Back in December I went to Jogjakarta for a few days. Jogjakarta, locally known as just Jogja, is located in Central Java about 5 hours away from Surabaya by train. Jogja is a common vacation destination for foreigners and Indonesians alike. Shopping, history, food, music, culture: you name it, Jogja’s got it! I already wrote about Day 1 and Day 2 in the Javanese cultural capital. Now is the long-awaited third and final installment of the “Snapshots of Jogjakarta” series.
Day 3 started with a long, lazy morning at Ostic House. We (the other ETAs and I) drank coffee and chatted with fellow travelers while we decided what to do. Ultimately we chose to head (back) to the Affandi Museum, which I visited on the first day. I didn’t mind the repeat visit because there is always a new way to look at the works in an art museum. It turned out that we were especially lucky because we happened to meet Kartika Affandi, the great painter’s first daughter who became an artist in her own right and has a whole wing of the museum dedicated to her.
We met her biographer first and he offered to introduce us. Kartika was sitting in the cafe, taking a break between interviews and photo shoots. She is an elegant woman in her 80s and was happy to talk with us and answer our questions after we viewed her work. Her English was impeccable and her life story (as told by her biographer before our meeting) is one of much perseverance and inspiration. It was an honor to meet one of Indonesia’s living legends on that warm December afternoon.
After the Affandi Museum, we wandered by foot into a nearby neighborhood in search of lunch. We had a shot and a miss at Lagani Coffee when our pizzas hadn’t even started baking an hour and a half after we placed our order. So we went across the street to Calzone Express and, after watching the baker’s every move like a hungry dog, we finally got our food around 3 p.m.
At that point there was still some talk of going out to Borobudur temple for the sunset. But with full bellies and the cozy, inviting temptation of Kopi Ketjil, we opted to hang out in the tiny cafe instead of try to make a mad dash for the bus to Borobudur. This was a good idea because a) it started raining heavily just moments after we stepped foot in Kopi Ketjil and b) the coffee was amazing. I’m not an expert but I would wager a guess that the brews served up at Kopi Ketjil could be called artisan coffee. I filmed nearly every step of the process. It was almost more enjoyable to watch the coffee being made than to actually drink it.
Later in the afternoon we went back to Ostic House for nap time, resting up before another night out. Anna flew in from Labuan Bajo to join us and we had a great dinner at Mediterranea Restaurant by Kamil. Mediterranea is one of the most highly-recommended restaurants among the expat community in Jogja. The restaurant happened to be walking distance from Ostic House, so we made our reservations and walked over around 9 p.m. Stepping inside felt like we were in a different country: the decor, the food, the wine list, the clientele… We could have been at a nice restaurant anywhere in the world. The food was fantastic and is the last thing you see in my Snap story for Day 3.
After that we changed our location and tried to get the party started at Sakapatat Bar. I say “tried” because it was not easy. After our song requests fell on deaf ears and the DJ insisted he was already playing hip hop (he wasn’t) we decided to move to Taj Lounge where the party was pumpin’. It was another late night. 😉
Frankly, nothing happened until after noon on Day 4. At 1 p.m. Shreya, Caroline, Jukie, Siham, Anna, and I piled into Ostic House’s car with Taufik, the hostel’s driver. We drove about two hours east of Jogja to see Borobudur, a stunning temple nestled among rice paddies and volcanoes in the Javanese countryside. It is a Buddhist temple that dates from the 9th century and is a modern-day UNESCO World Heritage site. Its stupas also happen to be the cover image of the most up-to-date Lonely Planet guide to Indonesia.
Jukie, who had visited the temple several times before, had a self-guided tour downloaded on his tablet. We gave ourselves the tour and took turns reading from the book, which you can see a snippet of in the video. After that we took the requisite photos with the stupas before we were ushered out of the park by stern reminders delivered through an intercom system.
Before heading back to Jogja, we stopped in Magelang to see MAN Magelang and SMK N 1 Magelang, Siham and Jukie’s schools. From one ETA to another, it is always fun to get a taste of a “day in the life” of someone else. For the full experience, Jukie also let us check out his house then took us to his favorite warung for dinner. Taufik drove us back to the hostel afterward and it was early to bed for everyone.
At last, the final day in Jogja! We started off right by waking up early and hoofing on over to ViaVia Cafe. The breakfast was divine. After dining, our chariot (a.k.a. an Uber) whisked us away to Taman Sari, the water palace of the sultans of Jogja of yore. The city has grown up around the palace, so Taman Sari is pretty centrally located. We bought tickets which included a free guide. Ours was an old man who shared some facts and had an eye for photo ops, though we quickly discovered why the guides were free. They were primarily there to direct the tourists’ attention to the many shopping opportunities available on the palace grounds.
Workshops for paintings, batik, wayang kulit, and all sorts of other cultural knick knacks were in abundance on the palace grounds. Photos were free so I contented myself with that while everyone browsed.
Up next: we walked to Malioboro, the busy shopping street I visited on my first day, to buy oleh-oleh [souvenirs] for our friends and co-workers. I bought a dozen boxes of bakpia, one of the few snacks I like in Indonesia. After Malioboro I had my final lunch in Jogja at Yam Yam Restaurant, a Thai restaurant that whetted my appetite for all the good Thai eats coming my way in May. With my plate cleaned and glass empty, it was time to say good-bye and head to the train station.
That’s it! That’s the end of the 5 Day Jogja saga. Thanks for sticking with me until the end. 🙂