The Best of Norway, 9 #YOLO Moments to be Remembered

It was a dream come true, when I could reach Norway for my first country in Europe. I have no idea how I could go that far with sudden plan and less than 3 months preparation, including money and air fare ticket. It needed courage to convince my parent for my solo traveling, it required extra power to find money, and it spend double brain to prepare the trip while worked on my final thesis in my last year. But finally, hard works paid off. I departed from Jakarta to Oslo on February 2015.

Norway definitely is a country that always be missed. After I come back on March, the beauty of Norway still on my mind. Although it was hardly winter but there were so many things in Norway to be enjoyed and remembered. The ambiance, culture, people, all were totally different compared to Asia, especially Indonesia. I come to experience things that people describe as #YOLO (You Only Live Once) — the moment when you decided to experience something that might never happen to you again in future.  Here are that #YOLO moments that I’ve experienced in Norway, things that made me hard to move on until now!

1. Hunting Northern Light, Aurora Borealis in Bodø

Traveling to Norway on winter is definitely means that you should go for The Northern Light hunt! Since the beginning, Aurora Borealis was on my MUST TO DO list above all. It’s very hard to predict this beautiful dancing light but I really gambled for everything to see it once in my life (hope to see it again!). In order to see it, I have to choose one of best city that have a good forcast to be passed by this light, the northest you go, the better. Best city among all is actually Tromsø but calculating all my budget and very little time, I could only reach Bodø. Thus, I put all of my hope for one night travel to that city.

It’s already evening when I arrived at Bodø and I got perfect spot up in the hill. Night comes as well as worries since the aurora wasn’t on schedule with the forecast. All I could see was a dark sky with bright moon. But at around 3.00am in the morning, the dancing green light was on the sky!

traveling to norway
My very first object with DSLR camera is pretty though. Pordon for this epic fail picture but this is the best that I could get, remembering it was -11C with real feel -36C and I almost die for freezing!

2. Passing Through Arctic Circle with Norland Railway (From Oslo to Bodø)

Limited budget lead me to take the famous Norland railway with 729km  long way to travel in 17hours. I took a NSB train (the best train in town) from Oslo to Bodø by paying 498 Norwegian Crone or around IDR 800.000. My suggestion is to buy it via online with payment using credit card and print the ticket out. Things that should be remember to get cheaper price is by book it at least 1 month before and claimed as student to get discount. 

traveling to norway

The journey was long and taking so much time. But as the train left the city, I started to think that this was best decision I’ve ever made because I could enjoy the stunning Norwegian scenery town to town! The most memorable scene was when the train conductor let the passengers know that we were going pass through Arctic Circle marked by the Arctic Circle Center. Dude, I passed the most northerly circles on the earth! Who can’t be more excited? (especially because I live at the other South circle). It felt like “yeeaaaaaaah!”

3. Living with local people and experience the Norwegian life

During my travel in Norway, I stayed with two host family not even in a hotel. I met one family in Bodø via couchsurfing while the other one in Trondheim handled by ISFiT committees. Both family treated me so well, even though we haven’t meet each other before. I got to experience the real Norwegian life with real Norwegian people, from living together in their house, eating what they eat, spending evening before bedtime in the family room, chit-chating like family, snacking and drinking wine, even having a short trip for holiday together. They’re amazing.

traveling to norway
My host family in Bodø with her son
traveling to norway
Playing some games in our spare time
traveling to norway
The family gave me and my roommate gift in our last day!
traveling to norway
Norwegian breakfast
traveling to norway
Our short trip!

4. Staying at a Nordic vintage style house with incredible view

Both house where I stay was totally amazing. In Bodø I luckily stay at the top of the hill where I can clearly see the beauty of city from the top. The scenery from the house was stunning. City landscape with sea and snowy mountains welcomed me during the day while at night I had my dinner with beautiful scenery of full moon and city light. The house also designed very nice and very cozy, just like that vintage house in the movie! They even have a small working room at the third floor and I was imagining how productive I would be to write my blog at the desk facing to the city view. On the living room, they even turned on candles and fireplace, it was so romantic. Definitely a dream house to be. But too bad, I lost the photo on my broken Samsung phone! 🙁 I could only gave you the scenery, pardon.

traveling to norway
City view

While in Trondheim, I live in Spongdal around 40 minutes from the city center by bus, a house of family with three kids and a big cat named Tiger. I stayed with them quite long, for almost 2 weeks and really enjoyed every moment. Here is my room, located in the ground floor and it was very warm. See the window on the left side? If I opened it, I could touch the ground outside. Every evening, tiger will find his way to this window and singing out loud, clawing here and there — a sign for us to let him in.

traveling to norway
My lovely room, pictured by my roomate
traveling to norway
Say hi to Tiger!

5. Eating Norwegian waffle and brown cheese!

Waffle and cheese? Seriously?

I’m not kidding guys. This is a must, totally a must. I didn’t know what spell they did on the waffle but I and my friends who come from outside Norway has fallen in love deeply with that addicted Norwegian sweets. My host family during my 11 days staying at Trondheim cooked me this waffle on my first day at the house and I couldn’t be more proud to tell the others about that! It’s like winning a world record championship titled the first person who eat Norwegian waffle as arrived in Trondheim. And not to be forgotten is brown cheese! You can only find this cheese in Norwegian and tasted like heaven. Don’t forget to cut it by using Norwegian cheese peeler! 

traveling to norway
Spotted the evening snack: Norwegian waffle with homemade strawberry jam, milk, and cheese

traveling to norway

6. Enjoying Norwegian Student Life in Trondheim

Trondheim is well known as a student city in Norway. Once in two years, the universities in Trondheim will held ISFiT or International Student Festival in Trondheim — claimed as the biggest student festival in the world. And here I was, representing Indonesian for this event. During 11 day of the festival, we gathered everyday in what we called Hogwarts which is actually Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). Oh gosh, is that university? For real? It’s just too beautiful to become ones.

traveling to norway

traveling to norway

traveling to norway
We loved selfies
traveling to norway
And we play magic too!

Norwegian didn’t have big heavy meal for lunch, they usually only have typically sandwich or wrap. And it’s cold. And for that I was craving  a warm proper food so much during the day. After our workshop, we had to canteen for dinner and thanks God food here was always delicious (although we couldn’t have another plates).

traveling to norway
Roast chicken, veges, and rice

Evening means it’s time to gather at student hall or so called Samfundet. Every day there will be some activities inside the building, either usual group gathering, other public workshop, or even having fun with music, concert, and partying til drop. On Valentine’s night, I went to Marit Larsen concert at the hall and that was the best Valentine ever (since I was single at that time 😛 ). Don’t have any idea who’s Marit Larsen? How about that legend duo singer M2M? Yes, Marit Larsen is the blonde one and she is Norwegian!

traveling to norway

7. Going on a short trip to Otnes, Norwegian style of vacation

It was a sudden plan, but the family took me to their vacation house in a small village called Otnes, 2 hours driving from Spongdal as if driving from Jakarta to Bogor. I think, it was a culture or pride for Norwegian to build another house for vacation out of the city, just like villas in Indonesia. Good thing was, there are no traffic jam AT ALL, even though that’s weekend! And when other places covered with snow and low temperature that even able to froze a lake, Otnes was definitely not. The sun bright warmly but yes it still windy and cold enough to made me use my winter jacket. The village was also so quite, you even cannot find people around. Google it and surprised! They only have around 300 population. Woha.  Introvert people like me must be love this kinda place.  This was the real vacation ever, it’s just like the village is yours. All that beautiful place is youuuuuurs.

Not to be doubt, the house also have incredible view with a Lomnessjøen lake right in front. Let me repeat, A LAKE. RIGHT IN FRONT. Amazing.

traveling to norway

traveling to norway

traveling to norway

traveling to norway

traveling to norway

traveling to norway

At behind, there was forest and a cattle house. I and the family feed the cattle at the back house and then went for a tracked to the forest. The air, the scenery, and all in Otnes was still natural. The lake was very clean where you could catch as many Norwegian Salmon as you can during summer. And the forest was highly conserved, even wild deer still going around here and there. Deer hunting was also scheduled in summer.

traveling to norway

traveling to norway
Those cuties lambs wanna eat

traveling to norway

traveling to norway

traveling to norway

traveling to norway

traveling to norway

traveling to norway

Remember that typical Western movie telling story about children building their own house in a tree? Well, the two brothers of Lyng family — Jorund and Vedgar made it happen for their base-camp. They build it on their own and pick the best location ever with a scenic view! These guys were so into nature.

traveling to norway

traveling to norway

traveling to norway
View from the tree house

traveling to norway

8. Dining at Egon Tårnet, the spinning tower.

This is the hippest restaurant in Trondheim. Like every teens will visit this restaurants, just like Single Fin in Bali or Domicile in Surabaya. Egon Tårnet built on the top of a tower in circular platform. The two floor restaurant surrounded by big glasses wall with Trondheim city view from the top. What make it different from usual restaurant at the highest was because it’s spinning. Yeah, you didn’t get it wrong. The restaurant was spinning so you could enjoy the city view in 360 degree! For food, they provide both of ala carte and buffet menu. Try out their pizza, they’re delicious (and the cheapest one!).

traveling to norway

traveling to norway

9. Looking for gift? The answer will always be Norwegian Chocolate.

Norwegian chocolate was the best gift that I brought as gift for my family. Well, you have to keep it right to maintained the shape. It was not cheap either. I forgot the exact price but the biggest one reach around more than IDR 100.000. There were lots of brands you’ll have in the mart (every supermarket selling this!) but I recommended you to try out the Norwegian Oreo Chocolate. Is that sounds weird? Yes. Look but I am serious, the taste was the best ever!!! Oh, I just found that eBay selling it with cheaper price, you should check this out

traveling to norway
That famous oreo chocolate

I am feeling so great for writing this article, throwing back in everything that I’ve done two years ago. It’s like re-writing a diary although it was a bit late. But I’ll make sure to post another stories of my Europe trip on the blog so stay tuned peps! 🙂

 

 untitled-1

 

 

Batik Restaurant Bar Seminyak Bali: The Enchanted Batik Heritage House

I was sitting on my table, under the sky lantern lamps hanging beautifully above my head. It was cloudy that afternoon where sun shone a bit calm through the roof top panel but not to left down the ambiance of the entire room. I simply come to conclusion that this restaurant is a lovely place, good match for lunch, dinner, or even just to take a sip of cocktail.  It has a beautiful and modern interior that will make you comfortable to sit in a long time.

Batik Restaurant Bar seminyak
Restaurant interior

This is Batik Restaurant and Bar. Everything here is pleasant, just the way it is. But sooner I found there’re something more to tell. It’s way more than just beautiful. Something that people won’t notice at a glance.

THE ENCHANTED BATIK HOUSE: ALL ABOUT BATIK PHILOSOPHY

I didn’t put my attention in detail when finally I realized that everything made for Batik Restaurant Bar wasn’t just a piece of art, but also part of Indonesian traditional heritage. 

Stepped inside the restaurant, a homey ambiance welcomed me warmly. The  interior was clean, dominated with white and pastel color. Batik inspired ceilings was covering the light, turned the simple room into the opposite way — modern yet complex. What come to attract me the most was six hanging batik fabrics on the wall. Arranged from the fadest to the brightest, those fabrics showed the six main steps in making Batik Solo from applying wax to the dying bath.

batik restaurant bar seminyak
Spotted six Solo Batik fabric on the wall, showing the main step of batik process

Meanwhile, at the back of the house, three high mirrors stood so pretentious behind the bar. At glance, there’re nothing special to admire beside the size but if you look a bit closer, hundreds of golden brown patterns which separated the mirror side by side are actually Batik stamps  — all handmade of copper strips, carefully cut, shaped and soldered. One stamp need approximately a month to be made. Just simply accumulate how much stamps you’ll find in the wall and how long the artisan took to make all of those pieces of art — the numbers will totally blown your mind.

Batik Restaurant and Bar
Hundreds of Batik Stamps decorating the bar interior

Right beside the bar, you also will get to see some woods in a jar — not any usual woods for decoration purposes only but to show the inherited tradition of using natural raw materials for Batik coloring, such as Kayu Tegeran Solo and Kayu Sencang to derived both yellow and red color.  These wood an only be found in certain parts of Indonesia.

Batik Restaurant Bar seminyak
Natural Batik’s raw materials

Following stairway to second floor is likely going to discover the beauty of batik all around city in Indonesia. Each step showed various Batik patterns influenced by each region’s culture. Batik from Jogjakarta, for instance. The pattern seem to formed a kris which was the traditional weapon used by nobleman long time ago. This symbol is also identical with the power of Jogjakarta’s kingdom. While, Semarang has it’s own uniqueness with its pattern resembling tree upside down or popularly known as asem in Javanese language. This term also used as the origin to name the city, Semarang.

batik restaurant bar seminyak
Discovering Batik in the stairway to second floor

If the first floor emphasizing the art of Batik in traditional, second floor proof that Batik is magical things that can also be modernized. The monochrome side of the house showing painted girl in bluish batik gave artistically impression that so much way to describe. Other interesting side was the wall creation made from 1800 holes and filled with 180 canting, forming letter by letter to ‘love batik’ words. 

batik restaurant bar bali
Second floor interior 
batik restaurant bar bali
Spotted wall decoration made from canting
batik restaurant bar bali
Canting that formed up to be ‘love batik’ words

The highlight went to two modern batik dresses display on the mannequin lady. Not just ordinary dresses, they were handmade creations by talented hand Ali Charisma — one of famous international fashion designer from Indonesia. His love for Indonesian batik worked like a spell, turned the traditional fabric to artistic modern dress with magnificent sense in details.

batik restaurant bar seminyak
Dresses displayed by Ali Charisma

SOUTH EAST ASIAN CUISINE: INDONESIAN, THAILAND, AND VIETNAM

I know for sure that Indonesian cuisine will be packed along with this batik house concept restaurant. But unexpectedly, that very convincing Thailand and Vietnamese cuisine also showed up, even dominating the menu in the same portion. For this reason, I ended up with decision to try out the restaurant’s recommendation from these two countries. Not to wait in a long time, four plates filled up with food arrived on my table. They simply made me licks my lips with my eyes focusing to decide which plate to dig in first.

batik restaurant bar bali
Four recommended course by Batik restaurant’s (from upper right to bottom left): Phad Kra Pow, Nem Nướng̣, Bánh xèo, and Thai Pandan Chicken

1

With no hesitation, Thai Pandan Chicken become my very first destination among all. That cracking sound when unwrapping the crispy pandan was a good sign that the chicken was perfectly deep fried. And as expected, they’re well marinated, tender,  and cooked to fully caramelized. Come to drizzle the chicken with the  sauce and hit it one bite, you’ll gonna put this dish for your checklist in another visit.  

batik restaurant bar seminyak
Thai Pandan Chicken – IDR 45.000

Vietnamese bites called Nem Nướng̣ come next with three pieces of skewers accompanied by fish dipping sauce  Nước chấm. It’s hard to resist the strong aroma and flavor of this marinated minced beef — especially when it grilled in lemongrass as the stick. 

Batik restaurant bar seminyak
Nem Nướng̣ – IDR 65.000

What’s special from Thai-cuisine will always be it’s light prepared dishes with aromatic components and spicy at the edge. This simply come to a reason why Phad Krapow shoudn’t be missed at the place. This comfort dish always be everyone’s favourite in Thailand for it’s simplicity but tasty flavor. Batik’s Phad Krapow was developed with a modern twist but not to forget the authentic taste.

batik restaurant bar seminyak
Thai Chicken Holy Basil or Phad Krapow – IDR 60.000

Forget about sweet crapes because at Batik I got to taste the savory ones! Those who wish for lighter meal, this dish definitely comes to save your appetite. Bánh xèo is essentially crispy rice flour crepes filled up with shrimp, chicken, bean sprouts, onion, and shallot.  This famous Vietnamese sizzling cake is rarely found in the town and unique in taste since it use turmeric powder in the batter.

batik restaurant bar seminyak
Bánh xèo – IDR 60.000

Too full for dessert, I finished my lunch with a glass of Batik’s signature cocktail, Lychee Madness — consist of vodka, blue caracao, lychees, triple sec, pineapple, and lime. As how it was name, I mad in the soft-blue colour, mad in the sweetness, mad in its aftertaste, and everything… it’s just too mad, too mad  in a love 🙂

batik restaurant bar seminyak
Lychee Madness – IDR 85.000

Batik is part of Indonesian heritage and this restaurant is hole-in-the-wall to show beauty of this inherited culture in the island. All of the artistic interior was designed with pride of Batik in the heart, creating thousand story to be shared. Not to doubt for the food, it prepared with a smiling face by developing the authentic recipes from ancestor. I never thought that my short visit to Batik Restaurant Bar Seminyak become something that I proudly to share.

 

It’s not easy, but here I said I got enchanted to meet you! 🙂

untitled-1

 

 

 

 


BATIK RESTAURANT BAR BALI

Jalan Kayu Aya, Seminyak, Kabupaten Badung, Bali, Seminyak, Bali, 80361

(0361) 735171

Operational time: 11.00 – 24.00

IG: @batik_restaurant_bar

FB: BATIK Restaurant Bar

Website: www.batik-bali.com

Tripadvisor: BATIK Restaurant Bar

Vegetarian: Yes

Tax: government 10%, service 6%

Wifi: Yes

Smoking room: Yes

Live Music: No

Parking lot: Valet service


Kuta Central Park Hotel Bali Review: Getting Inside The Park

When in Kuta, Jalan Patih Jelantik and Dewi Sri have another story to be told. It’s easy access to Kuta Beach, Legian, and Sunset Road is the main reasons why those roads passed by everyone, either tourists or local citizens. The most popular Dewi Sri Food Court lied on the junction is another reason why those road surrounded with uncountable hotels — make them alive with people not only during the day but also at night. And Kuta Central Park Hotel Bali is one the oldest hotel built in that area.

Continue reading “Kuta Central Park Hotel Bali Review: Getting Inside The Park”