8 reasons why you should visit Morocco

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Last summer, i really felt the need to just travel to nowhere. The reason was, Björn and i didn’t have enough time for a loong holiday in Indonesia. Travel helps me to erase all the sadness and homesickness. So, i told my husband, “Let’s go!”. But when he asked, “where?”, i couldn’t answer him. London was actually my first pick. I already booked a ticket for our spring holiday but cancel it in the same the day, because i just realized in that day, that i need a VISA to go to London!

When London was off the list, i really didn’t know where to go, since Iceland or Norwegia is my next dream destination. But they are wayyy too expensive for us. I then named some countries around Germany, but Björn kept rejected my ideas cause he really wants to go to Islamic country. Turkey which stand on my top five country-to-go-soon list also got rejected because Björn had been there already. Gladly amidst everything, i follow @amrazing on Instagram and at that time he posted series of amazing pictures in Morocco.  One post even informed me that Indonesian doesn’t need VISA to go to Morocco. So, without further consideration, Björn finally agreed to go to Morocco. And man, i should have put this country on my top traveling list. Cause everything is so enchanted!

So, here are 10 reasons why you should go to Morocco soon!

1.It’s in Africa

First thing first, shallow reason. You are one step closer to check off one list in your bucket to go to every continent in the world. Morocco is kind of the nearest and the safest country in Africa right now. So, before you go anywhere else, you can start off from Morocco.

2. Homage to your favorite movies and series.

Another shallow reason that got me super excited to visit Morocco is because i could see Yunkai and Casablanca. Find your favorite movies that were filmed in Morocco here.

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feel badass. chanelling Khaleesi

3.The transportation system is good enough to enable you to go all over the country.

There is always different choices to go from one city to another. It could be train, bus, taxi or plane. All the transportation system is already connected to the internet, so you can easily check the timeline and book the ticket. (You can check it here).

My favorite is the small tour bus across the country, followed by the train. It’s so comfortable since we got the compartment for ourselves for the whole trip from Casablanca to Marrakesh.

4.Best road trip, you could ever have

I always love road trip. But i believe Morocco offers the best road trip one could ever imagine. I choose 3 days 2 nights trip from Marrakech to Fez, and it was breathtaking. Every 10km offers totally different scenery. I was even too amazed to take pictures. One thing that i keep thinking along the way is that, no one can make all these beautiful sceneries other than One with the greatest power.

5. The colour is so vivid so unforgettable

Inspirations in every move you take.

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6. Pretty riad with pretty price

Okay, everything is actually pretty with pretty price. But my favorite finding is the Riad(hotel/apartment), i get these Riads from airbnb but in fact you can always bargain on the spot.

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7. The food is divine.

The most regrettable thing other than i didn’t spare enough time in Morocco is i didn’t eat enough. I wish i could taste all different kinds of tajines there. It’s their way of cooking that couldn’t be recreated anywhere. Of all the tajines that i’ve tasted, my favorite goes to lamb tajine with plum. Make sure to gain some kg’s there, allright?

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that’s the only tajine pic that i got, other than this i was too hungry to take pic.

8.You can bargain everything, anything

 I am not good in bargaining, the only bargain that i do is to bargain the taxi (it’s crazy overpriced for tourist). I also don’t like shopping, Marrakesh and Fez Medina don’t really impressed me. If you are the opposite of me, Moroccos Medinas are your heaven.

What are you waiting for? Book your ticket now to Morocco and share your stories. Oh, i made a video essay about what i’ve learned in Morocco here. Kindly, check it out :* Thanks for reading and watchingg.

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Three Countries in One Step

After the thoughtful come-back post yesterday, today i will shower your timeline with many of latest trip. I think i want to begin with my experience going to three countries within 5 hours!

As you can guess, my trip didn’t include going to three different cities in three countries; it’s all in one step! As the westernmost city of Germany, Aachen is located along borders with Belgium and Netherlands. In the deep of Aachen’s forest, you can find the borders of these three countries in one location. The forest is located around 4 km from the city center, it is accessible with bus, car and bicycle -but you should walk few kilometers if you go with bus-. I’ve been there twice, once in a cold spring and the second one is when the sun is above my head!

First Trip

Björn asked me in one weekend to hike, ‘it’s just a small walk’ he said. I didn’t prepare anything and just let him pack some fruits and water, i heard that he was going to make some sandwich! I wasn’t a sporty person then, the idea of hiking scared me (i’m not exaggerating here!) i hated going out without any purpose. Going out for me meant to buy something or eat something or at least watch something. Björn convinced me with the reason of doing an activity – that he likes so much – together. At that time, he just want to go out for a hike, not knowing that there is this touristic place called Dreiländereck (Three Countries Point).

We then took the bus number 2 direction to Preuswald and stop in Waldschenke. I became so enthusiast when i looked at the map, because in fact the forest offer something touristy. I then asked him, if the Dreiländereck is walk able for me (means i will not faint or become cranky before i reach there), and he answered me with certain exclamation. He shouted to me to stop looking at the map and start walking. He said ‘let the force guide us’. (yes, we are a little geeky)

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We walked along the leafless tree, my favorite kind of tree that can’t hold any wind; sadly. I saved my hands inside my jacket, finger crossed, wishing for upcoming sunshine. Björn couldn’t stop looking around, he sought wild animal that might appears. People said Aachen Forest hold deer, wild badgers, foxes and martens. Instead of having a quick glance of a deer, he found a well polished walking stick for me.

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On one junction, we saw a lot of (old) people with a guide gathered in one spot. We got closer to them, listen the guide a bit and look at the the stone that possibly comes from Middle Ages. Björn later explain to me about The “Aachener Reich” , the territory of the former imperial city of Aachen, the Aix – la – Chapelle, the middle territory that bring peace in the whole Europe. This eagle stones marked the boundary of the Aachener Reich in the old times.

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We met with various kind hikers; one whole family, old couples, madly in love teens that can’t stop snogging. I heard French, and keep trying to differ Dutch and Deutsch along the way. After walking for one hour, finally we arrived to the Dreiländereck and suddenly i received various SMS for roaming info. The place was fulled by tourist, a lot of cars parked by the tower, chairs spread out of the cafe. Everybody was taking picture with/of one single stones with Belgium, Netherlands and Germany flags are around. I consider myself wasn’t a tourist, so i don’t really find the needs to take picture there. I prefer  to show you mark of Eurogio, which is the mark of German-Dutch communal association that composed of 130 cities, municipalities and counties from the Münsterland region to the south-western Lower Saxony and the eastern Netherlands. There should be waving flags of three countries as well, but the wind didn’t support me no matter how hard i tried.

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Second Trip

After i convinced on how beautiful Aachener Wald is, i agreed to do the second trip to Dreiländereck without bus. I already knew that the forest is quiet far from my home, but then i somehow believed that cycling will make it easier. The weather was great, sunshine with enough wind. I need thirty minutes to cycle 7km until i arrive somewhere in Preuswald. It really didn’t feel that long. We then locked our bikes somewhere around the corner, prayed that no body gonna steal them. The forest looked more forest-y this time, so much green so much heat. I could heard mosquitoes and flies flying around, i could smell horse dung, i saw it everywhere. Bjoern even saw a snake; his first snake in German’s forest. Various birds, eagles are flying over us. We walked in the middle of half harvested rapeseed field, while the air sounds like children cheers.

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I thank Björn so much for introducing me to the beauty of nature, while the tree dancing sincerely with the wind. No shame, no interruption. In this mother nature, the best entertainment is when the bush gone wild hiding a squirrel or wild rabbit. The great painting is a pile of white flower in between damp ground and savage grass. And everything is constantly changing.

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I was lucky this time, i could witnessed a family of pony having a break under the shade.

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Along Way Home

The best thing about mother nature is you wouldn’t know what will you get until you arrive in the present. In our first trip we came back home, walking through a farm that host plenty of cows and horses. And to top it, a railway goes over it. But then a horse waited us in the edge, sadly we finish our carrot for lunch and we only feed him our last apple. I couldn’t stop praising God, when the beauty of everything just lay out in front of me.

I got chance to blow a dandellon, after coming back from Dreiländereck for the second time. I didn’t wish anything, but the beauty of flying floret in the air awe so much. There is this free and relieved feeling when i see the floret being scattered in the air. It shows me so much about chances, hopes that are always presence even though it is scattered.

What is your latest experience with Mother Nature?

Have a great day, don’t forget to take five 🙂

Mecca, The Magical City

If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

A city that literally never stop praying. Source

When I read the prompt for Writing 101 day 2, I can’t think about one particular place to go. As twentysomething, I want to go everywhere around the world. Getting to know various cultures, step on many kind of grounds, have relationships with people. That’s my ultimate dream. I want to zoom the earth just like when I play with a globe, I touch a city and feel the vibe of getting there.

I keep asking myself. Is it London? But I never be there, and why would I undergo London, to see how beautiful people commute? NAH. Is it Broadway? So I can get to watch free musical over and over. Nope, those reasons are not strong enough to explain what place is that I’m longing for. And it is definitely not my current bedroom, eventhough it has beautiful series of pines as the scenery, I am not loving it yet.

Then I asked my husband, explained him what the prompt is, because most of the time, he knows me better than I do. And this time, he reminded me for something important (like always). He said “Of course, it’s Mecca hun”. That’s all, that’s it, that’s the answer. I am a little ashamed of myself, because my longing of worldly places make me forget the righteous one.

I never been there, but next year inshaallah If God’s will, my husband and I will go there to perform pilgrimage or Hajj. We are there to fulfill our duty to complete the fifth pillar of Islam, along with hope that we can be a better person after perform it.

Mecca is magical, at least for me and billions other people who had been there and longing to be there. As Indonesian Muslim who get enough Islamic education, I heard story about Mecca a lot. Before I knew that Cinderella exist, I know Khadijah (the love of Prophet Muhammad) is the true queen and she is from Mecca. I know the direction to Mecca from my very own room since I have to face it five times a day, every day. I learned about the city’s history more than I learn about my country’s. That’s how I attached to Mecca.

I can imagine myself strolling over Masjid al-Haram and see the army of Abrahah with their elephants destroy all the idols around Kaaba in 6th century. Zamzam Well gonna bedazzles me so much, since it is the well from thousands of BC. Wherever I walk around, I feel like living the life of Prophet Muhammad, knowing that He was born and raised in this very city walking, eating, chatting and got revelation. It empowers me so much, because I know whatever he did as great human being was mostly happen in this very city. And when I get a chance to make tawaf (the circumambulation seven times around the Kaaba in a counterclockwise direction), I can see myself crying happily, feeling safe that I am one step closer to be in heaven. I feel relieved, because I see my gate to heaven, I feel loved because I know my God is there to welcome me, guide me, teach me, remind me to be a better person in this world and in the hereafter.

B puts the closure about this feeling by saying “It’s like when you miss someone so much, you pray for Him five times a day for years and then you get chance to met him.”

Just by remember and writing about the city already give me the positive spiritual energy to live my life better. Thank you The Daily Post for this prompt that make me thinking clearly and have a piece zone within myself.

Heavenly Bookstore: Shakespeare and Company

Last year I spend my birthday in Paris. But it is not the Eiffel Tower that attracts me, after I know how it feels to see Monas and Malaysia Twin Tower, I believe seeing Eiffel Tower won’t be that exciting. Arriving in Germany and going to some of the big cities, the feeling affirms that any iconic building is just an iconic building. What excites me the most to go to Paris is Sorbonne University! But that’s before I know that there is heaven –I mean a precious bookstore- in the heart of Paris. It was buzzfeed article that enlightened me about this cool book stores around the world. Buzzfeed is  good,yo!

It took me almost one year to post about this heaven –bookstore- in Paris, why? Simply because I didn’t have time miss that bookstore so much. Well, I miss going to a bookstore in general. I have three and a quarter book to finish before I buy new one. I didn’t believe in investing on books anymore, since the last time I bought and collect too much books until I feel guilty to see them sitting still on my book rack without me reading them. The feeling was devastating. Well, right now I almost finish reading Love in Time of Cholera and will continue on Shadow of the Wind. Those two books are last month books that I should have finished reading them by the end of this month, but they are too thick and too complicated to be eaten fast. Amidst reading those books and my study book which are even thicker than those two, I miss reading John Green’s books, I  could just lay down, having the exciting three hours and finish the books.I guess I will not go to any bookstore (if I could stop myself) or buy any book (Rookie is magazine right?) until May is starting. Yeah I really believe it took me more than a month to finish Shadow of the Wind, Sycamore Row and Gone Girl. So let’s dreaming and wondering about the heaven bookstore that I visited a year ago.

This heavenly bookstore called Shakespeare and Company. You can google it and find the address and the history on Wikipedia, and make sure you click Shakespeare and Company that is located in Paris not those in Dubai, because they are restaurants. Well, before I went to the bookstore, I went to take picture in front of the sacred Louvre and walk along the Seine to find the Notre Dame. I didn’t go inside of any of those beautiful historical building because I just have two days in Paris and I will not waste it for lining up behind 1 km queue of summer tourist. I think it was more than one kilometer, the line wasn’t even straight!

After crossing one of many Seine bridges in front of Notre Dame i got lost a bit and rest in the middle of Square Rene Viviani just to witness the oldest tree in Paris that was planted on 1601. I guess, you can get lost anywhere in Paris and you will always be able to find something exciting!

And tadaa, I see my heaven.

too excited too excited!

too excited too excited!

If Walt Disney had a little bit more time to build a bookstore, I believe it would look like this bookstore. I really saw my version of Disneyland when I saw it. I can’t stop smiling and giggling and touching all the discount books that placed outside of the store. The first warning that B, my guardian angel said to me was “You are just allowed to spend 30 euro in there!” and the second warning comes when I ask to separate from him in that tiny-beautiful-magical-bookish bookstore “No more than one hour, because we still have to see Sacre Coeur!” I just smiled and walk fast from him because I knew that he knew its gonna be more than one hour.

I wandered around just to see the collections in awe, the place was so small until I have to exchange a lot of smiles with another fellow readers that just bump each other. It is so crowded but I can feel the peace within the shelves and books that are around. After reading too many book titles, my consciousness start to work again. I am in this bookstore for one mission: Finding the books that are hard to find in any other bookstore.

As if I get a call from a book fairy, I go straight to the back of the store and turn left to the corner and saw a steel door in between a separate room full of books. At first I thought, it was a restricted area (I wish it was) but when I push the door a little I saw a woman searching for a book. I rush myself in, not patient enough to see what kind of book that has to have a special place, and I see the name of Sylvia Plath, Robert Frost and Walt Whitman. As impulsive as I am I know I will get my books in this corner.

this is the poetry corner!!

this is the poetry corner!!

After a while, I still cant decide whether I will buy a book from a specific writer or buy an anthology. But then, B came with big weird smile and whispering that I already spend my time in that corner for almost an hour. And its already our time to go. I said to him with the same big smile that I still haven’t found what I am looking for. I still haven’t found what I am looking for. He then stays with me for few minutes and asked me to go upstairs to see the library and some other cool places in the bookstore.

Upstairs was jaw dropping, it’s a personal tiny library that contain many of beautiful old precious books. My favorite was small bed that is surrounding with bookshelf. I sat there and feel like I should live there. I can’t describe more, my memory was blurred with the feeling to stay there or at least to work there or at least to live in Paris or at least have a library as beautiful as that store.

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there was even a piano in this historical place-

If I am not mistaken, there is policy that is not allowed us to take picture inside the bookstore. But B did it for me anyway, I don’t know where he found the wall with a lot of notes and he captured important and cute notes for me to see.

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After spending at least fifteen minutes in the poetry corner, I finally decided to buy two anthologies. My first choice was the poems of Robert Frost but it was 30 something euro. So then I went for Poems to Learn by Heart hoping that I can learn a lot of poems all in one book. The other book that I choose is Love letters of Great Women by Ursula Doyle. I am intrigued to know what is inside women’s heart around the year of 1399-1917. Both are cost more than my budget, but that’s nothing compare to my excitement in that bookstore plus knowing books that I didn’t know it was exist before.

inside i was crying. i dont wanna leave!

inside i was crying. i dont wanna leave!

Btw this post was nothing compare to the legendary story behind this bookstore, you can read it here.

Do you have a heavenly bookstore around you? Please tell me, and I will put it on my lists!