I finally visited my Dad’s hometown!!
After 25 years of my life, I finally got to know how my Dad’s hometown looks like. I took a day trip by train cause it’s pretty near, just an hour away from Yogya. The train, Sri Wedari, departed from Tugu Station Yogyakarta to Solo Balapan Station. It was an electric-diesel train; clean and quiet. Love it!
Photo courtesy from here.
In memory of Momi, Lala’s most beloved soft toy.
Visiting Solo was actually not a part of my itinerary, but I was a little clueless and I don’t have any plan at that moment. Once we left Semarang and reached Yogya, we were on our own as there was no more tour guide for us. Coincidentally, Lala was on her business trip to Yogya and she decided to stay there in the weekend. We met right after she’s done with her company event and she ‘lead’ this day trip. Isn’t my favorite panda such a savior? :’)
Me and my favourite panda ❤
*Please excuse our 3-hours-of-sleep face, LOL*
Reached Solo Balapan Station, we hung out at the station (yes, hung out at the station). And you guys can guess for what. Yeap, selfie timeeeeee~ LOL! After all, we’re Indonesians and Indonesians love to take selfies, so we taught May Ping how to be a real Indo, hehehe 😀
Actually, Mami and I were amazed with the train station. It is super clean and organized, we have never seen train station like this. I mean, it’s a train, not a metro or LRT or MRT so our perceptions are always crowded, messy, unorganized, dirty, etc. But…… it is totally different from our perceptions about train station. Look at these!
We then wandered around Kauman Batik Village. It is known that the batik, t-shirts, clothes, and souvenirs that are sold in Yogya are produced in Solo. Thus, if you have a chance to visit Central Java and wanna buy souvenirs and batiks, you should definitely pay a visit to Solo. I actually didn’t believe that at first but this day trip is my way to prove whether this rumor is true or not. My finding is, for batik, the price is not so much different, but for other souvenirs like t-shirts, sandals, batik boxers, etc., they are much cheaper in Solo. At least, you can bargain as low as 1/3 of the price. The plus-plus point to come to Solo is that you can shop peacefully. I mean, literally, PEACEFULLY. You can walk through one seller to another without any distractions and disturbance. Unlike in Yogya in which it’s so cramped and always full of people, can’t walk and can’t even breath, boo!
We also had breakfast by the road side near the batik village. Anyone doesn’t love street food here? Oh come on, you gotta be kidding me! I just love street food. I love the feeling having a meal not in a restaurant nor cafe. Just like that fine morning, we were just sitting on the stool by the road side, talking to the residence of Solo while enjoying a banana-leaf-plateful of nasi liwet. We noticed that Solo people are almost as friendly as Semarang people. The way they talk is soft, polite, and attentive. The other thing that we noticed here is that the lifestyle is really laid back. We didn’t see people rushing, running, chasing, or anything like what we always see in Malaysia or Singapore. They move slow, but they are not lazy.
‘Nasi liwet’ is rice cooked in coconut milk and chicken broth, served with ‘opor ayam’ (chicken in a mild white coconut milk based sauce), scrambled egg, and ‘labu siam’ (chayote/choko).
Since it’s a quick trip, Lala suggested us to take a double-decker tour to go around town. I was like “What?!! Double-decker?!!”, unbelieving what she just suggested. I admitted that I underestimated this town. I always thought my dad is from a village full of paddy field, LOL. Even Melaka just had their double-decker tour like a year before I graduated from university (probably around 2010) and this small town has a double-decker tour?!! Can’t believe what I just heard.
Apparently, ‘Werkudara’ double-decker has become a new icon of Solo. Where have I been?
Finding: Solo is green, clean, neat, well taken care, and has a lot of statues.
Peeps, all in all, Solo is such an amazing town and I really really enjoyed the tour. I would say it is the cleanest city that I’ve ever seen in Indonesia. Seriously, I don’t see a single trash on the street AT ALL. The tour passed by the central traditional-market known as Pasar Gede (literally means ‘Big Market’) and I have never seen any central market this organized. I spotted the becak (rickshaw) parked in front of the main entrance very neatly. Oh, we also passed by the culinary center just outside the central market. It’s basically a row of street cafes selling traditional foods of Solo and Central Java. I think Solo is a good destination for a culinary trip as well, I have been thinking of coming back here for a culinary trip.
For you guys who are thirst of cultures, Solo offers a very thick Javanese culture just like Yogyakarta. It is actually the seat of Surakarta Sunanate kraton (palace) and it has two royal palaces. I kinda felt sad that the double-decker tour didn’t drop us in the palace, I actually really wanted to see the palace just to see how different it is compare to Yogyakarta palace. I also wanted to see the very famous Bengawan Solo river who has made its name into a legendary keroncong song. I grew up with this song played on our radio tape. Ah well, another reason to come back another day.