TASTING LEKKER WHILE EXPLORING SURAKARTA
Sometimes going out of town all day is necessary.
Get away from the busy city. At first, I thought of visiting Solo or Klaten or a little bit further such as Semarang. Then I asked a friend to go to Solo with me. She agreed since hadn’t visited the city of Solo for a long time.
We took the train from the Yogyakarta train station. There were still many seats and train ticket’s price met our budget. The train left on time. About 1 hour and 10 minutes we arrived at Solo Balapan Train Station.
We took a bus from the train station to the city center. The public transportation is not as easy as Yogyakarta. Several times we had to ask as there were no clear signs. Plus there were no officers who assist passengers. We waited for a long time without knowing what bus number or direction we should take. Moreover other public transportation also stopped here. It was so confusing.
Finally, we found a bus to the Keraton Surakarta area. That was not regular city bus such as Trans Jogja but more and less like intercity buses.
It was almost noon, we agreed to have lunch before venturing further. I heard about delicious goat satay with a perfect combination of Tengkleng Solo. Tengkleng is leftover bones and meat taken from goat. Then mixed with various goat innards such as the tongue, ears, and other meat that still attached to the bone. It seems more or less like curry goat.
We shared food and enjoyed until we could not eat more.
To burn the calories, we walked to the Surakarta Palace. Besides not far away, I wanted to see as many historical places as possible.
We passed the Gladag Gate which used as the entrance to the Surakarta Keraton area from the north. Designed in the form of a curved gate and made of iron decorated with various game images.
On the right and left side, there are two giant twin statues called Reca Pandita Yaksa. As a reminder to humans not to be afraid of the temptations and trials of life. Several banyan trees planted on the right and left side of Gladag Gate.
When we walked, my friend told me that Klewer Market burned in 2014. I disappointed since I was looking forward to seeing this traditional market. I love the traditional market. Every time I visit cities and countries, I stop by at the market. I like the smell, hustle and bustle and different market characters.
Klewer Market during the Japanese occupation was at the train station. The vendor traded batik and all kind of materials that had anything to do with batik. Then Pasar Klewer developed in 1942-1945 and expanded until 1968. Now Pasar Klewer is the largest textile market in Solo, Indonesia.
I saw many traders selling their goods under the Banyan Trees. Traders of gemstones, Kris, traditional clothing, women’s accessories and more. Some spread their goods on the street and many made temporary stalls. A temporary solution until the government has finished rebuilding a new market.
We walked to the Surakarta Grand Mosque. The Mosque is in Lor Alun – Alun. Since the mosque is the royal grand mosque all employees are The Keraton Surakarta’s. They have different positions and ranks.
One of the characteristics of this mosque is the sun clock to determine prayer times. While I waited for my friend, I walked around the outside of the mosque and took some photos.
Not long my friend finished praying, we met at the exit gate. We walked to the Surakarta Palace. Although the trip to the Palace was quite short, we walked in the hot sun. Apart from that, there are no pedestrian walkways, we had to be extra careful walking on the big road.
Kasunanan Surakarta joined the Republic of Indonesia since 1945. Even though the palace become the main tourist attraction, the life of Sri Sunan and the palace goes on as usual. They still conduct all the old royal tradition and ritual.
Some part of the palace’s home affair offices transformed into a museum. It was Kadipaten complex or Panti Pangarsa. Now the museum exhibits various collections belonging to Kasunanan. There are gifts given by European kings, replicas of palace heirlooms and gamelan.
Visitors also enjoy temple fragments found in Central Java. There are also display various types of cooking utensils. Not to mention various ancient weapons used by the royal family, as well as art equipment.
The museum also exhibits a royal chariot and different kind of palanquins. I never saw before so many palanquins exhibit. Different size, shape, and usage. Yet the only color is brown, light or dark one.
There is a courtyard in the middle of the museum with different kind European style statues. There are also teak logs from the Danalaya Forest and the Kakipaten Well or Sumur Sanga.
We took some time to enjoyed the atmosphere of the museum. We sat at outside and people watched. But we could not linger too long in here. Apart we had to catch the last train, we did not understand the transportation system. We did not know which bus we had to catch to take us back to Solo Balapan Station.
Long story short, after asking around we arrived at the train station. We were so relieved but the feeling was not long. There was a long queue, like a snake.
It turned out that the next train ticket to Yogyakarta had run out. There were two options we could to take a more expensive train or queue for the next economy class train. There was no guarantee that we would get it. Many people experienced the same story as us. Some even queued for hours but had to queue again to take the next train.
We had to back to Yogyakarta, so we took the expensive train ticket.
The train departed from Solo Balapan Station to Yogyakarta within 25 minutes. When we reached Yogyakarta Station, we said goodbye and took a separate bus back to our houses. It’s a good day. A day out with a good friend of mine.
This post is also available in: Indonesian