Venice (with budget and shopping tips)


Murano Island

Okay, first of all I need to set this straight that this method is only suggested if you are (especially) living in Europe, but it’s actually plausible to do it wherever you came from. However, the budget would rather be different because of your flight (and perhaps luggage) cost.

#1 Lodging

It´s a common knowledge that nearly everything in Venice is really expensive, and that includes the hotel. However turns out there is a cheaper alternative if you camp. Yes, camp. There is a camping ground called Realto Camp which is only 10 minutes away by bus from Venice. It´s actually quite an okay place, they have facilities such as electricity (you need to bring your own power plug though), bathroom, washing machine, etc. They also offer to rent you ready built tents or small bungalows in case you´re from outside Europe and mind the weight of tent equipment luggage. However, if you travel by car like me do mind that they charge extra for car parking, which is around 5 euros per day. It’s an okay price I would say, since hotels and hostels charge at least twice that price. Continue reading



I spent nearly a week in this city, visiting a very good friend of mine whose practically like my older sister. Having known her for more than 10 years, she is probably one of the people I’m still close to after a long time. First impression of this city: its beautiful. It’s a port city, where you can enjoy a beautiful sight nearly everywhere you walk. However, its freaking cold and the wind is strong. I instantly fell in love with this city and wish my fortune could bring me to get a job here. I had the same feeling every time I’ve been somewhere and think “this is perfect” I normally always ended up there. My dorm high school which I doubt at first (well, if I can survive or not) – but feels so right the moment I step in the center of the school. The university where I pursue my bachelor, my uni here where I’m still undertaking my master degree – and now this city. I love Ilmenau and the peacefulness (despite all the freakos that recently invades) but I get the feeling that I might not be able to find anything for a living here. But Hambug looks like it offers vast chance for me, and one small part of it has suddenly pop up. So, who knows? Crossing fingers.

Plus, the oddest thing is I actually kinda like all the people I just met there (well, so far) which is very rare for me. Both my bestfriend and I are trying our best to ditch PhD. Not a thing that would make us happy, at least definitely not at the nearest time.

So now, hopping on to the pictures!

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Signs of Survival That Means You (Might) Be Doing it Right

I’ve been living here in around 1,5 years now and before I lived in Taiwan for one semester (well I was a toddler when I went to school in Canada so I think it won’t count) so I guess it’s quite legitimate for me to assume such survival indicators.

1. Learn the value of ‘friend-distinguishing’. I found it was a great mistake to blatantly decide to work with someone in class assignment just because we get along well. WRONG. Just because someone is a good friend, doesn’t mean they could be reliable enough to work with you. In my experience, turns out someone could be a great person to hang out with and totally worthless than an earthworm in work.

2. Having a native friend is somehow mandatory. Well, for me my boyfriend and papa neighbor (the guy next door whose always stuffing me with food) counts great. Especially if you live in a country where you can’t speak the language fluently or unfamiliar with how the system runs. For me this really helps, since German isn’t a language you can master fast – especially if you’re too used to English.

3. If you’re a student, make a good use of it. For instance, in Germany if you’re a student you can travel free by train, all you do is show your student card (thoska). Works like magic. So when I travel, I travel until the border of the province (where the card is valid) and use paid trips after I’m out of border. I never take bus or trams if I don’t need to, most of the time I would prefer to walk. This point includes using student discounts for anything available, as much as you can.

4. Cooking by yourself saves a lot of money. Cooking for 2-3 persons saves more money. My boyfriend and I made this arrangement and we spend approximately 5 euros per day for both of us for all meals. 7 euros when we’re feeling like getting a little spoiled. Generally our meals are healthy and the portion is big.

So for you women, when you rage about being questioned why you’re not able to cook and proud that you can’t – think again about it, especially if you want to study abroad or at least, live alone to pursue your career (well, of course unless you aim to marry a rich man and be a freeloader for the rest of your life).

5. It’s not a sin not to gather with a group of people from your country. Personally, I’m not a very social person. I only hang out with someone who makes sense to me: not annoying, doesn’t talk crap, not arrogant or think they’re the best, etc. Apparently sometimes  its quite hard to find someone whose not like that. Sometimes, even when they’re not like this, they’re stuck with these kind of persons without ever noticing (well, either they’re slow or just simply too nice). I think you don’t need to hang out with a bunch of people just because they’re from the same country as you are. It’s also fair to say you don’t need to like me or be nice to me just because we’re from the same country because that’s nonsense. To be honest, sometimes some of them are just a pain in the ass and there’s no point of forcing yourself.

6. Predict the weather, if you can even before you arrive. Preparing what kind of clothes you need to bring is important. Most of the time taking general predictions of one country’s weather forecast could be a terrible mistake, because they turn out to be different with the town you’re going to live in.

7. Take time to learn what is “cheap” and what is “expensive”. Each town has different living cost and prices. Living in Munich might cost twice as much as living in the small town I’m living in. I once made this mistake when going shopping with someone from Munich. I ended up getting something for 16 euro because he said its “cheap” when I can actually get it for way less, like 5 euros or so in another shop.

8. Shopping mall doesn’t always means the stuff is expensive. You can obviously see this in Indonesia – well it doesn’t really count in Germany though. It depends on which country and town.

9. Make your shopping route/plan. Especially if you live in a small town like me, where you can only get certain things from other towns, this is important. There are various way, which also could be arranged with friends. Either taking turns, or if its possible for a free delivery within certain minimum order, gather friends to order together. What’s hard is normally to remind ourselves to only buy what we need.

*writing more…

What Chinese People Would Probably Say to German Vendors

Before you read this please note that I’m a half Chinese who currently live in Germany, so I only write this subjectively to my experience. No hard feelings whatsoever.

1. in Germany, ALL stores are closed in Sunday, even groceries, supermarket, restaurants or drugstores (except those who are probably not German or decided to open). Chinese people would say, especially groceries and supermarket are places that someone would suddenly want to visit when they remember they need something – because these shops sell daily needs. As a vendor you should be standby for your customers. Its the same for restaurants. In the end the Chinese would say: you could loose your fortune.

2. Germans said its rude to come to a store when its like 5 minutes before its closed. Chinese people would say, even if you’re closed already and you see someone running into your shop with a shopping list, you should serve them because that’s a fortune for you and you should be grateful. Rejecting fortune and disappointing customer beyond any reason is stupid. It could cost you your fortune.

3. Its common for offices and even shops in Germany to have an irregular opening hours, even in weekdays. They could open from 9 am to 3 pm today but from 8 am to 12 pm tomorrow. Chinese people would say, its preposterous to trouble your customer with such thing. It will make them feel uneasy and troubled. They are customers, they bring you fortune and they are supposed to be able to know for sure when they could come. They probably won’t bother memorizing your silly opening hours, then it means they probably won’t use your services anymore because your opening hour is too troublesome. They will go to your competitor (in this case, most likely immigrant vendors). You will loose your fortune.

4. The shops, restaurants, etc normally closes earlier in Friday (and or) Saturday. Chinese people would say: that’s the day people want to gather with friends/family after they’re off work/school. Its a peak time, its a good chance to earn your fortune. Closing early means loosing the fortune you’re suppose to earn.

5. Some German vendors doesn’t really like being visited by auslaender (so to say, foreigner). They just don’t like them, thus they don’t give friendly services. Chinese people would say, you should be friendly to ALL of your customers. If they are from somewhere nearby, they will bring their friends and relatives to come with them, thus more fortune for you. If they are from abroad and you give good services, they will recommend your services/shop to other people who want to visit the country/city where you live. You are throwing away your fortune.

6. Next pinpoint from no.5. Generally, German vendors doesn’t like speaking English. So when there are some tourist who came asking for something in English, they will give you a clinching look. They think if you come to Germany then you should speak German. Chinese people would say, if you know foreigners would visit your shop, then YOU should learn to speak English instead of vice versa. Or if you already speak English, get used to it. Deal with it, that’s how you earn your fortune. Being prideful beyond any reason in this case means loosing your fortune.

7. When you come to a German vendor and you don’t find something you were looking for, then its your problem. Chinese vendors would note if this happens continuously, and consider if they should provide them (if its visible they will certainly do so) – instead of ignoring it – because it probably means you’re wasting a chance to get a fortune.

8. Don’t be so happy when you enter a restaurant at 11 pm when it closes at 12. The last order might be taken at 10.30, so practically you can only order ready to serve drinks like Coke. Contrariwise, the Chinese normally takes ANY last orders, if its a home-owned. Franchised ones would normally take last orders up to 30 minutes before closing. Chinese people has no words for the German vendors.

will be adding more once I found something else 😀 but I think what I’ve written so far is quite enough to give you the picture, that German vendors aren’t the best businessman in they eyes of the Chinese.

Journey to Umbrella Road

An Indonesian version is available (from Kompasiana) : HERE



The Umbrella Road is located in Agueda, a small city in Portugal. I always dream to go there, since the first time I saw the pictures somewhere online. It wasn’t so famous until it was discovered a few years ago – well that’s as far as I remember. The Umbrella road is opened from July to September, perhaps this is something that should be mentioned due to travel plans. Though its not as popular as other tourism spot around Europe (not yet!) – I think due to lack of publication (there isn’t any souvenirs in Agueda regarding Umbrella Road) but the view is amusing. I hope someday someone will start making one! It’s a good start that the street next to it has quite a decent bistro. Anyhow, Portugal in general, has a very amusing view. If you travel from Europe, Ryan Air has cheap offers from time to time (to Porto- a city nearby), you just have to be patient enough to regularly check their cheap flights. Continue reading