Soundly resting in Amaris Hotel Sriwedari made me woke up just as Shubuh call to prayer rang out. Taking time to enjoy the dawn from behind a glass window in the room, I decided to splash under the shower with warm water afterwards. I deliberately lingered under the shower, perfecting my muscle relaxation after since two day before I had to chase with time doing lots of survey agendas exploring Solo City.
After more than half an hour of bathing, I immediately cleaned up, tidied up my bag and prepared myself for my third day of survey. On exactly seven in the morning, I was at hotel’s restaurant for breakfast. While Rahadian, my Vice Chair of Marketing Conference, had been in the restaurant since half an hour ago. He leaned closer to my dining table when I ate fried rice combined with mendoan*1 and hot coffee. We chatted and discussed about the last survey that day.
After thirty minutes in enjoying a variety of restaurant menu, Rahadian and I started ordering an online taxi for heading east to Baluwarti area. That morning the official palace belonging to Surakarta Sunanate became the first survey destination on my third day in Solo. Shortly waiting in the lobby, a black Toyota Agya came to pick us up. I immediately got into front seat and Rahadian at back, then that online taxi started went for two kilometers in ten minutes to reach the destination.
Fifteen minutes before eight o’clock, I arrived at Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace. That day, I planned to shorten our survey time because Rahadian would come home early by catching Lodaya train departure to Bandung at 13:00 hours. Therefore, I went to palace when its operating hours weren’t yet opened.
Rahadian and I enjoyed palace frontyard which also functioned as a one-way traffic lane. But there was one part of palace building which really stole our attention, i.e a thirty meter high tower which was visible from palace frontyard. That was Sanggabuwana Tower which was founded 38 years after palace building was built. It could be guessed that this tower functioned as a watchtower because this palace was founded during Dutch colonialism era.
Like an city planning of the ancient kingdom era, Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace was flanked by square, i.e Alun-Alun Lor (North Square) and Alun-Alun Kidul (South Square). Alur-Alur Lor was a busier square, this was where the “Sekatenan” (Night Market) was held to commemorate the Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday every year.
So to explore area around the palace, I started to continue my journey to Alun-Alun Lor by walking. Alun-Alun Lor was no more than half a kilometer from palace and could be reached by walking in ten minutes.
What were destinations around Alun-Alun Lor?
Mendoan*1 is a type of fried food that comes from the residency of Banyumas, Central Java, Indonesia
Nyi Roro Kidul*2 is an Indonesian goddess of the sea. She is the Queen of the Southern Sea (Indian Ocean) in Sundanese and Javanese mythology