strivetoengage

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Travels in Indonesia with children part 8 (Kotagede)

Today we spent the morning in Kotagede with the friend of a friend as our gracious guide. The cab ride there was the first in this entire trip that used a meter. We started our walking tour at a lovely colonial style building complex with a coffee shop, restaurant, silversmith workshop and shop. We saw a civet in a cage beneath a sign for civet coffee. We learnt about the process of converting silver ore into beautiful silver jewelry, for which Kotagede is famous and I have a lovely pair of earrings as a birthday present!13897087329140 13897087638272 13897087987235

Kotagede is also famous for kipo which is a dessert from that area of Yogyakarta (the old town). We were fortunate that our new friend is charming and chatted to a lady as she made kipo while we watched. It’s only made in two shops and is made of coconut, palm sugar, rice flour and is gently fried on a banana leaf.

Making kipo

Making kipo

Next we explored a network of alleyways in the old part of Kotagede and my husband and son were delighted when we found a village barber open and available to cut their hair. While we waited for the haircuts to finish we explored the neighborhood and discovered a chrome plating business in an old kalang house next to an old joglo house. Our friend chatted with the owner of the business while we gazed in amazement at the cheap and rough looking jewelry and ornaments converted to dazzling shiny treasures by the process.

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Lech Walesa stayed here in 2010

Lech Walesa stayed here in 2010

Joglo house

Joglo house

Next my son wanted to lead the way and by taking a network of interconnected alleyways we ended up at the Cepuri Fortress which housed the royal palace, mosque and cemetery. We were allowed to walk around the mosque just minutes before a prayer time, we saw the carved gates with Hindu designs that mark the entrance to the cemetery. We walked through the public baths that are in what was the moat surrounding the fortress and accidentally disturbed a woman who was bathing after washing her clothes (no doors on the baths).

Public baths with catfish in the water

Public baths with catfish in the water

Cemetery gate

Cemetery gate

Fortress wall

Fortress wall

Fragment of wall

Fragment of wall

Finally we were allowed access to the locked building that houses the three stones that remain of the kedhaton (royal palace). The keeper of the stones smiled throughout his explanation to our friend and seemed to be a lovely man. Unfortunately our daughter chose the entrance to that special building as the place for a foot stamping meltdown and the poor man was trapped inside while she stamped about unable to control her emotions due presumably to irritation with her neither, uncertainty, over stimulation, lack of personal space and constant alertness. I burned with embarrassment and confusion over what to do in such a situation and wondered what is the point of this holiday if every day is marred by such incidents. Fortunately we generally succumb to such episodes one at a time because it would be disastrous if all 4 of us had a meltdown at once!

Lovely community education murals are common in Indonesia

Lovely community education murals are common in Indonesia

1389709165054613897092463242We were delighted to try the handmade chocolate at Monggo chocolate factory in Kotagede. It was started by a Belgian fellow and the chocolate is made from good quality, locally sourced cacao.

Monggo chocolate

Monggo chocolate

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After some more strolling we caught a horse drawn carriage to the tourist village of Yogyakarta and had lunch at the lovely Via Via Café. We were surprised to read in the menu that vegetables are washed with boiled water, organic vegetables are used when available, boiled water is used for ice cubes etc. We celebrated by eating salad for the first time in over 3 weeks! The café embraces many of the principles that we uphold as does their shop with community fair trade goods, and it was an oasis from the hustle and bustle outside.

Kotagede central market

Kotagede central market

Via Via Café

Via Via Café

After lunch we went our separate ways from our new friend and walked over halfway back to our hotel but finally realised that we could spend more time in the pool if we used a carriage instead. We were charged 3/4 the rate of our 1st trip and this was a longer ride but when we rode the carriage this morning with our friend we were charged much less for a far greater distance. It can certainly become tiring trying to fend off exploitation and the expectation that we are a walking rupiah sign for so many people in touristic places like Malioboro Street.

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One comment on “Travels in Indonesia with children part 8 (Kotagede)

  1. Pingback: Travelling with children in Asia part 2 | strivetoengage

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This entry was posted on January 15, 2014 by in Travel and tagged , , , , , , , .
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