Centuries ago when the Ottoman Turks successfully conquest Constantinople, Eyup was their first Turkish settlement. Located just outside the city walls and near the Golden Horn, Eyup has a perfect location, then and now. The name Eyup itself comes from Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, a friend of Prophet Muhammad SAW.
Fast forward to 21st centuries, I happened to lived in the Constantinople, which have changed the name to Istanbul. On the sunny day of my winter break, I went there and explore the area as I reminisced the history.
Winter break is coming! I got a week off from the boring routine of school and decided to visit Bursa and its famous snowy mountain, Uludağ or Great Mountain. In the ancient time, Uludağ was called Mysian Olympos. The other name of Uludağ was Keşiş Dağı means ‘Mountain of the Monks’ because the mountain served as hermitage to Christian monks.
Since I live in Istanbul, Uludağ is just a vapur (ferry) away. To get there, I need to go to Bursa first, but wait for my story about Bursa. To reach Uludağ, just take buses from city centre to Bursa Tefferüç station and take the teleferik (cable car) to Uludağ ski resort. Bursa Teleferik is 9km long and the longest cable car line in Turkey and the world world. It costs 38TL for round trip journey, but if you have Turkish student card, you could get discount to 27TL.
When I went to Beijing few months ago, I didn’t really know about the tourist destination there. I did some browsing in the internet to find out what’s happening in Beijing and stumble upon Travel China Guide. The website and also my Beijing-living friend suggest to visit Summer Palace, so I put Summer Palace in my itinerary.
Summer Palace listed as UNESCO world heritage sites for being the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China. The park was built in 1750 as a retreat park for the royal families so they could rest and entertained. Then it became the main residence of royal members in the end of the Qing Dynasty.
I have visited four seasons countries before, yet I never experienced to ski. The reason are whether it is to cold or no one (means my family) wanted to accompanied me. So when I visited Beijing with my two other friends, we decided to go skiing. It was our first time ski experience!
I have research all over the internet on ski resort near Beijing. The result there were several ski resort names, Huaibei Ski Resort, Nanshan Ski Resort, Jundushan Ski Resort, and Badaling Ski Resort. From all the resort, I still did not understand how to get there. I even asked about which resort is nearest from downtown Beijing in several forums, from backpacker group in Facebook, Trip Advisor, Travel China Guide to Quora. All the answers did not well explained, so our plan to go skiing was quite blurry.
I remember when I was an elementary student, I used to see a poster of seven wonders of the world in my class every day. I also got to see the picture of it on my textbooks. Years later, I visited one of the place in the list, Great Wall of China. I never really want to visit Great Wall of China. Frankly speaking I want to visit Colosseum first, then complete my seven wonders of the worlds list. But unexpectedly I went to Beijing, so I could not missed the Great Wall!
Before I came to Beijing, I did some research about the Great Wall of China. From what I read in the internet, most people suggest to come to Mutianyu section, because it less crowded compare to Badaling section, even tough Mutianyu is farther and quite difficult to reach. But my friend who live in Beijing said that it is better to go to Badaling section, because it is the most preserved section and the view was also better. She also agree to accompanied me, so as I don’t want to get lost, I chose to go to the Badaling section.
My first impression on Beijing was, “Wow pollution in Beijing are real!” because I could see all the pollution fog even at 5 am in the morning. But then as I explore the city, I had my second impression which I don’t even expected, that Beijing is seriously neat. My expectation of Beijing is that the city is crowded and messy with traffic everywhere, just like Jakarta (well, I have to say this). The reality is, Beijing is unlike Jakarta!
I am impressed with the transportation system which are so integrated. Beijingers mostly use metro and bus as their main transportation. Metro station and bus stop are everywhere in Beijing. It is also connected with most of the main road and building. If you often use this two kinds of transportation when you are in Beijing, then I suggest you to buy Beijing Transportation Smart Card (Yikatong). With the card, you don’t have to buy single ticket everywhere you go on a trip and also it offers 50% fare discount!
If you are in Seoul and about to have an escape to somewhere more quiet, then Gapyeong is the perfect place for you. The city is surrounded by beautiful landscape, mountains and river. In winter, the city will be more beautiful as the snow covers. Gapyeong is not really far from Seoul, just about an hour train ride from the downtown Seoul. I went to Gapyeong to visit the famous Nami Island and Petite France.
For you the K-Drama lovers, you must be familiar about Winter Sonata. As for me, I remember this drama back when I was in elementary school, but never a fan. But I must be have take a look at this drama, because I remember that the drama’s screenplay was beautiful. Taken somewhere in the wintery South Korea and the location was just really dreamy.
Rasanya ga lengkap kalau jalan-jalan ke suatu negara tapi ga mampir ke historical places. Saat saya ke Korea Selatan Februari kemarin, saya juga menyempatkan diri untuk mampir ke beberapa historical places di Seoul. Korea Selatan memang terkenal dengan sejarah kerajaannya dulu. Apalagi ditambah K-Drama yang banyak menceritakan sejarah Korea, saya jadi makin penasaran deh untuk wisata sejarah di Seoul.
Wisata sejarah saya di Seoul di mulai dari Gyeongbokgung Palace. Untuk mencapai Gyeongbokgung Palace, fellow traveler harus menaiki subway ke Gyeongbokgung Palace Station. Suasana stasiunnya sendiri sudah kental dengan nuansa dinasti Korea jaman dahulu. Ada banyak artefak, mural, dan installation art di dalam stasiun ini. Sambil menghangatkan tubuh, saya memutuskan untuk foto-foto dulu.
Yes as the title says, my stroll around Itaewon was lovely. Suasana di Itaewon ini menurut saya, ‘internasional’ banget. Bahkan di salah satu artikel yang saya baca, katanya sih emang Itaewon ini memang di desain sebagai destinasi turis, jadi ga heran banyak percampuran kultur disini. Di Itaewon, fellow traveler akan dimanjakan oleh banyaknya cafe dan toko-toko yang menawarkan berbagai barang lucu-lucu.
Tujuan utama saya dan keluarga ke Itaewon ini adalah untuk mampir ke masjid yang terkenal seantero Seoul, yaitu Seoul Central Mosque. Untuk mencapai Seoul Central Mosque, fellow traveler harus turun di Itaewon Station dan jalan kaki sekitar 300m ke Usadan-ro Road. Emang sih jalanannya cukup nanjak gitu, tapi tenang aja sepi kok jalannya jadi bebas aja kalo mau jalan pelan-pelan hehehe. Ga perlu takut nyasar juga karena pasti udah ada direction sign juga untuk mencapai Seoul Central Mosque kok.
Perjalanan saya di Turki pun berlanjut ke Istanbul, kota dengan penduduk terbanyak di Turki. Bahkan karena saking terkenalnya Istanbul, kota ini sering disalah pahami sebagai ibukota Turki. Padahal ibukota Turki adalah Ankara.
Sebenarnya, saat pertama kali menjejakkan kaki di Turki, saya mendarat di Istanbul Ataturk Airport di kota Istanbul. Namun karena schedule tur, saya harus mengelilingi kota lain dulu dan kemudian mampir di Istanbul semalam sebelum kembali ke Jakarta lewat bandara yang sama.