganku sebelumnya itu. Hanya saja, kali ini cuacanya agak berkabut gitu jadi jarak pandangnya juga agak kurang. Dan di puncak gunungnya, suhu udaranya, dalam artian sebenarnya, membekukan banget lho!! Maksudku, tahu kan, kebetulan pas aku nggak membawa peralatan musim dinginku kali ini jadi ya perlindunganku terhadap udara dingin ya cukup minimalis saja (misalnya, aku nggak memakai sarung tangan atau kupluk musim dingin); jadi ya rasanya dingin banget gitu! Rasanya, di atas itu sepanas-panasnya suhunya –15ºC deh 😯 . Eh, tapi tetep ya, view-nya menakjubkan banget. Kami mencapai Hafelekar (tentu saja), tapi akhirnya memutuskan untuk nggak berada di luar lama-lama amat.

Setelah beberapa waktu, kami kembali turun ke Innsbruck. Di Innsbruck, kami mengunjungi Hofkirche, sebuah gereja yang belum sempat aku kunjungi di kunjunganku sebelumnya kesana (waktu itu gerejanya sudah tutup gitu). Gereja ini adalah gereja Gotik yang cukup menarik juga, dengan 28 patung perunggu berukuran besar di dalamnya. Sudah jam 16:30 ketika kami keluar dari Hofkirche (kami juga sempat mampir di Volkskunstmuseum di sebelahnya Hofkirche loh), dan akhirnya memutuskan untuk naik sightseeing bus, yang mana juga gratis dengan Innsbruck Card kami 😎 .

Kami makan malam sekitar jam 19:30 di dekat hotel sebelum akhirnya pulang…

Hari 12 (Selasa, 30 Oktober 2012)

Tema hari ini adalah seharian untuk kembali ke Belanda. Nah, ketika merencanakan perjalanan ini, kami baru menyadari bahwa ternyata tidak ada penerbangan langsung dari Innsbruck menuju Belanda di waktu kunjungan kami ini. Makanya aku mendapatkan ide untuk pergi ke negara tetangganya Austria, Swiss, dan naik pesawat dari sana. Pilihanku jatuh kepada easyJet yang memiliki rute langsung dari Basel menuju Amsterdam. Untuk pergi ke Basel, kami naik kereta dengan satu kali transit di Zürich (dan untuk kereta ini kami mendapatkan tiket super-promo loh, lumayan banget, yay! 😀 ). Peta dari rencana perjalanan hari ini kurang lebih seperti ini deh:

Rute perjalanan rencana kami untuk hari ini dari Innsbruck untuk kembali ke Belanda (via Zürich dan Basel)

Jadi, kami naik kereta jam 9:54 dari Innsbruck menuju Zürich. Lagi-lagi, pemandangan di perjalanan itu indah banget, karena salju sih. Oh iya, lucunya, di desa Buchs, kereta kami berganti arah loh. Jadi kalau kita tidak berpindah kursi, jika sebelum Buchs kita bergerak maju, kita akan bergerak mundur setelah Buchs.

Anyway, tibalah kami di Zürich Hauptbahnhof pada jam 13:20. Kami tidak memiliki waktu untuk keluar dari stasiun btw (apalagi untuk keliling kota) karena kereta lanjutan kami menuju Basel, yang mana ternyata adalah TGV loh, akan berangkat jam 13:34. Kereta TGV dua-tinggkat kami berangkat tepat waktu, dan tiba tepat waktu juga 53 menit kemudian, pada jam 14:27, di Stasiun Basel SBB.

Penerbangan ke Amsterdam kami baru dijadwalkan berangkat jam 19:20 malam itu. Artinya, kami memiliki banyak waktu untuk dihabiskan di Basel. Namun, berdasarkan pengalamanku, nggak ada yang terlalu menarik di Basel untuk dikunjungi gitu, hmm. Ah, satu-satu dulu deh, pertama-tama, kami mencari tempat buat makan dulu; dan kami sedang berada di Swiss dimana semuanya kan mahal-mahal gitu ya (bahkan untuk standar Eropa (menurutku loh)). Seperti misalnya aku menemukan sebuah restoran di stasiun kereta yang menjual steak kan, tapi harganya CHF 37, atau sekitar €30.73 loh (per pertengahan November 2012) 🙄 . Dan jadilah kami makan di Burger King saja, huahaha 😆 .

Kami meninggalkan Burger King, yang lokasinya hanya berada di sebranya stasiun kereta, jam 16:00. Shuttle bus menuju bandara berangkat sekitar jam 16:15 dari stasiun kereta, jadi lokasinya sudah enak banget gitu. Kami tiba di bandara sekitar jam 16:40an. Dari sini, semuanya ya prosedur standar di bandara sih. Kami memasukkan beberapa barang bawaan kami ke bagasi (kami sudah check-in karena kami terbang dengan easyJet), melewati pengecekan sekuriti, menunggu di gate, dll.

Akhirnya kami boarding sekitar jam 18:50. Penerbangan kami akan ditempuh dengan sebuah pesawat Airbus A319-111 dengan kode registrasi HB-JZT dengan nomor penerbangan EZS 1045. Jam 19:20, penerbangannya lepas landas dari landasan pacu 15 Bandara Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg. Sekitar jam 20:40, kami mendarat di landasan pacu 18R Bandara Amsterdam Schiphol.

Setelah mengambil bagasi kami, kami menaiki kereta InterCity menuju Den Haag, dimana orangtuaku akan menginap selama dua malam sebelum pindah hotel ke Delft. Nah, setelah mengantar orangtuaku dengan aman ke hotelnya mereka di Den Haag, aku kembali ke Delft deh. Btw, di Stasiun Den Haag Centraal, aku ketinggalan keretanya hanya karena terlambat, dalam artian sebenarnya, 10 detik saja loh! 😯 Kereta selanjutnya baru berangkat 30 menit kemudian, jadilah aku memutuskan untuk mencoba peruntungan dengan berjalan ke Spui untuk melihat apakah aku bisa menaiki Tram 1 menuju Delft. Untungnya, tramnya berada disana pas ketika aku tiba di Spui, walaupun aku harus lari sih untuk menaikinya (untung banget masinisnya baik jadi mau menungguku 😀 ). Dan disinilah perjalananku ke Prancis selatan dan Austria resmi berakhir…

SELESAI.

EuroTrip, My Interest, One Week Trip, Travelling, Vacation

#1103 – 2012 London Summer Trip (Part III)

ENGLISH

Previously on 2012 London Summer Trip: Zilko went to London to do sightseeing and to watch the Wimbledon Championships. Of the four days he had spent there, he visited Wimbledon twice and did sightseeing on the other two days. Now, he was ready to roll on Day 5…

***

Day 5 (Friday, 29 June 2012)

Of course I couldn’t get up that early today after a long day at Wimbledon the day before. I got up at around 7 AM and had my complimentary breakfast at the hostel. At this time, I was quite curious about what my position would be in the Queue of Wimbledon if I decided to leave at around 7.45 AM from my hostel. Beside, I kinda wanted to see some players who played on the “odd” days of Wimbledon (in a grandslam tournament, a singles player normally plays once every two days in the first week of the tournament. So, either they play on “odd” days or “even” days), like Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer or Kim Clijsters, who was playing her last Wimbledon tournament…

I arrived at the Queue at around 9.15 AM, and guess what my position was in the Queue?? This:

Arriving in the Queue at 9 AM (ish), I was already the 7422nd person in the Queue!!

Yes, I was already the freaking 7422nd person in the Queue!! 😯  Well, I stayed in the Queue for like 15 minutes before it started to get really windy and drizzle a little bit. Then, I realized that I forgot my umbrella!! It was such a bad combination that I thought it was not worth it anymore. Also, I thought the chance of me to just get a groundpass was already quite slim and I might have to stay in the line until like 2 or 3 PM or so before finally getting an access to the grounds. And so, I decided to leave and just explored London today, hahaha 😎 .

Back in London, it was still so windy. Thus I decided to look for a cafe to have a cup of latte. At the cafe, I took my free map and guidebook of London and started planning on my destination for today. After a little bit of reading, I decided to go to Greenwich area. Does this name sound familiar? Yes, Greenwich is the place where the standard of the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) lies, or in other words: the standard of the world time. Anyway, after finishing my coffee, I realized it was 11.30 AM or so and I was feeling already a little bit hungry. I remembered from Day 3 in which Jamie Oliver’s restaurant would open at noon. So, I decided to kill the 30 minutes time by walking around randomly (my location at that time was not that far from Covent Garden anyway).

At around 12.15 PM, I arrived at the restaurant and of course it was not that busy yet (good, so I could get a seat right away! :D). After looking at the menu, I decided to order a meat antipasti and a Posh Chips. The antipasti was good, but the chips was insanely delicious!! 😯 It was definitely one of the best chips (if not the best) I had ever had in my life!! But of course a portion of antipasti and a posh chips (which was only a ‘side dish’) did not satisfy my hunger; so I decided to order one more menu: a crispy squid. And again, it was a really delicious dish!! 😯 Overall, I was really satisfied having meal here. Of course the price was a little bit more expensive than other ‘normal’ restaurants, but to me, it was worth the food.

After lunch, I decided to go to Greenwich Area. But first, my stop was the famous O2 Arena. The arena will be used as the venue of gymnastics as well as the finals of basketball competition during the 2012 Summer Olympics this month; but I am more familiar with this arena because it is the venue for the ATP World Tour Finals (the year end championships for the men’s tour in tennis) from 2009 to 2013, hehehe 🙂 Anyway, it was an impressive building. I got into the building, well, not into the arena in the middle of it though but only to the shopping area surrounding that arena (so there was basically a “mall” circling the main arena inside the structure, which was kinda cool).

By the way, on the way to the O2 Arena, I saw a cable car that apparently had been opened since just the day before near the Arena (hell yeah I was very lucky!! huahaha 😆 ). It was called Emirates Air Line (for sponsorship reason I guess, hahaha 😆 ). And of course I decided to pay a visit. Uniquely, this cable car was, sort of, “integrated” to London’s public transportation network. It was built as an alternative way of crossing the River Thames with two stations at both sides of the river: Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Victoria Docks. Anyway, because it was part of the London’s public transportation network, I could use my Oyster Card to “board” the gondola, and because of this I got a 25.58% discount, huahaha 😆 . Btw, if you buy the normal tickets without the Oyster Card, you will get a “boarding pass”; also, one can apply to be a “frequent flyer”.

Anyway, so, I boarded the gondola. I started my return journey from the Greenwich Peninsula Station. The gondola was not really a big gondola as probably it could accommodate only six people at once. However, the towers were really really tall!! The highest elevation was 93 meter! And as I said earlier, it was windy today. Up there, the wind was much stronger that the gondola swayed because of the wind, at 93 meter above the ground (and river)! 😯 However, the view was amazing!! I got to see the skyline of London from a unique view and angle. On the other side, I could see the runway of London City Airport (LCY), a small airport serving London, and the Thames Barrier.

After arriving back at Greenwich Peninsula Station, I walked back to the O2 Arena to catch a bus to the main Greenwich Area. Long story short, I got off at near the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. The first place on my list to visit was, of course, the Royal Observatory. To get there, I had to climb up the hill in the Greenwich Park. There was a construction work going on at the time in the park (probably as a preparation for the upcoming Summer Olympics) but visitors still had access to the Royal Observatory. And of course I decided to enter the Royal Observatory. There was a museum about the history of time-measuring, which was really nice; but to me, the highlight was the Greenwich Meridian. Greenwich Meridian is the imaginary line which divides the Earth to east and west longitude (like the equivalent of the equator in longitude). And of course I decided to take a picture of myself standing on the line so that I was standing in both the east and west longitude at the same time, huahaha 😆 (this spot was so famous (no wonder) that we had to queue to take a picture there :D).

The Royal Observatory was a really nice place to visit, really! 🙂 It was so nice that I decided to buy a souvenir there. And after looking around at the souvenir shop, I was thinking what would be a better souvenir from the Royal Observatory than an hour glass?? hehehe 😀 There were several types of hour glass, and at first I was interested in buying the cheapest one (which was made from wood). But in the end, I decided to buy one of the more expensive ones, which base was made from marble, because this one was much nicer, more classic, more elegant, and looked far more expensive, huahaha 😆 . Its picture is below.

Anyway, after buying the souvenir, I left the Royal Observatory and decided to pay a visit to the Greenwich Market. Well, I knew this market because sometimes it was the setting during some tasks of The Apprentice: UK, hahaha. The market was nice, but it was much smaller that I thought it was. From the market, I just walked around Greenwich and took a quick look at the Cutty Sark before I decided to go back to my hostel.

I had my dinner at the hostel, which was chicken curry with coriander sauce. Then, I decided to go to bed a bit early because I planned to go to Wimbledon even earlier than before the next day… . Why? Getting up at 4 AM wasn’t early enough?? Well, my consideration at the time was that the next day would be Saturday so I thought it was logical to think that more people would come to the tournament. Therefore, to get a spot in the Queue as good as my previous two visits there, I should arrive at the Queue earlier. So, I set my alarm to 3.30 AM…

To Be Continued…

Next on 2012 London Trip:
– Last day in Wimbledon
– Sunday Trip to Stonehenge

BAHASA INDONESIA

Sebelumnya dalam 2012 London Summer Trip: Zilko pergi ke London untuk jalan-jalan sambil menonton Kejuaraan Wimbledon. Dalam empat hari yang telah ia habiskan disana, ia telah mengunjungi Wimbledon dua kali dan berkeliling London di dua hari lainnya. Kini, ia siap menyongsong Hari 5…

***

Hari 5 (Jumat, 29 Juni 2012)

Tentu saja aku tidak bisa bangun pagi hari ini setelah seharian penuh di Wimbledon sebelumnya. Aku bangun jam 7 pagi dan kemudian makan sarapan gratisan di hostel. Di waktu ini, aku merasa cukup penasaran mengenai kira-kira berapakah posisiku di the Queue andaikata aku berangkat jam 7.45 pagi dari hostel. Di samping itu, aku juga agak ingin melihat beberapa pemain yang bermain di hari “ganjil” Wimbledon (di sebuah turnamen grandslam, biasanya seorang pemain tunggal bermain setiap dua hari sekali di minggu pertama. Jadi, mereka main ya di hari “ganjil” saja, atau “genap” saja), seperti misalnya Novak Djokovic atau Roger Federer atau Kim Clijsters, yang memainkan Kejuaraan Wimbledon terakhirnya…

Aku tiba di the Queue sekitar jam 9.15 pagi, dan berapakah posisiku di the Queue?? Ini:

Tiba di the Queue jam 9-an pagi, dan aku sudah merupakan orang ke 7422 di the Queue!!

Ya, aku sudah merupakan orang ke 7422 di the Queue!! 😯  Yah, aku berada di the Queue itu selama sekitar 15 menit sebelum cuaca menjadi semakin berangin kencang dan sedikit gerimis. Kemudian, aku menyadari bahwa aku lupa membawa payungku!! Yah, ini adalah sebuah kombinasi yang amat buruk dan membuatku berpikir bahwa ini tidaklah worth it lagi. Juga, aku merasa bahwa toh kemungkinanku untuk sekedar mendapatkan groundpass saja pun sudah cukup kecil dan aku mungkin harus menunggu di the Queue sampai jam 2 atau 3 sore sebelum akhirnya bisa masuk. Karena itu, jadilah aku memutuskan untuk meninggalkan the Queue dan memilih untuk jalan-jalan di London aja untuk hari ini, hahaha 😎 .

Kembali di London, cuaca masih sangatlah berangin. Oleh karenanya, aku memutuskan untuk mencari cafe untuk minum secangkir latte hangat. Di cafe itu, aku mengambil guidebook dan peta London gratisanku untuk merencanakan tujuanku hari ini. Setelah membaca-baca, aku memutuskan untuk pergi ke area Greenwich. Apakah nama ini terdengar tidak asing? Ya, Greenwich adalah tempat dimana standar Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) berada, atau dengan kata lain: standar dari sistem perwaktuan di planet Bumi ini. Anyway, setelah menyelesaikan kopiku, aku menyadari bahwa waktu menunjukkan sekitar jam 11.30 pagi dan aku merasa agak lapar. Aku ingat dari Hari 3 bahwa restorannya Jamie Oliver baru buka jam 12 siang. Jadilah aku memutuskan untuk membunuh waktu 30 menit itu dengan berjalan-jalan secara acak (toh lokasiku waktu itu kebetulan juga tidak jauh dari Covent Garden).

Sekitar jam 12.15 siang, aku tiba di restorannya dan tentu saja waktu itu masih belum ramai (bagus deh, jadi aku bisa langsung dapat kursi! :D). Setelah melihat-lihat menunya, aku memutuskan untuk memesan antipasti daging dan seporsi Posh Chips. Antipastinya enak loh, tapi chips (kentang goreng)-nya itu enaknya nggak ketulungan dong!! 😯 Benar-benar salah satu kentang goreng terenak (kalau bukan yang terenak) yang pernah kumakan seumur hidup deh!! Namun, tentu saja seporsi antipasti dan Posh Chips (yang dikategorikan sebagai side dish) tidaklah membuatku kenyang; dan jadilah aku memesan satu menu lagi: cumi crispy. Dan lagi, menu ini uenak sekali loh!! 😯 Secara keseluruhan, aku sangat puas deh makan disini. Tentu saja harganya agak sedikit lebih mahal dibandingin restoran-restoran biasa lainnya, tapi untukku, harganya memang sepadan dengan kualitas makanannya.

Setelah makan siang, aku pergi ke area Greenwich. Tapi sebelum itu, aku mampir dulu di O2 Arena yang terkenal itu. Arena ini akan digunakan sebagai tempat penyelenggaraan event senam dan juga final kompetisi bola basket di Olimpiade Musim Panas 2012 bulan ini; tapi aku sih lebih kenal arena ini karena arena ini digunakan sebagai tempat penyelenggaraannya ATP World Tour Finals (turnamen akhir tahun untuk tur putra di tenis) dari tahun 2009 hingga 2013, hehehe 🙂 Anyway, bangunan ini keren juga loh. Aku sempat masuk ke dalamnya walaupun nggak masuk sampai ke arenanya yang berada di tengahnya; tetapi hanya sampai ke area perbelanjaan yang mengelilingi arena utama itu (jadi, pada dasarnya ada “mall” yang mengelilingi arenanya di dalam gedungnya gitu, keren juga kan).

Ngomong-ngomong, dalam perjalanan ke O2 Arena itu, aku melihat ada sebuah kereta gantung yang ternyata baru dibuka satu hari sebelumnya di dekat situ (Yoi, aku memang beruntung sekali!!  huahaha 😆 ). Namanya adalah Emirates Air Line (sepertinya sih nama ini untuk alasan sponsor yah, hahaha 😆 ). Tentu saja aku mampir ke situ juga. Uniknya, kereta gantung ini seperti “terintegrasi” dengan sistem transportasi umumnya London. Kereta gantung ini dibangun sebagai mode transportasi alternatif untuk menyeberangi Sungai Thames dengan dua stasiun yang berada di kedua sisi sungai: Greenwich Peninsula dan Royal Victoria Docks. Anyway, karena ini adalah bagian dari jaringan transportasi umumnya London, aku bisa menggunakan Oyster Card-ku untuk menaiki gondolanya, dan karena ini aku juga mendapatkan diskon 25,58% loh, huahaha 😆 . Btw, kalau kita membeli tiketnya biasa aja tanpa Oyster Card, kita akan mendapatkan “boarding pass”; juga, kita bisa mendaftarkan diri untuk menjadi “frequent flyer”-nya loh.

Anyway, lalu, aku menaiki gondolanya. Aku memulai perjalanan bolak-balikku dari Stasiun Greenwich Peninsula. Gondolanya tidaklah berukuran terlalu besar, mungkin hanya muat enam orang saja. Namun, menaranya itu sungguh tinggi sekali!! Elevasi tertingginya mencapai 93 meter loh! Dan seperti yang kubilang sebelumnya, hari ini cuacanya cukup berangin. Di atas, anginnya jauh lebih kencang sehingga gondolanya mengayun karena tertiup angin gitu deh, sekitar 93 meter di atas permukaan tanah (dan sungai)! 😯 Eh, tapi pemandangannya memang keren banget loh!! Aku bisa melihat skyline-nya London dari sudut pandang yang benar-benar lain dan unik. Di sisi lainnya, aku bisa melihat landasan pacunya Bandara London City (LCY), sebuah bandara kecil di London, dan juga Thames Barrier.

Setelah tiba kembali di Stasiun Greenwich Peninsula, aku berjalan kembali ke O2 Arena untuk naik bus menuju area utamanya Greenwich. Singkat cerita, aku turun di dekatnya Museum Maritim Nasional di Greenwich. Tempat pertama yang aku kunjungi adalah, tentu saja, Royal Observatory. Untuk mencapai tempat ini, aku harus berjalan menaiki bukit kecil di Greenwich Park. Ketika itu sedang ada pekerjaan konstruksi di tamannya (sepertinya sih untuk persiapan Olimpiade nanti) tetapi pengunjung masih bisa kok mengakses Royal Observatory-nya. Dan tentu saja aku masuk ke Royal Observatory-nya dong. Di dalamnya, ada museum yang menceritakan sejarah pengukuran waktu, yang mana keren juga; tetapi yang paling keren menurutku adalah Greenwich Meridian. Greenwich Meridian adalah garis imajiner yang membagi Bumi ini menjadi bujur barat dan bujur timur (seperti ekuivalennya garis khatulistiwa yang membagi Bumi dalam lintang utara dan lintang selatan gitu deh). Dan tentu saja aku berfoto disitu dengan aku berdiri di garisnya sehingga pada saat bersamaan aku berada sekaligus di bujur timur dan bujur barat, huahaha 😆 (lokasi ini populer banget loh (nggak heran deh ya) sehingga kita harus ngantri gitu deh kalau mau berfoto disitu :D).

Royal Observatory memanglah sebuah tempat yang oke untuk dikunjungi, beneran! 🙂 Saking okenya, aku sampai memutuskan untuk membeli souvenir disana. Dan setelah melihat-lihat barang di toko souvenir-nya, aku berpikir adakah souvenir yang mencerminkan Royal Observatory secara lebih keren daripada jam pasir?? hehehe 😀 . Ada beberapa jam pasir yang dijual disana, dan awalnya aku berpikir untuk membeli yang termurah saja (terbuat dari kayu). Tetapi pada akhirnya aku justru membeli salah satu yang lebih mahal, yang mana alasnya itu terbuat dari marmer, karena yang kubeli ini penampakannya lebih bagus, lebih klasik, lebih elegan, dan nampak jauh lebih mahal, huahaha 😆 . Ada deh fotonya di atas 😀

Anyway, setelah membeli souvenir-nya, aku meninggalkan Royal Observatory dan memutuskan untuk mampir di Pasar Greenwich sebentar. Aku tahu pasar ini karena kadang pasar ini digunakan sebagai lokasi beberapa tugasnya The Apprentice: UK gitu deh, hahaha. Pasarnya oke juga, tapi ternyata jauh lebih kecil daripada bayanganku. Dari pasarnya, aku hanya berkeliling Greenwich aja sih dan mampir sebentar untuk melihat Cutty Sark sebelum akhirnya memutuskan untuk pulang ke hostel.

Aku makan malam di hostel dengan menu kari ayam dengan saus ketumbar. Lalu, aku memutuskan untuk tidur agak awal karena aku berencana pergi ke Wimbledon agak lebih pagi keesokan harinya… . Apa? Bangun jam 4 subuh pun masih kurang pagi?? Yah, pertimbanganku waktu itu: besok adalah hari Sabtu sehingga aku rasa adalah sebuah tebakan logis bahwa akan ada lebih banyak orang yang menunjungi turnamennya. Oleh karenanya, untuk mendapatkan nomor urut di the Queue sebaik dua kunjunganku sebelumnya, aku harus tiba disana lebih awal kan. Jadilah aku memutar alarm-ku untuk berdering jam 3.30 subuh…

Bersambung…

Selanjutnya dalam 2012 London Trip:
– Hari terakhir di Wimbledon
– Perjalanan hari Minggu ke Stonehenge