Lake Toba to Medan via Berastagi (12th May 2014)


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May 12th 2014
Published: July 20th 2014
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Monday, 12th May 2014

After breakfast this morning, the few of us were ready to leave Lake Toba to embark on our long journey to the city of Medan. As advised by Berend, the helpful owner of our homestay, we decided to enter Medan via the market town of Berastagi. With frequent stops along the way, this would make our long journey less painful and more eventful.

We took off to Simarjarunjung, the highest point along Lake Toba where ginger tea and toasted bananas were served at a hotel's café. The drizzling rain did prevent us from venturing outdoors which would otherwise afford a good view of the surroundings on a clear day. The cool winds of the mountains was best appreciated with a nice brew of ginger tea, a specialty from the highlands.

Another 60 minutes on the road brought us within striking distance to the Simpang Si Piso Piso Waterfall. This was a relatively narrow waterfall even though we were impressed by the rapid torrents of water in terms of sight and sounds. We had a late lunch near Berastagi where a good view of the Mount Sinabung Volcano could be afforded from where we were seated.

Opposite the restaurant was a beautiful house with a huge roof which I had a good time snapping pictures out of it. The rains were already gone by then which gave us an opportunity to walk around the neighbourhood after our meals.

It was late afternoon by the time we reached our accommodation at the Grand Aston City Hall in Medan. To our huge disappointment, the 3-bedroom apartment that we reserved earlier was given up (by accident or on purpose?). The only option given to us when we checked-in was 3 different rooms including a room on the smoking level (Perfect?).

Grand Aston wasn't bad for the price we paid but the matter could be handled in a more professional manner by the Front Office. In terms of service recovery, I would give the hotel a zero (0) rating. This was a shame given the well-maintained rooms and its prime location at the heart of the CBD. A copy of my nasty review is available here.

For our dinner and shopping needs, we made a beeline to the Centrepoint Mall across the Town Square and beyond the Railway Station. The heavy traffic and dimly lighted roads made our 15 minutes commute on foot a sort of nightmare even though the nice dinner was worth the efforts getting there.

We spent the rest of the evening shopping for conveniences at the huge Lotte Mart before retiring for the night with a round of card games, Medan style.

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