A trip to Central Java: Semarang – Solo – Jogja

If only I could use one word to describe this trip, it would be EXHAUSTED..

I’m working for the oil company which provides an airplane for their employees to fly to Jakarta, especially for company business, training, and medical treatment. However, the company allows us to use the airplane when taking the annual leave (if seats are available). The “ticket” is very limited, only ~100 seats (fokker-100) available for almost ~3000 employees (or maybe about 10,000 people if we count the spouse and children). Company business, training, and medical treatment become the first priority to take those seats, perhaps almost 50% of it..so…u can imagine how “expensive” the ticket is..~50 seats for ~ 10,000 people…it’s scary, isn’t? … For some reasons (I even can’t remember what are those), I decided to try this lucky draw..And…finally..after waiting until “injury time”..I got the ticket!!!

Day 1, 10 Aug 07

Even the bus pick me up at 6.30 AM, the dispatcher told me to stand by from 5 AM (man..r u serious…) because they have to pick up my luggage first. The journey from Duri – Dumai took for about 1.5 hours. Flight scheduled on 10 AM. Arrived at Halim airport, I saw my nanny and the driver waving their hands (feels like old-time, when I was in kindergarten..come on mom..I rather use taxi instead). The flight schedule to Semarang departure at 5 PM..(sssttt, this is the first time for my little brother to travel using airplane, he was so excited at that time).. The airplane landed at Semarang Airport’s Ahmad Yani at 6 PM. It was a scary-horrible experience. The runway is too short, so we can hear the brake doing their best to stop that jumbo jet :D..

Semarang is the capital city of Central Java province. The city has a unique landscape combination: an old-ancient and a new-modern region. Northern part is old city which has a harbor called Tanjung Perak while southern part is a-hilly-mountain which dominated with housing, schools, universities, etc. My uncle’s house is only 5 minutes drive away from airport, located at ‘kota baru’ which looks like Setiabudi – Bandung. Semarang also known for their delicious food..so Semarang = culinary time!..U want to know what’s for dinner? Klenteng..like tongseng (beef with kari/santan) but less santan..it’s super duper delicious!

Day 2, 11 Aug 07

It’s still 4.30 AM but my mom already woke me up.. (mommmmm…it’s holiday!) and told me to get ready because we have to leave Semarang for Solo through Ungaran, Salatiga….(I forgot one city left). It’s almost 11 AM when we arrived at Solo. Our first destination is Tawangmangu waterfall. We, especially me, were curious about this waterfall. We have to pass 500 stairs climb down. It might come up in your mind, it’s climb down..but, let me tell you..climb down/up is the same if we talking about 500 stairs!

Finally, after struggling with those f****** stairs, we finally arrived in front of this beautiful waterfall..feel peace and harmony..suddenly..I heard an orchestra play a Beethoven’s song..(amel..it’s just an illusion!)..Starving..yes..of course..so…a rabbit satay (sate kelinci) became my lunch..I just imagine that is a chicken or beef satay otherwise I will cry remembering that cute little bunny…hiks…After having lunch, I’m thinking how to climb up those 500 stairs..counting my breath..come on Amel!!…(A note for Solo tourism board: Have u ever think about making the elevator/lift?)…Yes, finally I did it! The battle is like never end..after those 500 stairs, I have to climb up to reach parking lot…and my beloved mom called “an ojek” for me! yes..an ojek! the ojek my hero!! we can ride a horse but I have a very bad experience with horse..so..horse..no way! The culinary option in tawangmangu is sop buntut..my 2nd lunch actually..it’s extremely delicious!! ( I don’t know whether it’s delicious or because I’m so starving!)

Next destination: back to Solo then go ahead to Jogja..Before entering Jogja, we stopped by at Candi Prambanan, a tribute for Roro Jonggrang, the most beautiful temple on earth..Since Jogjakarta suffered for the earthquake in 2006, so this temple still under renovated. However, this temple still has its magical aura..unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to see Sendratari Ramayana, a dance show about Ramayana epic.

From Prambanan, we go to Jogja to check in the hotel which located the famous Malioboro street. After check in and have a dinner, we take a night city tour using delman.. Have I told you before I’m allergic to horse? Delman is using horse to pull out the carriage. With all guts that I have…I’m just praying to God…to keep me save while riding this Delman 😛

Day 3, 12 Aug 07

First wake up in the morning, I was thinking to visit Keraton Jogjakarta, a place where Sultan lives. Unfortunately, the Sultan has not wake up yet 😛 (it’s not a joke, his abdi dalem told me that information).. so we went to Bantul to see handicraft and back to Jogja to buy some gifts in mirota batik. After buying something that unnecessary :P..we leave Jogja for Candi Borobudur. The glorious temple that still showing its majestic. “My dream” was to reach the top of borobudur temple buuutttt…u know what happened yesterday..is tawangmangu waterfall (a.k.a Grojogan sewu) ring a bell to you?..so, I decided to take a rest and have a massage in “bale-bale” (like a gazebo) while the other family member take a challenge to climb up the temple…At 5 PM, we went back to Semarang and stopped by at Seafood Restaurant in Gombel, a region in Semarang city near Universitas Diponegoro.

Day 4, 13 Aug 07

Today is city tour time…a classical part of Semarang will give you a historical story of Colonial Dutch in this city..The list include Masjid Agung Jawa Tengah, Laksamana Cheng Ho Temple, Gereje Mblenduk..and visiting Kota Tua Semarang…it’s so lovely!

Day 5, 14 Aug 07

It’s time to go back to Jakarta… Central Java Tour is wonderful!!!

– More stories are illustrated in my web album “An Illustrated Journey” –

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