Showing posts with label Europe traveling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Europe traveling. Show all posts

Bo et Obi's Diary : Pisa Land...

Once upon a time, in the land of Pisa, Italy
The Frakarsas was back on the road again.
Determined to explore the beauty of the southern part of Italy, my family of four set their heart on making a road trip from Geneve, where we resided from 2007 - 2011. And after stopping by at Cinque Terre as well as Firenze or Florence, we visited Pisa and its famous Leaning Tower.
And here's the story.

The Frakarsas at the Leaning Tower, Pisa, Italy

WARNING: this is a super #throwback post as the trip took place in 2011, 9 years ago LOL.

Pisa has long been known for its incredible landscape, yummy food and of course Pisa Tower. 
I bet many of you are familiar with this campanile, or  the freestanding bell tower of the church, as I read in the Wikipedia read. The city of Pisa. I came here for the first time in 2002 then 9 years after, I came back with my petite famille. 

It was the last road trip we took from Geneva, Switzerland. Months before we were scheduled to go back to Jakarta, we took the road trip to Cinque Terre and some cities in Tuscany, Pisa and Firenze. We drove from Geneva and stopped at those beautiful cities. Bo was 4 years old and Obi was 3 months only! It was quite a trip because we traveled with baby and the place was quite far. We drove for around 6 hours to Cinque Terre and it took around 1.5 hours to drive here from Cinque Terre.  As I said, besides that famous 5 villages that becomes one of the UNESCO world heritage. On our way to Tuscany, we stopped at Pisa. This cute city is indeed included because it has unique landmark, the leaning tower.

Before I shared more stories,  ere are some of the photos we took during the trip.

The Frakarsas at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
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The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
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The Frakarsas at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
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The Frakarsas at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy

WW: Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium

Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium

I have no yet traveled abroad since COVID - 19 but I know I still have tons of photos from my previous travels that I haven’t shared.

Well, in 2019, I did go to so many places and countries. I guess I went to Geneva and New York several times, then visited Russia, Norway, England, Singapore, Turkey, and Belgium. 
For sure I would like to share it with all of you here. 

And welcome to Belgium!

I came here in November 2019 and guess when was the last time I visited this place?
16 years ago when I had my internship here in Indonesian Mission to the European Union.
And in 2019 I had the chance to go back and I felt so overwhelmed. 

Kota Brussels, Belgia memang memiliki kenangan tersendiri untukku. 16 tahun yang lalu, gadis kampung asal Lampung ini mendapat kehormatan untuk menjalani program magang di Perutusan RI untuk Masyarakat Eropa (PRIME). Meskipun PRIME saat ini telah dilebur bersama Kedutaan Besar RI untuk Kerajaan Belgia dan Kepatihan Luksembourg, namun kenangan manis dan berbagai aktivitas yang kami jalani di Brussels masih lekat dalam ingatan. Belgia adalah negara Eropa kedua yang aku jelajahi setelah Belanda. Di Den Haag atau The Hague, aku sempat mengikuti kursus non-gelar di Clingendael Institutes. 16 tahun yang lalu, aku masih gadis lugu yang belum pernah menginjakkan kaki di bumi Eropa. Terbayang kan betapa excited-nya aku ketika tau bahwa setelah usai menjalani pendidikan Sekolah Dinas Luar Negeri sebagai diplomat muda Kemlu, aku dan teman angkatanu mendapat kesempatan untuk mengikuti kursus di Belanda dan menjalankan magang di banyak negara, termasuk Belgia. Aaah, jadi panjang nih ceritanya sekaligus nostalgia.

One of my favorite places in Brussels is Grand Place.
This is truly the heart of Brussels as we have so many interesting buildings and historical places here.

Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium

This is where you can get delicious chocolates, yummy waffles, and obviously grand ambience. I guess those visiting Brussels won’t miss this historic place.
It is right in the middle of the city center and you can't miss it!

Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium

Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium

I will share more stories with you all on my reminiscing-of-the-past trip to Brussels, Belgium in November 2019.

And now, join us in (almost)  wordless Wednesday and have fun with the link party.

What to See in Red Square, Moscow, Russia

Welcome to Moscow
You probably remember my previous post about my visit, first time ever, to Moscow, the capital city of the Russian federation. 

Read: Hello Moscow, I am Coming.

As I said, it was a very memorable trip and definitely exciting. I only spent less than 3 days, packed with meetings, but surely we managed to see the famous landmark of Moscow, the Red Square.

Everyone in Red Square literally took picture of this!

Red Square has been famous for being the heart of Moscow.

Being number one tourists’ destination in Moscow, here lies several historical buildings and important, unique spots deemed tourists’ attractions as well as architecture gems. Perhaps one of the most striking one is St, Basil's Cathedral.
You know, the cathedral with super unique dome with intricate details and vivid colors it looks surreal. At the same spot, we can enjoy many museum, the Tsar's tower, Lenin's Mausoleum and more.

Before coming here, I read some reviews about what we can do for one day in Moscow. Most of them, if not all, recommend visiting the Red Square. 

Well, my Russian colleagues complained why I only had one extra day in Moscow with so many places to see. Not that I didn’t want to but more works are waiting in Jakarta so that my team and I had to go home to Jakarta right away. Nevertheless, I feel grateful for having a little break and getting to see the best the city can offer.

So there I was.. standing in the middle of Red Square.

The one-and-only Red Square.

I felt beyond happy and about to cry at the same time.

This is just like a dream-come-true destination for me.
I remember meticulously preparing the trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg with my petite family,, the Frakarsas, back in 2009 when we regretfully cancelled it after a series of  bombing incidents happened in the city’s subway. Bo, our son, was only 3 and we couldn’t risk traveling to places like this. Ten years after, my Rabb answered my prayers and I finally visited Moscow for the first time ever. Alhamdulillah.. merci my Rabb 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻.

So flying through Istanbul, we arrived in Moskow on Tuesday afternoon. Heading straight to the Ambassador’s  office and having the courtesy call, we had dinner at a place call.. I forgot :). Before dinner, we stopped by the Zaryadne Park, near the Moskva River to see the St. Basil's Cathedral from outside.

The following day we had full bilateral meeting, with wonderful lunch served at the mansion of the MoFA. It was a very productive meeting and certainly many follow ups we need to do afterwards. All in all, it was a successful meeting and both parties enjoyed the process as well as the result.

Once we were done with the meeting, we directly went to the Red Square.

Good thing it was summer, so we had long days.
Arriving at the Red Square at around 5 PM, we were directly walking towards the heart of it. Starting from the Museum of Archeology of Moscow, we admired the architecture designs of the building. 

Striking red..

where to go first?

Even the gate to the Red Square is amazing!
I was actually trying to get more detailed information about the gate but I wasn't very successful here. Perhaps I should learn Russian to make it easier!

At the gate of the Red Square, with the team.

Striking red brick seems to be the trade mark, as the State Historical Museum is also standing across the street. Too bad we didn't  have time to enter this place but I made a mental note that I have to be back here and definitely explore the museums.

The side of the Museum of archeology of Moscow

As we stepped into the Red Square, we were again wowed by the vastness of the area, surrounded but beautiful and historical buildings. One of them is the Kazan Cathedral. Ornate with pink and white bricks, the church looks glorious with its golden domes and intricate details. I was tempted to go inside and see more glorious settings but I knew I had no time :(. 

The Kazan Chatedral in Pink and White

At the same spot, we have the oldest shopping center in Moscow, GUM Department StoreTo me, it looks more like palace instead of the shopping mall. It is very artistic and the good thing is, the good being sold are tax free. Please correct me if I'm wrong but that's what I read in one of the signs.

Here you can find all those branded stores like Dior, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and more, as well as the most delicious ice cream in the city.
Oh, and there is a fountain in the middle of the Mall that looks cute.
When we were there, it was packed with watermelon and cantaloups. Perfect fruits for summer in Moscow.

GUM Department Store
I was coughing badly yet I enjoyed one scoop of chocolate ice cream.
It was delicious and only costed me 100 Rubel, or Rp 22.000,- or less than 2 USD! Very, very cheap, right. Even cheaper than Jakarta.

My yummy ice cream
After strolling around GUM Department Store, we went out to walk towards the St. Basil's Cathedral. There was a festival of military band at the are so it was packed with people and members of the band who were practising. We had to pay the ticket to see the performance but then again we had no extra time. Too bad the front part of the St. Basil's Cathedral and the Tsar Tower were closed with the tents for this festival.

Perfect summer day!
Yet, we saw many stalls and vendors selling traditional handicrafts like various kinds of Matryoshka, Russian chocolate and candy, ushanka or the Russian hats, and more. I just love to see them all!

Don't you just love them!
And, as the final stop, we once again took pictures of St. Basil's Chatedral.
I have to say I can't get enough of it!

The colourful domes are like magnet to me!

Mini - me loves this place, too :)
Again, here's the video of me welcoming myself to Moscow and get more shots from the airport to the city of Moscow! More videos are coming and wish me luck with the editing.

That's what I had on my first visit to the Red Square, Moscow, Russia and its charms and will definitely be back with more story about the subway in Moscow and the ones that we tried!

Stick round and see you on the next adventure!

Hello Moscow, I am Coming

Welcome to Moscow, Russia

The sky was blue.
You can see high-rise buildings and didn’t see it I’m honestly super sad eyes underground. We are here we are in Moscow. I smile as I recorded moments before we landed in Alaska from the capital city of Russian Federation.
One of my dreams comes through.


“We will be meeting with the Ministries on August 21st and be leaving the country on the 22nd evening. So, let’s get everything ready and keep in touch with the Embassy in Moscow.”
We just finished our regular meeting gearing up to all the activities and events scheduled for our office. I was beyond excited when I found out that I would visit Moscow, the Capital city of the Russian Federation. Although it's going to be an official working visit for two days, but I know I will at least be able to see the famous Red Square and Kremlin, and complete my collection of Matryoshka.

The famous Matryoskha
I remember almost 9 years ago, back in 2010, when we were about to visit this magnificent city. Known as one of the most beautiful capitals, Moscow has long been captivating our hearts for its beauty, history and more. We planned our journey meticulously in Geneve when suddenly we heard the news that bombs exploded in Moscow's famous subways. We cancelled the visit as we had young kids traveling with us. Since then, I haven't got a chance to visit or even plan to visit the city again. Now, in 2019, my dream comes true! This visit is truly like an answered prayer. 

We flew from Jakarta through Istanbul and reached Moscow the following day at 2 PM.
The weather was beautiful and it's just a lovely summer where people can comfortably go out just wearing t-shirt, short and sandals. Perfect for me as I don't have to bring too many jackets and stuff. 

As we landed in Vnukovo International Arport, I know the adventures start.

Anyway, what do you have in mind when you hear Moscow or Russia?
Tsar? KGB? Red Square? Kremlin? Putin? Borsch? 
Or all of them?

In my case, it's all of them!
As I have mentioned above, we were so ready to visit and explore Moscow before so I have spent sometimes reading and understanding the enigma and the rich history of this country. Moreover, while I was in New York City, one of my very best friends, Andre, was raised in Moscow and speaks Russians fluently. So we used to spend times in Veselka, the famous Russian - Ukrainian 24-hour cafe in Hell's Kitchen that becomes super famous after being one of the scenes for Ocean 12 (Go check it out!).

A view in Red Square

Come and watch my YouTube video welcoming myself to the heart of this iconic city.

Wait for more details and stories here as I'm coming back with more.

WW: Back to Geneva

Back to Geneva for meetings and boy, how I miss this place!
Its ageless beauty still mesmerizes me, no matter how many times I have come and visited this lovely city.
Being a United Nations European headquarters, Geneva has been bustling with vibrant international spirit, although its tradition is still well-maintained.

So here are some photos I took during my visit to Geneva.
I took the liberty to stroll around Lac Leman, or Lake Geneva, on Sunday, before I had those back-breaking series of meetings at Palais des Nations.

Jet d'eau or the famous water fountain in Geneva is indeed the main attraction, beside the clear water of the lake and beautiful blue sky. 

the swans and the ducks were happily swimming around

Cheers from mini me

one beautiful Sunday

the Brunswick monument

Jet d'Eau..seen from bain des Paquis..

I also walked to the Old Town or Vieille Ville to enjoy St. Pierre chatedral, Les Armoures and the City Hall. I will happily share more stories as well as my itinerary in Geneva if you want to explore it by foot.

Me and Les Armoures..

St. Pierre Cathedral..

Join us on (almost) Wordless Wednesday (just click it) and have fun with the link party!

WW: Snapshots of Berlin, Germany

Here are some snapshots of Berlin, Germany, where I visited this beautiful for about 4 days for meetings.
Have you been to Berlin before?

Bradenburg Gate ...
I didn't get to see the city too much as my meetings in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany were full. Somehow,  I managed to briefly visit the Brandenburg Gate, Concert House, Reichstag Building, Check Point Charlie, Memorial to the Murdered Jews and BMW Berlin. 

I have visited this place before but that was more than 11 years ago. It is really nice to go back indeed.

I remember our days in Europe from 2007 - 2011 and again, Europe has its own ageless charm that hook me.

Konzerthaus Berlin

wish I could see it inside..but no time!

Cheers from mini me and I

The meeting we have on Women, Peace and Security

Well, here's what I managed to get.
Will certainly spill more stories and details after finishing the High Level Segment of Human Rights Council in Geneve this week. Meanwhile, sending love and kisses from Geneva.

Join us on (almost) Wordless Wednesday and enjoy our weekly link party

The Frakarsa's on the road: Hola Espana Trip: Parc Guell, Barcelona

Does Gaudi ring a bell to you? 
Yuup, Antonio Gaudi.

Frankly, I just stumbled into this famous name when I prepared my petite family trip to Spain. It was back in 2010 (almost 8 years ago) and we were still living in Geveve, Switzerland when we started the trip. And even before arriving at Barcelona, looking at all those photos and stories on the web, we know Antonio Gaudi was indeed a GENIUS!

Born in 1852, Gaudi has been world-widely know for his Catalan modernism, highly inspired by nature and  religion. To him, nature comes with the best shapes and colors. Some dubbed him as the 'God's  architect' for his incredible works, including Sagrada Familia, famous church in Barcelona as well as the most visited monument in Spain. And his works there is incomplete! So, no wonder we planned to see three amazing places in Barcelona created by Gaudi.

One of his famous masterpieces is PARC GUELL, in Barcelona.

Undoubtedly, Parc Guell is one of the most impressive parks I have visited so far (and I'm one of park's biggest fan :D). 
It has been world-wide famous for being Gaudi's great masterpieces, as the park is adorned with so many unique elements.

Di hari kedua road trip kami di Barcelona, kami memutuskan untuk mengunjungi Parc Güell yang asli ngetop banget. Pokoknya kalau ada kesempatan main ke Barcelona, jangan ngga mampir ke sini ya. Taman luas yang terdiri dari beberapa kompleks ini memang unik. Seperti yang saya ceritakan di atas, Gaudi memang bener-bener luar biasa dalam merealisasikan aneka bentuk unik dari alam. Dan taman ini adalah tempat pertama karya Gaudi yang kami nikmati di Barcelona. Kesan pertama memang jawdropping! Mencengangkan! Bikin menganga.

His attentions to details continued to wow and amaze me, Udi et Bo while we  got an opportunity to stroll around the city of Barcelona to see his magical works. 

Alhamdulillah, amidst flowing tourists, warm January and packed park, we managed to take a stroll around the park, starting from Casa - Museu Gaudi. We didn't get inside as the park itself is huge but we took a few pictures in front of this house/museum.

Then we walked up to the main part of the Park.
Parc Guell consists of several parts, including the famous Dragon (or 'gecko') stairs, the Greek Theater, Casa-Museu Gaudi, and Casa del Guarda.

really comfortable and unique...Gaudi ooh Gaudi...
As you walked into the area, you can immediately see Gaudi's signature.
Amazing details with out-of-this-world designs and shapes.
The park has been known for its famous 'gecko' (although some say it's the dragon) and incredibly comfy bench filled with quilt of ceramics tiles as well as stunning view of the city of Barcelona.

strolling around the 'forest' of asymmetrical columns...

When we continued to stroll around the park, especially, the upper part, we found the forest of unique columns.
More interesting spot to enjoy.

clear blue sky....
They are indeed unique as the columns are not even straight.
They are strategically positioned to frame the clear blue sky and trees in the park.

Even the roof along this promenade looks like natural caves, at least for me.
It feels like getting lost in the forest of brick columns.

Waktu kami sekeluarga menjelajahi taman ini, ada bagian yang seru dan unik serta tidak terlalu ramai. Di bagian ini ada jalan setapak dengan kolom-kolom dari bata yang terlihat alami dan uniknya tidak ada yang lurus.  Paling tidak terlihat alami dan seperti karya Gaudi lainnya, tidak ada garis lurus. Karena tidak terlalu ramai, seperti bagian taman lainnya di Greek Theater dan Dragon's stair, kita bisa puas foto-foto di sini.

let's take a walk :D...

The next part that we love so much is the gingerbread house. It's like those whimsical houses  popping out of children story book. 
Take a look at these photos and tell me what you think!

Jaw-dropping ceilings with intricate designs can be found in the Greek Theater part. Those mosaics in different colors and shapes will be interesting to look. I can't stop thinking how they actually built all this amazing park. There has got to be special techniques being used to get all those curves and colors.

The ceiling and its colorful constellation...

Wanna see more of Parc Guell ?
Enjoy some more photos we took during our trip to Parc Guell, Barcelona

Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

amazing details indeed...mosaic of colorful tiles and patterns...

I love the shapes and their vibrant colors....yet, they serve their functions normally ...

in front of one of the houses...nice blue, yaaa...

we were not the only admirers of Gaudi works :D...
Here's the map of the Park.


Do you like visiting the park as well? 
What is your favorite park so far? 
Will you visit this park if you get a chance to visit Barcelona? 

See you in the next story and happy traveling!