a wedding and fun days in Netherlands

After the first day I arrived in Europe for the first time, and got a surprise by my friend ( https://ayoeravenclaw.wordpress.com/2017/02/07/touchdown-at-brussels/ ) Let me continue the story of my 30 days of journey around Europe..  (Actually, it’s more like 12-ish days around Europe, because most of it I spent it in Netherlands). The first week was about my friend’s wedding, the Strawberry festival in Zundert, the city of Breda, the very touristic fisherman village of Volendam, & hunting the iconic windmill near Zundert.

The Wedding

My friend who is an Indonesian like me, was married to a Dutch guy, so the wedding was quite unique, because not only she will wear an Indonesian traditional clothes for the garden party, but some of her Indonesian friends who are attending the wedding will also wear it. These clothes really made impressions to the other guests as they never have seen such clothes, I can hear mumbles “it’s gorgeous”, “look at the details”, “so that’s the Indonesian dress, it’s beautiful”, etc. Well, it was surely one of the moments where I feel proud of my country, it sure is a beautiful country  😀

We’re the Indonesian ladies wearing our “Kebaya” for formal ceremonies. That’s me in Blue (I broke my heels right before the bride walked the aisle, so, yeah, lol)

For the ceremony, my friend the bride wore a white dress, but after the wedding ceremony, we had the garden party afterwards, and the bride changed her clothes into Kebaya also, in her favorite colour, purple.

Here are the newly weds, where the bride wore an Indonesian Kebaya. & It’s in her favorite color, purple

My mother felt proud to see the bride’s veil and the bride’s Kebaya, both looked beautiful on the bride. The wedding was wonderful, all of their guests and friends and family were filled with joy, enjoying their first dance with the music being played by the family band (the groom’s sister and brother play in it), the guests enjoyed some of Indonesian cuisines, saw some happy tears fell down from the groom’s parents too, it was a day full of blessing. The only things that are missing that day was the bride’s parents, well, I’m sure they’re both smiling down from heaven for her.


Zundert Strawberry Festival – Aardbeienfeesten

After the wedding day, the newly weds took us to see the local annual festival in their town of Zundert, which is the Strawberry Festival (Aardbeienfeesten). I guess we were lucky to be there at that time, so we can see this old tradition of celebrating the harvests of Strawberry in the heart of Zundert. Starting from the beginning of the central area near the town hall, up to the end of the main street, this festival was held. There were lots and lots of different kind of bazaar, selling handcrafts, vegetables, snacks & food (my favorite because we get to taste them all for free!), art performers, and of course, strawberries! Check out my photo in front of a big strawberry statue.

That’s me & mom in front of a big strawberry statue on an old truck! how iconic is that!

And seconds after I took that photo, some of the local band group was eagerly curious looking at my “selfie stick”, I guess they never really saw anything like it, because then they suddenly surrounded us and wanted to join us in the picture together, hahaha. What a pleasant surprise from the warm and lovely people of Zundert.

Suddenly these folks from the local band curious to join us in the picture, and I just called them “come on here!” ^,^


We continued on to stroll around the festival afterwards, many people are enjoying the sun on many tables scattered across the street, and since the theme of the Strawberry festival that year was Vincent van Gogh (a little history note, this town of Zundert is where Vincent van Gogh was born and spent his childhood), so there were many of his art was displayed around. There are also many art performers, one of them dressed and looked like Vincent himself, and a group of performer displaying themselves as a “dark”-living-painting ( I get to take a selfie with one of these “dark” people, hahaha).

That’s the “dark” living painting I mentioned, they are real people posing in it!

Some of the crowd enjoying the sun at the Strawberry festival

Here’s what happened when you take a selfie with a dark man from a painting, you’ll be amazed on how thoroughly he painted his whole surface in black! only his eyeballs are white!

So people, if you happen to be around Netherlands in June, make sure to check out this Strawberry Festival in Zundert, traditionally held during the second weekend of June. It is FREE of charge, no tickets required to enter, and you get to taste & enjoy the local tradition & culture 😉


the City of Breda

The next day, my friend took us to see the city of Breda. Honestly, since the first time I heard the name “Breda”, it reminds me of a song by Tiesto I used to hear when I was in college called “Breda”. Come to think of it, “was that song named from this city? hmm.. maybe..? oh wait, Tiesto IS a Dutch, he IS from Netherlands, so I guess my thought was right, hahaha… right? (I’ll ask him someday if I meet him 😛 )

My friend took us to stroll around the central district in Breda (Breda Nassaustad). We went there by bus, it is very easy to get there because the bus stop is just in front of the shopping district near the nassaustad. We bought the day ticket (dagkaart) for the bus, which was 5 euro for 1 day from Zundert to Breda, for as much as bus use you want, back and forth, it is definitely cheaper than buying the ticket per trip (3 euro/trip). There are also other many choices of Dagkaart (day tickets) for farther cities, but mostly you have to buy it on designated stores such as Kruidvat, HEMA, Intertoys, or Albert Heijn (you can find these stores easily around Netherlands).

In front of the entrance to the shopping district in the central area of Breda

The shopping district consists of many fashion stores, like that one just behind me in the photo, Z*ra, or many other brands we know worldwide, such as H*M, Forever 2*, Pull & B*ar, Adid*s, etc, and also lots of Netherlands’ fashion stores & brands, such as Van H*ren, where I bought a pair of black suede boots, as I find it cheap (cheaper than the standard price of a pair of boots in Indonesia), and it has become my favorite boots ever since. After that we continued to walk to the center, and I started to see the point of a big church. I asked my friend, “Oh! is that a church over there?”, she answered, “yes, it’s the Grote Kerk”. (Grote = Big, Kerk = Church).

Welcome to the nassau town of Breda, that’s the “Big Church” behind me, named “Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk”, or the “Church of Our Lady”.

Here’s one of thing that fascinates me about Europe, the Catholic churches, they are all HUGE! I mean for me, seeing the biggest Catholic church in my country is a cathedral in Jakarta, which is like half or two third the size of all big churches I’ve visited throughout the big cities during my trip in Europe, and by having that as a comparison, I found myself always in an awe. Including this one, no wait, especially this one, because this was the first HUGE Catholic church I’ve ever seen! I mean look at my photo, I still look like “is this thing real?” (little that I know, that days later when I got to Paris, then Rome, oh man Rome, the “hugeness” for buildings, landmarks, etc, turned out to be “pretty normal” here in europe, lol)

I wanted to enter the church to see the inside, but too bad it’s already closed (it was around 4pm if I’m not mistaken). Here’s a little history lesson I got about that church, my friend’s papa in law said that inside that church, there are graves of the family members of the Lord of Breda, Henry III of Nassau-Breda, total is 17 family members. And also, turned out since 1637, this church is no longer a Catholic, but it is a Protestant church (hey! that means I can join the prayer in this one next time I visit Breda).

Since the church was already closed, so we continued to walk around and see some outdoor cafe nearby, then we decided to relax and order a drink. It is my (new) favorite drink, “chocomel”! Hahahaha, actually it’s just a hot chocolate, my friend introduced me to this simple yet yummy drink, especially with the slagroom (whipped cream), oh how I love it! the whipped cream is sooo good, not like the ones in my country, the whipped cream are tasteless. But here in Netherlands? the slagroom is sweet and soft and yummy! So, yeah, basically it’s a hot chocolate with very tasty whipped cream, lol. I remembered my friend was jokingly called by her husband as the “little girl” because she always orders chocomel. Well, I don’t mind being called that way too, because I also love warm chocomel, hahaha.

Look at the sky! it’s such a beautiful sunny day! after some walking & a little shopping, we found ourselves a spot to enjoy the ambience of this city central.

Our love for warm chocomel, hahaha. It’s perfect for a sunny cold summer day like this..

We had our chocomel at one of the cafe called De Colonie, it’s attached to a hotel named Hotel De Klok. The cost for our drinks was around 3 euro per glass.

We also walked around near the other side of the central, & that’s my mom posing beside the canal.

After Breda, we visited a very touristic area of Netherlands, it’s the fisherman village of Volendam! Where one of the “must do” thing there is to take photos wearing the traditional costume of the Dutch fisherman, complete with the iconic “wooden shoes”.

Wanna know how fun it was? Stay tuned as I will continue putting my journey into this blog soon! ;D


Touchdown at Brussels!

I finally start to write a “real” travel blog post, and it will be about the first time I ever step on the land of Europe!

OK,here goes..

I firstly entered Europe through Brussels, Belgium. It’s like more than 10,000 km from where I live! (it’s 11,429 km to be precise) it’s literally on the other side of the earth. It took me 16 hours of flight in total (I flew with Emirates, 8 hours from Jakarta to Dubai, then another 8 hours from Dubai to Brussels). Before this journey, my farthest flight was to Tokyo which took around 7 hours. So,yeah, I was pretty damn excited to fly to Europe! (hell yeah I was frickin’ excited!! who wouldn’t?! hahaha)

My main purpose to go to Europe was to attend my close friend’s wedding who married a Dutch guy. My friend is one of the kindest person I’ve known in my life, for me she was always there for me as a friend, as a sister, and even sometimes as a mother to me. I ‘m so happy to see how she is now with her family there in Netherlands, she deserves all the happiness she lives in now.

So, there I was, planning on going to Netherlands to attend her wedding. Firstly I didn’t really plan on going around the continent, but then she kinda whacked me in the head, “Ayu..? You’ll be in Europe and you’ll just gonna spend a few days in Netherlands? Are you kidding? You can go to Paris from here in the same amount of time you usually go to Jogja! (even less than that!) And you can go to other cool cities & countries around Europe!” so there I was, changing mode from “family visit” plan (actually, I don’t need any plan at all for this, just visa + flight and done) to “ultimate solo journey” plan mode (now this.. is a real detailed & long planning, because who wouldn’t want to make the most of every dime I spend on the entire journey?)

From a 4 days plan to visit, I extended it to 21 days, and I plan to visit Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, & Germany. Ambitious much? Hahaha well, yeah I guess I was pretty ambitious with the plan of how many cities & places I want to visit on those countries I’ve mentioned earlier. Plus, later on my mother also begged so she can came along,haha. So, yeah, I toned down the ambitious plan to a “mother-friendly trip” plan, lol. I decided that first we’ll visit my friend until the day of the wedding, then after the wedding we’ll start the trip around.

I book a round trip flight with Emirates for 2 persons, Jakarta – Brussels departing on June 10 2015, & return on July 2 2015, it costs me 1,484 USD. It was an economic promo flight, it was cheaper than usual, but the extra cost was to wait in transit in Dubai for 8 hours (yep, a looooong nap waiting for the next flight).

But Hey, I have no complains, Emirates surely is one of the best airlines in the world, the stewardesses are extremely friendly & polite, the service was amazing, all the foods were delicious, I didn’t feel it was an economic flight at all, any drinks you’d want they’ll provide if for free (as for me, I asked for some whiskey & coke, which made my Mom gazed me with anger & disgust for a second, hahaha). I also remember my mom “fell in love” with one of the stewardess because she is very very very beautiful (a miss universe type of beautiful, & I totally agreed with her), and asked me to ask her (my Mom can’t speak English at all) if she can take photo together with her, and she was all blushed and happy and tried to talk back with my mom, but since my mom doesn’t understand, so I become her interpreter (which is exactly what I am to her during the whole trip in Europe, lol).  The stewardess name was Imanuella, she talked a little about how usually people will like other stewardess more than her, then I asked her “which one?” then she pointed out one of her colleague there who was handling other passenger, then I exchange look with my mom and we both agreed and shook our heads “Naaah.. you’re a lot more beautiful than her” and she was so happy seeing our reactions.

Our wefie with Imanuella, the kind & beautiful stewardess of Emirates which made my Mom her #1 fan

Our wefie with Imanuella, the kind & beautiful stewardess of Emirates who made my Mom her #1 fan. (I guess those guys in the back also wanted to join our wefie! lol)

Then we took several photos together, and she lend me her iconic Emirates hat to me & mom to wear for the photo, my Mom was too shy to wear it so she said I should wear it. Those laughs & blushes between my Mom & Imanuella, for me it has become a sweet “opening moments” for the entire trip.

This is above somewhere in France, 20 minutes before landing in Brussels

This is above somewhere in France, 20 minutes before landing in Brussels

My friend and her husband lives in Zundert, which is near the southern border of Netherlands & Belgium, so I decided we better enter the continent through Brussels airport than Amsterdam, because it is much nearer from Brussels (plus the price of the flight is cheaper to Brussels than to Amsterdam, lol). It took around 40 minutes of driving from Brussels to Zundert, while if from Amsterdam it will took around 2 hours of driving. We landed in Brussels around 8 PM, but since it was summer, the sun was still shining bright. For me & my Mom who never really experienced any summer or winter before, we were super confused, “why the heck is it still daylight here while it should be already dark now??” Apparently, in northern Europe, the dusk is at around 10:45 PM in the summer, and around 4:30 PM in the winter. Both of mine & my mom’s mind & body were so confused. We usually eat dinner around 8 PM because we will be hungry by then, and now there I was, 8.30 PM in the airport, a bit hungry for dinner, but it’s not even “night” (yet?!) For people who always lived in tropical atmosphere, experiencing what we had on those first 2-3 days in Europe really is unforgettable. Silly, but unforgettable.

When the plane finally touchdown the tarmac and made the screeching sounds, I can feel the joy filled me up immensely that I dropped a tear out of my eye out of happiness. This similar feeling I also experienced when I first arrived in Tokyo in 2007 (here’s some of those memories if you’d like to know https://ayoeravenclaw.wordpress.com/category/tokyo-nov07/ ).

My friend and her father-in-law picked us up at Brussels international airport, after a long 24 hours of journey (16 hours of flight + 8 hours of transit), at that moment we only think of getting a shower and relax. But turned out that my friend and her father-in-law already have a surprise for me, they took us to a spot where it’s the border between Zundert (Netherlands) & Antwerp (Belgium). I asked her, “Umm.. what is this..?”, she answered me “Do you remember, that one of your wishes in life is that you’ll be able to be in 2 different places at the same time?”, then I responded slowly and almost excitedly “Yes….. wait a minute, is this… the border?”, her father-in-law answered “Yes, Ayu, this pole right here is the mark that this is the border between Belgium & Netherlands”. The next thing I know is that I just screamed excitedly and hug my friend real tight and thank her for that, it’s one of the silly wishes I have in my life but she have made it came true!


That's the pole border between Antwerp (Belgium) & Zundert (Netherlands) where I made come true one of my silly wish "to be at different places at the same time". Thank you my dear friend and her papa-in-law for the surprise!

That’s the pole border between Antwerp (Belgium) & Zundert (Netherlands) where I made come true one of my silly wish “to be at different places at the same time”. Thank you my dear friend and her papa-in-law for the surprise!


So there I was, spreading my leg beside the pole, putting my left leg on Netherlands & my right leg on Belgium at the same time! Aaaaaaah… (pardon my screams but yeah, I just can’t help it, if I’m happy I can’t just have a smile about it, I’ll jump and scream and laugh about it 😀 )


What a first day! (^0^)/


Until next post about the next day of the trip! ;D

It’s been a L.O.N.G time

Gosh.. it’s been around 3 years ago since the last time I post a decent blog post here! (latest ones were just some linked posts from Path, so, no, those aren’t the decent ones).

How I miss blogging.. How I’ve wasted all those years, all those journeys & trips and not sharing them here!? Aaaaarghh..  OK, time to put it all here. Even though all those adventures are in the past, but I can still remember every detail of it. I will start to posts stories from my trips here, with the photos I’ve taken from all of those places.

Besides, my dream is to be able to do what I love (which is TRAVELING of course!), and can make a living out of it. And yet, now I’m still not doing what I love, that’s why I’m thinking of changing my job right now! Radical much? Well..  I have tasted the experience to be able to buy expensive stuff that I would never thought I’d be able to, and I have reached a level which I am confident enough that not many of my friends have accomplished in career, but… I’m not happy. I don’t feel the happiness from those money, those expensive things I’ve bought, or by having this job title on one of my country’s biggest IT company. I’d rather making small money but I’m doing what I really love, and have my own personal life going on rather than spending a whole 8-9hours a day sitting and working on my laptop doing work work work and work (even sometimes still thinking about it even when I’m not at work anymore, & I just hate it), and the rest of the day you’re just wishing there’s still more hours left for me to enjoy (or more energy left to be precise), but no, it’s already dark, it’s already past dinner time, and I’m too tired already to do other things, another whole day just went past through work, and the next thing I know, months & years passed by and for what? Just to feel fed up doing all the work and asking my self “what’s the point..?”. Hmm come to think of it, I actually love my previous job better, because I get to travel to different places, even though I was working but I’m traveling and I really enjoyed it. Well.. too bad the way things were on my previous job just.. sucked (talk about horrible bosses, haha)

Anyway.. I’ll be posting soon about my trip around Europe, my work trips, and many other places which I have found exciting! (Want a sneak peek of the places I’ve been? check my instagram feeds Instagram @shiroi_ayu   or search hashtag of #AyuTravelledHere  )

Wow.. I can’t believe I have made you read all those whining & complaining I made up there about my work and still continue to read on until now, I am deeply grateful for you to spend your time reading this thought. Until my next travel blog post!

No. 1 of my “Bucket List”, checked!

I’ll never forget this walk.. I had tears of joy flowing out of my eyes..
#AngkorWat #Cambodia #Temple #Angkor #Archeology #Park

View on Path


Preah Khan, mystical forest temple

Preah Kahn #Temple – #Angkor #Archeology Park #Cambodia

View on Path



Hey blog! what’s up! God it’s been ages since the last time I posted an actual blog post here.. A lot has happened in my life since then, it has been a roller-coaster ride this year. Filled with many answered prayers, surprises, even I got pushed to my limits where I thought I couldn’t make it, but hey, I’m still here now!

You do know that I’ve been loving animals since I can remember, right? Like, how I always carry around small amount of cat-food in my bag, just in case I meet with a hungry stray cats anywhere I go, so I can feed them on the street, etc. Well, I get to finally truly fulfilling one of my dream to become a volunteer on animal saving, I mean not just become the permanent donors for the WWF or any other animal protection programmes or organizations, but I can finally involved in action, saving stray animals when heavy floods hit jakarta around 6 months ago. I get the experience where I have to sweep the flooded area, the water’s height was on my chest, walking through inside narrow houses, very dark halls, to save several cats or dogs trapped anywhere we can find. I can’t really do it again now, because I’m busy with my work. But still, all those experience i had when I was actively volunteering in animal rescue with me fellows in Animal Defenders Indonesia, are unforgettable, and it was a “living in a dream” kind of memory, I was truly blessed to get my prayer answered for that one. RIght now I can only pay a visit sometimes on the weekend to their shelter, and play and feed them while I’m there. I wish I can do that rescuing thing again someday.

So, after I asked God to give me a chance to be a real animal rescuer, I have another prayer or dream come true. I asked God if I ever get a chance to taste to work where I get to travel around places I’ve never been to, with flexible time, in a foreign company, or even maybe get a job outside of Indonesia. Because honestly, I was really not enjoying the current job at that time. Then, not long after asked that to God, I received an sms from a guy I never heard of, asking me if I was interested to come for an interview, and I was like, “whoa.. is this for real? this is a foreigner, right? this should be good..” But still I need to be sure if both this guy and his company are ‘real’. Then, a couple of months later, voila… I’m doing the job that I was asking from God. I have a pretty flexible time to work, I’m working for 2 cool foreigners, in a company that I think has awesome portfolio, although it’s still small, but even now I’m still amazed how this company has gotten it’s accomplishments, also I get to travel to different places most of the time! I’m not anymore the dull IT girl (or maybe I’m still a bit dull now, dunno, not sure, I shouldn’t be the one who judge that, haha). Although I must say, in a short amount I worked for this company, I have never worked this busy or intense or pushed to the limit like this before. I can feel i’ve grown soooo much in a short period of time since I joined here, which is great, because I need this, I need this roller-coaster ride, I need these pushes, otherwise I wouldn’t realize that I’m actually a very good reliable person, and I do feel proud of this, I am sure that this is my value, and I will not stop to keep leveling myself up. (leveling, if you’re a gamer, you understand what I mean, haha)

So, anyway, I just wanna thank God for everything, for every blessings and every tests that are sent to me, I am growing, and I am looking forward to have another “leveling up” pushed against my face, because I have God.

Be blessed, and be a blessing!

Oh yeah, one more thing, I had a funny ‘broken heart’ moment sometime ago, but it turned out a good thing for me where I can grow into a not-too-jealous person (have I really? I hope so, hahaha). & hopefully I can be fully recovered from any bad memories from the past which can draw me back into a….’state’, that I hate to be in again *if you know what I mean* So I’m just gonna let everything flow naturally, enjoy every moment, enjoy my life, both the excitements or the stresses, because that’s the beauty of being alive, right? you get to feel all those emotions… rather than just be in a same frequency all the time, happy all the time, without any struggles or peak moments, that’ll be a dull life, haha..

So, cheers for any upcoming roller-coaster ride of our lives!  😀


When I finally allowed to put up my Christmas tree at home

My 2nd #Christmas … Now it’s glowing in my room,at home..

View on Path


Days have passed..

Diary – 29/11/2013

Days have passed, & I just wanna say “Thank You, Lord”. I’m sorry for being a terrible person days ago.. I was drowned in negative thoughts & perspective, I couldn’t see any good in my life that moment, all I can think of was my own anger about my disappointments. Oh God.. how I really wish I can make my dream come true… despite all the facts that I made him irritated & hurt, but I really….. so much…. I may looked like I don’t love him, based on the true definition of love itself, but I really really…..
Oh God… Give me strength……
Today, my neighbor, my best friend, the one who’s been take a really good care of me since I’m moving out from home, the one who became my sister in my heart, will took off to Holland to visit her fiancee’s family for the next 3 months. I felt another “lost”. It feels like people are leaving me one by one, & I always the one who got left behind…
That’s selfish. I shouldn’t feel that way. I should open my eyes. They didn’t leave me. My ex-boyfriend leave me as a boyfriend, but he’s still there as my friend, & I…. I won’t give up, I’ll prove it to you that I can be better, & please God help me….
And she didn’t leave me, it’s just a “see you later”. She may be gone for 3 months, and after that she’ll soon get married and she’ll move to Holland. Okay, maybe sad for me, but she is so happy. I feel so overwhelmed by the magic of their love.. they didn’t take too long, and everything seems to be in God’s blessings. Almost every plan they have, gone smoothly. Finally she found someone who can really make her happy, after all these years she’s been waiting for the wrong guy who only giving empty promises and never even show up. I’m so happy for her… you deserve it, sis… go get your love, cherish it, coz I’m sure this is what God has planned for you.
I’ll be moving back home next week, so I only have a little more time to pack everything here. Sometimes I still cry alone, in silent, but not anymore out of my control. Everytime I got down on tears again, everytime I miss my ex-boyfriend, how I still remember every beautiful moments we had together, even now, I’m trying to hold it as hard as I could, God help me….. Help me stay strong… I wanna show him that I can be better… and who knows, by God’s blessing, he would take me back….
Thank you for the strength I still have today.. Thank you for all the things you’ve given me… Thank you for giving me strength to feel joy again, to smile again, to help me block all those negative thoughts & sadness behind. I wanna be cheerful again, I wanna be myself again who unconsciously has made him fall in love with me, coz that’s what I need right now, to be the strong me again, to be the cheerful me again, to be me again without being depressed or confused & drown in bipolar, to be the fearless me again….
I’m sure, I’m on my way there…..

I’ve messed everything up..

I’ve messed everything up… it’s all my fault… my boyfriend, my parents, his family, I’ve hurt everyone….

I hope it’s not too late….

Regret always comes late..

Diary – 21/11/2013

Regret always comes late.. I learned that tonight, again.. I have no one else to blame but myself. Realizing how tired & hurt my boyfriend has become, I’m cursing myself for being such an ignorant paranoid fool. He’s right, we’re incompatible.. we keep on circling the same cycle everytime we make up again. I should let him go,and I’m sure that’s what he’s so sure about now.
But when we meet again, we can’t deny our feelings… Oh God.. help us both to face what lies in the future..
He made me promise him,that no matter how hard I’ll fall, I will always have to rise again, get up again, if I fall again, get up again, Never give up.
God.. help me to keep this promise.
God.. help me to be alive.. and enjoy all Your gifts.. and be the cheerful me again..
God.. help me to kill away all the terrible imaginations, all the voices in my head to drown me in negative thoughts again..
Help me, Lord…
Help us both…

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