Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Christmas in Alsace (Strasbourg and Colmar)

Okay I gotta admit. I never heard of Strasbourg before (I know, duh). My husband mentioned it once and when I google it I found it pretty. But when I google about best Christmas cities in Europe to spend in, Strasbourg and Colmar are tops of this list. So I have to experience these Alsace cities.

So Alsace is a historical region in northeastern France. It's located in the border of French Germany, so these regions are a collapse between 2 cultures. The people here speak French, but minority of them (especially the elderly) understand German as well. It's so sweet how some people tried to communicate with German to us because they've heard us speak German.

Alsace is actually more than Strasbourg and Colmar. It offers many pretty little cities around them, which unfortunately not so easy to reach with public transport (by not easy I mean they do not have direct connection).  I've read some blog and it's recommended to visit them by driving car. We do not have an access to a car, so that's why we only visited Strasbourg and Colmar.

First thing first, Colmar.

Once you stepped in, you know you've entered a fairy tale. It's like the city in Beauty and the Beast where Belle live. The building are pretty, they represent French and German architecture with its sandstone and timber framing. It's also said that Colmar is the inspiration for Studio Ghibli's Howl's Moving Castle.

The city center in Colmar is the most popular spot among tourist. Not to mention the beauty of little Venice. Don't forget to visit a little cafe called Au Croissant Dore. It's vintage and homey at the same time.

Charming little cafe

The little Venice

And during Christmas, they really deliver the greatest Christmas vibe. The decoration are so festive.

Colmar itself is not a big city. I would say a day trip to Colmar (in our case, from Strasbourg) is enough and we did not spend a night in Colmar . The city ist walkable within 3-4 hours. 


The next day we spend the day in Strasbourg.

If Colmar is like a fairy tale, Strasbourg has its own charm. The city is a mixture of metropolitan and old town with canals (I have a thing with cities with canal). I found every corner has its beauty. And again, the Christmas decoration here are also festive.

Strasbourg is definitely bigger than Colmar. 1-2 days in Strasbourg are enough to explore each corner of it. We visited many Christmas market, cute little shops, and of course tried Alsacean food, which also has German influence in it. Oh, and Strasbourg also has a pretty corner called the litte France (La Petite France). 

Places to visit: Strasbourg cathedral, Ponts Couverts, La Petite France, Palais de Rohan

Tips: do make reservations to avoid long queue.

Overall we really love our trip to these Alsacean region. I can see that we'll explore another surrounding cities (and back to Strasbourg) in the future. And Christmas in Alsace in a must!

xo, @Jechristy

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Heidelberg, a classic romantic city

 It's Summer in Germany but the weather is kinda unpredictable. People are outside as soon as the sun greets warmly.

Picnic by the park or even weekend trip would not hurt.

Luckily, we have the opportunity to have a weekend trip to one of the prettiest city in Germany, Heidelberg. While I was scrolling around to look for weekend trip inspiration, I found this beautiful city and instantly fell in love. It was a 2 hour trip from Cologne (which would be perfect because it won't be too far), easily reached by ICE train. So we booked it!

On the first day we enjoyed the Old town and visited Heidelburg Castle. The Oldtown was quite charming, with its ambiance reminded me of Prague/ Italian vibe. Absolutely loving the atmosphere! We had a quick lunch (and beer of course!) at Vetter's Alt Heidelberg Brauhaus. It was a busy corner but the waiter was really friendly. 

The famous bridge, Karl Theodore Bridge or popularly called Die alte Brücke, is located in the middle of Oldtown. I do recommend to spend some time here around the sunset time. The view, with the Heidelberg Castle as the background, is fantastic.

After that we were heading to the Castle. You can walk by stairs or  easily ride Gondola to the Castle. As per today the Gondola ticket cost 9 Euro per person (including round trip with Gondola and entry ticket to the castle). We decided to take the Gondola because it was scorching hot.

The view was magnificent from the castle. If it was not because the sun, I'd love to spend more times with the view. Here you could also see the castle ruins, which I think was a beautiful ruin.

Inside the castle there's also biggest wine barrel and Pharmacy's museum. Interesting to stroll around. After spending some time inside the castle we decided to take the stairs to go down, which took 10 minutes with the stairs.

For dinner we tried Thai and we were glad that we tried it. It was such a delightful dinner with friendly staffs. The green curry was quite good, would be perfect if it were more aromatic and thicker soup. But we had no complain with the Padthai and the Duck. When you are in Heidelberg, make sure you try Bay Jok Thai Cuisine. 

On the second day we were ready for a short hike. We wanted to explore the other side of Heidelberg. One popular trail is called Philosophenweg / Philosoper's way. You can take a short cut from the Bridge, the turn left, not far there's a small way called Sclangenweg. Be careful because it's quite intricate, ascending, and only 2 stops with seats.

The view from Philosopher's way is really not bad. Best time to enjoy the view is after noon, when the sun shines towards the castle across it. Philosopher's way is not only popular for tourists. Many residents take a hike towards the hiking trail after this way too.

After half day of hiking we stopped to enjoy juice, coffee, and smoothie bowl at Nomad Cafe. Smoothie bowl was thick and sweet, with lotsa fruits, granola on top. Such a perfect refreshment in hot sunny day. At the time of our visit, they only take cards for payment.

On our last night we had dinner at the classic Kulturbrauerei Heidelberg. They also have room for stay here. The classic old building delivers such a cool ambiance with great food. Pork ribs here was super!

Overall it was a great trip. Heidelberg is such a classic romantic city. My favorite moment would be strolling around the brigde and the river, with the magnificent castle as a background. You can also picnic at Neckarweise, by the side of the river.

Heidelberg is absolutely doable in 1 day. But for me 1,5 day until 2 days would be perfect for a laid back trip. 

ps: We stayed at Bayricher Hof Heidelberg. The staffs are friendly and the location was great, right in the city center, not far from the main street to the Oldtown (Altstaadt). The room is renovated but unfortunately it was 30 degree Celcius outside and our room was quite hot. So we opened the window during the night and ended up could not really rest well because of the noise from the busy street. So i recommend to stay here in Autumn / Winter, when you won't need to open any windows at night.

We hope you enjoy the read! Would you like to visit Heidelberg someday?




Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Along the Mosel River : 4 Things to do when in Cochem

 Pretty is an understatement to describe Germany.

Last week we have an opportunity to explore some cities along the Mosel River. And let me tell you: it worth the trip. Living in Germany, having this advantage to make a short trip to these beautiful small cities and countryside, when the sky is bluer and the grass is greener. 

This time we visited Cochem and some cities around. We stayed at Haus Daniela, a vacation home direct at Mosel River. It consist of 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom,1 complete kitchen and big living/ dining area. Bonus point is, our room is facing the magnificent Reichsburg Castle.

1. The city of Cochem

Cochem itself is a pretty little city. The city center is filled with preserved old buildings. Bakeries, local shops, cafes, restaurants, you name it. It's not a huge area, strolling along the city and a quick hike to the Castle takes one day in Cochem. You can visit the castle too, but unfortunately during the Pandemic it was closed

2. Along the Mosel River

Usually our trip does not contain physical activities. But thanks to our friends, who suggest to rent a bike and strolling along the river, we decided to take part of this cycling trip. And we did not regret at all! It was the best decision we had during this trip. The cycling path is quite wide and goes side to side along the river. We are cycling for 20 km under the blue sky and accompanied with magnificent view.

3. Quick stop, wherever you want!

There's many small cities around Cochem and along the Mosel River. So when you need to take a break, or even if you just want to, you can just stop and chill or make a small picnic by the river. 

4. Dreamy Beilstein

The main destination of our cycling trip is Beilstein. Beilstein is one the prettiest, if not the best, small cities that I've ever been. Small hotels and cafes facing the Mosel, pretty local shops, and of course the friendly resident make that our trip simply unforgettable. We had a dinner at Altes Zollhaus and it was amazing. 

Quick tips: make a reservation at 7 pm to enjoy the sun sinking down with the tasty meal.

This kind of trip is a kind of slow short trip, a refreshment from the bustling big cities. These cities are undoubtedly beautiful and I could see myself going back there next time.

So, where to go next?




Sunday, May 16, 2021

We are moving to Germany!

 We are moving to Germany!

Some of you might wondering why, because it's a surprise even for myself. We (my husband and I) had so many plans mainly for our advanced education for our medical degree, and for sure it's in Indonesia. We planned that on 2020 we are going to apply in one of the state university in Indonesia. Then the pandemic strikes. We waited for several months but there's no application available in that university. Funny thing is, once I said that if there's no application during early of 2020, we have to consider to move to Germany. There are also our dear friends, who live in Germany for 2 years, and was supporting to move there also.

And it happens.

Studying in Germany has been my husband's deepest dream. Before he was busy with his life as a medical student, he learned German in Jakarta for quite a some time. After that, he was drown with all those night shifts and he forgot about it. On the other side, I have always been dreaming of living overseas. I was so ready to bury that dream down, because you know as a doctor, it's kind of impossible of moving around overseas because you have to take long process to acknowledge the medical degree. And that is exactly what we are doing right now.

Getting into this decision was also not easy. I was 28 years old, who's gonna learn new languages to live with, and using this language at work. At first I was afraid. At 28 years, some of my friends got into residency already, pursuing their advanced medical degree. While i have to restart my life in another country and learn a new language like a 3 years old.

But I am excited. Let's see the point of view like this: it's a great opportunity to start over. 

Sometimes it's funny right. I remember that I was whining around and asking to God, why is it so hard for me to apply for our advanced medical degree? Why did our plan got messy?

Well, maybe the answer is, it's not the best opportunity that God will provide to you. Maybe it's not in Indonesia, but here in Germany. Maybe it's His awesome work, that would push me to chase my dreams while on the same time giving me an opportunity to live here overseas.

It won't be easy. There will be tons of steps for us to get to our residency. But I believe, God will provide. God will accompany in every step of the way. We won't really know how our future will gonna be. But for sure, we are gonna be blessed.

Will keep you update!



Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Wedding, September 8th.

A wedding is personal thing.

I remember the day I got married. It was September 9th, a humid Sunday morning. I've been jittery all night (well, 3 nights actually) about the day. I woke up at 3 after my not-so-good-sleep, got ready, and said a little prayer that everything was gonna be alright. Turned out is was. I was relieved. I knew I thought about other people a lot, while I was so nervous inside. And yes, it was one of the happiest day in my life.

Back to few months before the wedding, I am gonna share the preparation for this. It was 10 months before the wedding, that Nico and I set the date (well 2 dates, tbh). I researched that the venue was the first thing we had to deal with, after the date was fixed. Looking for our venue was kinda easy peasy, because we did want a garden ceremony for the blessing, and we know that outdoor venue in Jakarta was not so many in quantity. Ayana Jakarta (@ayanajakarta) is one option we had in mind. We fell in love with the venue at the first visit. The ballroom was decorated with beautiful lamp and in neutral color. The garden beside the ballroom was effortlessly pretty. We wanted in straight away, and thank God Ayana Jakarta was available on one of my date. Ci Christien, who helped us with our wedding preparation, was very helpful, too!

After dealing with the wedding venue, we had to look for another main vendors. Some said it was the make up artist that you should book right away. But I have my own priority. Photography and videography was what I had in mind, and I've been admiring Atipattra's magic work ( after quite some time. I love the color, the tone, the people behind the work (you're gonna love Alvin and Carleen too!) , and of course the results of it. They made it so personal. Atipattra was the second vendor I contacted, and glad I could have them on the date. I also did my preceding photo and video with them, and it was lovely! And yes, all photos here were taken by Atipattra. Aren't they amazing?

I did some researched in picking my make up artist, and I was glad I chose Archangela Chelsea (@archangelachelsea) for my wedding. Before I met her in person I was quite nervous for the makeup, mostly because I know my eyes were not the easiest to deal with. I can assure you, Chelsea is the best. I met her on the makeup test day, and she learned my face like magic. I was also indecisive about what to do with my hair, but she tried some styles that she thought might suit me well. On my wedding day, she made me felt like the prettiest girl indeed. The makeup was flawless, the hair was so lovely. Thank you Chelsea and ka Ocha!

The garden sketch came to life

My choices of vendor after that would be the wedding organizer, the decoration, and the wedding dress. A friend of mine suggested Excellent wedding organiser (@excellent.wo) and we agreed to use their service after meeting ci Rita. She was very detail in preparation, knowing every process well, and helped us to check some deals we had with another vendor. The team also helped a lot on the wedding day, they kept me calm, they were good on timing, and run every details well. Our parents liked the way they worked too!

For the decoration, we had Classy decoration (@classydecor_id) in mind. Amor was great with details, she knew my preferred style after our first meeting. I could say the decoration was beyond my expectation. Everything is pretty and very much like what I had in mind. Almost every part were my favourites, the garden decoration, the photo corner, the ballroom decor. It was very beautiful.

And last but not least, I've been eyeing ko Bramanta (@bramantawijaya) for quite some time, and very glad I got through the wedding preparation with him. He was very supportive, a fairy god mother who worked the magic for the dress. I told him what I liked, and he combined my style with his beautiful work. I love love love the dress. I could not ask for a better designer for my wedding dress.

Those are the choices of main vendor we use for our wedding. Each of them delivered a very delicate work and we are satisfied with the results. On top of that, we are really happy everything went well on our wedding day. It was one of the happiest day of our life. The weather was nice (thank God!), everyone was happy, food was great. It's good to see our families and friends' happy faces.