been 2 months since the gang landed on jakarta.
2 months of suddenly super-busy-everyday-life that we embraced halfheartedly yet semi-automatically. no time to linger on the aftertaste of europe. no time to even unpack our memory and store it properly, let alone digest it.

and like (almost) everything else in life, all that once so vivid is just a blur when they had come to pass.

and when you thought those splendors and filth of the world that you had seen so far would contribute something to make you a little bigger or smaller or any-other-er, you came out of it more or less the same, except for having left another heavy sets of carbon footprints. not wiser, not kinder, not braver. not in a significant dose at least. i speak for myself, of course. don’t know about others.

and you still can’t quite explain when someone asked you what is-it-do-you-like-so-much-about-traveling because you don’t really understand it either but you just keep craving for more just the same.

and so some travel to know, some to learn, some to see, some to remember, some to escape, some to forget, some can’t resist cheap plane tickets, some just don’t know where else to go, some must follow the trend and of course, some travel just for the sake of traveling itself. i did. i do. and i will do it again.

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Last day in Rome.
Overcast.
Last queue.
To enter the last chapel on the list.

Last chance to shop.
Shop for those made-in-China souvenirs.
Last jump onto the bus.
We made it to Stadio Olimpico!

First drop of rain.
Accompanied us to distinti nord est.
First match we ever watch.
Blue and white stripes and white-headed eagle.

Last fun we had in that city.
That turned more melancholic with each drop that fall.
First trip by cab.
To the far away airport.

We pay to see ruined buildings.
We pay to see things that are no more.
For what?
*shrug*

Though very much alive,
Though rich with history,
Though very artistic,
I see Rome as colourless.
I feel Rome as……
I feel not, actually.

Not the ruins.
Not the people.
Not the sculptures.
Not the cityscape.
Not the metro stations.
Not the pickpocket whose hand in ann’s bag.
Not the bikes.
Not even the food.

Roma termini. Big city. Big city people. Big city’s smell. Big city’s dusts. Noise. Kebabs. Halal. Indian. More kebab. Scott hotel. Blond receptionist. Really, blond in every way. Long queue to check in. Angry aunty. Wanted two beds, got one bed. Two beds. One bed. One pissed off aunty. One blond confused receptionist. Angry aunty went up and down the stairs. Noise. Supermarket. Dirt. Ristorante. The chef is the owner. Sparkling wine. Long wait. Munch the bread. Finally food. Sleep. Roma termini in the morning. Police officer pointing at woman with baby. Pickpocket he signaled. We nodded. Held our bags closer. We nodded. We swayed with the train. Colloseo. Closed. Guardian strike. Vatican. Drizzle. The 360 degree line to enter Basilica di San Pietro. The 2 euro yellow umbrella. Shameless people who cut the line. Unashamed tho all the stone saints turned an accusing stare at them. Yes they are. The creation of michelangelo. More sculptures. Pieta. Cherubs. Popes. Saints. More saints. Crypts. Towers. Mosaics. The glory and splendor according to those death renaissance artists. Gold ornaments. Main altars. 26 chapels e? The 551 stairs of the tower. Took the first 200 by elevator. The square. The zero something point. The dinner. Fontana di trefi. Twilight. Sound of water. Smell of cigarettes. Some crowd. Scary crowd. Tired legs. Tired eyes. Stole a spot. Splashed some water. Threw a smile. Blurry photograph. Spanish aunts with their myth. Coins. Loosing interest. Call it a day shall we…

From our point of view of course.
Whose markets are mini and super and even hyper. very good supermarkets really, with amazing range of products, local or imported.

But they are modern market. our traditional wet (read: wet and slushy and smelly and fly-ridden) markets are nothing like this mercato centrale di firenze.

It was feast for the eyes: pepperocino, colorful dried pastas and rissoto and many kinds of pasta’s sauce and cheeses and bottled truffle paste on wooden shelves and many many kind of ham which I can never tell one from another. There, the dry and the wet and the ready-to-eat respect each other thus didn’t kill our appetite. Ended the feast with a yummy lunch from nerbonne, which is turn out to be quite popular.
 

Carelessly linked Siena – its yellow brown medieval cityscape – with burnt sienna, the name of one yellowish color pigment that I know from my watercolor tubes.

The truth is there isn’t any connection.

Is that all that I have to say about siena?
Maybe.
Except that it’s better to feel rather that just see the city.

Except that half day excursion will only get you to another unesco heritage site which is beautiful but full of people.
(And don’t forget that all the pictures of beautiful scenery or landmarks on tourism websites or books or postcards that get you drooling look so stunning because they were captured from aerial view)

Except that we had fun (not) getting lost in its hilly tiny alleys.

Except that the wind was so wild that day in siena that we came back to firenze with runny nose and slightly wobbly steps.

But the city does have that yellowy ochery color :p
 

Wandered alone in florence while my friends paid a visit to Pisa. Sketched the famous ponte vecchio – which is still lined with gold merchants – from ponte s. Trinita. Sketched the pigeon that sat contemplating on the ledge of the bridge.

Couldn’t exactly relaxed and sit and read on the cafe. The sour-faced waitress with hurried steps and unpleasant gestures made me lift my butt off the chair and went on to palazzo pitti. I haven’t even finished my lunch and they wanted to clear up my plate already. Bah. And the Florentine are famous of their friendliness ha? The people on the street were nice, most of the shop attendant and waitresses were far from nice.

There were a couple of famous animator from japan who were having lunch in that trattoria with groups of animation students (though I didn’t know that they are famous people until I asked the students who sat next to me)

Ended up strolling – hiking to be precise – in the Boboli garden. The original plan was to fine a good spot to read or sketch or enjoy the view of hilly florence, but curiosity dragged me to the porcelain museum and argenti museum and up and down the gravel path back to the grassy clearing to finally sat down and read.

Quite fun
 

To be precise, I’m the one who doesn’t.
:p

Didn’t even dare to touch the pastel- colored meringues in the window display of many pasticceria, their sweetness would’ve killed my tongue.

But I did try to eat one of their signature giant cookies thingy. Tasted the green one, pistachio. With a lot of nuts and raisins. Not bad actually, but its weird texture – not crunchy, not hard, but not actually soggy either – and size made it hard for me to finish it.

The other sweets, the multi-colored liquorice-like candies, definitely only suitable for my eyes to enjoy. Another one, composed of whatever-nuts and caramel/sugar, was just too similar with one of traditional delicacies from my home country which name I do not know, so didn’t even bother to try one.

As for sea-products…not really a big fan of them crustacean (and other sea creatures except fish). But it would be weird to be in venice without having a taste of their seafood. Spaghetti vongole was the furthest I’ve ventured. And in some restaurant it was deliziosa! “Mamamia lezatos” kalo kata si neng mel!

And the coffee…
Sooo glad. it was the first time I can order cappuccino without being asked: hot or cold?

*menari-nari
 

And I saw a puppy drooling over one plump pigeon.

I saw colorful fruit stalls with many sort of fresh fruits and one ball of brilliant red and green italian chili (or pepper?).

I saw enticing warm trattoria, ostaria and pizzeria with sweet-tongued host and trip advisor sticker on their windows.

I saw swarms of oriental-looking tourists.

I saw band of young guys drinking and chatting throwing their trash down to the canal.

I saw vermillion lobster over spaghetti.

I saw white sheets outside the beautiful rusty windows with green shutters – or should I say venetian blind? Not really – and pots of red flowers.

That’s what I saw in my first day in venezia.
 

Duomo di milano.
the piazza was closed for the coming art installation – said the flyers. But the church was open so we got in for a peep. Beautiful.

Milan fashion week.
Once again, accidentally, ndro, mel and I were drown in concoction of fashionista, journalists and tourists in front of Liu.Jo outlet. Thanks to my minimum kepo-ism and my size, I didn’t get to see what the crowd was so excited about. It was kate moss. Sliding out of a mercedes. “Una modella inglesa” I overheard someone explained to someone else behind me. Nice.

Gelato. E pizza. E pasta.
My travel companions started to despise pizza and pasta. But I, I haven’t even started. Me want more pasta. Me want pizza. Me want formaggio. munch, twirl, slurp.
 

Or should eleanor loose the boots?

Italian stares at you openly.
Been warned about it.
But still we feel weird being stared like that. More over, they stared at one particular part of my legs: my borrowed burgundy-red dr martens. Mel said “why your boots really attracts their attention ya”

What the…..
Milanese are very fashionable
I wonder is dr martens a sin here? Or is it a total alien to them? How come they don’t know you, doc? The other option is it looks sooo cool on me. Yeah…nya nya nya Maybe they way I mix-match my clothes is totally repulsive for them.

Anyway.. Cuek aja laaa
 

That was ndro’s lunch.
I had only one taste of paella – it was my first meal in barcelona – during the whole visit to spain and that was more than enough. I like nasi goreng duk duk better.

Before lunch, we feasted on the vintage festivities – though some part do sell made in china stuff and not so vintagey – of El Rastro flea market. One part of it is very similar to Pasar Bering Harjo in Jogjakarta or Jalan Surabaya in Jakarta haha… Really enjoyed it, the sun and stamping people did make me dizzy though. Lucky we arrive quite early when not so many people roamed the stalls.
 

Packed schedule indeed.
Montjuic to visit the castel, joan miro foundation and MNAC, which is very cool. The museum, not the castel. Then off we went to camp nou.

The very cool thing about camp nou I think is not the stadium but the way they display things in the museum. Modern technology. Smart displays. Cool.

-pic: MNAC in montjuic, didn’t have the time to see all the collection.
 

Here we hear church bell as much as we hear adzan back in our home country. To my senses, paris, avignon and barcelona are fascinating. They look both preserve in time and modern at the same time, with their own classic (or gothic, or baroq or whatever) buildings and churches. But they do applied very modern technology unlike Jakarta where I’ve been living, where skyscrappers dotting the cityscape but everything is still manually operated

After visiting several infamous gothic churches and building during our journey , Casa Battlo by Gaudi was such a refreshment! Genious. We are convinced that he was abducted by alien so that he came up with such design, haha.
I was most fascinated by the ventilation system, and the gill-like window system.

The national day of Catalonia.
We were clueless about it until the lady at the tourist information booth told us that that day is a holiday.

Wow.
What an experience.
And the massive demonstration, we didn’t know about it either.
Quite an adrenaline booster swimming in and out the crowd to get into our destinations. We filmed it, deny even stayed out late following the crowd and documenting them.

Quite a holiday we had.
Not to mention the delicious churros we accidentally found. The hot cocoa was extraordinary too.
 

Took the morning train to Barcelona.
Merged into the completely different color palette, different buzzing sound. The more summery feeling.

Deny left his kamera bag on the train when he’s busy helping us with our luggage, but we were able to get it back on time fortunately. The officer guided us to cross the platform so we can find the bag before the train take of to figueres.

Spent that first day in Barcelona absorbing the vibe of la rambla (o boy so many people) and re filling our stomach. I saw more of my friends’ happy faces (happy tummies to be precise) here, cause finally they were satisfied with the food, while the food in france were to bland for them.

O and I learned how to order espresso machiatto here, they call it cortado. Enough spanish to keep me alive I think :p
 

Voila!
Pont d’avignon.
Taken from the balcony towards the palace’s garden, where melani dropped her lens cap into the garden below. After talking to the customer service with no solution, she just dropped the case.

The unfinished bridge itself doesn’t really talk. Wouldn’t even notice it as one historical relic if I didn’t heard about it before. Well the stroll alongside rhone was quite nice though. Lavender. Bees.wind. Birdie’s drops.

08.09.12
Ville D’avignon. Where the hotter southern wind awaited.

We boarded the train south in the hope of being drown in lavender field or getting lost in some unknown vineyard, which, neither were accomplished.
We decided to take leisure stroll around the city and get lost in its many alleyways, while regaining our strength for the next buzzing cities.

I like avignon. The people are much friendlier than parisian and it smells good – of lavender – despite the fact that the pet population is greater than the people. (Just kidding)