Asia

Discovering Yogyakarta

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3.30 am Is this real life? I didn't know anymore. Despite having been sleeping for almost two days, I could barely keep an eye on that night. At 4 am the hotel restaurant opened and we had breakfast nasi goreng (fried rice with vegetables and chicken meat) and mie goreng (fried noodles). At 4.30 am we got on the bus that took customers to the different terminals of the airport and, after forty minutes, they left us, the last ones, in terminal 3.

Air Asia's flight to Yogyakarta It came out on time and almost half empty and at 7 am o'clock we finally set foot on the first destination of our route. Two days after starting the trip. Upon leaving the tiny terminal, we hired a taxi at the counter, while taxi drivers and intermediaries tried their best not to hire the taxi at the official office. We paid 55,000 rupees and with the receipt in hand we went to the taxi rank outside in search of the taxi number that we had indicated on the receipt and that was waiting for us.

Yes in Jakarta what predominates on the asphalt are cars, in Yogyakarta It's the bikes Hundreds. In all the intersections there are dozens of motorcycles waiting for the green light of the traffic light to resume the march and, half camouflaged between them are the bechaks, tricycles that can carry two small passengers or a very large one.

We booked a room at the Duta Guest House hotel based on the price (325,000 rupees with breakfast and pool) and the location (Jalan Prawirotaman, a street full of restaurants and travel agencies). Also, upon arrival they told us that they were giving us a 10% discount, I still don't know why. The room was a little shabby but clean and the hotel had a swimming pool, which suited us well for the heat.

At nine in the morning, we went totally sleepy to visit the city. By boat soon, Yogyakarta is a seemingly small city with low houses. In the same street of the hotel we find the Ministry of Coffee, famous for its coffees, and there we enter to make the second breakfast of the hobbits. With caffeine in our veins, we walked to Kratonpalace where the sultan of Yogyakarta lives and that can be visited by paying the corresponding entry. Although, theoretically, it was 20 minutes from the hotel, it took us a few minutes to arrive, first because of the suffocating heat and second because, despite the fact that the people are friendly and kind, a man who offered to orient us I think that In the end, it turned us around.

Sweaty and tired, good morning, we arrived at Kraton. Admission costs Rs 12,500 and includes a free guided tour. Upon crossing the walls, we find that the show they do every day from 10 am to 12 noon. I had just started. Mondays play orchestra gamelan, which is formed by various percussion instruments, including one that is made up of different brass “pots” arranged in a row on a kind of half-meter high bench that the musician is responsible for pounding without apparent rhythm reproducing a sound of The most peculiar. To that you have to add the sound of gangsa (kind of xylophone) that also beats at discretion and a lady who sings in a tone of falsetto that makes you burst the eardrum. Sorry I was not able to appreciate the traditional music of the gamelan, maybe it was because of the dream.

The visit to the Kraton has consisted of visiting several pavilions open to the public. Keep in mind that the Sultan lives there (and still rules) and that you have to go through a few rooms with objects that had belonged to various sultans: that if the riding boots of Sultan VIII, that if the suit of boyscout of Sultan IX, that if the mittens to remove the trays from the oven of Sultan X (who was fond of cooking) ... and so on for two hours.

Exhausted, we left at 12 in search of Water castle, building near the Kraton and in which formerly the sultans spent hours of heat cooling in their pools along with their harem. It had to have been easy to get there, considering the proximity, but it wasn't. We walk and walk, we pass through a minimarket of birds, we cross some labyrinthine alleys and, in the end, I don't know how, we got there. I suppose the man who accompanied us for a while should have helped, but in reality for less than a euro we would have saved our suffering: we should have gone in bechak.

He Taman Sari It was quite destroyed in the earthquake of 1865, but the pool area is very well rebuilt, although along the way a man assured us that it was all covered with scaffolding and that it was not worth the visit. In October it is low season in Indonesia and there is hardly any tourism and much less foreigners, so when we saw each other, everyone approached to help us out, most of the time causing the opposite effect. To show, the man we met while going to the Kraton, after choosing the longest road thanks to the indications of a nice motorcycle mechanic. The aforementioned gentleman accompanied us for a while saying that he worked in the tourist office and that he had left work to go find his daughter at the nursery. He not only told us that we were walking more than the bill, but it was he who told us that the Taman Sari was all with scaffolding and that it was not worth the visit. And if your help had not been enough, when we walked back to the hotel, he showed us the way wrong and we ended up lost, tired and a little deranged.

At that point, the only solution (apart from ritual suicide) was to accept the services of one of the hundreds of bechaks They approached us that morning. Nor do you think that we suffer an avalanche, that they are not stressed either. After haggling a little, they took us to the hotel for 11,000 rupees.

Upon arriving at the hotel, we plunged into the pool to try to suffocate the calorazo we were carrying. Once fresh, we decided to go out to eat near the hotel and we stayed at the Via Via restaurant that is a few meters away. The restaurant is very cute (and touristy) and the food looks very good, although we were disappointed a bit since I ordered chicken and there were more bones than meat. The good thing about this restaurant is that it has a travel agency that organizes "different" excursions. And so we spent the afternoon: leaving and entering the agency, leaving and entering the hotel, consulting the Internet and consulting the guide, to finish hiring the excursions we wanted to do in the area and the excursion to Gurung Bromo volcanoes and Kawah Ijen It was costing us to close.

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