This past weekend I took a little road trip to meet a couple friends in Yogyakarta. Friday evening I took the “executive bus” (which means it has a/c and advanced seat reservations) for the 3 ½ hour trip from Semarang to Yogyakarta. It costs about $4.50. When I arrived in Yogya Amber and I went for dinner and drinks at a fun little café catering to foreigners. I had an arak (rice wine) cocktail that was basically the Indonesian version of sangria – a red wine concoction loaded with pieces of tropical fruits. Delicious!
Saturday morning Amber and I went to the main market in Yogya while we waited for our friend Sarah to arrive from a nearby town. The market was overwhelming but did yield some good buys in the batik department. Plus a little old man who possibly worked at a stall (although that was never quite clear to us) took us under his wing and became our guide to the market. He kept introducing us to all the other sellers and informing them that Amber and I each teach at universities in Java. I was really thankful to have him along when we got to the spice area of the market as he was able to name some of the otherwise unidentifiable items and explain some of their uses. I love me some markets so this was fantastic!
When Sarah arrived we took a taxi to Borobudur, one of the largest Buddhist temples in the world. We stayed at the one hotel that is actually on the Heritage Site grounds, meaning we could visit the temple as we pleased. What fun to be able to come and go and not feel rushed to visit the monument. We strolled around it in the afternoon and then enjoyed night time views of the temple from the hotel’s outdoor restaurant. We were all duly impressed, but retired early because of the early morning ahead.
Sunday began with a 4 am (!) wake-up call so we could join the hotel’s Sunrise Tour at 4:30. It was great because 1) there were limited tourists at this time (the temple doesn’t officially open until 6:30 am so only those with bookings on the special tour can get in early) and 2) the temperature is actually pleasant that early in the morning. We enjoyed serene views of both the temple and the surrounding mist-covered mountains and volcanoes, all under the glow of the dawning sun. Breathtaking.