April 05, 2018

[ENG] Asam-Manis Paris - Western Europe Trip Pt. 1

[ENG Translations Available]

Dari mana ya enaknya memulai cerita Paris ini? 😆
How should we begin this Paris story? 😆

Tour Eiffel

Selayaknya trip hemat murah meriah-ku yang lain, Western Europe (+ Finland) 2018 ini diinisiasi sejak tahun lalu. Lebih tepatnya Agustus 2017. Jadi, sekali lagi untuk readers sekalian yang kerap meminta-minta diajak nge-trip... tolong ingat bahwa pencarian tiket murah ini dimulai 1 tahun sebelum keberangkatan. Jadi harus sangat siap mental dan punya rencana matang: mau kemana, kapan, berapa lama, dengan siapa saja. Jangan dadakan.

Dua buah tiket Qatar Airways dengan rute Jakarta-Doha-Paris + Helsinki-Doha-Singapura tanggal 25 Maret-1 April 2018 berhasil kami boyong dengan harga Rp10.487.200,- alias 5,2 juta per orang. Ups, bukan "kami" ding... "Bang Adi" tepatnya. *sembah sujud Guru Traveling favoritku* Seperti biasa, daftar biaya dan itinerary akan kutulis di akhir rangkaian trip review. Harap bersabar ya.

Just like my other cheap trips, Western Europe (+ Finland) 2018 trip was initiated last year, August 2017 to be precise. So, for Readers who always ask to be included in my trip... please remember that cheap-ticket hunting must be started one year before departure. So please be very prepared, and plan your trip carefully: going where, when, how long, with whom. Being impromptu is not advisable.

We managed to get two Qatar Airways tickets with the route of Jakarta-Doha-Paris + Helsinki-Doha-Singapore on March 25-April 1, 2018. The price was IDR 10.487.200 (5.2 million per person). Oops, it was not "we" but "Bang Adi" *my favorite Traveling Guru* As usual, I will write the list of expenses and complete itineraries at the end of this trip review series. Please be patient.

Transit di Doha selama 3 jam | 3 hours transit in Doha


SABTU, 24 MARET / SATURDAY, MARCH 24
Aku dan Mama akhirnya tiba di Bandara Charles de Gaulle, Prancis. Karena sudah letih lesu dan lunglai, aku sama sekali tidak terpikirkan lagi untuk cemas menghadapi imigrasi Prancis yang konon galak dan curigaan. Normalnya, aku akan touch up terlebih dahulu, minimal agar tidak kelihatan kayak gembel atau desperate job searcher from the 3rd world country. Puji Tuhan, proses imigrasi berjalan lancar saja. Tak sampai 2 menit petugas memeriksa paspor dan visa, dan akhirnya... jegreg! Pasporku diberi cap CDG.

Selama 2 hari 1 malam di Paris ini kami akan menginap di St. Christopher's Inn Gare du Nord. Aslinya sih di hotel yang lebih mewah lagi, apa daya promo yang susah payah kukejar itu hanya berumur pendek. Batal deh nginap mewah di Paris. Anyway, hostel SCI dapat penilaian hampir 10* dari reviewers Hostelworld.com makanya aku tak ragu lagi memilih kamar di sini. Lokasinya super dekat dengan stasiun metro dan harganya reasonable untuk standard one bedroom + private bathroom. Perkara kamar mandinya ternyata supermini, itu urusan nanti. Yang penting nggak bakal kesasar mencari arah seperti waktu di Seoul atau Tokyo kemarin.

Mother and I finally arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport, France. Being exhausted and weak, I had no worries about the allegedly ferocious French immigration. Normally, I will do some touch up first, at least not to look like a desperate job seeker from a 3rd world country. Thank God, the immigration process went smoothly. The officer observed my passport and visa in only less than 2 minutes, and finally ... my passport was labeled CDG.

We will stay for 2 days and 1 nights in Paris, at St. Christopher's Inn Gare du Nord (SCI hostel). We could've stayed in a more luxurious hotel but too bad the booking (with promotional price) I gained with so much effort only stayed shortly, it was then cancelled before our departure. Goodbye to stay in luxury in Paris! Anyway, SCI hostel was almost rated 10-star from Hostelworld.com reviewers so I had no doubt  in choosing it. The location was really close to the metro station and the price was reasonable for one standard bedroom with private bathroom.

St. Christopher's Inn Gare du Nord
Source: St. Christopher Inns

Dari Bandara CDG ke Stasiun Gare du Nord membutuhkan biaya €5 per orang alias Rp85.000,-! (kurs Rupiah ke Euro = Rp17.000,-) Bujubuneng, kalah deh ongkos Damri di Jakarta! Sebenarnya ongkos transportasi di negara ini bisa ditekan dengan menggunakan "Paris Pass" alias kartu untuk beberapa hari perjalanan. Misalnya kamu akan tinggal di Paris selama 2 hari dan yakin bahwa akan sering menggunakan metro dan bus, nah pilihlah 2-Day Paris Pass. Aku telat sadar, readers, jadi... YA GITU PLIS GAUSAH TANYA-TANYA AKU HABIS BERAPA DI TRIP KALI INI. Kecup sayang :*

Cerita manis pertama dari Paris adalah... kami mendapat teman baru! Mereka adalah Rosemarie dan Elmarl, dua orang mahasiswa asli Filipina yang sudah 7 tahun dan 4 tahun tinggal di Paris. Pertemuan kami bermula saat menempati bangku berhadapan di skytrain dari Terminal 1 menuju Terminal 3 CDG. Menyenangkan sekali rasanya bertemu dengan orang asing yang ended up become someone you're gonna miss and probably meet again in the near future. Aku dan Marie bahkan sampai sekarang masih intens berkomunikasi lewat WA, hihihi. Sayang sekali tidak ada foto selfie yang bisa aku pamerkan di post ini.

Rosemarie dan Elmarl yang kebetulan searah jalur metronya mengantarkan kami sampai ke St. Gare du Nord. Mereka juga memberikan jutaan informasi tentang Paris, terutama saran untuk first destination... Trocadero.

The cost from CDG Airport to Gare du Nord Station was €5 per person (IDR 85.000! 1 Euro = IDR 17.000) It was almost the Damri fare in Jakarta! Actually the transportation cost in France can be suppressed by using "Paris Pass", a card for few days trip. For example, if you stay in Paris for 2 days and will use subway and bus a lot, you can buy 2-Day Paris Pass. I didn't know this at first, so ... WELL PLEASE JUST DON'T ASK HOW MUCH MONEY I SPENT IN THIS TRIP. Kisses! :*

The first sweet story from Paris is... we made new friends! They are Rosemarie and Elmarl, two native Filipino students who have been living in Paris for 7 and 4 years each. Our first time meeting  was when we sat across each other inside the airport skytrain from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3. It is indeed great to meet strangers who ended up becoming someone you're gonna miss and probably meet again in the near future. Marie and I are even still communicating through WA. Too bad we didn't take any selfie pictures that I can show in this post.

Rosemarie and Elmarl, who happened to have the same subway direction, accompanied us all the way to St. Gare du Nord. They also provided us millions of information about Paris, especially advice for first destination ... Trocadero.


Atraksi utama di Trocadero 😍 | Main attraction in Trocadero

Kalau cerita yang 'asem-pahit', ada Lin? Ada! Jadi sebelum berangkat ngetrip, banyak sekali teman yang telah mengingatkan aku tentang copet dan penipuan di kota ini. (Terima kasih untuk semuanya yang begitu perhatian dan sayang padaku! *peluk erat*) Puji Tuhan, selama 2 hari di Paris kami hanya "hampir terkena scam", tidak lebih. Itu pun terjadinya di St. Gare du Nord dan bukan di tempat-tempat wisata macam Eiffel atau Versailles.

Karena kebingungan memilih karcis metro di mesin penjualan, aku bertanya kepada pemuda Parisian  (orang Paris.red) di mesin sebelah. Kenapa aku berani bertanya pada dia dan bukan petugas lain? Karena tepat beberapa detik sebelum interaksi kami, kulihat sendiri bahwa dia sedang mengalami 'kesialan'. Dia kurang sigap mengambil kembalian berupa recehan sen dan euro setelah membeli tiket dengan cash, tiba-tiba dari belakang muncul aja dong tangan yang merogoh kotak kembalian! Buset, jangan pernah lengah deh kalo di Paris ini. Semua indera harus waspada 24 jam. Dari momen itu aku otomatis menganggap dia 'manusia biasa' yang bisa terkena scam.

Ternyata enggak dong. Dia mencoba membodohiku dengan bilang bahwa kartu debitku (Jenius card, at that time) tidak bisa digunakan untuk membayar karcis di mesin itu. Dia lalu sigap mendekatkan kartu elektronik (semacam BRIZZI atau e-money) ke mesinku, seakan-akan dia akan membayarkan tiketku. Lalu begitu tiket keluar, dia bersikeras "I paid for those tickets!"

There is also a bitter story happened in Paris! Before departing, a lot of friends have warned me about pickpockets and scams in this city. (Thank you for everyone who has been so caring and loving to me! *Hug tightly!*) Praise the Lord, during 2 days in Paris we just "almost got scammed". It even happened at St. Gare du Nord, not in tourist attractions such as Eiffel Tower or Versailles.

Due to confusion of choosing subway ticket from a sales machine, I asked a Parisian youth who was buying from the next machine. Why did I dare to ask him and not the station officers? Because just a few seconds before our interaction, I witnessed him getting 'bad luck'. He wasn't swift enough in taking his pennies change from the machine, when suddenly a hand showed up from behind and reached into change box taking all his change! Woah, that was fast. Please always be careful and cautious while in Paris. All our senses must be alert 24/7. From that moment, I assumed that this young guy was just an 'ordinary man' because he was vulnerable enough to be scammed.

I was totally wrong. He then tried to fool me by saying that my debit card (visa) can't be used to buy ticket from machine. He swiftly put his electronic card to my machine payment panel, as if he was the one paying for my ticket. Then as soon as the ticket came out, he insisted "I paid for those tickets!"


Apa yang dilakukan si cantik Erlinel saat menghadapi scammer itu? Tersenyum, tentu saja. Tapi yang sinis gitu lho. Jangan malah tepe-tepe (tebar pesona.red). "No, I don't think that's true." Senyum sinis, tatap matanya, lalu balikkan badan dengan penuh percaya diri. Udah, selesai sampai disitu. Si scammer tidak mengejar, menodong, apalagi mencopet barangku. Kalau ada tingkatan dalam dunia per-scamming-an, mungkin lelaki satu ini tergolong kelas rendah yang sekadar menggertak dan bersilat lidah. Jika dia kalah, dia mundur. Apalagi ini di stasiun yang punya penjaga bersenjata.

Di balik sikap tenang ini padahal ada rasa bingung dan deg-degan karena aku tahu sedang mengalami scamming. Saat perdana diajari Elmarl membeli karcis metro di Bandara CDG, aku juga memakai kartu Jenius yang sama sehingga sudah tahu bagaimana proses pembayaran di mesin. Proses yang sama juga terjadi di mesin satu ini, makanya aku yakin kartuku lah yang terdebet. Apalagi tulisan "Payment Received" sudah tampil di layar 5 detik sebelum si scammer menempelkan kartunya. Pelajaran berharga untuk kita semua: lebih percaya sama diri sendiri.

What did the beautiful Erlinel respond to the scammer? Smile, of course. A cynical one, not the flirty one. "No, I do not think that's true." I smiled sarcastically, stared straight into his eyes, then turned my back confidently. That's all. It all finished there. The scammer did not chase, mugged, or even rob me. If there is a level in the world of scam, perhaps this young fella is in the lower class who can only bluff and snarl. If he loses, he backs off. Especially at this station which has armed guards.

Behind this quiet attitude of mine, I was actually confused and anxious since I knew I was being scammed. Elmarl has taught me how to buy a metro ticket from a machine at CDG Airport (I used the same visa card) that's why I already knew the payment process on sales machine. The same process happened in this machine, so I was totally sure that my card was successfully debited. Moreover, the words "Payment Received" has appeared on the screen 5 seconds before the scammer put his card to my panel. Lessons learnt: be more confident in ourselves.


Kembali ke pengalaman pertama 'kopi darat' dengan KEKASIH HATI PUJAAN IDAMAN TEMPAT HATIKU MERINDU SELAMA 10 TAHUN... Eiffel Tower!


Alright, let's go back to the story of my first time meeting with THE SWEETHEART SINCE MY CHILDHOOD, THE ONE THAT MY HEART LONGS FOR 10 YEARS... Eiffel Tower!

Muka bahagia

Gimana ya readers cara menjelaskan perasaan hati ini... aku sudah menggilai Menara Eiffel sejak masih SMP. Itu kan masih zaman booming-nya Pinterest dan Tumblr ya. Aku bisa menghabiskan 3 jam (weekday) hingga 6 jam (weekend) di warnet hanya untuk mencari gambar Eiffel Tower dan kota Paris, lalu disimpan ke flashdisk dan dipandang-pandangi lagi di rumah. Gitu aja tok. Gak perlu di-print gak perlu dipos ke Instagram (wong belum ada, Lin)... dipandangi satu-satu aja di layar komputer udah bikin bahagia.

I don't even know, Readers, how to explain my feeling at the moment... I've been fond of the Eiffel Tower since junior high school. It was the era when Pinterest and Tumblr became a hit. I spent almost 3 hours (weekdays) even 6 hours (weekend) in an internet cafe just to browse pictures of the Eiffel Tower and Paris city, then saved them to my USB disk just so I can look at them again at home. No need to print the pictures... just staring at them on computer screens can easily make me happy.


Dan beberapa langkah berjalan dari pintu keluar St. Trocadero... here it is. Standing so gorgeously in the distance: the mighty Eiffel Tower. Warna perunggu gelapnya kontras dengan langit biru dan awan putih di latar belakangnya. Aku, yang biasanya anti sekali dengan kerumunan turis, terus sumringah selama mata terpaku pada menara indah ini. Ya ampun. AKHIRNYA KITA BERTEMU, FEL!

Sudahlah tak perlu lagi aku menyiksa keyboard komputerku dengan berpanjang-panjang mendeskripsikan rasa haru biru dalam dada selama berada di dekat Menara Eiffel. Semoga kalian bisa merasakan aura kebahagiaan kami terpancar dari setiap foto-foto ini.

And just a few steps walk from the exit of St. Trocadero... here it is! Standing so gorgeously in the distance: the mighty Eiffel Tower. The dark bronze color contrasts with the blue sky and white clouds in the background. I, who usually dislike the crowds of tourists, easily ignored my surrounding and just couldn't stop smiling from ear to ear while my eyes were fixed on this beautiful tower. Geez. FINALLY WE MET, EIFFEL!

I'm not gonna torture my keyboard more by writing longer descriptions about how touched and moved I was when being near to Eiffel Tower. Hopefully you can feel the joy and happiness aura radiated from each of these photographs.






N.B. Konon tempat terbaik menikmati Menara Eiffel adalah dari: 1) Pont de Bir-Hakeim, 2) Rue Saint-Dominique, 3) Trocadero, 4) Eiffel Tower itself, dan 5) Champ de Mars. Aku hanya mengunjungi 3 out of these 5 spots karena keterbatasan tenaga dan waktu. I'll make sure to visit every one of them again, next time I got the chance to.

P.S. It is said that the best places to enjoy the Eiffel Tower are from: 1) Pont de Bir-Hakeim, 2) Rue Saint-Dominique, 3) Trocadero, 4) Eiffel Tower itself, and 5) Champ de Mars. I just visited 3 out of these 5 spots because of limited strength and time. I'll make sure to visit every one of them again, next time I got the chance to.



Carousel di taman bermain dekat Trocadero | Carousel in a playground near Trocadero

Menara Eiffel difoto dari Avenue de New York

Dari Trocadero aku mengajak Mama jalan kaki lumayan jauh ke sekitaran kawasan Eiffel Tower. Melintasi Taman Trocadero, menyeberangi Sungai Seine dari Pont d'Iéna, lalu melipir foto-foto sebentar di Carrousel de la Tour Eiffel. By the way, aku terlambat tahu kalau di sisi lain Menara Eiffel ada spot foto yang sangat menarik dengan ranting-ranting Pohon Magnolia yang sudah berbunga cantik.

From Trocadero I invited (more like, urged) Mama to walk quite far to the area around Eiffel Tower. We crossed the Trocadero Park, crossed the Seine River from Pont d'Iéna, then stopped for a while to take pictures of Carrousel de la Tour Eiffel. Anyway, I was too late knowing that on the other side of the Eiffel Tower there was a very interesting photo spots with beautifully flowered branches of the Magnolia Tree.

Carrousel de la Tour Eiffel tepat di depan Menara

Seine River

Matahari mulai terbenam di ufuk barat, sudah saatnya kami balik ke hostel sebelum suhu makin menurun dan menyebabkan flu akut keesokan harinya. Aku putuskan untuk menyeberang ke timur dan lanjut jalan lagi hingga nanti menemukan entrance stasiun metro terdekat. Karena perut sudah mulai meminta diisi, kami putuskan untuk singgah dulu makan malam di Cafe de Gustave di Avenue de la Bourdonnais.

The sun began to set in the western horizon, it was about time for us to return home before the temperature decreased and caused us acute flu tomorrow. I decided to cross east and continued the path again until finding the entrance of the nearest metro station. We then stopped by at Cafe de Gustave on Avenue de la Bourdonnais for dinner.

Menara Eiffel dari Avenue de la Bourdonnais
Makan malam di Cafe Gustave | Dinner at Cafe Gustave

Hal lain yang masih kusesali hingga saat ini adalah tidak membeli Europe SIM Card yang sebenarnya bisa diperoleh baik di Indonesia maupun begitu mendarat di Bandara CDG. Aku terlanjur membeli XL Pass 7 Days yang ternyata hanya bisa berfungsi di Belanda, tidak di Prancis. Alhasil aku hilang arah saat mencari stasiun metro usai makan malam. Untunglah ada wanita Parisian baik hati yang menunjukkan jalan menuju St. Ecole Militaire. Dari situ pun masih saja tersesat karena bingung dengan rute metro Paris, ditambah lagi Rute/Line 4 yang tidak lagi melintasi Gare du Nord, aku makin pusing mencari jalur metro. Puji Tuhan, kami bisa tiba kembali dengan selamat di hostel meski sempat menghabiskan 1-1,5 jam berputar-putar dengan metro.

Another thing I still regretted is not buying Europe SIM Card which actually can be obtained either in Indonesia or at CDG Airport. I just bought XL Pass 7 Days which turned out to work only in the Netherlands, not in France. Because of this, I got lost while looking for metro stations after dinner. Luckily there was a kind Parisian woman who showed us the way to St. Ecole Militaire. Even from there we still got lost due to confusion with the Paris metro route. At that time, Line 4 didn't cross St. Gare du Nord causing me even more confusion in understanding the metro line. Thank God, we finally arrived safely at the hostel though we have spent 1 to 1.5 hours only circling around with the metro.


MINGGU, 25 MARET / SUNDAY, MARCH 25
Happy Sunday, happy people! Hari ini adalah hari terakhir di Paris. I know, I know, it's too quick indeed. Tapi emang sejak awal perencanaan trip, Paris ataupun Prancis bukanlah tujuan utama. Awalnya aku malah berencana hanya menghabiskan 1 hari lho di kota ajaib ini.

Aku dan Mama akan meninggalkan Paris jam 11 malam nanti, menggunakan Eurolines Bus dari Paris Gallieni. Tahu bahwa tidak ada fasilitas loker di Stasiun/Terminal Gallieni (katanya sih karena Paris sangat rawan pemboman, jadi tidak berani lagi menerima barang titipan di ruang publik), kami pun menitipkan koper di hostel yang punya fasilitas ini. Harganya €5/24 jam untuk loker besar yang bisa memuat 2 koper ukuran 20 inch. Marie sempat memberitahuku bahwa ada loker juga di Stasiun Gare du Nord, tapi aku terlalu letih untuk mencari-cari lokasi lokernya lagi hahaha.

Happy Sunday, happy people! Today is the last day in Paris. I know, I know, it's too quick indeed. But it was actually the initial plan since the beginning of this trip; Paris or basically, France, is not the main goal. I even originally planned to only spend one day in this magical city.

Me and Mama will leave at 11 p.m. using Eurolines Bus from Paris Gallieni. Knowing that there was no locker facility at Gallieni Station (some article said it's because Paris is very vulnerable to terrorism i.e. bombing), we decided to leave our luggage in hostel's locker. It cost €5/24 hours for one large locker that can keep two 20-inch sized suitcases. Marie has also told me that there was actually a locker room at St. Gare du Nord but I was too lazy to search here and there for the room hahaha.


Hostel SCI memberikan sarapan yang sudah included dalam harga menginap. Sayangnya, sarapan kami sangat tidak memuaskan akibat oknum-oknum yang berasal dari negaraku sendiri. HAHAHA. Rupanya sedang ada program student exchange di kota ini. Puluhan remaja SMP-SMA dari seluruh Indonesia entah gimana ceritanya bisa menginap di Hostel SCI.

Aku sama sekali tidak berniat menuduh mereka sebagai pembuat onar ya... tapi ya demikianlah faktanya, readers. Sereal dan muesli yang awalnya rapi di dalam tabung, tumpah ruah mengotori meja. Susu untuk makan sereal lenyap tak berbekas. Bahkan suara teriakan dan tertawa mereka sudah cukup menjadi alasan bagiku untuk merasa terganggu. I know I was wrong for coming to breakfast late (udah jam 10 padahal sarapan dimulai dari jam 7), but... this situation wouldn't happen if only they have some manners. Ya sutralah. Aku dan Mama hanya bisa pasrah sambil menikmati muesli dicocol yogurt.

Hostel SCI provided free breakfast (included in the room price). Unfortunately, our breakfast was ruined by the people from my very own country HA HA HA. There was a student exchange program in this city. Dozens of junior high school teenagers from all over Indonesia somehow chose to stay at Hostel SCI.

It's not my intention to accuse them for being troublemakers but it was the fact, Readers. Cereals and muesli that were originally tidy inside the tube, were spilled all over the table. Milk for cereal disappeared without any trace. Even the sound of their screams and laughs gave me enough reason to feel disturbed. I know I was wrong for coming to breakfast late (it was 10 o'clock while breakfast starts from 7 o'clock), but ... this situation just would not have happened if only they had some manners. Well nothing can be done, Mama and I could just halfheartedly enjoyed our muesli with yogurt.


Hari ini aku memutuskan untuk mengajak Mama ke Versailles. Istana mewah yang menjadi inspirasi pembangunan Peterhof Palace di St. Petersburg, Russia. Mama harus menyaksikan kemewahan yang sama dengan yang telah kulihat tahun lalu. Jadi, Versailles is a must. Perjalanan kami mulai dari St. Gare du l'Est yang TERNYATA hanya berjarak 5 menit jalan kaki dari Hostel SCI. Astaga. Telat banget dong aku tahunya. Dari stasiun ini kami naik Line 4 menuju St. Gare Montparnasse lalu berpindah kereta dengan tujuan St. Gare de Versailles Chantiers. Berhubung Versailles ada di Zona 4, aku jadi tidak bisa menggunakan Daily Pass kami yang hanya melingkupi Zona 1-3. Keluar duit lagi deh...

Di Montparnasse kami kembali dipertemukan Tuhan dengan orang baik 😊 Sayangnya kali ini tidak sempat berkenalan. Seorang wanita Parisian asal Colombo yang tidak bisa berbahasa Inggris, tapi bersedia membantu kami sampai mengantar ke halte bus menuju Istana Versailles. Faith in humanity restored! Kalau dihitung-hitung, kami keseringan bertemu orang baik daripada orang jahat. There's really no reason to be over worrying about Parisians.

I decided to take Mama to Versailles today. The luxurious palace that inspired the construction of Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Mama need to witness the same luxury I had seen last year, so Versailles is a must. Our trip started from St. Gare du l'Est which apparently was only 5-minute walk from Hostel SCI! Woah why I didn't know this earlier. From this station we took Line 4 to St. Gare Montparnasse, then switched train to St. Gare de Versailles Chantiers. Since Versailles is in Zone 4, we couldn't use the Daily Pass that only covers Zone 1-3. Bye bye, money...


In Montparnasse we once again met a kind person 😊 Too bad we didn't introduce ourselves properly this time. This person was a Colombian woman who couldn't speak English but was willing to help us taking the bus to Versailles Palace. Faith in humanity restored! To think about it again, we actually met more good people than bad people. There's really no reason to be over worrying about Paris and Parisians.




Itu manusia semua isinya, readers
Foto di depannya aja ya, Mam, masuk ke istananya nanti aja kali berikut ^^

Apakah kami masuk ke dalam istana? Tidak, pemirsa. Antriannya terlalu mengular. Aku yang ceroboh ini terlalu menganggap sepele review di internet tentang "pentingnya membeli Museum Pass agar bisa melewati antrian panjang masuk tempat wisata di Paris". Well, tak apa-apa. Toh si Emak memang bukan tipe penikmat sejarah, meski dia pasti akan terkagum-kagum melihat interior istana. Tapi sayang aja kalau kami mengeluarkan ratusan euro hanya untuk satu tempat (Istana Versailles), dan cuma akan dinikmati selama 1 jam maksimum. Marilah kita men-skip Istana Versailles.

Did we enter the palace? No, Readers, the queue was not unbearable. I didn't take the internet review seriously regarding "the importance of buying the Museum Pass in order to get past the long queue of tourist attractions in Paris". Well, it's okay though, after all my mother is not a history lovers although she would surely be amazed seeing the interior of the palace. It's also gonna be a waste  But unfortunately if we spend hundreds of euros just for one place (Palace of Versailles), and will only be enjoyed for 1 hour maximum. Let's skip the Palace of Versailles.

Jardins du Chateau de Versailles

Aku dan Mama berjalan menjauhi antrian panjang di depan gerbang, menuju ke arah belakang gedung istana. Jardins du Chateau de Versailles alias Taman Istana Versailles, membentang luas di hadapan kami. Bentuknya benar-benar mirip dengan taman Peterhof Palace di St. Petersburg. Sayangnya, air mancur di tengah taman tidak beroperasi hari itu karena cuaca yang masih dingin. Persis dengan aturan di Peterhof sana. Tapi semuanya terobati melihat sukacita Mama di tengah taman ini. Beliau menikmati setiap sudut taman: kolam kecil, jejeran pohon bonsai(?), burung-burung merpati, bahkan kerumunan turisnya. Oh ya, satu perbedaan besar antara aku dan si Emak: aku sangat anti dengan keramaian sementara Mama justru mencari-cari kumpulan turis untuk dijadikan latar belakang berfoto 😂😂😂

Mama and I walked away from the long queue in front of the gate, heading toward the back of the palace building. Jardins du Chateau de Versailles (Versailles Palace Park) stretched wide before us. The park look very similar to Peterhof Palace's park in St. Petersburg. Sadly the fountain in the middle of the park didn't operate that day because of the cold weather, just like the rules at Peterhof. All the sadness disappeared when I saw Mama having fun in this park;  she enjoyed every corner of the garden: the small pond, the bonsai (?) trees, the pigeons, and even the tourist crowds. Oh yes, one big difference about me and Mama: I prefer avoiding the crowd while Mama wants them as the background of her picture 😂😂😂

Air mancurnya nggak nyala :( | The fountain was off :(

"De, De.. fotoin Mama disini ya sambil ngasih makan burung..."
"Please capture me while feeding the birds..."

Puas berfoto di Versailles, kami kembali ke Paris dengan jalur kereta dan metro yang sama. Kali ini aku super galau menentukan "Kemana sekarang?" Pengennya sih balik ke Eiffel lagi aja, duduk-duduk di Champs de Mars atau stroll around Rue St. Dominique sampai sore. Tapi cita-citaku mengajak Mama berfoto di depan Piramida Louvre dan Arc de Triomphe akhirnya menang dan kesanalah kami berangkat.

Satisfied with the photo session at Versailles, we returned to Paris using the same train and metro line. This time I had a hard time choosing, "Where to go now?" If you ask me, I will totally prefer go back to the Eiffel, sitting on the Champs de Mars or stroll around Rue St. Dominique until afternoon. But this trip is not about me. My main goal is to take pictures of Mama standing in front of the Louvre Pyramid and the Arc de Triomphe, that is my true purpose. So, that's where we finally left.

Petit Palais

Si Emak seneng karena background-nya antrian turis untuk masuk Petit Palais
Mama happily struck a pose in front of long queue of tourists going for Petit Palais

Kami menghabiskan sekitar 10 menit di ujung jembatan Pont Alexandre III. Dasar 'Kota Paling Romantis di Dunia', ada lebih dari 5 pasang pengantin (dan calon pengantin) yang sibuk melakukan sesi foto di area jembatan ini. Awalnya Mama menemukan sepasang pengantin berfoto di tengah jalan raya saat traffic light masih merah. Eh, tak jauh dari situ ada lagi pengantin yang berpose nyender di jembatan. Rupa-rupanya karena ada ujung Menara Eiffel mencuat di kejauhan. It's so fun spending time aimlessly in Paris. Begitu banyak momen indah tak terduga yang bisa kita abadikan.

We spent approximately 10 minutes at the Pont Alexandre III bridge. Having titled as the "World's Most Romantic City", there were more than 5 pairs of brides & grooms busily doing a photo session at this area. Firstly Mama saw one pair being photographed in the middle of the highway when the traffic light was still red. Then not far from them I saw another bride leaning on the bridge, apparently the background was the tip of Eiffel Tower sticking out in the distance. It was really fun spending time aimlessly in Paris, we can capture so many wonderful moments at unexpected times.

Halooooo Eiffel!

Jembatan Pont Alexandre III

Oh iya kami lagi-lagi kena scam, kali ini oleh pedagang crepes gerobak. Lebih tepatnya sih kurang teliti menghitung kembalian, harusnya €4 tapi cuma dikasih €1. Semoga berkah deh.

We also got scammed here, this time by a crepes cart seller. I was also at fault because this woun't have happened if I was more careful and counted the change accurately. He only gave me €1 instead of €4.

Makasih lho Pak :') | Thanks, Sir :')

Perjalanan dilanjutkan lagi menuju Piramida Louvre yang berada di sisi timur Champs-Elysées. Kalau lihat di Google Maps sih jaraknya hanya 1,8 km alias 23 menit berjalan kaki. Ternyata setelah ditempuh, capek juga guys! Padahal itu jarak tempuhku setiap hari dari kos ke kantor. Mungkin karena pengaruh dinginnya cuaca ya. Ditambah lagi kami sudah capek jalan kaki sejak pagi saat ke Versailles.

Baru separuh jalan, aku sudah terdistraksi lagi dengan pemandangan memikat lain. Paris Ferris Wheel, bianglala setinggi 60 meter yang berdiri anggun di Place de la Concorde antara Champs-Elysées dan Jardin des Tuileries. Di malam hari pastilah landmark satu ini lebih memukau lagi dengan cahaya lampu di sekelilingnya. Jika nanti berkesempatan menginjak Paris lagi saat musim hangat, aku mau ah naik ferris wheel ini biar bisa memotret Menara Eiffel di kejauhan. 


The journey continued to the Louvre Pyramid on the east side of the Champs-Elysées. If you see in Google Maps the distance was only 1.8 km (23 minutes walk), but I don't know why it felt like 10 km though it is actually my daily walking distance from home to office. Perhaps because of the cold weather, plus we were tired from all the walk since this morning trip to Versailles.


Halfway down the road, I was distracted again by another enthralling scene. Paris Ferris Wheel, 60 meters tall statue that stands majestically at the Place de la Concorde between the Champs-Elysées and the Jardin des Tuileries. In the evening, this landmark must be even more stunning with the lights around it. If I ever have the chance to be in Paris again (in warm season), I would like to ride the ferris wheel so I can take a picture of the distant Eiffel Tower.

Bus Paris Les Cars Rouges melintas di depan Paris Ferris Wheel

Meski tidak pernah tahu bagaimana wujud taman di seberang, aku pede aja mengajak Mama masuk ke Jardin des Tuileries alias Taman Tuileries. Siapa sangka taman ini berhasil menggoda kami untuk menghabiskan 1 jam hanya sekadar duduk santai dan menikmati hembusan angin sepoi-sepoi. Thanks to the Parisians around us who were busy having conversation, kami jadi dininabobokan sampai sempat tertidur beberapa menit. Hahaha. Pengalaman perdana tidur siang di taman publik di negeri tetangga!

Though I never knew about the park on the other side of the street, I confidently guided Mama to the Jardin des Tuileries. Who would have thought that this park managed to tempt us to spend 1 hour just relaxing, enjoying the breeze, and basically do nothing. The Parisians' voices around us became sounded like lullaby to us, we closed our eyes and eventually fell asleep! Ha ha ha. It was my very first time taking a nap in a public park abroad!

Pose ternyaman setelah seharian berkelana
The most comfortable pose after a day long wandering around

Kalau di musim semi/panas, air mancur di 2 kolam dinyalakan
mengundang kedatangan lebih banyak pengunjung
The two fountains operate in summer, inviting more people to gather around

Langit sudah mulai menggelap, kami pun bergegas menunaikan hasrat suci mengunjungi Louvre Pyramid yang cuma sepelemparan batu dari Taman Tuileries. Mungkin di antara readers ada yang bertanya-tanya, "Ini Erlin tumben nggak nulis cerita lengkap tentang tiap-tiap tempat wisata?" Soalnya kami memang sama sekali tidak masuk ke dalam tempat wisata di Paris, kami hanya melihat gedung-gedung dari luar dan berjalan di area publik. 

The sky was getting dark, Mama and I rushed to to visit the Louvre Pyramid which was just a few steps away from Tuileries Park. Maybe there's some of you, Readers, wondering about, "It's not usual of Erlin for not writing a complete story about every tourist attraction..." The reason is because we did not enter or step inside any of these Paris attractions, we only visited them from the outside and explore public areas. 

"Kok gitu? Sayang banget lho udah jauh-jauh ke Paris tapi nggak ngintip dalamnya Versailles..."

Readers sayang, kalau lagi ngetrip jangan suka membatasi diri dengan "Sayang banget", karena tidak akan ada ujungnya. "Sayang banget nggak masuk ke Louvre" atau "Sayang banget nggak lanjut ke Swiss" adalah hal yang memang sudah aku pertimbangkan matang-matang sejak awal menyusun itinerary. Aku sih tetap mengutamakan kenyamanan yah, nyaman di dompet karena tak perlu membayar entrance fee ke Louvre hanya demi sepotong lukisan Mona Lisa, dan nyaman secara fisik karena tak perlu mengantri dan berdesak-desakkan. Jadi... jangan sampai aku mendengar komentar "Sayang banget..." dari kalian ya! 😏

"Why so? You've gone all the way to Paris, it's such a shame you didn't enter Versailles ..."

My dearest Readers, please never limit yourselves to those kind of thoughts. There will be no end to it. "It's a shame you didn't enter the Louvre" or "it's a shame you didn't continue the journey to Switzerland" those are things I've considered very carefully since the beginning of my trip. The most important thing for me is still comfort. Not entering Louvre is comfortable for my wallet because I don't need to pay entrance fee just for a small piece of Mona Lisa painting. Also I will feel physically comfortable because I won't have to wait in long line and being stuck in such crowded place. Hopefully I won't hear any of you, Readers, saying those "Such a shame" comments to me. 😏 

Piramida Louvre



Sebenarnya masih ada dua tujuan lagi yang ingin kusambangi hari ini, Notre-Dame Cathedral dan  Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Agak miris sih sebenarnya mengingat hostelku dan St. Gare du Nord hanya berjarak 1,3 km dari Sacré-Cœur Basilica tapi aku justru tidak sempat kesana. Hahaha. Hopefully next time. Kami sudah naik metro sampai St. Châtelet tapi kemudian kandas di Brasserie Maison Rouge untuk makan malam dini. Dari sana sebenarnya tinggal 1,1 km lagi dari Notre-Dame, tapi ya sudahlah... si Emak sudah terlihat capek dan kami juga harus mengejar waktu sebelum naik bus ke Amsterdam.

Kisah manis lain dari Paris nih, readers! The men here are so confident and flirty 😆 Pertama kali adalah oleh resepsionis di hostel SCI. Kami sedang mengobrol biasa, layaknya tamu dan resepsionis pada umumnya. Tahu-tahu in the middle of conversation, doi ngedipin mata aja dong! Anjay. Flirty wink gitu lhooo, teman-teman cewek pasti paham deh. Untung aja doi ganteng luar biasa ngalah-ngalahin Ryan Reynolds, dan untungnya aku pun tidak sampai mimisan lalu minta dikawini. Nah di Brasserie Maison Rouge ini aku juga dikedipi oleh si waiter saat dimintai menu makanan. Eh buset, saya minta menu woooy, bukan minta pacar! Anyway, it was a fun experience. (Yaiyalah "fun" karena sama cowok cakep, giliran ama yang kurang oke aja lu pasti teriak "pervert" wkwkwk)




Dan sebagai perhentian terakhir dari Paris Trip... Arc de Triomphe! 5 tahun lalu aku telah menyambangi replikanya di Kediri, Jawa Timur dan hari ini akhirnya kusaksikan sendiri bagaimana megahnya monumen berbentuk gerbang dengan lengkungan di tengah satu. Monumen berukuran 50 x 45 x 22 meter ini berada di ujung barat Champs-Elysées dan menyedot perhatian ratusan mata pengunjung dari 12 arah jalan raya yang mengelilinginya. Woah. Benar-benar spot yang tepat untuk membangun suatu monumen bersejarah. Ternyata monumen sejenis gerbang melengkung seperti ini juga ada di Mexico City, Meksiko dan Pyongyang, Korea Utara.

And as the last stop of Paris Trip ... Arc de Triomphe! 5 years ago I visited its replica in Kediri, East Java and finally today I could witness how magnificent this arc-shaped monument. The 50x45x22 meters gate is located on the western end of the Champs-Elysées. It attracts attention from hundreds of eyes because of the 12 directions highway that surrounds it. Woah, what a great location to build such a historical monument. There are also similar monuments with arch-shaped gates in Mexico City, Mexico and Pyongyang, North Korea.

Arc de Triomphe 

Agar bisa tiba tepat waktu di Gallieni kami pun menjemput koper-koper dari hostel SCI pada pukul 21.00. Perjalanan dari Gare du Nord ke Gallieni hanya butuh waktu 30 menit, cukuplah untuk berjalan santai tanpa perlu panik mencari petunjuk arah. Jalur yang kami tempuh adalah Line 5 ke St. Republique lalu berganti ke Line 3 menuju Gallieni.

Mudah saja menemukan terminal bus di Gallieni, tinggal mengikuti arah panah dan petunjuk bersimbol bus. Jika readers akan menaiki Eurolines bus seperti kami, pastikan sudah mencetak tiketnya di selembar kertas karena mereka hanya mau menerima barcode yang sudah dicetak, bukan sekadar ditampilkan di layar HP. Setelah check-in di loket lantai satu, kita bisa naik ke lantai dua tempat bus-bus besar parkir sesuai dengan nomor jalurnya. 

Di lantai dua inilah baru keributan terjadi. Pembelian tiket bus tidak disertakan nomor kursi alias free seating: first come, first serve. Trik agar mendapat kursi terbaik adalah pastikan kalian terlebih dahulu antri di sisi kiri bus, untuk memasukkan bagasi. Begitu koper dan ransel aman di bagasi, segeralah menuju pintu masuk bus di sisi kanan, lalu bersiaplah saling berdesakkan untuk masuk ke bus.

Perjalanan Paris-Amsterdam akan kami tempuh selama 7,5 jam. Siap-siap kaki kram deh!

We picked up the suitcases from SCI hostel at 21:00 in order to arrive well-ahead of schedule at Gallieni Terminal. The journey from St. Gare du Nord to St. Gallieni only took 30 minutes so we had enough time to walk leisurely. The line we took was Line 5 to St. Republique then switched to Line 3 heading to Gallieni.

It was easy to find the bus terminal in Gallieni, just followed the direction showed by arrow and bus symbols. For those who has planned using Eurolines bus just like us, please make sure you have printed the tickets on a piece of paper because the Eurolines crews only accept printed barcodes, not the ones showed on your hand-held device. After checking in at the first floor counter, we went up to the second floor where the large buses parked according to their lane number.

The purchased bus ticket didn't come with seat number meaning "free seating": first come, first serve. My tips on how to get the best seat is by firstly queuing on the left side of the bus where you will put your luggage. After getting your luggage in the trunk safely, quickly go to the right side to board the bus from its main door. Get yourself ready to push each other! and of course, being pushed back.

The journey to Amsterdam will take us 7.5 hours. Hello, leg cramps, we'll meet you soon!

***

to be continued... 

Nih bonus foto Margot Robbie biar readers semangat menunggu
trip review selanjutnya 😘
Here's a picture of Margot Robbie as a bonus 😘

Sama bonus penampakan Si Cantik 💓
And the beautiful Eiffel Tower 💓

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