Germany is a country best known for its forests, rivers and mountain ranges. The country is one of the largest in Europe and has a thriving tourist industry. With its castles, large houses and the mountainous countryside being major attractions, and many within only a short drive or train journey from major cities such as Frankfurt and Berlin.
For the average tourist, equipped with a map, or accompanied by a guide with the ever-handy German phrase book and the fact many Germans speak very good English, a vacation is easy to undertake. But for the tourist who wants to head off the beaten track, and explore some of the hidden gems of Germany, having more than a phrase book is important. There is a great deal more to see in Germany than one could well imagine, and by having a better grasp of the language, these places and more can soon be opened up, making a German leisure visit something special.
With language, the weird and wonderful can be found and explored, and the conventional, seen how Germans see them. Take for example one of the strangest museums in the world, the German Food Additives Museum just outside Hamburg. For the non-German speaker this museum would be impossible to visit, as everything in the museum and about the museum, is in German. It is a fascinating small museum, and a real one of a kind, but only by speaking German can you really visit and understand this amazing place.
It is not just specialist museums that are “off limits” to those who cannot speak German, some historical sites make little sense, and again because of the predominant use of German make then seem pointless to visit. One such place is the ruined airport not far from Berlin, where Claus von Stauffenberg could have ended World War II, but didn’t, when his assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler failed. Not only is the airport a fascinating part of fairly recent history, but it is truly a unique place that tantalises curiosity to visit.
Without an understanding of the German language, so many small but interesting places to visit automatically fail to make a tourist agenda. Germany has many hidden gems. Even foods become more interesting, and what was once a seemingly bland and uninviting menu, becomes something you want to at least try. Being able to converse with the owner of a small back street café or restaurant can lead to some wonderful culinary adventures, coffee becomes more than black stuff in a cup and becomes a discussion about life with a local, and the meal becomes something enjoyable as you discuss specialties of the house with the host or chef.
An understanding of the German language turns a German vacation, or day away from a German business trip, into something quite special and creates some amazing memories that without language could never even begin to form.
Indonesia is an incredibly beautiful and downright amazing country that you will enjoy exploring. However, visiting Indonesia does require a bit of preparation. This is why we created a list with some of the best things you can do to prepare for your upcoming trip. Follow these great ideas, and you will be ready to visit one of the most interesting and downright beautiful places on our planet.
Get a VISA. In order to visit Indonesia, you will have to acquire a VISA on arrival. This costs around $35 and it will be valid for 30 days, and it will cover only a single entry. This is why you have to calculate your stay adequately so that you can avoid any extra costs. Also, if you fly out of an airport in Indonesia, you will also have to pay an airport tax, and that’s not included in the ticket prices.
Vaccines. While there are no specifics vaccine requirements, you may want to take a few just in case. Typhoid, Hepatitis as well as diphtheria vaccines are recommended. The reason why vaccines are helpful is because you will be around wildlife such as monkeys. You may even want to add the Rabies vaccine into the mix, just in case.
What about safety? Indonesia is a reasonably safe place for tourists. But just like any other region in the world, it does have its fair share of thieves. So, don’t withdraw a large amount of money. Make sure that you stay away from credit card frauds and avoid taking too many valuable items with you during your travels. Of course, you should avoid withdrawing large amounts of money, as this can grab the attention of prying eyes. You should always check with www.smartraveller.gov.au.
Transportation. Thankfully, transportation is inexpensive in Indonesia. You have public transportation, and then you also have becacks, ojeks and scooters. Trains are safe, but they can be a tad expensive, depending on the route you want to opt for.
Be patient. Indonesia is a country where you may encounter situations that require you to stay patient. It can take a bit of time to visit some important tourist attractions. But things always work out in the end. You just have to remember that exchanges and many services are not as faster as those in the US. Then again, the life as a whole is not as rampant as the one in the US, so it’s easy to see why you need patience.
Bargaining. Whenever you visit an Indonesian market, make sure that you try to bargain with the seller. Prices are flexible just about everywhere. There are locations like gas stations, shopping malls and convenience stores where prices are fixed. But aside from these and a few other locations, you are bound to get a good deal if you bargain for a better price.
Get some sunscreen, as sometimes the sun can be very hot in Indonesia. So, it’s crucial to take proper clothes and some protection against the sun. Sunscreen isn’t expensive here, and it can help save your skin!
These are some of the best trips that you can keep in mind during your trip to Indonesia. Visiting Indonesia can be an extraordinary experience, all you have to do is just to go ahead and enjoy it! But, of course, do keep in mind these great tips, as they will help take your travel experience to new heights!
The Angklung is a traditional musical instrument made out of from two bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. The tubes are carved so that they have a resonant pitch when struck. The two bamboo tubes are tuned to octaves. To play this instrument, the base of the frame is held with one hand while the other hand shakes the instrument rapidly from side to side. This causes a rapidly repeating note of sound. The Angklung is originally from West Java in Indonesia and it has been used and played by the Sundanese since the ancient times.
In the Hindu period, and the era of the Kingdom of Sunda, the Angklung played an important part in ritual ceremonies. The ceremonies were inherent to Sundanese communities; in country and everyday living. As time has passed, the Angklung has received more International attention. Since then, Angklung has been used for educational 9 and entertainment purposes, such as Traditional music festivals and also are able to accompany Western music instruments in an orchestra.
In November year 2010, UNESCO designated Angklung as a Masterpiece of oral and intangable heritage of humanity. As part of this acknowledgement, UNESCO insisted that Indonesia preserve their heritage.
Actually in 2011, The Adelindo Angklung founders, Bapak Ferry and Ibu Yenny Chandra, established the Adelindo Angklung in Adelaide. They have been very busy entertaining in Adelaide and I had the opportunity of joining the Adelindo Angklung group. The group of angklung musicians which is made up of members from Adelaide Indonesian Senior citizens group (Lansia Group).
Our weekly schedule consists of rehearsal every Friday evening from 6 PM to 10PM at Bapak Ferry & Ibu Yenny Chandra’s home (Saung Angklung Golden Grove) and we are able to perform at schools; churches; Nursing homes and Multi Cultural Festivals around Adelaide. Our group the Adelindo Angklung, played for the first International performance with an invitation to play angklung at the 6th Auckland Indonesian Festival in Auckland, New Zealand.
Our mission is to introduce and share one of Indonesia’s traditional musical instruments through the sound of the bamboo and we can inspire, share joy and create Harmony with the Nations.
Ratna has been an Indonesian Tutor with VLLC for many years.
We hit Phuket with a group of business colleagues on a convention week. We stayed at one of the more up market resorts which was a little out of town but only a 10 minute trip in a tuk tuk. The ladies hit the markets pretty well straight away and believe me there was plenty to see and buy. We went from stall to stall, trying our hand at bartering and some of us got quite good at it. Converting Aussie dollars to Baht and vice a versa, took a bit of getting used to but one smart cookie had a little conversion table in her purse. It wasn’t totally accurate but it gave you a pretty good idea of what you were really paying.
A group of the men headed to the shopping area to get fitted for suits. Can you imagine 8 men in a tailor shop all picking out suit and shirt material and being fitted for their suits? I got a glimpse of this scene when we were passing by and believe me it’s quite a sight. It’s worse than a gaggle of girls on a shopping frenzy. Over the next few days the men went back to try on their new suits, have adjustments made and add extra requests to their orders. In an amazingly short space of time these wonderful tailors had quality suits, shirts and ties made to order all for less than a cheap suit in Australia. It was incredible to see how much fun these men had with this experience.
In an earlier blog I shared some of the tips, tricks and good advice we received for our trip to Thailand but over the next few weeks I would like to share some of our experiences too. In the meantime we would love to hear from you; what went right, what went wrong, trip highlights, funny or even disturbing stories.
Join the VLLC community and share your stories. Helen Dorling VLLC Aust
Spain is a tremendously popular tourist destination with a host of diverse attractions from city breaks to sun, sea and sand on the beach. The country has a superb climate nearly all year round and is easily accessible by many forms of transport. Package deals make Spain easy to explore for anyone of any age but with English speaking guides who know a great deal about the more popular sights in the country. But what if you don’t want to be park of the flock and visit places that are not so touristy?
English is spoken by many younger Spaniards, but to go beyond Flamenco and Castanets’ one firstly needs to have some ability to speak Spanish. Spain is a country that Spaniards are proud of and when exploring, the true passion and love for the country really emerges through the use of language. Being able to speak to the locals, beyond just getting directions, opens up so much more about any country and Spain is one of those countries that, just when you think you have seen it all, you discover something new.
Take the Wamba Ossuary. “An Ossuary?” I hear you say. In simple terms, an Ossuary is the resting place of human remains, and the Wamba Ossuary is one of the best in the world, and yet not too many people know about it. The collection of bones goes back to the 12th or 13th Century and the bones were transported to Wamba in the 1800’s and the place became a national historic site in the early 1930’s. Speaking Spanish at this unique attraction will allow you to hear the stories and tales that many may not get to hear making the visit that much more memorable.
Speaking Spanish opens up the country and its people to you. If dead bodies are not your thing, then a visit to a Spanish wine estate to sample some of the best wines in the world takes on a whole new meaning because you can ask questions to the people, farm workers who may have some interesting tales to tell. Wine and conversation go hand in hand and being able to converse in Spanish makes a wine tasting experience something memorable.
Having some control of the Spanish language allows a tourist to see the real Spain, whether you choose to spend some time in Madrid or Barcelona or even a small town in an area away from tourists and other travellers, language opens up a special adventure. Exploring how Spaniards live and work, visiting different suburbs, exploring by public transport and striking up a conversation with a stranger can lead to some fun and memorable times that without the language could never before be imagined. If you would like to learn Spanish before you go on your adventure, give VLLC a call!
Travelling is an exciting opportunity which can be enhanced by learning the language before you go. This blog contains some interesting articles about language and travel.