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How to Survive The European Museums

1.NEVER ever bring your backpack or unfoldable umbrella or walking pogo stick or chihuahua in Gucci bag or gigantic handbag nor any other carry-around thingy into museum unless you are ready to put it in the cloakroom (which I hate to do since it takes quite a while and also sometimes you have to pay for that)

2. Invest in museum card. Available in most European countries with popular museums. It save a lot of money and time since you don’t have to queue. Oh and it also made you some kind of VIP celebrity visitor with queuing herd of people staring envily at you while you strut into ‘special entrance’. It felt good when I did that in Musee d’Orsay ;-)

3. Remember in mind to come earlier if you have a plan for visiting museum in Europe. It ‘s a big business, people! Unlike our museum in Motherland where there are times when you are the only one visiting and you felt all those stony Hindu deity statues staring at you and…oh, nevermind. Just arrive early if you hate to queue or find an alternative entrance (for instance do not ever enter via the Pyramid in Louvre where the queue is always dragonishly and agonizingly long. Unless, of course, you want to pull a Robert Langdon-running-from-policemen stunt in front of blitzing Japanese tourists)

4. Check out the internet if they have a special program available like guided tour or free entrance (For Louvre, it’s every Friday night, special for student). And make sure to write down the opening hours. The last thing you want is to go somewhere, queuing for hours until you know the whole life story of people in front of you and rejected by a stone-faced guard right in front of your sorry nose. It happened. A lot.

5. Wave your student card everywhere you pull-out your wallet. Never hurt to ask. As an Asian (specifically a poor Asian student with minimum euros and maximum yearning) I suggest you to smile a lot and look as young as possible (no red lipstic and sophisticated LV bag, fake or not) since most Europeans are lost in telling how old you are. I passed for under-age museum card in Paris after I unshamedly admit I was a 16 years old. All’s fair in love, war and shoe-string traveling, baby.

6. Give yourself a break of museum. Don’t insist to see art museums in a row (like I did) because in the end it would seem like a blurred view and not a single precious memory of a painting that takes your breath away. Plus it’s tiring and all you want to do in the end of the day is staring at people with hollow gaze and feel your brain is outside your head (like I felt).

7. NEVER take a picture of yourself in narcisstic pose in front of hundred years old painting. You should see, enjoy and study it; not bragging about it. I see a mass of people did that in Louvre. Taking a picture in front of Madonna of The Rocks or flexi-glassed Monalisa seems to be all the rage in Louvre. Merci Monsieur Brown for ruining the authentic Louvre experience.

8. Always read the brochure. It’s printed not just for souvenir to show folks back home or to tell your grandchildren many years to come, but to give you direction and give hightlight to certain section of exhibtion you interested the most. If you have little time to spend or the museum just not meant for one day visit or you are with tag-along companion who keep asking how long you need to stare at Picasso’s masterpiece which his or her 5 year old brother can make, that’s the only thing to do.

And as Master Yoda always tell Anakin Skywalker, May the Force be with you!

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