27 May 2010

Singing Songs

Vio has always like songs.. and the fun thing is.. now he can start singing! (read: mumbling some of the parts)

Some songs that he can "sing" now (and then) is:

  • Cicak cicak di dinding (ci ta ci ta di di di..)

  • Baa baa Blacksheep (baa baa)

  • Twinkle twinkle little star (staaaaaa..)

  • The wheel on the bus ("all day long" part -> ooo aaa looo), and dancing throughout the song

  • Da Xiang (daaaa... daaaaa...)

  • Michael row the boat ashore ("Hallelujah" part -> aa..loo..luu..)

  • Row row row your boat (ro ro ro ro ro ro..)

  • Topi saya bundar (only the style)

  • If you happy and you know it (only the style)

  • Grandfather's clock (tick tock tick tock)

Here's a photo of him "singing" Row Row Row Your Boat..

[caption id="attachment_1330" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Ro ro ro ro ro ro.."]Ro ro ro ro ro ro..[/caption]

Wahahahaha just check out that cute "gurita" (octopus) mouth!! I love it!! Doesn't he just look cute.. hehehehe.. It's so difficult to take a photo of him with that mouth.. :D

[caption id="attachment_1332" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Gurita mouth - sideways"]Gurita mouth - sideways[/caption]


Have you seen it before??

A soft, cute, very cuddly baby-blue hippo with a smiling face.. It's a gift from someone when Vio was born.. And the hippo has accompanied Vio sleep every night for almost 17 months now.

[caption id="attachment_1327" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Hippo.."]Hippo..[/caption]

The Hippo is at top left corner of the photo.. It's wearing a cute small bibs with teddy bear picture and word "Boy" sewn on it. And on it's left cheek, sown a little blue flower.

Every night Vio will repetitively bite on its different parts of the body, and also hug it while sleeping. Unsurprisingly, it looks quite pethatic now. Quite "skinny" and the color not that attractive anymore.. LOL..

So I figure that I'd better find a replacement soon, so at least the 2 can be rotated to be washed frequently. But hippo is nowhere to be seen... :( Have you seen him in a shop before?? If yes, pls drop me a message.. Hippo-hunting is on now! :)

26 May 2010


Free things is always nice...
Ice cream is always yummy..
The two combined together?? Marvellous!!

Today is Gelare SG's Facebook Fan day. All FB fan will get a free scoop of Gelare ice cream.. wow.. something not to be missed, eh? ;)

The nearest Gelare outlet from my office is at Orchard Central.. Ok it's not that close actually, it's pretty far.. But then, lunch time at Orchard is always refreshing.. Somehow felt like we went out for window shopping (not like a working day!) and returning back to office feeling refreshed :p

So we decided to have our lunch at Food Republic in 313 Somerset. We tried Bibimbap from Korean food stall. Wow it was nice! My friend said it tasted the same as the one sold in Korea itself.. hohoho.. quite happy to find a stall selling nice (and spicy) Bibimbap..

After lunch, it was already... 1 pm! Oh no... time to go back office :(  But since we planned to go to Gelare at Orchard Central, we quickly went there. I was hoping that there's no queue.. Though so unlikely.. Come on.. free things in Singapore? People here so kiasu for free stuff.. so there must be a very very long queue..

.. but surprisingly.. for the first time ever, I saw there's no queue at all in Gelare.. Where's everybody?? Hahaha.. but that's kinda good. We can get our free scoop of ice cream. The flavour given out in this outlet is "white chocolate with raspberry truffle".. Ohhhh.. yummy... yeah yeah yeah it's as yummy as it sounds!

So.. whoever not yet claiming your Gelare free scoop, don't forget to go down to one of its outlet today! ;)

24 May 2010


[caption id="attachment_1319" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Aoooo?"]Aoooo?[/caption]

Vio is getting better and better at imitating what he heard. He can now says much more words, even though one might need a sixth sense to understand what he's saying haha.. sample of his new words are : kick/ti, apaaa (apel), wower (flower), baa (bus), seess (shoes), do (dog), do (from do re mi fa..), kiwi, tu ti (from one two three), and not forgetting.. aoo.. (which means halo)

[caption id="attachment_1320" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Anybody call me?"]Anybody call me?[/caption]

Actually, he first said it as... "Weeeiii?" Oh no.. I hope that's not because he's watching too much chinese drama.. hahahaa.. At my home, everybody says "halo" to the phone.. :p  But oh well, nowadays he's saying "aooo?" instead of "weiii?"

22 May 2010

Europe - Frankfurt

It's time for our last destination before going back to Singapore :)

The journey from Cologne to Frankfurt Airport was about 1 hour. Reaching the airport, we looked for baggage locker to put our luggage, as we can't check in yet (it was still about 7 hours before the scheduled flight). Apparently what we can find is baggage storage, so it's not a locker, but someone will always be there to guard the luggage. Each of us received a ticket for our luggages.

Frankfurt airport has 2 train station: 1 for long distance train (Flughafen Fernbanhof), which was where we came from, and another 1 for regional short distance train (Flughafen Regionalbahnhof). Now we're planning to go to Frankfurt am Main city center, which was a 10 minutes train ride from regional train station.

[caption id="attachment_1307" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Frankfurt Airport Regional Train Station"]Frankfurt Airport Regional Train Station[/caption]

The train tickets must be purchased at a machine, which only operates on German language.. So we just guessed on how to use it, and each of us get a ticket. Actually I think that it makes no difference whether we buy the ticket or not, as there's noone checking the ticket, and we can freely get in the train even without ticket. But I suppose if there's anyone checking on the ticket while on the train, we'll get a fine or something if we don't have one :p  Maybe the Europeans are more "honest".. as in each will have their tickets.. hehehe.. if the same system applied in Asia, I believe most people would rather get in the train for free.. hahaha..

[caption id="attachment_1308" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Frankfurt am Main Train station - it was huge!"]Frankfurt am Main Train station - it was huge![/caption]

We didn't get lost, and get down at the correct stop (yayyy)... we looked for Tourist Information Office there and get a map to go to the Altstadt (old city). The walk was apparently quite long, I think we walk for at least 20-30 mins to go there. Along the way we saw many many many Turkish restaurant selling kebabs and friends. Maybe there are many Turkish there?

Walking further, we passed by Frankfurt financial district. Frankfurt is the largest financial center in Europe.

[caption id="attachment_1309" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="The Euro sign looks kinda cute, hor?"]The Euro sign looks kinda cute, hor?[/caption]

And walking further down, we also saw some nice buildings..

[caption id="attachment_1310" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Are we in a different era?"]Are we in a different era?[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1311" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Wow that must've been heavy.."]Wow that must've been heavy..[/caption]

And finally finally finally, we reached the Romerberg! It's the central square of Altstadt. The buildings there are kinda cute.

[caption id="attachment_1312" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Romerberg - Ostzeile (Tudor style houses)"]Romerberg - Ostzeile (Tudor style houses)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1313" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Romerberg - Fountain of Justice"]Romerberg - Fountain of Justice[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_1314" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Romerberg - Me in front of Romer"]Romerberg - Me in front of Romer[/caption]

The town hall was where the emperor was crowned. Oh yeah... nearby was the Frankfurt Cathedral (St Bartholomeus)..

[caption id="attachment_1315" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Saint Bartholomeus's Cathedral "]Saint Bartholomeus's Cathedral [/caption]

We bought some souvenirs from the souvenirs shop there, and head back to the airport. Well, better be early than missed our flight, hor? ;)

Oh well, that's the end of my Europe trip stories.. :(  I wonder when can I go there again.. but next time, hopefully with pi & vio! :)

21 May 2010

Europe - Cologne

From Amsterdam, we reached Cologne about 21:30pm on Sat, 15 May 2010. Tired from dragging the luggage around, we decided to take a cab to the hotel that we booked earlier. When we've finally found the taxi stand and ask the cab driver to bring us to the hotel, we were actually r.e.j.e.c.t.e.d.. He (and another cab driver) said that the hotel is only 100 m away, no need to take a cab.. Maybe he meant to be nice, but actually honestly, we don't mind paying a few euros for not needing to drag our luggage.. hahahaa..

So in the end we walked the 100m that he said, and it felt like 1 km! Or maybe, the straight linear distance is really 100m, but there's no way we can walk in the linear way.. hahaha..

The hotel we booked is City Europa am Dom, which is just behind the big famous cathedral in Cologne. We booked a twin room for 95 euros, and during the booking, I've specified that I want an extra bed (that will cost 30 euros more). That will cost each of us 40 euros/night including breakfast, and the hotel has quite a good review (being a 4 star hotel in excellent location and affordable rate)..

Oh well apparently, the staff there was not as nice. Our twin room was ready, but the notes saying that we need an extra bed was not sent to them by the booking website. And the room that they assigned us is a small one, not enough for any extra bed. And they're also fully booked, left with 1 twin room (for us) and 1 single room, so they can't give us a bigger twin room that has enough capacity for extra bed. Anddd.. they don't allow us to share the twin room for 3 person.. Wah.. I tried to protest, coz we've specified the extra bed during booking, but the receptionist can't change her mind. By then, it was too late to look around for other hotel, so we got no choice but to take the 1 single room left for 75 euros.. :(  So bad service.. they should've offered us a discount or something.. Afterall it's not our fault.. :(

Anyway, the room itself is quite nice and clean. Reaching the room, I suddenly feel my tummy very pain, and I just got a feeling that it's because I don't drink enough plain water for that day (having been drinking mostly soda drinks). So I called the receptionist asking whether they had mineral water, and she said that it's in the mini-bar. So I opened the minibar and take out the mineral water (I know it normally cost ridiculously expensive, but I'm too thirsty to think), and open it.. and guess what? It's with soda!! Aiyoooo.. they don't have mineral water without soda.. -_-   In the end, I decided to just drink tap water, luckily I didn't have any diarrhoea after that.. hahaha..

The next morning, we had our breakfast in the hotel, the menu is exactly the same as what's served in my hotel in Duisburg.. wow.. I wonder whether all hotels having the same menu? It's sausages, meat balls, scrambled egg, bacons, and also few types of yoghurt with fruits. Oh, also have cereals, bread, jam, etc.

After breakfast, we proceed to the most famous landmark in Cologne: the Cathedral! Our hotel was just behind the cathedral. It was .t.h.e. .m.o.s.t. .m.a.g.n.i.f.i.c.e.n.t . thing I've ever seen..  It was soooooooo huge and very nice... It has 2 tall towers.. and I read that it was the tallest building in the world from 1880-1884.

[caption id="attachment_1291" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Cologne Cathedral"]Cologne Cathedral[/caption]

It takes 600+ years to finish building it (with some interruptions in the middle). And I saw there were many doors to the church, and each door have a different relics.. wow.. it's just sooo amazing..

[caption id="attachment_1292" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Cologne Cathedral - one of the door"]Cologne Cathedral - one of the door[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1293" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Amazing relics"]Amazing relics[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1294" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Me in front of the cathedral"]Me in front of the cathedral[/caption]

Have to admit that even as I'm typing this entry now, my heart pounding faster when I remember how huge and majestic this building is.. and all the intricate details carved all over the buildings, each one being unique..

Going inside the church, it was just as impressive.. the inside was so huge.. and with many stained glass windows..

[caption id="attachment_1295" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Cologne Cathedral - in the inside"]Cologne Cathedral - in the inside[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1296" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Cologne Cathedral - inside view"]Cologne Cathedral - inside view[/caption]

Actually I read that if we climb the 509 steps in one of the tower, we can see a very nice view of Cologne.. But upon hearing "509 steps", both my colleagues immediately say "no"... :(  We didn't spend much time inside the Cathedral, so we went out to take a look around the area. The Cathedral was located just beside Cologne(Koln) main train station.

[caption id="attachment_1297" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Koln Haupthbahnhof"]Koln Haupthbahnhof[/caption]

And Cologne itself is an old city. The buildings in the city are mostly old buildings. I love to see old buildings :)

[caption id="attachment_1298" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="View in front of cathedral"]View in front of cathedral[/caption]

We walked towards the Rhein River, and saw this nice bridge. Normally the cathedral photo that I saw is mostly taken with this bridge (from across the bridge). But we didn't walk that far.. This bridge is quite long :p

[caption id="attachment_1299" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Bridge in Cologne"]Bridge in Cologne[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1300" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Cologne Cathedral from afar"]Cologne Cathedral from afar[/caption]

We walk by the river towards the Altstadt (old town area). Honestly, if I've never been to Amsterdam, I'd think that the Cologne old town is very nice... But I've seen even nicer one.. hahaha.. ok I still think it's not bad. And Cologne is like a city full of churches. There's a church of St Martin in the middle of the old town. But my colleagues didn't feel like going there, as we just visited the cathedral.. So majority wins.. I just took a photo of it from afar..

[caption id="attachment_1301" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="St Martin as seen from FischMarkt, Altstadt"]St Martin as seen from FischMarkt, Altstadt[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1302" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Rows of shophouses facing Rhein River"]Rows of shophouses facing Rhein River[/caption]

Actually further down, there's a place that I'd wanted to visit: it's Chocolate Museum! Ahem, no I don't intend to go inside the museum (not really interested to go to a museum), but I read that their cafe is nice... imagine sitting facing the Rhein river, drinking a cup of delicious hot chocolate... yummy... and also I read that the shop in the museum sells loooooootssss of chocolate... mostly Lindt brand.. which is why in Duisburg I didn't buy Lindt chocolate coz I thought that I'll buy them at the museum.. There were soo many variety available in Germany! (not like those in SG).

Sadly.. both of my colleague frowned upon hearing chocolate museum... sigh.. so in the end, we didn't go there... sob sob sob.. if I've known, I'd have bought few Lindt chocolates in Duisburg :(  Hmm.. maybe that's the negative side if you're travelling with other people.. Can't just go wherever you wanna go.. :p

Since we still have many hours before our flight (which was at 10pm that night), we decided to go to Frankfurt before going back SG.

Oh, on the way back to the train station, we passed by this nice fountain, and behind it you can see the top of the Rathaus (city hall)

[caption id="attachment_1303" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Cologne Fountain"]Cologne Fountain[/caption]

20 May 2010

Europe - Amsterdam (Part II)

As have been mentioned in the previous post, we went to the town hall first before taking the canal tour. The town hall (I think they call it Dam Square) is just marvellous!!! (apart from all the rubbish lying around everywhere.. hehehe). There were the Royal Palace, De Nieuwe Kerk (New Church, where royal inaugurations and royal weddings are held), and Madame Tussauds. Actually Nieuwe Kerk can't be considered as "new", coz it's a 15th century church.. ahahaha.. maybe it's considered newer than "Oude Kerk" (Old Church).

[caption id="attachment_1275" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="De Nieuwe Kerk"]De Nieuwe Kerk[/caption]

Hmm again, I must say, the photo doesn't do it justice. The real one is really nice.. I think I must improve my photography skills hor? ;)

The royal palace was just beside the church, but unfortunately it was undergoing a major renovation, such that almost everything is covered. There's only 1 side where we can see a bit of the palace.. Wah I'm sure that if the cover unveils, the palace must've look magnificent with all the carving details!

[caption id="attachment_1276" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Royal Palace"]Royal Palace[/caption]

And beside the Royal Palace lies Madame Tussauds. I really wanted to go in (I've never been to any Madame Tussauds before), but sadly we didn't have any spare time at all. Our times in Amsterdam was very limited :(. Anyway, I just took photo of the building lo.. LOL

[caption id="attachment_1277" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Madame Tussauds"]Madame Tussauds[/caption]

And behind the Royal Palace, there's a verrry nice building.. I remember seeing it from the tourist bus and saying to my colleague: "that building is nicer than the royal palace" hahaha.. well, mostly coz the royal palace was 90% covered.. That nice building is apparently a mall called "Magna Plaza". It looks like a palace to me..

[caption id="attachment_1278" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Magna Plaza"]Magna Plaza[/caption]

After going around the Dam Square, it's finally time for our 1-hour canal trip. The time was already 2 pm, and we haven't had our lunch! Due to time constraint, we decided to just grab a bread in a nearby bakery and eat it during the canal cruise.. Hahaha! Save time hor? ;)

[caption id="attachment_1279" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="In front of the canal cruise ^^"]In front of the canal cruise ^^[/caption]

I read somewhere that city of Amsterdam is built to be seen from the canal. So trip to Amsterdam is not complete without taking the canal cruise. Well I don't know how true, but it's kinda unique experience.. I've never taken a cruise before (I think).. or have I? (Singapore excluded). Again we see the pretty narrow houses with their narrow doors. It's just lovely :) I still feel like I'm in 19th century or something like that..

After the canal cruise, we're left with about 2-3 hours before we need to get on our train to Cologne. Not much time left, we went to the last must-visit-list that I have: the flower market! Well, basically I have few wishes in Amsterdam:

  1. Dam Square (checked!)

  2. Canal tour (checked!)

  3. Windmill (checked!) (at least saw from the bus..)

  4. Madame Tussauds (not possible already :( )

  5. Flower Market to see tulips (as I got no time to go to the famous Keukenfof flower garden)

  6. Red light district

  7. Try stroopwafels

Well, so our next stop is Flower Market.. and while going there... we see this shop having a tiny windmills!! Ahem... we didn't take any photo with the real windmill.. So we got excited to see this tiny decorative windmill..

[caption id="attachment_1280" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Can you see the tiny windmill behind?"]Can you see the tiny windmill behind?[/caption]

Waahaha.. feeling satisfied, we proceed to go to the flower market... and we found it!! It's the world's only floating flower market, but it doesn't look like that from the front, as only half of each stall is actually floating.. haha.. and they sell lots lots lots of flowers of various types and souvenirs.. And I'm looking for tulips... sadly all I see is only tulips seeds or wooden tulips.. Aih so sad... :( I was thinking maybe the tulip season has passed? :( Hmm.. again, I bought some windmill miniature for souvenirs.. hehe..

[caption id="attachment_1281" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Souvenirs"]Souvenirs[/caption]

Oh oh do you see the cute wooden clog shoe? It's Holland's famous clog shoe. And yes, it's meant to be worn by real people. Some farmers/villagers are actually still using it 'til now. It's kinda cute, I tried it! Not as heavy as I thought.. And just look at the cute rows of small houses here.. the real houses in Amsterdam really look like that.. how cute..

[caption id="attachment_1282" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="I feel like buying the whole row.. LOL"]I feel like buying the whole row.. LOL[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1285" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="A dutch lady & me"]A dutch lady & me[/caption]

And then.. and then.. and then.. I saw it! Right there! In the last 2 stalls, there lies the real tulips! So many of them! I was so happy to see it.. At least I've seen the real one in many colors.. (even though it's in a market, not in a garden..) haha..

[caption id="attachment_1283" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Pretty tulips"]Pretty tulips[/caption]

Afterwards, we start going to our final destination of the day: the red light district! It's quite a famous thing in the world, apparently..  It's a long street of 4 storeys narrow houses, each storeys having few full-length display glasses. And do you know what's being displayed there? It's women with sexy costumes..  Yeah it's how the prostitutes does their business there. And prostitution is legal there, btw. The ladies pay for the "room" rent. Each small "room" have a different decor. Some with chairs, flowers, etc. And when the ladies have a "guest", the display glass curtain will be closed.. Oh, and each of the glass window is bordered with small red lights, which I assume that's where the district get the name from..

Hmm.. we just want to see the district la, as it's quite famous. When we're there, it was only about 5 pm, so most of the windows are still empty.. only few ladies has started "showcasing" themselves..

Having most of our checklist in Amsterdam done, I'm left with one.. the stroopwafels! Yeah I haven't forgot that one.. It's quite famous too, according to my friend. It's 2 very thin wafels layered with caramels. I found it in 1 of the bakery there. Hmmm... it tastes quite nice, but not as nice as my expectation actually. Maybe my friend sings praises of it too much 'til I expect some kind of "heavenly taste".. hehehe..

Well, we're left with not much time to walk around, and I'm desperately thirsty. My water bottle has been empty for a long time now. We went to a nearby (quite big) supermarket, and bought a few snacks (and stroopwafels too!) for bringing home. And I was looking for a mineral water too. What I want is just a plain, very normal, mineral water. To my surprise, the big supermarket don't have it! OMG.. What they have was just sparkling water (mineral water with soda). Wow.. It's a supermarket leh.. How can they don't sell normal soda-less mineral water... As what I can find is a soda-water anyway, so I decided to get a soda-water with some taste. That'll be better, right? ;) So I grab an apple juice with soda. European certainly like soda.

I can't buy too much snacks, as my luggage will certainly can't keep much more things.. Haha! So we proceed to the train station.. and pass by this beautiful church (that I'm not sure what's the name is)

[caption id="attachment_1284" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Beautiful church"]Beautiful church[/caption]

And then we saw something interesting.. It's what have been mentioned by our other colleagues.. It's a male urinal.. Right in the middle of the place where passerby walk pass.. Tsk tsk tsk.. They don't feel shy to "do their business" there.. I think almost all guys there are used to it..

[caption id="attachment_1286" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Interesting thing"]Interesting thing[/caption]

Well well.. It's time for our train now.. Taking one last look at the magnificent train station..

[caption id="attachment_1287" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Amsterdam Train Station"]Amsterdam Train Station[/caption]

And and and... it's only a few minutes left for the train! Oh no! We need to buy our dinner first, coz when we reached Cologne, it will be 9.30 pm+. All food places might've closed by then. No other choice, we just grab Burger King (as it's what the train station have) and had our dinner in the train.

Europe - Amsterdam (Part I)

Our day of adventure had begun! On Fri night I stayed in 1 of my colleague's apartment room, as I have no more room for that night (the original schedule was for me to go back SG on Fri night). So Saturday morning, we woke up super early and reached the train station at 6:45 am. Our train to Amsterdam is at 7:26 am. Since we still have some time, we had a breakfast in one of the bakery in the train station. German people certainly like sweet things very much, as everywhere I can see people selling cakes & other sweet snacks.

[caption id="attachment_1256" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Guten Appetit!"]Guten Appetit![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1257" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Duisburg Train Station"]Duisburg Train Station[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1258" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Ready to go!"]Ready to go![/caption]

It was a 2 hour train journey to Amsterdam. Uhm let me tell you first that getting on to the train itself and getting down from it is no kidding, especially if you have a heavy luggage! Since the luggage I brought to Europe was quite small (the smallest of all of my colleague's luggage, btw), so... it was not enough to carry all the food (and souvenirs) I bought at Duisburg! In the end, I need to buy a travel bag... Hahaha.. So the bags I need to drag and carry everywhere includes 1 laptop bag, 1 travel bag, and 1 luggage.. phew.. Believe me that it's tough! Especially with my luggage wheel spoiling soon.. Hmm.. I should've bought a bigger luggage ya.. not a travel bag.. so can replace my old luggage with a new one (with good-working wheel)!

Anyway... from the train we can see some windmills.. We were so excited to see them! Going to Holland of course must see windmills, right? ;)  The train passed thru many fields (some with yellow flowers planted in the whole fields. So you can see a big yellow field. It was awesome!) And the fields also have cows, horses, etc..

[caption id="attachment_1259" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="We're in Amsterdam!!"]We're in Amsterdam!![/caption]

We reached Amsterdam about 9:30 am. As planned, we went to the luggage lockers to store our luggage.....

[caption id="attachment_1260" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Luggage locker @ Amsterdam"]Luggage locker @ Amsterdam[/caption]

...And... we were like 3 dumb people there! We didn't know how to use the lockers!! Hmm.. mainly coz it's all in Dutch.. Tsk tsk tsk.. they should've put an instruction in English, don't you think? So after many many trial and errors and desperate laughters, we finally can use the lockers! Here's how:

  1. Put your luggages in 1 of empty lockers, and close it

  2. Go to the nearest machine, and it will specify that you've closed locker "xx" and have how many seconds to make payments before the locker will be reopened.

  3. Select method of payment (for our case, it's always credit card)

  4. Insert the credit card

  5. Remove the card <This is the step that we didn't know that we must do! We thought that we need to wait for some approval or something>

  6. Press OK

  7. Voila! The locker is locked and we get a small ticket to open it.

Afterwards, we went out of the train station to look for Tourist Information Center. Luckily it's just opposite of the station, the person there give us a map and direct us to another place to purchase (and board) tickets for tourist bus and canal tour. And.... we kinda get lost trying to find that place! Gosh, the road in Amsterdam is kinda confusing and messy. But on the way, we can see some nice buildings, and Amsterdam Centraal train station is an awesome building itself! The photo doesn't do it justice. The real one is much nicer! I felt like I was teleported to a far-far away place. The buildings in Amsterdam is just magnificent!

[caption id="attachment_1262" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Pretty buildings"]Pretty buildings[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1261" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Amsterdam Train Station"]Amsterdam Train Station[/caption]

After asking around, we found the place meant by tourist information officer. We purchased the tourist bus & canal tour at 19 euros/person. Not bad... And btw, the person told us that the bus is going in about 20 mins time. But that's such a lie.. We waited inside the bus for at least 30-40 mins... Tsk tsk.. such a waste of time! The bus is quite unique.. it's a classic red-school-bus convertible with glass roof. And the guide was using GPS system with earphone.

[caption id="attachment_1263" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="3 tourists!"]3 tourists![/caption]

The bus goes thru many very nice buildings. It looks like those I saw in the movie! 4-storeys houses that's narrow and standing next to each other, all in classical-old type of building that's very nice... I love it! It's just feel sooo homey..  I can imagine those British movies that often shows this kind of narrow houses standing next to each other.. And the movie star stays in 1 of those building.. LOL..

[caption id="attachment_1264" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Narrow houses in Amsterdam"]Narrow houses in Amsterdam[/caption]

And BTW, an interesting fact that we just got to know. In Amsterdam, it's common for the houses (that's narrow) to have very narrow door. So when moving house, the furniture can't get in/out of the door. So normally they'll move the furniture from the window! Haha!

Oh oh.. the bus also pass by a windmill (that's used as a restaurant now)! We were so happy to see it.. Too bad the bus doesn't stop there so we can't take photo with the windmill. The bus only stops at Gassan diamond factory to have a tour there. We're not interested to go to the diamond factory, so we decided to go on our own around there, and join the tourist bus again at a later time.

[caption id="attachment_1265" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="This is our bus!"]This is our bus![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1266" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Just me.. Beside a canal"]Just me.. Beside a canal[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1267" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Yeah it's me again!"]Yeah it's me again![/caption]

Along the way, we found some house-boat (yeah some ppl actually are living on the boat), and some of them love to plant flowers. I was happy to see a houseboat actually planting tulips! (even though only few stems).. but still.. i get to see the real tulip.. hahaa

[caption id="attachment_1268" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Can you see the tulips?"]Can you see the tulips?[/caption]

We also found a street market called Waterlooplein, and few stalls selling cute Holland souvenirs. So we bought some magnets and mini windmills there.

[caption id="attachment_1269" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Souvenirs @ waterlooplein"]Souvenirs @ waterlooplein[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1270" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Waterlooplein"]Waterlooplein[/caption]

After that, we join back the tourist bus and finish the whole route. Before taking the canal tours, we wanted to go to the town center first, where the town hall, old church, and nice nice buildings are. On the way, I almost got hit by a bike! People there normally ride bikes, they even have a special lane for bicycle. At first I didn't know, as I thought it's a pedestrian way. And the bike riders are not giving way to pedestrians. They didn't even slow down the pace. Tsk tsk tsk.. Crossing the street in Amsterdam is just like in Jakarta. You need to see left and right and left and right.. You can cross anywhere you want, but must be extra careful, coz you can get hit by a bike, a car, a bus, or a trem! The roads are so confusing..

And oh! I almost forget to mention.. there were tonnes of garbage everywhere. And by tonnes, I really mean it a loooooot and eveeerrywhere.. We were quite surprised to see the city so dirty. Not even Jakarta is close to that!!

[caption id="attachment_1271" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Piles of garbage"]Piles of garbage[/caption]

Apparently.. it's because the cleaners were on strike (should be coz of the pay?) haha.. I thought the city is always like that.. If it is, I'd be surprise that tourists still want to go there :p

Wow, this post seems kinda long.. and i'm only half way thru Amsterdam.. LOL... I think it's better to continue it in another post then.. ;) 

- to be continued-