domenica 7 dicembre 2014

Yogyakarta the friendly city

We took an executive wagon train from Bandung to Yogya (or Jogja) and in 8 hours of comfortable trip, with very nice landscape, we arrived to this nice city. We paid 340.000 IDR, by plane it's nearly the same price!
Everybody in Jakarta was repeating how hot, beautiful and cheap was Yogya. Yes they were almost right.
We got a very nice Istana Batik hotel with swimming pool next to the railway station and to the central jl. Malioboro. It was nice to walk around a big concert at the end of Malioboro, lot of Indo tourists, lovely young students, shy residents with whom we had nice chats but once again the problem to find a place to eat...being stubborn Italians we thought we could relax in the room, surf on the web, have a swim in the pool and then have a good dinner at 22 or 23 as we usually do in our country in summertime...HUGE MISTAKE, after 22 or even 21:30 in Yogya you can only have some local food on those small food stalls in jl Malioboro, although often this food was very spicy and not so tasty, I was able to fill up my stomach BUT my poor buddy obliged me to search around for a decent small restaurant. No way, NO luck, we had to learn to have dinner EARLIER, it allowed us to discover nice restaurants like Pizzeria Nanamia where we liked to joke as kids disturbing our Indo neighbours. Another good place to suggest is the pub and Legend pub and restaurant, nice people, good music, lovely and cheap food!
One morning while renting a motorbike (50.000IDR a day) we got friend with a nice guy from Malang, Mifta, who suggested us to join him, his brother and his pretty veiled girlfriend to Borobudur Buddhist temple. We left at 10:30 and after filled up the motorbikes left toward our temple.
No need to say that I was the worst, slowest and always last positioned biker, the traffic jam was frantic, the Indo drive style unpredictable if not crazy (it reminded me Phnom Pen silly way to snake among the other motorbikes and cars), as a result we all, especially I and Valerio (who is however an experienced biker), had to pay attention and keep very well concentrated. You can also add the at midday the sun in Yogya area is so strong, harsh and bitter and despite the locals we were not well equipped (which means we were not totally covered in a Saudy-style so useful while travelling in Asian countries), we arrived after this 40km and 45 min totally spoiled, shattered, drenched in sweat!
In Borobudur we were wise enough to rent an umbrella("sewa payung" in Bahasa eheheh) bsolutely useful there, the temple is very beautiful, quite big but not huge, well preserved, maybe too crowded with local tourists and school groups and once again we were overwhelmed by the locals curiosity and kindness with their questions, smiles and photos.
In Borobudur too we paid 8 times the entrance fee asked to the locals (240.000 and 30.000IDR) for locals.
In our last day in Yogyakarta, that was fo sure the most interesting and livable city we have seen, we tried to visit the Keraton, the sultanate compound with it's marvellous examples of portraits, photos, documents, instrumental music and furniture of ancient Javanese culture.
During the time of Dutch occupation there were two principalities, the Yogyakarta Sultanate (Kasultanan Yogyakarta) and the smallerPakualaman Duchy / Principality (Kadipaten Pakualaman).
The Dutch Colonial Government arranged for the carrying out autonomous self-government, arranged under a political contract. When the Indonesian independence was proclaimed, the rulers, the Sultan of Yogyakarta and Prince of Pakualaman made a declaration they would become part of the Republic of Indonesia. Everyday there is a different spectacle, entrance fee was very cheap. Pity we could not visit the queen palace because it was unbearable hot(visitors are not allowed to wear their hats yet) and preferd to recover in a Ambarukmo Plaza Mall to have lunch and a good massage.

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