Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Tour of Eastern Europe - KUL - FRA

From Malaysia To The Czech Republics
The preparation for the trip was started when we received the confirmation from our travel agent POTO Travel and Tours Sdn. Bhd that the package is on after they managed to get twenty pax for the trrip. Bags to be used for the trip were brought out and below you can see the packed bags, two of which were to be checked in and the other smaller two will be hand carried. The hand carried baggage will contain items that will be used at airports while on transit such as prayer clothes and mats and cooked food during the trip.

I had specially bought a pair of suede shoes for the trip. Since they were new I have yet to break it in. When I tried it on, on the day of departure it felt too tight and so I opted for a pair of old leather shoes which was used mainly for work when I was still working some seven years ago. It was supposed to be comfortable alas slightly tight as over the seven years that I retire, I have rarely used the shoes and my feet must have expanded due to the  too much use of slippers and sandals.

The new suede shoes was not broken in yet so it was left behind. 
Anyway even the old pair of shoes that I wore on the flight became too tight for my feet over the 13 hours flight from KL to Frankfurt excluding the 3 hours transit in Abu Dhabi. Fortunately for me my wife packed in another pair of old sandals which turned out to be extremely comfortable as there were many walk abouts and long bus rides during the tour.

Waiting for our bus upon arrival in Frankfurt.

During the flight, we were told that the European Union countries were very strict about visitors bringing in poultry, beef and whatever other products into their country. For fear of getting into trouble should we be caught, all the members decided to declare everything including all the boiled eggs, serunding, sambal ikan bilis and whatever else that we brought in. We proceeded to the red lanes of the custom check point. To our amazement and joy there was not a single custom officers manning the counter be it the red lane or green lane. At such an unearthly hour as 6.30 am I guess these people love their sleep more.

Outside the airport this very new 40 seater bus was waiting for us. A forty seater bus for a group of 20 tourists mean a very comfortable ride as each one of us could hog to a double seat. They are definitely much more comfortable than the plane ride and everyone of us can afford a window seat.
Frank, the  driver of the bus complained to the tour leader Lin from Malaysia to remind her next time not to call the bus in yet until all the members of the entourage are ready to board the bus. It seems the long wait had incurred him a very hefty parking fee when parked in front of the airport terminal.

See how spacious is the inside of a 40 seater bus with just 20 passengers. 
All the seats in the bus are equipped with a seat belt. Should you be caught not wearing it during a  ride, the penalty is Euro60 and the thought of having Euro60 which is equivalent to RM240 is too much to bear so all of us were strapped to our seat.
 We left the airport and headed for Romerberg the old section of the city of Frankfurt. Upon alighting from the bus, I was surprised to see how severe the trees at the Romerberg square were pruned. I remember when I was here a few years ago for my European Tour, there were some foliage on the trees.

Since we had been here before, we were not that anxious to see the fantastic architecture of the old buildings around the area. My wife opted to immediately shop for souvenirs to remember Frankfurt by. I bought a cap.

Fridge magnets anyone?

The old buildings.

Another moment in our life for the visit to Romerberg.

The must see statue in the area. Another statue at the extreme right of the picture had been demolished for a certain development.

Being an early Saturday morning the street were still empty of people. Only later bus loads of tourists start arriving.

The Indonesians seems to have left their mark in Romer. Jemaat Kristus Indonesia as the signboard says. What happen to our Malaysian dakwah group?
A cruise boat still berthed along the River Maine.

What are those people doing so early in the morning across the river?
Since we still have an hour left to explore the area, my curiosity got the better of me and together with another couple from the group, we crossed the river via this old bridge nearby.

The tower on this side of the river has a lift inside it so the disabled person or the elderlies will not have to face any difficulties.

The bridge was constructed in 1911 and completed in 1946. A renovation was made in 1992/1993. That is my guess as to the meaning of those words on the plaque. Any of you has a better guess?

Padlocks on the bridge. Pray tell me why people do this?

My earlier hunch that it was a flea market at the end of the bridge. It was confirmed when I asked a passing cyclist. The participants of the flea market were still trying to display their wares but those that were displayed were interesting items like porcelein, bicycle parts and whatever knick knacks that are often found at such a place.

Since we didn't have too much time on our hands, I just picked up an American felt hat which was still in a very good condition at Euro15 after a Euro5 discount from the female vendor. We joined the group only to be told that the bus will only leave in another hour's time. What a missed opportunity. If only I had known that, we would have stayed longer and perhaps find some treasures to bring home.

The autobahn in Germany.
At 10 am, we hit the highway for our first town in The Czech Republic by the name of Karlovay Vary which is famous for its spa. In fact it is named as the Spacity. The drive from Frankfurt will take us some four and a half hour including rest stops for the driver and bus which is mandatory in European countries. After a two hours drive the driver must stop some 15 minutes to rest and refresh. A longer rest is need after several more hours. The driver can choose to driver longer but he will require longer rest at the end of it. 
It was after entering The Czech Republics that we received the call from Kelantan that my wife's brother in law had passed away after suffering some breathing difficulties. He is so much younger than me and seems to be in the best of health. Allah must have loved him more.

A Porche
At one of the stops we met this guy filling up his Porche.  The owner told me hat the number plate is PS which is the initials to his name and 911 which is the model of his Porche. He told this nosy blogger that he bought the Porche at Euro120 thousand some 4 years ago and now the price of this model has gone up by another Euro24 thousand. So you better stop dreaming of buying one even a four years old Porche, a Perve maybe all that I can afford.

To give you an idea of what you could see along the journey from the bus window is this undulating meadows where grasses or other plants are planted to make hays to feed the cattle. The yellow flowers of this plants seems to be a sight to behold. These are the canola plants planted to produce the canola oil to be used as biodiesel.

Another likely scenery is this pine forest and sometimes you could see wild deers at the forest fringe. These wild deers are protected by laws and these laws are rarely broken unlike if they were to be in our country.

Our hotel room in Karlovy Vary.
We were checked into a small hotel with a comfortable room. Free wifi is available at the lobby floor. It was here that I found out about the ugly skirmishes at the Bersih 3.0 sit in around Dataran Merdeka.

Though we were feeling tired from the long journey from home and without much quality sleep, we prefer to loook around the area of the hotel.

A casino

A vegetable and fruit market.

Horse drawn carriages for tourists to ride around town.

Souvenir shops.

Of course my wife will never miss buying some souvenirs.

Souvenirs being sold at roadside stalls.

An old building is converted to supermarket for the Alber chain of supermarkets in The Czech Republics.

That is all for now folks. More to come soon.


GUiKP said...

yes, good tip that - arrived at ungodly hour (early morning or at midnite) to avoid your favourite food from being confiscated.

Pak Zawi said...

Kalau kena rampas, habis la makanan kami. Harap mereka tak baca blog ini nanti diaorang jaga 24 jam susah orang kita hehehehe.

GUiKP said...

alhamdulillah setakat ni belum pernah alami sambal ikan bilis, serunding, ikan kering etc kena rampas masa arrival. another tense moment adalah masa departure, kena excess baggage ke tak? good luck and take it easy.

PM said...

Saya teruja dengan kebersihan tempat ni.......

Pak Zawi said...

Pak Mae,
Memang bersih tempat mereka terutama dari pencemaran alam sekitar. Itik liar banyak di sungai-sungai mereka tanpa diganggu oleh manusia.

Gurindam Jiwa said...

Selamat berjalan-jalan makan angin. Bilo nok kelik Pok Wi?

Satu petua untuk berblog: Off kan Facebook, heh he...

Pak Zawi said...

Kelik 9 Mei. Betul la sebab FB la jadi malas nak buat blog. Macam mana nak quit FB semua orang termasuk anak2 kat FB belako.

aliff mohamad noor said...

Lamonyo dok kelih kabar berito Pak Zawi!

Pak Zawi said...

Saya pergi bertapa jadi tak buat update gapo2.

Student Vacations said...

Nice photos & your travel experiences..Thanks for sharing