Trip Start Sep 19, 2010
54Trip End Sep 19, 2011
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Where I stayed
Our train to Jogja left on time. As we were traveling 2nd class it was a non aircon train. This is OK by me because if you want a cigarette you just open the carriage door and have one. The down side of 2nd class we found out was the constant procession of hawkers, and I mean constant. Selling everything from feather dusters to kids toys. But this we could put up with. Give me train travel over bus travel any day!! After leaving Jakarta's suburbs the landscape soon became very beautiful. We passed mile after mile of greener than green paddy fields. Paddy fields are such a brilliant green they have to be seen to be believed
We left the station and walked up the road for a while, then hailed a cab. We did this as we have found that by walking up the road and catching a cab you will always get it at a cheaper price than at a train station taxi rank!! ( one to remember if you ever decide to travel ) We were taken to a hotel we had picked out of our "trusty" guide book and as we have found on our travels the prices stated in the guidebook are far lower than the actual prices you find when you get to the hotel. My guess is that as soon as the hotel finds out it is in the guide book they bang the prices up!! We normally book in for one night then go for a walk and find a cheaper and better place for the remainder of our stay. We should do this straight away but we are getting lazy at this late stage of our travels. The less time we have our back packs on the better!! We checked in and dumped our packs and headed out for some food, the first of the day I might add. We rushed back to have a swim in the hotel pool only to be told that they close the pool at 5 PM !! How ridiculous !! So in a huff we went for a walk and on this walk we found a cheaper hotel with a fantastic pool and the manager said we could swim in their pool 24 hours a day. We arranged to stay at Harmony hotel for our remaining time in Jogja. The next morning we made the move.
Jogjakarta is the capital city of central Java and sits just off the Southern coast
The next morning came around and I could not put off going out on the Moped any longer. In all honesty I was pretty nervous about it. The traffic in Jogja is pretty bad and I just didn't fancy it. But Cathy wanted to so that was fine by me. We had decided to go to Merapi. Merapi is a huge volcano that looms over Jogja. It is known to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world and erupts with alarming regularity. In fact the last eruption was last October. We met a German couple in Laos that had just left Jogja during the eruption. We had a laugh at how they left by plane from Jogja airport not 20 miles from where Merapi was belching thousands upon thousands of cubic tons of ash into the air and how European airspace was closed for days because of a bloody volcano in Iceland!!! Any who, we entered the madness that is Jogja traffic and in no time I was weaving in and out with the best of them
The next day we set out for Borobudur. After negotiating our way through Jogjas' hellish traffic we got hopelessly lost on country roads. I pulled over and asked a shopkeeper for directions. As is usual when I ask for directions I forget everything that is said, nod my head and thank him. I climbed back onto the bike and started to turn back onto the road and let Cathy back on. But I leaned back for some reason and in so doing I twisted the throttle shooting me forward into another bike that was parked up. This sent the other bike flying into a vegetable stall!! All the while I'm still pulling back on the throttle. I couldn't believe after all my good riding in all that traffic I could do something as stupid as this. I quickly picked up the other guys bike who was looking on in horror at what I had done to his bike. He was a nice guy and after inspecting his bike told me to forget about it. Now my attention was drawn to the vegetable stall holder who was inspecting his damaged stall. A hole had been punched into the side of his stall !! He spoke no English at all. I made the best of saying I was sorry and realized he would probably want compensating. In my worried and confused state I reached into my wallet and pulled out a RS 50,000 note and offered it to him. His face lit up and he smiled and nodded his head, he was happy with the compensation !!! Without further ado we got the hell out of there
One and a half hours later we finally reached Borobudur. The site of Borobudur sits in a sort of dish surrounded by hills and Volcanoes, three in fact. It makes for the most beautiful sight. The temple of Borobudur was built 1250 years ago by some Buddhist civilization, long since dead. It is a massive structure that looks something like a pyramid with its top cut off. After the ancient Egyptians the Buddhists must surly be the greatest builders known to man. We had a great walk around this site before heading back to Jogja once again. On our return journey we passed through a village that had been destroyed by last years eruption and I snapped off a few photos. That night we handed the Moped back and I gave a sigh of relief. The next morning we made our way to the airport. On the way we finally saw Merapi in all her glory. The cloud that usually surrounds her had lifted and there she was, a beautiful towering volcano with smoke pluming from the crater summit. We had totally enjoyed Java and Cathy and I would like to visit Indonesia in more depth than just the month we plan to be here. But for now its off to Thailand to meet up with the first familiar faces since Kev, four and a half months ago, Mark and Louise. We can't wait to see them. It should be fun in the sun!!!!!