Monday, June 8, 2015

Day 9, Central Java: Winding down

We had a lot of possibilities for today. Our original plan was to visit Solo and Candi Sukuh, but once the day was upon us, the thought of up to seven hours in the car wasn't all that appealing. So we looked at some closer options: Mt. Merapi (jeep tour to see the lava field), Kaliurang (hiking/views in the forest), or a combination of Imogiri (royal graveyard) and Parangtritis (beach). Ultimately, we chose none of those.

Over breakfast--during which I finally got to try local specialty gudeg (jackfruit boiled in coconut milk and other ingredients)--we decided on a shorter trip to Kota Gede, a historical area now a suburb of Yogyakarta known for its abundance of silver workshops.

Gudeg with chicken and egg
Originally, we were thinking we'd take a taxi there and back. The hotel suggested a car and driver for us for three hours, and that was a really good idea. We'd surely have been very lost without someone who knew the area.

Our first stop was the royal cemetery, which is adjacent to the Great Mosque. To visit the cemetery, we had to don some appropriate attire, which included sarongs and tops. There are men's and women's dressing rooms on opposite sides of the courtyard, and (at least in the women's side) an attendant helps ensure proper wearing of said attire. Once dressed, we were led through the cemetery to a tomb (only open limited hours on Mondays and Fridays) where Mataram kings and others are buried.

Dressed for a visit to the royal cemetery
Once back in our regular clothing, we visited the market and did some other light shopping in a silver factory housed in what must be one of the area's vintage buildings.

Kota Gede market 
Kota Gede silver workshop
Our three hours of transportation up, we returned to the hotel and wound down by the pool for the afternoon. We were, after all, on vacation...and the hotel does have a very nice pool (and happy hour specials at the pool).

Lounging by the hotel pool
After a walk around the "neighborhood," which involved getting lost in the narrow streets north of the hotel where we basically felt like we were walking through people's living rooms, we stopped for one last happy-hour round of Gin Slings and then dinner at Madam Tan, across the street from the hotel. Dinner was not quite as interesting as the night before, since the restaurant has an English menu--but it did hit the spot at not much more than $15.

The neighborhood...just down the road from The Phoenix Hotel (yes, that's the Golden Arches on the right)
Rijsttafel at Madam Tan
Finally, we took one last walk down the JL Malioboro, which is hopping at night with plenty of interesting-looking food vendors, lots of students, and even a little live music. It would have been fun to join in, but we had to pack for an early flight to Bali.

Evening on the JL Malioboro

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