UK : Stonehenge – The Mysterious Place (VLOG)

If i can time travel, i think i would want to go back to the time whereby Stonehenge was constructed. 3000 BC to 2000 BC. I am still amazed and felt so curious on how the people or giant back then set up all these crazily heavy stones. With each stones weighing about 25 tons with 3metres high and 2 meters wide.

I kept circling and looking at those stones, and got mind-blown by it. Somehow it just captivates me. Too bad, we cannot get near it. We can only admire it from a far. (except Michael Bay and Transformer autobots) Haha.

For some reason, they prohibit us to bring our own transport near the mega-stones. So, we need to park our cars in their allocated parking lot, and wait for their shuttle bus to bring us there, or if you like to walk and enjoy the green pasture, you can walk from the ticketing place as well. But it may take a while, since it’s pretty far from the pick-up point. One reason that i heard from the people there is, they want to minimize the pollution around the stones. So, even though the shuttle has dropped you at the drop-off point, you still have to walk for 5-10 more minutes to get near to the stones.

There are so many stories behind this UNESCO HERITAGE SITE. Like legend said that Cyclops giant brought over the stones and arranged it there, cause no one is big and strong enough to move this kind of stones. Another story is the high priest of Celts constructed these for sacrificial ceremonial. Then, some other said that it was built by someone who has a strong astronomical background, who built this to tell us the time and calendar.

No one really know who and how this megalithic pre-historic monuments was built and for what purpose. But since it’s already there, i think it’s our part to take care of this mysterious world assets. and Thank you England for conserving this so well up till today. Such an amazing place indeed. Feels like you can get a lot of inspirations if you linger there longer with some beer and picnic. Haha. Love the spacious green field, the noise-free and the clear sky and the cold breeze.

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Unhappiest Place On Earth

When Disneyland claimed to be the Happiest place on earth, i guess Nazi concentration camp can be titled as vice-versa. If you know Dementor (one of Harry Potter’s creature), the spirit who can take away all the happiness away, it feels like a troop of Dementor is already standing in very front of parking area and sucking all my happiness away.

The gloomy weather on that day, added the sadness. I cant even smile at all. I guess even the joker will be left silent when they enter this place that has been turned to holocaust museum.

I am sure everyone knows about the despicable history of Hitler and the Nazi party that he put up. My first thought when i reached this enormous camp is, How can someone convince almost a whole European to kill a tribe that did no wrong? That one person’s hatred can cause so much of terrifying nightmare..

Nazi Concentration camp has three places, Auschwitz I, II and III, that located not far from each other. This camp is enormously huge that it can be a town of its own.

Auschwitz I  (The Main Camp)

Previously was a Polish prison that turned up to be the first and oldest camp in 1940. It was then expanded according to the needs of the camp. Below is the picture of the front lawn, before we entered the camp.

Before we enter this camp, there are quite a tight security check that for our bags, and big backpacks are not allowed to be in. They have a place for you to store your things at the main entrance. I will suggest you to bring smaller bags, since i heard this place always crowded with tourist from all over the world, so it will make you wait a little longer as well to store your things.

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The main gate with ‘Arbeit Macht Freit’ signage, that means ‘Work will set you Free’. What the Jews know, they were sent here to ‘work’. They did not know that they are entering a man-made Hell.

An eerie feeling creeped in when i entered the barrack complex. And the hugeness of this place, make it doesnt look crowded anymore like i saw in the entrance. They have so many barracks here for the inmates, the security barracks, the store rooms, Dr Mengale ‘research rooms’, the gas chambers and the crematories.

Hitler and Dr Mengele already briefed their team to kill those who were unfit for work like the elderly, the sick, women and children to the gas chamber. And the men, twins and others were for work and for Dr Mengele crazy experiments.

We can explore most of the barracks that now turned into photography exhibitions and other exhibition such as the Nazi’s documents and things that were brought by the Jews when they came to the camp. But there are some areas that we cant capture, for example, the place where they store all the Jewish hair that was meant to be sold to make sweaters or blanket.

When i was observing and thinking how cruel the German was in that ‘hair exhibition’, my group was just taking a look and gone just like that, and suddenly i found myself alone in that exhibition. I was quite panicked, since i dont wanna be left alone in that barrack, and ran to find them. And for a while, i was lost in the middle of the barrack complex. Luckily i saw my brother from a far who was busy taking picture on the other alley, and got back together with my tour group. ~Fiuhh~

I can imagine how scared and confused for them who tried to escape from this hell. Even now at the daylight, it is difficult to find the way out. Every alley looks similar with all the big trees planted beside the barracks.

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The three pictures above was the gas that was used to kill the Jews in the gas chamber, The Gas Chamber, and the Crematories.

The Jews were told to put off their clothes and get some shower, they did not know that it will be the last ‘shower’ in their life. Instead of water that supposed to come out, it was the poisonous gas of Zyklon B (that was used as fertilizer and insect killers).

One of the SS (Nazi guards) said that he can heard loud screaming from the gas chamber when the gas was released. They were fighting to live as well. But too bad, no one survived the deadly chemical that made them suffocated. After they died, the guards will bald them, and cremate them immediately. About 1,1 million of Jews were died in this camp.

Auschwitz II – Birkenau 

About 3 km from Auschwitz, there were one Polish village. Since Auschwitz I cannot take more prisoners, the Germans expelled the villagers and demolished their houses to build another concentration camp that is bigger than Auschwitz I. The largest installation of mass murder that was built in 1941.

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Above picture is the mass toilet that was used during time. Our guide said that actually this was the safest place back then. Since the place was so filthy, the Germans seldom went in to check how they were doing. Normally the Jews will exchange informations here, and the one who was assigned here was considered lucky because they can keep themselves warm instead of working outside.

Some of them tried to escape to the forrest behind (as you can see from below picture), but no one know if they managed to ran away.

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This camp is about 1.5 hours of bus trip from Krakow City, Poland. I was on a tour from Jakarta, Indonesia. I researched that you can take train to Auschwitz as well, but you have to take another public transport, since Auschwitz train station is located 2 km away from the camp. I saw a bus station in front of the parking lot when we about to reach the camp, so probably taking a public bus would be a better choice.

If you decided to go on your own, there’s shuttle bus to go from Auschwitz I to Birkenau, but public buses only available outside Auschwitz I, so do take note the timing.

The entrance to this museum is free, but if you need guided tour, you can see this link for more informations. There are many day tour to this place as well when you reached Krakow City, if you dont want the hassle.

They do sell some food in Auschwitz I, so do not worry if you get a little hungry after hours of visiting. But do take note that they only receive ZL (Polish Zloty). So make sure you changed your currency before going to Poland. Else it will be difficult for you to buy things and use the toilet.

And for those of you who love to read, they are one bookstore outside Auschwitz II – Birkenau that sells everything about the camp. And it is available in many translations. I think i can spend an hour to just browse through the bookstore. Finally i decided to bring home this book, and finished this in 2 days time. Such a moving story.

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 ~ The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing ~ Edmund Burke

All pictures (mostly unedited) and video are taken by Sony RX1oo iii.

WaeRebo – Mysterious Village amidst of Flores Mountains (VLOG)

‘Yeayyy.. We finally here!’ said us happily with panting breath yet still full of excitement.

‘We should take a picture guys!’ said one of us while taking her camera out

‘Ladies, Welcome to WaeRebo Village, I am sorry that you cannot take any picture or video or do anything before you enter the Main House and prayed by the Chiefs of the village’ said our kind and funny local guide who suddenly turned so serious by that time.

Out of a sudden, this seven noisy girls became very well behaved and listen to the instruction of our local guide. We were escorted into the dimly lighted Main House  with a heavy cigarette smells all over the house.

The chiefs of the village greeted us with their warm smile, asked us to seat in a row, and they started the welcoming ritual. All guests must be prayed over first with Manggarai language (the local language). The purpose of the ritual is for all the guests to be kept safe at WaeRebo, because they still believe the human and the spirit in WaeRebo are still living together and helping each other.

After the praying session ended, we were escorted to one of the guest house to drink some Robusta coffee as their welcome drink. I am not a big fan of coffee, but since i am already there, and i want to respect their culture, there i was, sitting quietly and pouring sugar to my coffee and listening to some stories of the village that we will spend the night at.

A mysterious village – that’s the word that came to my mind after visiting this UNESCO World Cultural Herigate site. Relax, nothing mystical during our stay. I would say that it’s a mysterious village, because no one knows how long this village has been there for. It is only written in the history that someone named Empo Maro, an adventurous man from Minangkabau, West Sumatra sailed his way to the East side of Indonesia, and established this village. The story on why Empo Maro sailed away from Sumatra and how he ended up establishing this village on a mountain top is still a mystery.

Our two days one night stay at WaeRebo is very memorable (at least for me). I never stayed with local people before. When some high-schools in Indonesia has live-in programme (staying in some Indonesian village and live like villagers), my school just had some outings to some places in Jakarta. Yeap, thats the minus point of studying in National Plus school back at that time.

For some of you who have done the ‘live-in’ program. This trip may offer you the same conditions, where you got the chance to stay with the locals, eat with the locals, listen to the local’s music, bath in a cold-water with minimum lights (they only have lights from 6-10pm), sleep on floor with a thin mat accompanied by another traveller at your sides (Yes, it’s a communal type of stay, luckily it was seven of us, so we got the side space for ourselves), no air-con but super cold, and use torchlight whenever you need the bathroom once the sun goes down.

It was a super memorable trip, apparently the city girls can survive staying in Mbaru Niang (the cone-shaped 5 levels of traditional house) in the middle of rain-forrest with two-three days without any-connections to the outside world. Hahaha.

How to go to WaeRebo 

*DID some VLOG along the way* Hope you like it – sorry for the shaky videos, as i literally took it while i hiked.

WaeRebo is located at the heart of Flores mountains, if you are looking for a pleasant, serene and nicely-isolated feeling of mountain scenery, and of course with the high cravings for interactions with the locals. WaeRebo is a perfect place for you to go.

It was such an effortful journey for us to reach this traditional village. We need to fly to Labuan Bajo from Bali (since no direct flight from Jakarta or Singapore). Let me break down for you on how i reach there from Jakarta:

– Jakarta to Bali : 1 hour 50minutes (flight)

-Bali to Labuan Bajo (Flores) : 1 hour 15 minutes (flight)

-Labuan Bajo to Dintor : 6 hours of bumpy car ride

-Dintor to Denge Village : 20 minutes of car ride

-Denge Village to the foot of the mountain : 10-15 minutes of Ojek ride (motorcycle)

-Foot of the mountain to WaeRebo : 2 hours 15 minutes of a quite challenging hiking

Imagine how effortful the trip was. It feels like you are travelling to the other part of the world, which is still located in Indonesia. hahaha. Lucky i have a fun travelling partners with me!

We decided to join a local tour for the whole Flores trip, because we heard that if you go by yourselves, the local people may overcharge you for everything, since they still have minimum access over there.

Fun-Facts about WaeRebo

-They only have 7 Mbaru Niang (the cone-shaped traditional house) with 6-8 families in each house, and they cannot add the number of the house.

-The 7 house that we see now is already renovated, and built with NO nails at all. They have 5 levels in every house, but the locals can only stay at the first floor, since the 2nd to the 5th is to save their harvest.

-Stone altar in the middle of the village cannot be seated on nor walked through it, since they still offer their offerings to their God on that altar in every rituals.

-Electricity is only ON from 6-10pm by solar power.

-The Rain-forrest that we hiked to WaeRebo has stunning biological diversity, including many kinds of birds that will always sing along your trip.

-WaeRebo locals work out on their coffee plantations (Robusta, Arabica and Luwak). They also sells their ethnic handwoven cloth that you can bring home. Price is about Rp 600.000

-Received UNESCO World Cultural Heritage award on 2012.

**ps : do bring warm clothing since it will turns very cold at night and you can bring sleeping bag if you want to (saw some european brought that for sleeping)

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Photos are all unedited, Taken by Me and Salam Ransel

24 hrs in Vienna-Austria : For Sightseeing

Vienna, the capital and the largest city of Austria has many beautiful places that will bring your imagination back to 1700s. A time whereby most of the cities in Europe were still ruled by Kings and Queens.

As for me, to explore a town, you may need at least 3 days to at least see the touristy place and visit the hipster cafe around the city. But too bad, some people dont have the luxury to do that, Like for those person who’s on business trip or on a transit, or some people like me, whose parents prefer to go on a tour rather than explore and get lost. haha.

1. Kunsthistorisches Museum ( Museum of Art History)

Welcome to the largest ART Museum in the country! This mega-museum was opened around 1891 by King of Hungary – Franz Joseph I, when Austria was still Austro-Hungarian Empire. This museum holds mostly paintings and sculptures. I do not know much about arts, but this museum building is just sooo pretty, more over with the octagon dome on the top!

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2. St Stephen’s Cathedral & Old Town

Seems like most cities in central/eastern Europe has their own must visit scenic old town. A place whereby most good eats are, a great shopping place and of course a place for you to see and visit some historical sites.

St Stephen’s Cathedral is one of the must see when you’re in old town. It’s the mother church of Roman Catholic in Vienna and one of Vienna’s landmark.

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3. Schonbrunn Palace

Where maybe some of us have some villa in Puncak or Bali, a queen named Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria and Francis I, Duke of Lorraine owned this extravagant palace for their summer residence. Surely this palace is the biggest residence that i have ever seen in my life. They have so many beautiful gardens for their 16 children to play in. Yes, Maria Theresa had 16 children, 10 of them were girls, and 1 of the 10 was the famous Marie Antoinette (Queen of France).

What i can say is, some European history are heavily influenced with Austrian history, since the Archduchess’ children were married to other European Dukes. The palace is one of Europe’s most impressive Baroque style, which now is a part of UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage due to historic importance. They Palace was wonderfully made inside out, too bad no photography allowed. So, just enjoy the outside few!

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4. Johann Strauss II Monument at Stadtpark 

Austria is also well-known for the birthplace for many great composers / musicians. Even until now, many people still go to Austria to learn musics. And for the classic enthusiast, i am sure you all know who Johann Strauss is. Because even me, the music noobs know the famous ‘Voices of Spring’ by the master himself.

This gold monument were built by Edmund Hellmer and unveiled to the public on 26th June 1921. For you who love to listen to classics, there are daily concerts that you can attend to. They have many ticket sellers around this area, and they do have promotions for foreigners too!

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All picture are unedited – taken by SONY RX100 III

A Wee Bit of Brussels

The major ‘cons’ of joining a tour group is you cant explore a city/country as much as you want, but the ‘pro’ is you can drop by to many countries and see a wee bit of it.

Take my last trip for example. i can have my breakfast in Amsterdam, Lunch in Brussels, and Dinner in Paris. sounds awesome, isnt it? But again you need to pay that ‘awesomeness’ with a long hour of bus ride. haha..

From Amsterdam to Paris, it took us about 7 hrs of bus ride in total, To make our back and butt a little less painful, we dropped by in Brussels for lunch and a little bit of city tour.

Brussels is the capital and the largest city of Belgium. I quite like this city, eventhough i just visited it for a few hrs only. haha. Most of the buildings is quite similar with Amsterdam, those 3-4 stories tall, but less colorful, more to classic white colours, i think? haha

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**took this picture in front of the chinese restaurant that we went to, guess we were in LGBT district? hmmpp**

And since Brussels is a home for international politics, there are so many buildings that looks like this.

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As we only have few hours in Brussels, we just dropped by to have some lunch in one horrible chinese restaurant.*i think its the least tasty and worst service restaurant in our whole trip* haha..  And after that, we walked around the city a bit and head our way to see the infamous..

Manneken Pis (Little Pee Man)

A legendary statue in the corner of L’etuve road (Rue De L’etuve). **voto** I was really thinking that the statue will be much bigger than this. haha.. The size of this statue is only about 60-70cm, and made in bronze. My tour guide said, normally the locals will put some outfit on this pee-ing little man, like national clothes on national day, santa claus clothes on christmas, etc.

Since there’s no occasion when we came there, so its just a bare tiny statue.

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It may not look majestic to some of us. but the locals kind of treasure it so much, maybe because all the historical stories behind it. There are 2 famous stories behind this pee-ing boy.

One story tells about a tourist father who lost his son, he asked the villagers to help to find his boy, and then they found the boy was pee-ing in that little corner. so the tourist father was so glad that they found him, and give this statue fountain as a gift to the village.

Another story is, during some wars, this boy was pee-ing to a bomb that was about to explode. and fortunately the bomb never exploded. so it’s kind of remembrance to little brave boy. Dont know which story story is true.. but what we know now is, its a must see statue when you visit Brussels. haha.

Belgian Chocolate

I think there are so many delicious European chocolate. and many of it as well, already entered Asia’s market since i dont know when. But they said Belgian chocolate is different because They have been the biggest chocolate producers in the world. some of the finest chocolate like Godiva comes from Belgium too. Beside Manneken Pis statue, there’s one chocolate shop that’s always crowded with tourist. They claimed to handmade their own chocolates. so, we bought some home and give it to our relatives and friends, and all of them said it is sooo nicee..

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*photo-shoot attempt. hahaha*

Belgian Waffle 

Something that we could not miss! In Belgium, the treat it’s like the Waffles itself. Almost every corner of Mannaken Pis area selling Belgian Waffle & their Belgian chocolate..

it’s so hard to decide which one to go to. Me and my brother decided to go to 1 shop that is not to far from the Manneken Pis statue, a few people Q-ed for it, and we were like, ‘okay.. if there’s a Q, it might better than the others’. haha.. *Monkey See, Monkey Do situation* haha..

Initially we only bought 1 waffle topped with bananas and Belgian chocolate, but we find the chocolate to overpowering and cant stand the sweetness. so we decided to buy the plain waffles with sugar. and it tastes much better..! haha.. The waffle itself is already tasty, so i think much topping will ruin the waffle taste..

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** she really enjoy posing at my brother’s camera.. i guess that what makes her put soooo much chocolate sauce until it overflows.. hahaha**

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** 1 EUR for the plain one.. my Banana Choco Waffle is about 4 EUR**SONY DSC

Grand Place 

It’s the central square of Brussels, and it’s one of UNESCO World Heritage site. A must visit place for travellers! In previous time, they used this town-hall as a trading place, where they can buy and sell food and other things. even until today, they still use this place for restaurants and a place to hang out for the young and old. Another Unique Selling Point of this place, is their architecture. They have 3 different eras of architecture in 1 place (The Gothic, the Baroque and Louis XIV)

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SONY DSCAll pictures are taken with Sony Nex C-3, with no edit.