Dear readers,

You all probably already realized that this travel blog hasn't been updated for a really long time now. Nothing serious, just being busy and lazy actually. However, expect a reborn sometime in the future. Meanwhile, I just started a new personal blog and promised to update it frequently here.

See ya all!
-- Fakhrur

31 December 2008

New Year and Euro

Just wishing you all a happy new year 2009! May all the best yet to come in this year!

As per 1 January, Slovakia, will implement Euro as their currency. The second country of the new EU countries (after Slovenia) to adopt this European single currency. Also, don't forget to check my previous posts such as 2009: best travel year, Switzerland now on Schengen.

emerald colored river Soča

24 December 2008

Slovenia: The Most Scenic Highways

.. Ever! If you happen to know anyone who went to Slovenia or at least passing its highway, ask them and they can confirm this.

OK I haven't been to Switzerland or anywhere else that I can compare to, but it's definetely one of the world's most beautiful. Driving on its highways on a clear blue sky or on time of sunrise would make you feel that you're being served by montage of landscapes, from small towns with churches on the hills, farms, vine yards, green hills, forests, to mountains with Julian Alps on the background.

Shall we let the pictures speak for themselves...

When driving East, for example from Ljubljana to Maribor, we always.. I repeat.. ALWAYS make a stop in Trojane for some Trojane Krofi. This huge doughnout-like bread is pure heaven. Yes they do sell krofi anywhere, but they have nothing to compete the original renown Trojane Krofi! I do suggest to have a breakfast in Trojane. It's on top of one of the hill where a tunnel goes through. Just a few hundred meters out from Autobahn.

People came all the way for a piece (or dozens) of these Trojane Krofi

Of course, the scenery doesn't stop on the highways. If you got out from it and go to its country roads, you'd probably find more beautiful landscapes. I suggest to do a detour to smaller and less travelled roads to explore more of Slovenian landscapes. Wild animals such as foxs, deers, and other forest creatures are not an uncommon sight, so keep your eyes open!


Happy traveling and have a nice holiday!

19 December 2008

Easy Updates

I'm not posting any stories now, instead just posting some links about travel that you might find interesting..

Sick of bad news with recent events in Bangkok, especially stranded tourists in airport? Here's one remedy, Air Asia to give away 100,000 free seats on flight to Thailand

Sick of news about how bad world economy is? Here's some bright sides from tourism. If you have time and saving to spare, there's never be better time to travel then now. Happy New Year 2009: The Year of Travel Deal!

Still not sure? Here's a quick update from lonelyplanet on how to make your travel affordable.

Have a nice weekend and happy travel!

landscape of hills in western Slovenia

16 December 2008

Germany: The Biggest Xmas Market Nuremberg

Christmas market (German: Weihnachtsmarkt) is always synonymous with Germany, and the biggest is in Nuremberg (German: Nürnberg), making it also the biggest in the world. It's held on the month December every year and maybe millions of tourists flocked the city. That's easy to remember, if it's October you go to Munich, if December, you go to Nuremberg.

I was there back in 2004. I was kinda planning to go there again this year, but alas! We're too busy with finding and moving to the new apartment and all visa bureaucracies.

I found this awesome panorama pictures. You should check that out!

The Food and Drink
If you eat pork, you should try the Nürnberger Bratwurst, one type of Bratwurst, which is consideraly much smaller than others. It's maybe just slightly bigger than regular hot dog, which means really small for a German standard :P I didn't try it though, so I can't tell you how's the taste. Being an Erfurter, I must had embraced our beloved Thüringer Bratwurst instead hehehe.

When it's winter, there's no better time to drink Glühwein, the cooked wine. Which is abundant in such Weichnachtsmarkt. This was the picture from a party when we burn a block of sugar with wine, and then put some spices while warming the wine.

Gluhwein preparation

enormous cheese and some sausages to buy, between many foods to try

While You Were There
Nuremberg not only offers a great Weihnachtsmarkt, it's a beautiful city and it has numerous tourist sights. This once medieval town has beautiful churches, castle quarter and old city walls that merge with modern city. Many cultural building are around the old city, the house of Albert Durer is one example. For more, check on this list.

Not only that, Nuremberg was Nazi rally center before WWII. Hitler saw the city as "most German of German cities", so he build lots of sick stuffs there. The Dukumentationszentrale Reichsparteitagsgelände is a modern museum built inside the old Nazi stadium ruin. This museum is my personal favorite, I think it's among the best museum in the world.

i love this museum

me on Luitpold Arena (2004)

11 December 2008

Italy: Milan With The Best Gelato

I randomly pick a place to write about, and Milan was the lucky one. We were there on 2008 spring for a short stop between our train-flight connections to Paris, and I wished that we had stayed longer.

The City
I must say that there was nothing that special about the city. Like other major European cities, it has good plaza and old downtown with a castle. They are nice but don't bid to differ. And with limited time to go around and meeting friends, we didn't even bothered to go to museum and other cultural buildings. We came to enjoy the city, eat the foods and did a bit of shopping. Yeah, it was kind a stupid that I packed the wrong clothes since I thought it's already warm on the end of April. :P

The Duomo, probably Milan's most important landmark, an overly-decorated Gothic Cathedral, with a big and nice plaza in front of it

just beside the Duomo, stands Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, it's a haven for jetset shopping

This mosaic bull laid on the center of the Galleria, spin yourself three times with you heel on the hole, you'd get charmed with luck and come back to Milan soon.. I did, 5 days later I came back to catch a train connection to Slovenia

The downtown of Milan (above and below), proximity with the Castello, another Milan's landmark

The Castle and The Park

The Foods!

This is the part I excited about. Lucky for us, we have a friend that show us where the treasures. One of them was the best gelato (italian word for ice cream, just in case you don't familiar). It was Chocolat, a small gelato and chocolate bar just outside the center. I kinda expect world-class gelato when my friend, Alfa, suggested that it was the probably the best gelato in the world, and I was far from disappointed. It was truly heaven for both chocolate and ice cream lover. The dark chocolate gelato varians were like melting a cool chocolate on your mouth! My favorite was the mix between spicy (with chili peppers) dark chocolate, pistacios, rhum chocolate and honey covered hazelnut! When we came back to Milan 5 days later, it was the first and only place in our head to dash into before catching our train. Alfa told me that on summer, there can be a really long line of people craving for a scoop or two. Hey, even we were there on a cold spring, there was quite a line! Visit their website for more information and make you drool.

For more good foods, my friend took us to another part of Milan, Naviglie. There we had some nice pizza and great warm banana-nutella crepes.

Naviglie, a part of Milan

The People
Like many other modern metropolitan in the world, you hardly see any hospitality in Milan. But I still find interesting people around. Sorry I only took a bit of picture

one of common sight on Milan.. heavily branded

the polices that happy to pose

street entertainers during waiting for the traffic light

The Future
I saw this expo about proposed new Milan city center.. Seems neat.

Cheers and happy traveling!

09 December 2008

Fight Jet Lag Tips

Caught in a jet lag is sometime pain in the ass and can be the worst thing after your vacation, especially when you need to go to work the next day. I compiled some tips from different sources on how combating jet lag naturally. Yes, actually there's some sleeping pills and such, but natural is always betterm isn't it?

From CNN Business Traveller:
  • Avoid late meals and alcohol
  • Take cat-naps when you need to
  • Adjust to your destination as soon as you get on the plane
  • Eat on local time
  • Get a good night's sleep before you travel
  • Go for walks in daytime and get plenty of sunlight
  • Try to sleep at take-off when gravitational forces and a shortage of fresh oxygen make ideal conditions for dozing off
  • A break in a long flight can help
  • Noise-cancellation headphones can block out noise and help you sleep on planes

  • From Road&Travel Magazine

    Shift your sleep times before you travel. In the few days before traveling west, go to bed and wake up 1 hour later each day. In the few days before traveling east, go to bed and wake up 1 hour earlier each day.

    Regulate your light exposure before you travel.
    In the few days before traveling west, seek evening light and avoid morning light. Before traveling east, seek morning light and avoid evening light. People can use a bright light box to get light, although people who experience migraines, mood disorders or have eye diseases should first consult with their physician before using one.

    Regulate your light exposure in your new time zone. If you traveled west, on arrival, seek morning light and avoid afternoon light. If you traveled east, on arrival seek evening light and avoid morning light. Weather conditions permitting, people can seek light by going outdoors and wearing only lightly tinted sunglasses. Do not look directly at the sun. Light can be avoided by staying indoors away from windows, wearing very dark sunglasses when outside and by sleeping.

    Avoid alcohol and caffeine at least 3-6 hours before bed.

    Avoid heavy exercise close to bedtime.

    Bring earplugs and blindfolds to reduce noise and light.
    And there are some other good ones, like this one.. You might want to google the rest. Happy traveling!

    03 December 2008

    I Wanna Fly Virgin!

    In the time like this, budget airlines must have compete very tough with both major and budget airlines. They have to offer something that can be their niche, because we know, even cheaper flight tickets and competitive service wouldn't be enough. One airline does it well.. Really well maybe. Virgin America is another new budget airline that has flight route between several US major cities, but let's see what they have to offer..

    Mood lighting on the cabin? VERY nice!! I wonder if anyone even thought of that..

    They also have personal entertainment on each passenger seat. Do remember that this is a budget airline! And what's more that they provide different sockets for your gadgets, so you can charge, connect the USB, ethernet.. and even WiFi!! For the folks left on the land, they can also check the flight status online.

    what you can connect on board

    online flight status

    Oh, I really want to try to fly with Virgin America. Probably the coolest thing you can get when you fly on a budget. To see why they are so different, please visit their site.

    Happy traveling!

    02 December 2008

    Switzerland to Implement Schengen

    Great news! On this page, it's proclaimed that Switzerland will fully implement Schengen Visa Agreement starting 12 December 2008. So this mean, with a single valid Schengen Visa, one can also travel through Swiss border, no longer need to apply a separate visa.

    More informations on traveling to Switzerland in wikitravel. And my previous post about applying Schengen Visa. Happy traveling!