On Friday, we packed up and headed to Yogyakarta (or Jogja). It’s a city in the centre of Java, both literally and figuratively – it is known as the cultural “heart” of the island. We’re spending the week here for language training, and we decided to arrive a few days early to do some sightseeing with our friend Maria.
It was only a one-hour flight, and we arrived safely in Jogja despite some doubts. In addition to the usual traffic going to the Jakarta airport, which we managed to get through relatively unscathed, the flight itself was pretty bumpy. I’m not a great flier to begin with, and turbulence makes me feel like my guts are going to drop out, and this was one of those landings. We made it safely, even though we came in a bit “hot”… At least it was justified when I looked across the tarmac and saw what we just flew through!
The hotel we stayed at Friday and Saturday was a fancy colonial-era place called the Phoenix hotel. It was beautiful.
On Friday night, Maria and I went out to the local ViaVia cafe (which most of you other travellers may have seen elsewhere – it’s a global thing). I had a simple, tasty dinner of kraton tea (cardamom, cloves, lemongrass, dragon fruit, ginger… some other stuff, yum!), lamb shawarma and mango mousse, serenaded by a local jazz band. The cafe also organizes tours, so we signed up for a car and driver to take us to Borobudur temple Saturday morning. That trip deserves its own post, so stay tuned!
On Saturday afternoon, we made a trip out to a local silversmith shop. A work colleague recommended him as her good friend, and he was very amenable to our visit. He showed us around the workshop and demonstrated some of the techniques. We had a great time picking out some jewellery to buy after that! After the silver shop, we wanted to visit the Monggo chocolate factory, but it has just closed. The shop was still open, though, so we had the oh so unhappy chore of buying chocolate to console ourselves with.
For dinner we visited a beautiful little restaurant called Kesuma for a traditional javanese dinner. We arrived very early (since the chocolate tour didn’t work out) – they weren’t even open yet! But the owner was so friendly and welcoming, and let us come in for an early sitting. The food was absolutely fantastic.
On Sunday, we changed hotels to one closer to our language school. This hotel is not quite as classy, but still very comfortable with lovely local decor. Then we headed to a restaurant called Melias for lunch, which is a vegetarian place that teaches local street kids how to cook and manage. Nevermind that, it was delicious, simple food. And there was a play area for the kids, which wins points in our book any day.
Now we’re planning to head to dinner at a pizza place down the street and go to bed early. It’s a school night, after all!