Published: July 9th 2012July 9th 2012
Definitely a great place to stay if you are in the area
Our first stop in Indonesia is Yogyakarta, once we got off the plane we decided to take the 1a public bus to our guesthouse, Bladok Losmen on Sasrowijayan just off of Malioboro. It seemed easy enough and definitely cheaper than taking a taxi! However, it was really hot carrying our backpack's and the bus was packed to the brim.
We missed our stop by about 1.5km which meant we had to fight our way back up the street of Malioboro; one side is mostly food stalls (or warung) and the other side is mostly shops that sell everything from bracelets and watches to handcrafted wood art and batik clothing. It seems this is not only a great place for backpackers and travellers but also a hot spot for Indonesian vacations so the streets are always packed. Eventually we came across the street we were looking for, Sosrowijayan, this is where our guesthouse is and it's a really great little place. It has a pool! And mandi (squat toilets)... yepp it's been interesting lol
Once we got settled into our guesthouse, we wanted to walk the streets and see what this place is all about. Our street is lined with
Ojek's and Becak's wanting to take us everywhere, "Transport?", "Sultan palace?". An Ojek is a motorcycle that can take one person and a Becak's is a small carriage pushed by a guy on a bike. There are also horse-drawn carriages called Andong.
The few words we have learned are:
Thank you - "Terima Kesih"
No Thank you - "Tedak"
You're Welcome - "Sama Sama"
We are slowly picking up a few things here and there. The next phrases we want to get to know are "Good morning" and "How are you" along with responses to how are you.
After such a busy few days getting here, we wanted to lay low for a while. The first day and a half we didn't do much other than try different foods, get lost in a massive market, drink happy hour beers and just chill.
Finally yesterday, we were up to doing something more exciting so we wanted to go to the Kraton which is the Sultan's palace. Unfortunately, we when got there we found out that it was closed since the Sultan has some important visitor's. Luckily the Water palace isn't too far away. There
There were bags and bags of anything you would need
are a lot of people that live around the Kraton and Water palace because if you work in either building, you can live in the neibourhood tax-free. Getting to the Water Palace was a little sketchy because you basically have to walk through a villiage/neighbourhood of little houses. But once you get in, it's really neat.
We had a guide go through with us and once I (Rebecca) decided he was nice and not trying to scam us, he was really knowledgable. He said that since the Kraton was closed he was happy to guide us around the water palace. Luckily Tyler had read that these types of guides are common and will take you around for any donation price. We gave him 1,000rp which is about $1CDN.
A few things about the water palace:
This is where the sultan would go for rest and leisure, along with his forty wives! There are several pools and canals, and a watch tower where the sultan could observe everything. There are also lots of rooms for the guards, and rooms for praying, and one room with a big wooden bed - the 'romance room' ;)
The story goes
Two pools; one for the wives, one for the Sultan and his lady of choice
that the water palace was designed by a Portugese architect in the 1700's, and upon its completion the sultan had him executed, to keep his pleasure areas a secret.
After the Water palace, we made our way back home and started planning our next few days. We decided to go to Borobrodur today and then head out tomorrow to our next destination.
Borobudur was breathtaking. It is the largest buddhist monutment in the world, and shaped like a giant lotus flower. We woke up bright and early (4:15am) to catch a bus and see the monument just after sunrise when the mist hasn't lifted yet. Again we were able to get a guide for very cheap and he took us, along with some friends we met (Irish guy, Dutch girl, French guy, and Swedish guy) around the monument explaining everything. Before we even got to the actual monument, he pulled us off the trail and started scratching the ground. There is still about an inch of ash covering the actual soil from when Merapi (a GIANT volcano close by) exploded in 2010. Over 400 people died, thousands of homes were destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people were
The gardens that lead to the entrance
evacuated from the area. Our guide told us that Borobudur had to be closed for a month to clean it up and that meant all of the employees and guides were without income during that time. Over all it was an extremely devastating event for Central Java.
Once we got to the first level of Boro, he explained how many lions there were, how many buddha's there were, how many bells or stupa's there were and the meaning for everything. I can't remember it all off the top of my head. I do remember that there are 9 levels. The 10th level is the massive stupa on the top. You cannot reach that height because it is considered perfection and no one is perfect.
Borobudur was made as a Buddhist temple with Hindu inspirations. A lot of the way it was built and why it was built is to create acceptance with the world and within each culture. "We are all human", we were all born on the same earth and there is no reason we can't all get along.
Another really cool thing about Boro is that it was originally constructed about 1200 years ago. However
The stupa's and mountains in the background. In each stupa is a buddha.
a few hundred years after it was built, there was a massive volcanic explosion that covered the entire thing as well as an earthquake. All of it's inhabitants evacuated the area and it sat there for hundreds of years under tonnes of ash. The jungle actually regrew over it until it was again discovered by Raffles (a British explorer) in the 1800's. It was then uncovered and has gone through many restorations since.
Our next plan was to go to Mount Bromo, however we have read that it has been much more active the last few months and we might not be allowed in the area, let alone walk along the rim of it. So we have found this coastal village that we are going to check out for a few days. It is called Pacitan and we don't expect there to be much english or internet so don't be alarmed if you don't here from us for about a week.
After Pacitan, we will wander east to Bondowoso which is close to another volcano, Ijen. As soon as we heard about this place it was evident we needed to go there (expecially since Bromo is
out of the picture). Ijen is also a volcano, but it has an acidic lake in the crater. There are also sulfur mines in the area. Workers go in every morning and carry out sulfer sometimes weighing up to 125kgs.
We have finally been able to upload some pictures of the last few days. Hope you enjoy :) Talk to you soon
There are more photos below