Monday, September 10, 2018

Surakarta (Solo) - Jogyakarta

The last day. In fact, the finale. The finale to our sightseeing before we permanently bid bye-bye to Yogyakarta. That's right everyone. Our last day to sightseeing which will put a permanent full-stop before we pack our bags and return home next morning. Will I return to "Jogja" again? I don't think so (Jogyakarta Part 3 & Jogyakarta Part 2) because I am one person who seldom travel venture to the same destination again and I think we have to a certain extent already achieved much in terms of Jogja sightseeing. Or maybe, just saying, there are other sightseeing spots we have missed out? Then again, what else can you do in Jogja? (Mount Merapi Tour & Borobudur Yogyakarta)? You tell me. For those of you who have already travel conquered Jogyakarta at the back of your hands, maybe you will be the best person who can tell?    

For us personally, by this 4th day, left only one more place we are yet to discover. Surakarta, aka Solo we will be embarking on later. Our day starting off with the usual hotel buffet breakfast (Harper Mangkubumi), another delightful and truly pleasing to our food senses meal, I especially loved all those various types of local traditional dishes most of all, off we left to Surakarta, aka Solo. 

Located in Central Java and a historic royal capital, it took us approximately an hour plus, prior to us arriving in Solo and the drive mind you, what a drive man! Akin a rocker and shaker which kept us wondering if we will reach Solo or we are heading to heaven or hell. Oh god! The driver, the same driver who have been driving us around, seemingly was like possessed by the driving devil. Seriously, he was literally flying and cutting lanes like nobody's business for no apparent reason or maybe he is racing against time. I really can't tell you why. But definitely it was a crazy drive. How did our tour guide in return react? He was calm and composed. Says it all I suppose. Driving In Jogyakarta or I was also told that overall, this is the driving scene in Indonesia. Hence, tour guide was unshaken unlike us and to loosen up the crisis and frightened bulb alert on our faces, he started singing all those Broery Marantika famed songs, Who is Broery Marantika are you asking me? The number one known Indonesian singer those days and his popularity spilling over till Malaysia. Mind you, I am still his ardent fan and of course, I quite know all those songs tour guide sang and his singing definitely putting a broad smile on our faces and once I started grooving as well, it was the moment to laughter and fun until we didn't pay attention to hell driving. All the way till driver pulled the breaks in front of “Pasar Trivindu” or Trivindu Market. 

What's in store in Pasar Trivindu? Pretty much in and out of the narrow aisles and from the first floor to the second floor for seeing all sorts of the antic collection. You name it, you will see and then what? Nothing. Unless you are an antic collector? Otherwise, skip Pasar Trivindu or take it as an experience and part and parcel of what Solo has to offer, but, honestly, I am quite well verse to such a antic scene. Go to the flea market in Amcorp Mall during the weekends and you will know what I mean. Of course, I am referring to in Malaysia.  

From Pasar trivindu, we made our way, we basically walked to Mangkunegaran Palace. Plastic bag given for putting our shoes and we carrying it throughout the palace, while at the same time,  listening and following the local guide provided by Mangkunegaran Palace. Mangkunegaran Palace? Alright. No questions and no two ways about it. Impressive combination of traditional Javanese architecture and European influence interior and Palace? Palace, any palace for the matter, should hold many, many years history (Copenhagen & Kochi)? You are right and we trying our utmost best in digesting the facts narrated by the guide, or shall I say after some time, listening didn’t matter. Mangkunegaran Palace, also known as Pura Mangkunegaran Palace, dating from 1757, and still accommodating the royal family till this day, was built through a long history under the rule of Mangkunegaran I and do I have to say that housing the royal family collection and all things correlated? These collection can be seen in the royal halls, in each section, as well as along the corridors leading in and out of the courtyards and garden. Honestly guys, given a choice, I would have skipped Mangkunegaran Palace because I doubt it would have been a major lost to my travelling gram. Then again? What should I say? Mangkunegaran Palace listed as a must explore and must do in Solo?

Where to next? Lunch bell rang and we heading to Restaurant Pecel Solo. My-my! Ambiance really a stand-out. As if you have walked into someone’s rustic and traditional those days house. Regardless, let me tell you that being seated in the stuffy, cramped dining area and hardly any space breather to move around was not a comfort zone. Food by far too was not a major delicious pop-up. In fact, just so-so and pretty much only acceptable. Pretty much the same like those we have already tucked into in other eateries Maybe those were far out much better. Nevertheless, in all fairness, credit due, not high distinction though, must be credit given right? Rice set meal and dessert were not winners, but did reflect how a traditional Indonesian meal should be.  

After lunch, we were dropped off in front of Pusat Grosir Solo. Basically our shopping time for the next three hours. Goodness! Me going in and out of the first floor and then? I gave up. Believe me, these are the same things you can buy anywhere and really, the common stuffs of Indonesia. 5 minutes most to most, I had enough. While the rest of my tour buddies eagerly shopped, me and the other tour buddy crossed the road for grabbing a drink from one of the stalls amongst the many lined up in a single file and side by side. Killing our time, basically, by quenching our thirst, and simultaneously chic-chatting, and later further idling our time by standing and waiting in front of the mall, thank god, thereafter we left for Mata Mata Museum.  
Mata Mata Museum? To tell you the truth, initially I was quite blur. It didn't strike my mind that Mata Mata Museum is gonna be flipping the coin to 3D Art Trick Museum in Solo until I stepped foot inside (Penang 3D Museum, Langkawi 3D MuseumKorea 3D Museum & Port Dickson Upside Down House). Duh! The usual picture posing and clicking and for putting your camera to full force which I felt I might as well. Already in Mata Mata Museum, what else should I do anyway? Unless, I would have joined the couple who opted to sit outside across the shops?  

An hour approximately in Mata Mata Museum and on our way back to the hotel, at the suggestion of the tour guide, we decided to check out Bakpia Pathok outlet. Bakpia? Yes, Indonesian hand made soft fluffy, crumbly pastry filled with green peas. Green peas filling obviously the most sellable compared to the rest like pineapple and what not I didn’t really take note in this outlet which was swarmed by dozens. As though “come one, come all” its free for all. I bought out of greedy eyes. But a wrong checkmate because when I returned home and I didn’t store the 2 boxes, they became rancid and? Into the bin. 

For dinner, dinner not included on this day, instead of walking the streets again, we agreed to dine in Roaster & Bear Restaurant. We walking in from the hotel and to the adjourning building and up to the first floor. Wow! The other side of dining experience in Jogyakarta. The side to modern, trendy Western restaurant, drawing a different segment of Indonesians. Not those Indonesians you generally bump in the streets, these are the in-trend Indonesians and who said you can't wear revealing and tight clothes in this part of the world? You should have seen them. Dollings, selfing, sipping into cocktails, dining and dressed to kill. Menu too in tandem to a modern concept dining experience. Western dishes and Indonesian dishes as well, and each of us opting for Pizza, Nasi Goreng, Chicken Chop, so on and so forth, and me concluding my meal by sipping into Red Velvet Cappuccino.  

Overall, glad we were we give a go to Roaster & Bear Retaurant, but not affordable if you comparing to eating at the streets. Checkmate and over. Our holiday in Jogyakarta ending and we leaving to the airport next morning. Did I have a great time in Surakarta? No doubt quite an experience, but I think we could have opted for some other more interesting places in Jogyakarta. Having said that, like I always tell you? Nothing ventured, nothing you will find out for yourself and instead of wholeheartedly believing all those fantastically things coughed out on social media. 

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