Prague Solo Backpack – One Day Journey

It was so exciting. Prague was tremendously beautiful. I love the city, the architecture, the landscape, and particularly the view from the top of its castle and the hills.

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It’d been ‘oke oce’ since 2 years ago lol

This journey was a bit audacious one to be honest, due to lack of remaining days after the internship I had, that made me race against time in one day. I had the itinerary, but I must be strict with the time. If in case I’d ran out of time while backpacking I might have missed the bus to Berlin. And If I’d missed the bus to Berlin I would have missed the plane to Indonesia in the day after. Ran out of cash. No ticket to back. The visa expired. Deported.

Alhamdulillah it never happened.

Anyway, the incipience of this post was because I just found simple and cool video editor in Mac and randomly edited my (let’s say) vlog while doing solo backpack Journey in Prague, Czech Republic 2 years ago. Well vlogging was not really popular at that time. It is today, attested by abundant vlogging-type videos by so called Millennials. So I just combined some short random ‘shakky’ videos from my DSLR gallery, and created these three parts of the Journey. So most the stories would be told by these three clips

Prague was my final city of this solo backpacking journey in the end of intern, after Vienna and Budapest. Despite of one day, and having the tight time so I didn’t have the chance to enjoy Prague in the night, it was such an unforgettably amazing journey to experience this city.

That’s why I truly wish I could be able to come back here again to more enjoy the city without time boundary someday. And indeed not alone. Lol. Allahumma amiin.[]

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Budapest Hungary, Full Journey

Finally uploaded. At first I really wanted to compile the rest of all countries I ever visited in Europe. But while trying to collect all the Budapest videos, it was already more than 10 minutes. Lol. So just decided for this episode #3 of my journey, will be full adventure stories in Budapest. Check it out! x)

ps: so sorry for shaking video haha, amateur and “still alone” nikongraphy lol.[]

Couch Surfing Experience (II): Random Conversation about God

Post ini sambungan dari part I sebelumnya. Tentang pengalaman couch surfing (CS) perdana di Budapest. Singkat cerita, ketika saya di Budapest saya menumpang di salah satu Host CS bernama Laszlo, dia orang Hungary asli.

Di hari terakhir saya di Budapest, tepatnya sebelum pulang saya iseng-iseng aja nanya ke Laszlo tentang agama dan bagaimana pandangannya. Cukup mengejutkan kata-kata pertama yang dia lontarkan

“Yes. I don’t believe in God. And I am happy with my life”

Sebenernya sudah biasa sih saya mendengarkan kata-kata itu. Tipikal orang Eropa. Jadi keep calm dan iseng aja ngajak ngobrol. Tapi tetap, saya coba untuk seterbuka mungkin. Benar-benar pilih kata ketika ngomong. Karena tidak ingin meninggalkan bekas buruk sebelum pulang. Saya bertanya:

“Why don’t you believe in God Laszlo?”

“I just don’t believe it. You see. There were many wars and many people died. If there was God, how could He let it happen”

Waktu itu saya tiba-tiba ingin menjawab sebisa mungkin dari sudut pandang Islam. Tapi mungkin karena efek kurang ilmu, dan kurang siap dalam menjawab, akhirnya malah saya menjawabnya terbata-bata. Ternyata ga segampang itu ya memberitahu orang asing tentang Islam. Di satu sisi ada rasa gugup dan goyah. Tapi saya coba sedertemine mungkin, dan semampu saya untuk menjelaskan ke dia.

Btw ini kisah nyata loh, hehe. Saya tidak membuat-buat pertanyaannya. Laszlo benar-benar menanyakan itu ke saya. Dan mendengar pertanyaan itu langsung saya teringat tulisan yang dulu pernah saya baca tentang mahasiswa Muslim dan Professor yang atheis. Kira-kira poin jawaban saya seperti ini ke Laszlo, tapi jangan dibayangkan saya lancar jawabnya. Semoga Laszlo bisa menangkap poin saya waktu itu.

“Do you know dark room Laszlo? That room is not in the state with much darkness. But instead it is in the state with the absence of light. Same with hot and cold. There is no state named “Cold”. But that state is called “Cold” because of the absence of Heat.”

Terus saya menambahkan penekanan

My point is, God didn’t create that evilness. Humans created it.

Balik lagi ya waktu itu saya benar-benar terbata-bata. Ga selancar seperti di tulisan. Jadi ga tau Laszlo nangkep poin saya atau ga waktu itu. Semoga nangkep. Terus saya lupa dia banyak cerita lagi. Yang menekankan dia tidak akan terpengaruh dengan apapun perkataan saya. I don’t believe in God. Titik. Dan saya bahagia. Katanya. Terus tiba-tiba dia nanya lagi ke saya.

“Then how did you explain this: There was a bus with many children inside. Suddenly it got accident, and many of them died. How could God let them die. They are all innocence”, said Laszlo

Saya benar-benar diam dalam waktu yang cukup lama. Tapi saya mencoba menerangkan apa yang saya tau dari sudut pandang Islam. Saya cukup ingat pas jawab ini. I answered:

“Because I am Moslem I will try to answer according to my religion. In Islam there are two kinds of fate. First, fate that we cannot change no matter how. Second, fate that we are possible to change.

The first one is absolute. No matter how hard we try we are not able to change it. For example, fate that we are a man or a woman. Fate about When and where were we born. Including fate about where and when we will die. And from my personal point of view it is absolutely fair. Back to those children, that means in that exact time is their fate to die.

The second one is fate that we are able to change. For example like wealth, healthiness, quality of life. Etc.

Saya lupa detail balasan dari dia. Tapi intinya dia tidak menerima jawaban seperti itu. Dan dia terus menekankan dia masih tidak percaya Tuhan. But the good thing, he really honors me as Moslem. Bahkan dia mendoakan saya:

“You are a good guy, still young and really determined. I hope you can find happy life in the future.”, katanya.

Aamiin. Yah saya hanya bisa mengaminkan saja. Sebelum pulang, saya sengaja memberi laszlo 4 selebaran tentang Islam yang saya dapatkan dari Islamic Center Vienna. Awalnya mau saya bawa sebagai kenang-kenangan, tapi setelah dipikir-pikir, sepertinya (mungkin) Laszlo lebih membutuhkan. Meski Allahualam di bacanya atau tidak. Hehe

“Those 4 papers I got from Vienna Islamic Center. It tells a bit about Islam and all are English. I hope you will have time to read it”, tutup saya

“Thanks Muhammad. I will save it”, jawab Laszlo

Satu yang saya lega. Laszlo orangnya baik dan pengertian. Sepertinya efek karena sudah sering meng-host orang dari berbagai latar belakang, sehingga dia jadi sangat terbuka tentang perbedaan. Jadinya at least I could have a happy farewell with him. Benar-benar bersyukur mendapat dia sebagai host pertama saya di couchsurfing.

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Satu pelajaran, ilmu saya masih sangat-sangat dangkal. Jawab seperti tadi aja masih terbata-bata. Semoga di sisa umur bisa terus belajar dan mencari ilmu sebanyak-banyaknya aamiin.[]

Couch Surfing Experience (I): Budapest and First Time CS

Sedang iseng saja, “Joy” dalam diri saya menemukan bola ingatan ini. Warnanya emas, tanda bahagia. Ya bola ingatan tentang sedikit pengalaman ketika saya melakukan solo-backpacking di 3 kota Eropa sebelum pulang ke Indonesia. *efek nonton inside out* lol Jadi benar, seberes … Continue reading

The Flight Day, Good bye Europe

Alhamdulillah. Thank Allah SWT for everything. Live-changing experience I got in here: 2 months, 9 countries, 15 cities, thousand of memories, millions of learning. Hari ini, in syaa Allah hari kepulangan saya ke tanah air. Tepatnya pukul 11:00 dari Tegel international airport, Berlin.

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In this post I want to say thanks for everyone that I can’t mention one by one, who had helped me in the past two months. Terkadang saya merasa banyak sekali yang sudah menolong saya dalam hal apapun, but I cannot return back in same level. Semoga kedepannya saya bisa memberikan manfaat ke banyak orang

In this post I also want to say goodbye to this blue continent, I do hope Allah will give me other opportunities to visit it again. Tidak terasa hari ini saya harus kembali ke tanah kelahiran. Beribu-ribu mil saya akan terbang, menghabiskan waktu lebih dari setengah hari hingga bisa kembali ke Indonesia.

Masih banyak mimpi-mimpi yang ingin saya capai. Masih banyak tangga-tangga selanjutnya yang harus saya daki, hingga titik akhir untuk kembali padaNya.

Pulang ini saya in syaa Allah (baru akan) diwisuda dari kampus tercinta. Kedepannya saya tidak tahu jalan apa yang akan saya lalui. But I do believe in Allah. Saya punya banyak rencana, tapi rencana Allah lah yang paling baik dan indah.

Ohya satu hal lagi. Saya ingiiiin sekali menulis buku. Wacana ini sudah mengalir sejak lama tapi belum terealisasi hingga hari ini. Tidak harus sampai tercetak, apalagi menjadi bestseller. Tapi cukup sebagai media untuk saya bisa berbagi apa yang bisa saya bagi ke orang lain. Ya Rabb, please help me to make this comes true.

***

Sepertinya itu saja, closing post yang saya tulis di Eropa. Sebentar lagi saya berangkat menuju Tegel, menaiki Air Berlin, transit di Abu Dhabi, hingga kembali ke Indonesia dengan Etihad airways. Bismillah. Goodbye Europe.[]

Berlin, Germany
Muhammad Afif Izzatullah

Counting Days

Eins, zwei, drei, vier, fünf, sechs. Tinggal 6 hari lagi sebelum saya meninggalkan benua biru ini. Yap Blue continent yang katanya ada 2 alasan mengapa disebut biru. Pertama karena mayoritas penduduk eropa memiliki iris biru cerah. Kedua karena dulu banyaknya kerajaan masyur sehingga munculah istilah darah biru (bangsawan).

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River in Luebeck, Germany. Beautiful small town north to Hamburg

***

Ingin rasanya memperpanjang jangka waktu untuk bisa tinggal lebih lama di benua ini. I still want to eat pasta, cheese, milk, chocolate and many others foods that I can rarely find in Indonesia. Setidaknya disini makanan tergolong murah dari salary yang didapat per bulannya. Susu 1 L harganya cuma 50 cent, it’s really cheap. I will be able to drink it almost everyday. Keju dan daging juga termasuk murah apalagi dengan adanya toko halal Turki yang cuma “berjarak” 5 menit jika menggunakan bus dari tempat kerja. I still also want to cook and eat more pasta. I don’t know. Di bandung pasta termasuk makanan “mewah” karena saya biasanya makannya di warpas atau pun di cafe & restoran. Well I don’t even know (and lazy to get knowing) if it was existed in department store or not.

Saya juga masih ingin minum dari tap water. Don’t need to think anymore about buying bunch of water gallons and lift the tons weight of it. Saya juga pasti akan sangat merindukan chocolate. Yap milka & ritter chocolate especially which are at least known to be halal. Harga satuannya sekitar 1 euro atau misal lagi diskon bisa hanya 70 cent. I remembered when it was known that there was discount of milka chocolate in the nearest store, I directly buy 7 bars at once with different flavors lol.

Saya juga ingin tetap merasakan big portion-nya every foods in here. Di indonesia saya biasanya membeli cemilan (ciki2an) dengan bungkus kecil. Tapi disini sangat sedikit bungkus kecil untuk makanan apapun (termasuk ciki2an :p). Harga snack biasanya berkisar 1 euro tapi dengan volume yang banyaak. Well I got no choice but that’s the only portion in the store. Termasuk minuman juice ataupun softdrink, untuk ukuran 1 L harganya sangat murah. That’s why it’s more than often for me to buy more than one nectar drinks in a week (banana nectar is still my favorite)

The most I am gonna miss is cooking!! Yap, seperti yang sudah saya tulis sebelumnya perbandingan hemat jika membeli makanan jadi dengan memasak sendiri sangat jauh. Eropa adalah benua yang benar2 “menghargai” apapun yang dibuat manusia, termasuk makanan. Karenanya makanan-jadi yang dijual di cafe atau canteen sangat mahal compared to the raw foods if we cook. Saya juga pasti bakal kangen menggunakan pisau, electric stove dan yang paling asik oven! Maklum anak kos bandung kere paling cuma pake kompor gas di kontrakan, itupun masak mie doang wkwk. I am gonna miss mixing random seasoning into pasta sauce and taste it. Sometimes maybe smiling, sometimes closing eyes, sometimes force to eat it ignoring the taste since it was so hambaar lol. Knifing things are also interesting. Dan luar biasanya saya baru sekali luka di jari tengah karena ga sengaja teriris (sedikit, dont imagine the worst).

Then yeah the public transportation too. I am gonna miss it so much. Di Jerman terutama, negara tempat saya tinggal selama 2 bulan. Its better than any other Europe countries. Di Hamburg especially, kita hanya perlu membeli tiket tanpa harus mentap, validasi ataupun hal riweuh lainnya sebelum menaiki kereta, metro atau bus. This country truly upholds the honesty. But yeah, law is still existing. Petugas akan memeriksa di waktu random dan jika kita tidak memiliki valid ticket, they will charge us 60 euro. I ever saw it with my eyes directly in the train some guys didnt have the valid ticket and the officer foreclosed their ID and needed to pay something to take it back. Hope be able to write it in another post. But yeah, meskipun begitu, frekuensinya sangat jarang. Selama saya di hamburg, dengan hampir setiap hari naik bus & kereta, saya baru kena pemeriksaan tiket 3 kali.

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In the top of S-Bahn station in Landungsbrücken, my favorite place in Hamburg

Umm what else? Anyway I don’t wanna say anything about travelling. Since it is one of my lifetime-dreams that Alhamdulillah Allah grants it to me: menjelajah bumiNya di tanah Eropa. Biarlah post tentang travelling ini terpecah menjadi post-post lainnya. About work? Yeah many people asked me about work. Well I learned much things here, academically and… non-academically. The second one is much more. Well my project is ordinary compared to the other summer students but I am proud of it. My main conclusion after doing that project is “I will always respect the researcher.” I hope I can share about it in another post too. Ahh, and then if you want to know about my project you can look at in my report too. It will be uploaded in DESY website later.

***

Yeah but in the other hand, I also miss Indonesia. I miss adzaan so muuchh!! I miss salman. I miss doing fardhu Jama’ah. I miss Khotbah jumat dengan bahasa Indonesia. I miss my friends that always remind me to Liqo, to read Quran, to memorize Quran, to come to Kajian and any other things that make me feel the warmth of Islam. I miss just sit alone in below roof of Salman, to just enjoy the silent, hearing the others’re reading Quran, and thinking about the deeds I did in one day. Disini sangat kering, saya merasa jauh dengan Islam. Benar katanya safar salah satu cobaan bagi kaum muslim karena kita tidak bisa beribadah selayaknya when we are home.

Still I learned many things here. I got many experiences. Many great views of Allah’s earth. Many lost. Many mistakes. Many new discoveries I never found before. And many other values I hope I can share to the other people.

Now I am still counting days to leave Europe. My intern program will end in this September 10th . But I have visa extension till September 14th which in syaa Allah I am gonna spend it to backpack to 3 cities of 3 countries: Vienna, Budapest and Prague. I got no Indonesia friends that I can stay in those 3 countries. But luckily I joined the couchsurfing, a website that allow us to stay in a stranger house. And someone accepted to host me in Budapest. Means I will get free  one night staying in Hungary (yeay). But it’s so risky anyway, I hope I wont miss any bus schedule again since I got my plane back to Indonesia on 15th September. Aamiin

I hope to see you guys back in Indonesia and pray for my next 5 days backpack. Bye!! :D

Muhammad Afif Izzatullah
Hamburg, Germany

Random Journey in Brussels – Part 1

A journey without planning. That’s a short clause which describes what I did in Brussels. Ditengah hening nya Gare Du Central saya duduk di depan starbucks sembari mengecas batere kamera & iPhone, menunggu jam departure bus saya untuk kembali ke hamburg.

What a day. Brussels was sooo amazing. It becomes the third rank in my favorite city in Europe after Paris and Hamburg (at least until now). Berangkat jam 10 pagi dari Paris menggunakan flixbus saya sampai di Gare du Nord (North Station) Brussels pukul 14.00.

The worst thing was I could not find any wifi!! So, really no idea what to do and how to contact my friend. Yap saya punya teman yg sedang mengambil master di Leuven. Kita janjian di Gare du Nord pukul 2. But you know right, Gare du Nord is one of the biggest stations in Brussels. It’s so big. Dan sebelum berangkat ke Paris saya & teman saya belum menentukan dimana lokasi detail untuk ketemu, karena saya mengira akan ada wifi at least di mcD atau starbucks, but no wifi at all. A bit panic, I wandered around the stations, to find the metro map. My only idea was to go out to the city and find wifi. Otherwise no idea to find him in such a big station.

But before going out, I was really hungry since I hadn’t eaten lunch at all. I got to save some euro since I lost it so much due to my bus miss-incident in Paris before. I went to Express store and bought an instant waffle (well it’s Belgium anyway), hazelnut snicker and 1 L box juice (for vitamin needs). It cost around 4 euro

After that I went back to in front of information office to find place for eating. Then the magical event happened. Someone suddenly came to me and shouted:

“Kok dengan lo janjian random banget sih. Gw telpon2 line ga masuk. Gw hampir mau ke Gare du Central”

Saya langsung menjerit (volume medium)

“Akbaarrr!!!!” I directly jumped to him and said “OMG, gimana ceritanya lo nemuin gw?? ThankGod. Emg random banget sih tadi. Gw ga jelas bgt harus ngapain dan gimana nemuin lo di stasiun seluas ini. Terus tiba2 lo muncul. Gilaa!! Alhamdulillah. Haha. Gimana ceritanya lo nemuin gw?”

“Mana gw tau. Tadi gw telpon2 line lo ga nyambung2, jadinya gw mutusin mau ke Gare du Central, tapi pas ke bawah keretanya gaada, jadinya ke atas lagi buat liat jadwal. Terus tiba2 ada lo disini.

“Serius laah!!! Haha Random pisan. Tapi Alhamdulillah gw seneng pisan ketemu maneh wkwk”

Well I didnt know what happened. But I believed it was God’s help. Akbar langsung bilang

“Lo ga jelas bgt sih tiba2 ke Brussels. Ko bisa?”

“Gw dari Paris dan miss bus ke Hamburg. Akhirnya random daripada naik bus direct Paris hamburg ntar malem. Mending gw transit ke brussels dulu, jalan2 sehari. Harganya beda 4 euro. Dan jam sampe nya sama. Haha”

In short I told him the story behind a bit miss-bus incident di paris yang sekaligus juga mengantarkan gw ke Brussels.[]

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In front of atomium with my friend Akbar

Itu tadi part I. Btw ini gw nulisnya realtime di iPhone ya, di starbucks, dan beneran lagi nganggur nunggu bus balik ke Hamburg lol. Dan gw sekarang mau keluar dari Gare du Central dulu buat ngeliat Grand Palace Brussels di malam hari yang katanya benar-benar indah dan megah. Waktu isya juga sudah masuk menandakan harus segera mencari tempat buat sholat. Dunno where it is. But maybe in somewhere in the corner, emergency stairs or something. Lets see. Well see you in the next writing from Brussels

22:10 August 25th 2015
Gare du central, Brussels, Belgium

God Morgon Sweden!!

Huruf-huruf ini muncul dari ketikan tombol keyboard laptop teman saya yg saya pinjam di apartemennya, tempat saya menumpang satu malam untuk terlelap di Lund, Sweden. Alhamdulillah akhirnya bisa menginjakan kaki, dan menghirup bumi Engkau di sisi lain yang lebih menjorok ke utara. Pagi disini dingin. Kota lembang dikurangi beberapa derajat, sedikit angin namun dengan gaya arsitektur yang lebih pekotaan dan… european-like. Well this is still europe anyway. Yap itulah Lund. Kota kecil namun asri dan modern, yang bisa dijangkau dari Denmark hanya dengan kereta sekitar 40 menitan.

Disini udara begitu segar. Sepeda bertaburan seperti Denmark. I don’t know the fact in Lund, but in Denmark 70% household don’t own a car. They are all biking. Lund sepertinya tidak jauh beda, melihat berhamburannya sepeda di depan gerbang ketika kita keluar pertama kali dari stasiun.

Pagi ini Alhamdulillah kita bisa makan agak “normal” lagi, Spageti dan dumpling China, yang dimasak oleh teman saya di dapur apartemennya. That’s more than enough karena sebelumnya di Malmo kita ngebolang tanpa memegang satu Krona pun (mata uang Sweden) karena money changer sudah tutup alhasil tidak bisa membeli apa2. Alasan kedua emang sulit mencari makanan yang aman dari pork saat di Denmark dan Malmo. Karena denmark sendiri makanan paling terkenal nya burger & hotdog, dan ketika saya bertanya di salah satu gerainya

“Is there any fish here? Fish burger or something?”

“Nope we have only pork” She answered

Deng haha. Dan alasan ketiga dan mungkin utama juga adalah harga makanan disini mahal2 lol. Yap Denmark dan Sweden salah satu most expensive country in the world. Dibanding di Jerman harga disini cukup lebih tinggi. Tapi dari tour kemarin saya baru tau meski expensive, tapi negara ini salah satu yang tingkat penganggurannya rendah dan happy cities di dunia. I will tell you a bit detail about this and the fact I got from joining the free walking tour in Coppenhage, in another post, in syaa Allah.

Poin utama post ini sebenarnya hanya ingin mengucapkan selamat pagi saja, atau god morgon dalam swedish. And you know how to spell it? It is “Gud Moron” without “g” lol. I bit laughed when the first time hear it in the weather broadcasting in the TV this morning. But yeah, God Morgon Sweden!! x)

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with my friend Hafidz, akhirnya bisa ketemu lagi di Eropa

August 30th 2015
Lund, Sweden
Muhammad Afif Izzatullah

I heard Adzan

Duisdorf, on my way to Hamburg. Randomly. I heard adzan from the bus. I didn’t know it was radio or someone’s phone inside the bus, but just felt happy and peace. It stopped at Asyhaduanna Muhammada Rosulullah. But that was more than enough to tell me that there’s still a bit of Islamic light in this country

1.52PM, Duisdorf, Germany
Muhammad Afif Izzatullah