21 February 2013

Winter Travelogue : Albaicin, Granada

"What was once a great Muslim city, I can hardly find any trace of mosque here."

Kembara ke Granada yang mengambil masa selama 6 jam lewat malam entah kenapa, sangat mengasyikkan. Hampir empat jam aku habiskan untuk mengelamun, memikirkan dari yang karut kepada yang kerut. Apa yang difikirkan biarlah hanya aku yang tahu.

Kami tiba di Granada kurang lebih pukul 6 pagi, cuaca sangat dingin dan hujan renyai membasahi bekas taifa Islam 800 tahun lampau. Taifa adalah kerajaan-kerajaan kecil yang muncul selepas kejatuhan pemerintahan Bani Umayyah selama 250 di Andalusia, jatuh sebab perebutan kuasa dan semangat asabiah perkauman yang melampau. Itu cerita lain ya (senyum).

Granada merupakan bandar kecil yang aman, disenaraikan sebagai antara bandar paling romantik di dunia. 

Kami bergegas ke pusat bandar untuk check-in hostel supaya dapat solat subuh dengan selesa. Kami menginap di Hostel Navas (kot, tak ingat nama) selama dua malam, 15 Euro sekepala. Walaupun nama dia 'hostel', tapi dalam macam 4 star. Selesa! 

Granada.
Hari pertama kami di Granada kami singgah di Albaicin/Albayzin menaiki bas-bas kecil yang comel. Aduh, tak ada pula gambar-gambar bas comel yang jadi main transportation dekat sini.

Albaicin adalah kawasan perumahan atas bukit berdepan dengan The Red Fort atau Qal'ah Al-hamra atau nama modennya Alhambra. Dari satu checkpoint dinamakan sempena nama paderi kristian mana entah, terbentang indah pemandangan seluruh bandar Granada di hadapan, dan Sierra Nevada di belakang.

Membaca peta dengan gaya macho di Albaicin.

Mamat asia mana entah, duduk menikmati Granada

Satu-satunya masjid yang masih wujud di Granada, di Albaicin.
Albaicin dari pandangan Alhambra




Alhambra dari Albaicin pula.


Untuk menjimat duit tambang bas, kami berjalan kaki ke kaki bukit Albaicin sambil menyingkap kembali sejarah Granada dan Andalusia di bawah pemerintahan Bani Umayyah. Jalan bukan sebarang jalan, bhai. Dulu Kucai pernah sebut, 'Kau kena masuk jalan kecik-kecik dia, situ yang cantik." Dan aku akui, kalau kau tak larat untuk berjalan, kau memang rugi besar.

 Kami singgah di Puento Nuevo untuk makan dan shopping souvenir. Dapatlah t-shirt dua helai. 

Besoknya baru kami ke Alhambra.Yeah!

Aku di sini!


11 February 2013

Winter Travelogue : Madrid

The journey began on January 19th 2013, flight Alitalia something-something, which means that our flights were connecting flights that stopped in Rome before continuing to Madrid. We arrived in Fiumicino airport just after subuh, and we were stuck at the airport for seven long hours. So technically our trip includes Rome as one of our visited cities. Hambar.

Tujuh jam tanpa internet adalah satu penyeksaan.

We arrived in Madrid just before Maghrib. The weather was not as cold as I expected, possibly just mildly colder than Egypt. We headed to the Metro station to get to the city center, Plaza del Sol by train. A two-day ticket journey costed us 13 Euros each. 

Madrid was raining that night. 

We checked in a hostel for 15 Euros per night and headed out for a bite to eat since we had nothing since Rome.

The next day, since Madrid has nothing much to offer (that we have never seen before), we went to the Real Madrid stadium, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. I wasn't a huge football fan myself, still RM is one of the biggest football club in the world. And how many of you out there can say that you've been where I've been?! 

The tour fee to get into the stadium was 19 euros per head, but we didn't go for it. Instead we went to the gift shop, with high hopes of buying an original jersey. But it costed at least 82 euros, so no thank you.

Then we went sightseeing around the city center, finding something to eat and went to every boutique there was from HnM to Massimo Dutti to Bershka and of course, to Zara. Nampaknya barang-barang yang kita rasa sangat branded di Malaysia bernilai Giant je dekat sini, cuma kualiti barang of courselah tinggi. Kesian orang Malaysia.

Ya, Madrid membosankan setakat itu. Sebelah malamnya kami menaiki bas terakhir ke Granada. Perjalanan mengambil masa selama 6 jam, dan tiket bas bernilai 17 euro sekepala. Dalam hati, tak sabar nak ke Alhambra.

07 February 2013

Winter Travelogue : Prologue

It's been a while since I wrote the last time, part of it because of the exhausting exam which I didn't do well (praying to have an above passing grade, insya Allah), another is because here is no more a safe place to pour my soul into. Meh.

The last two weeks were probably one of the most amazing and unforgettable experience of my life so far. I have dreamed of traveling to Europe ever since I arrived in Egypt, one because it only takes less than four hours to get there compared to a trip from KL, other because of peer pressure (my parents are loaded and I felt the obligation to take advantage of that since they don't like to travel lol) as lots of my classmates had gone to one country or another every damn year, and I wanted to travel too!

Old civilisation sprouting buildings with amazing architectures and stories behind them, and the foreign cultures of the people I met along the way have always intruiged me, and I love history, which is why I can spend hours online reading about old dead civilisations and how they came into being. To be in a place without knowing the essence of it is a huge waste of time for me.

Life is more than just pretty places with good food; and as the cliche saying goes 'experience is the best teacher', life is too short to not take advantage of those teachers, isn't it?

I did learn a few things though through the last two weeks.:
  • Never be afraid to try anything new, unless it's haram.
  • Islam is easy to practice, really. Plus, dah kata hamba, patut pun rasa susah.
  • Learn to care less, you'll be much happier that way.
  • Learn to live with others, especially if others have different needs than you.
  • Manja is the one thing you should stay away from, and confidence, as I always say is the sexiest quality of a person.
  • The love to read is the second most sexiest quality of a person. Winks.
  • Dunia itu terlalu luas dan indah untuk kita hanya tertumpu pada diri sendiri sahaja. (Tak reti nak tulis dalam English) 
  • Proper planning saves millions, and kad kredit sangat berguna!
  • Don't be afraid to spend for the things or people that matter most to you.
Although I do have some regrets throughout the journey, like how we woke up late every single day and by the time we were ready to go sight-seeing it was almost noon, overall it was once-in-a-lifetime thing and behind those rubbles of wasted time, I've had the greatest moment in my life, so far.

Or maybe, twice in a life time? One day, I want to go backpacking-I mean really really backpacking-across a country. Insya Allah!

I am already missing the clean streets and weather, the chocolate waffles, the 'is this halal?' hunt for food, the holas, the cars that stopped when you cross the road, and the dogs. Yes, the dogs. I will definitely go to Hagen-Dasz the minute I step foot in Malaysia.

From Andalucia to Paris to Brussels and finally to Barcelona, there are thousands of stories to tell and share, Masha Allah.
 
 
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