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  • Day21

    Cemoro Lawang to Solo

    June 27, 2018 in Indonesia ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    OK so I thought buses and minivans were bad but actually being in a people carrier car is actually way worse. We jumped in and the car was full and we got to Probolinggo in 2 hours. From there it took us 9 hours with one small break and it was super super uncomfortable. It really didn't have any legroom and although it was supposed to have AC it was actually more like someone breathing softly on you with hot air. When we stopped and got back in you could really smell all the sweaty bodies that are baking in the car. Luckily we were only going to Solo, whereas everyone else was going to Yogyakarta which was going to be another 2 hours!

    We got to our hotel and it was lovely and modern with a TV! So guess what we did with the rest of the evening... We watched the South Korea vs Germany match haha wow what a shocking result!

    The next day we wandered straight out the hotel, picked up Nasi Campur and a few nibbles (we had no idea what they are) from a little old lady and then headed to Kraton Kasunan which is the Royal Palace and then just wandered round the town and to a market where I was finally able to buy fresh fruit. I think in Vietnam I must have had a least 2 portions of fruit a day but I've found it so difficult to buy it here. God knows why! Then all of a sudden we realised the time. We had arranged a call with someone at 8am UK time and we got our time difference wrong so we were already 30 mins late. We attempted the call but couldn't get signal and it was too noisy so we jumped into a grab and went back to the hotel. Phew. All was fine in the end. Then it was time to finally accept that we are going home in a week and needed to sort out life. So we rang the doctors to book appointments for an MOT, rang the hospital for my final nonepileptic attack disorder appointment (fingers crossed to be fully signed off!!) and then finally the garage to book in my cars service and MOT, wow having a normal life is going to be fun 😭

    Eventually after all the calls we headed out in the dark, and found Srabi (pancake with a jellyfied coconut milk filling). They only sold them in packs of 10 of which definitely didn't need but the lovely owner gave us one for free to try. They were yummy. Then we found a lovely little coffee shop. The first guy who took our order didn't speak any English and I always like trying things I haven't heard of... normally it turns out OK... I ordered Ice Smile Coffee haha well it definitely put a smile on my face when I realised what it was! It turns out that I ordered a cold mix of coke and coffee. It was super weird but oddly tasty after a couple of sips. As we hadn't eaten properly since breakfast we were pretty peckish so I grabbed a pack of biscuit things called... They were a soft biscuit on the outside filled with a not so sweet hard coloured paste in the middle. They were so moreish and dangerous we must have nearly eaten half the packet haha Then the owner came out and served us Paya which is a traditional warm sweet biscuit from Yogya another tasty treat. After sitting, contemplating our future and enjoying our odd mix of treats we went for a wander before enjoying tasty Nasi Lemit on a street corner served by a lovely lady. It's been a very mindful day. Myself and Will have talked a lot about our future (well the short term next year) and about how incredible the last couple of months have been. If you told me I would be sat on the floor on a street corner of a busy mainroad eating dinner while barely noticing/ not being slightly distracted by the street noise I would have laughed at you. But honestly I love it. I love eating my dinner on street corners, watching the little old ladies cook the most incredible dishes on a tiny stove and watching the world go by. Oh and the smell of the freshly cooking food and the background hum of the scooters whizzing by is almost soothing! And what makes it perfect is when you get the most delicious simplistic dishes served in their simplistic form. We must have just sat and enjoyed the moment for at least an hour. I'm going to miss this. We hadn't done as much as we'd hoped but enjoying the moment to me is much more important than seeing sights.

    The next day we wandered down the main street. As I mentioned earlier I have been longing for fruit and in particular fresh juice. First thing I picked up for our foodie and sightseeing day was a mango juice and Srabi. Yum, what a great start. Then we went to Soto Triwindu to pick up a "proper" breakfast which is a super yummy beef and rice soup. The cafe was like sitting in an old classroom with glass cabinets displaying a range of tempe, crackers and other snacks to accompany your soup.

    All fed and full we headed to Mangkunegaran Palace had a pleasant tour round, visited Pasar Triwindu which is an antique market full of all sorts of trinkets, then finally to the House of Danir Hadi a Batik museum. Batik is an Indonesian design which was originally used for Royal sarongs. It was very interesting to hear and see the various influences on the Batik design from the Dutch colonialists.

    Unfortunately as it was a Friday, after trying to go to a couple more museums, we realised that everything shuts early so instead we found a stall selling mango juice and sat reading our book on the street for a short time. Our plan for the evening was to head to watch a Indonesian Opera, but it didn't start till 8pm so we had about 4 hours to kill. After feeling a bit silly for sitting on the street we headed to a posh coffee shop where we would be able to sit and read our books for much longer. During our chill out we decided to try and plan what was becoming our last week in Indonesia! Initially we thought we would just spend the time sightseeing the cities and eating our bucket list of food, but as usual this is not exciting enough for us so we decided let's hike up another ridiculously sized volcano! We did some very last minute planning and ended up hiring a scooter, planned the day to visit local templesand hoping we can find some accomodation when we arrive in the evening before hiking up Gunung Lawu.

    After planning we headed for a quick dinner and then back to watch the Gamelan Opera. Now, we had no information about the opera in terms of plot or length of showing. We realised how important this is... Maybe too late. We sat down, quite excited to watch something new. Then the music started... Let's just say it was different. I remember studying Gamelan when at high school. I remember it being different and really interesting to study, but when played live, maybe this particular genre, it just sounded like noise. Harsh, non rhythmic, atonal, noise. (Apologies for any offence). The opera then started and in under 1 minute we were completely lost. So we sat and we waited and tried our very hardest to understand the characters and what might be happening. In the end we made up our own plot line. Obviously there was a man who fell in love with a girl and an evil... Monkey man. For the first half an hour it's OK to have little understanding and playfully make up the plot of the story. However, after still being there 1 hour... 1 and a half hours... 2 hours... 2 and a half hours it becomes crazy ridiculous! Even some members of the audience left! But we stuck it out to the dear end and out of nowhere the audience applauded and stood up to leave. It was a difficult 3 hours, but we got through it without sleeping 😉 Absolutely exhausted we jumped into a Grab and went back to the flat to pack our bags ready for our journey to the temples and Gunung Lawu.
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