Designing Dinner at De’ Tjolomadoe

I said goodbye to Mr. Bekti, a marketing staff of Swiss-Belinn Saripetojo Hotel who had accompanied me to complete our survey to several important hotel rooms for the purposes of my company’s Marketing Conference.

But when we want to leave the lobby. Someone who named Treavy, vocalist of Artcoustic Band called Rahadian who was next to me.

A vocalist of Artcoustic Band want to held a meeting with us in this hotel, Sir“, Rahadian quietly said.

Yes, we can do a meeting with him in hotel lobby“, I decided.

Finally, I and Rahadian decided to wait for him in hotel lobby. We just wanted to lightly negotiate about the cost of renting an Artcoustic Band for a 2 hours show in Marketing Conference gala dinner later.

Fifteen minutes later, Treavy arrived. And we immediately negotiated and found an agreement in no less than 30 minutes. We discussed required sound system power, show cost, musical instruments which would be carried and show duration. Ourconversation seemed fast because we were pressed for time to do a lot of surveys that day.

After Treavy said goodbye, we immediately took an online taxi which had been waiting in parking area for 5 minutes.

De’ Tjolomadoe, Sir?”, the driver briefly said when I sat next to him.

How long, Sir?”

Thirty minutes, sir. The distance is far enough….Ten kilometers, Sir“, he replied while cheerfully smiling.

I understood that this historic sugar factory building was located outside Solo City, precisely in Karanganyar Regency. The black online taxi which I was riding was heading west. Sunlight reflecting onto asphalt roads made the city even hotter. The sun was perched overhead, 12:00 hours to be precise.

The road currents were slightly congested, and online taxi have choked up at some point. Slightly missed the estimated time, I arrived at the front gate of De’ Tjolomadoe.

De’ Tjolomadoe courtyard.
Front gate.

The exs-sugar factory building looked dashing from its court, its thick walls broadcast its sturdiness, its height was amazing and a chimney in the middle made it classic. More elegant with bright cream paint that still looked new. Understandably, after a long renovation, this building was inaugurated for use about six months before my arrival.

I started queueing at front gate. When it was my turn to entering the door, security guard handed me a pen.

It’s free promo Sir, just write your name in guest book, Okay!”, He politely ruled.

Yes, Sir“. I replied with a smile.

I entered the front hall which was called “Gilingan” Station. This “Gilingan” Station appeared to be the main area of this Sugar Factory Museum. Giant machines appeared in it. While the right side wall provided information about events which were held at De ‘Tjolomadoe such as David Foster & Friends concert, visitation of Mr. Jokowi Widodo (President of Republic of Indonesia), Habibie Festival and other events. De’ Tjolomadoe’s photos before and after its revitalization were also sequentially displayed.

“Gilingan”Station gate.
Giant machines in it.
Event informations.
“Karbonatasi” Station.
Handycraft Storefronts.

I started to go deeper. Entering the section which was titled as “Karbonatasi” Station with the appearance of smaller machines, combined with handicraft storefronts. Storefront display which amazed me was Batik display which were showed by Solomadoe and Omah Camera.

Turning at building corner, I found the third room which was the “Penguapan” Station. The giant tubes perfectly appeared and displayed on its steel legs. The existence of flower pots and art shops made this room more livelier.

I felt increasingly impatient to see the atmosphere in Food and Beverage section, because I have a unique event concept for Marketing Conference later. I planned to hold a dinner on the first day of conference at this Sugar Factory Museum if they could provide an available restaurant which could facilitate participant quota of 76 people.

I arrived at a place where I was headed, namely “Ketelan” Station. The restaurant was called Street Food Festival. I went straight to operation manager and gave him the details of why I meant to visit. With various schemes and strategies, he finally decided that he could accommodate my plan. He was willing to add stools and cutlery for the D-day. He also didn’t hesitate to give me attractive discounts.

“Penguapan” Station.
“Ketelan” Station gate.
“Ketelan” Station.
Tjolo Koffie.
Street Food Festival.
Bye De’ Tjolomadoe.

Even an hour and a half I explored De’ Tjolomadoe and made sure the setting of one of the important events at that place. It was time to go to Amaris Hotel Sriwedari to do  check-in process and putted some items so that my steps didn’t get heavier.

Food Testing at Swiss Belinn Saripetojo Hotel Solo

Hi Donny, make our Marketing Conference event very great and meaningful. I have booked a very good and strategic hotel for our event. You have to survey it and design our event according to hotel facilities which I ordered ”.

That was a brief greeting from my CEO a week before I conducted a survey to Solo. A sentence that holded hope and certainly becomes a burden for me as Chairman of Marketing Conference.

What I knew, this hotel was located in Laweyan area and right across from Purwosari Station which was the second oldest train station in Solo. And my first day survey, i putagenda of visiting this hotel in the itinerary.

It was still morning….The time was 8:38 hours and I already had some sufficient information about Jaladara Tourist Train rental for Marketing Conference purposes later. Now I was in front of Solo City Transportation Board courtyard and waiting for an online taxi picked up me.

Soon the taxi arrived and I hurried up. Rahadian sat on back seat on right side and I chatted with the driver in front seat. Rahadian continued to try to contact marketing division of hotel which we were aiming for, Mr. Bekti was his name. It seemed like Rahadian was a little annoyed because he couldn’t reach him.

Never mind, we’ll just ask on the spot“, I lightly muttered.

Yes, Sir Donny” he briefly replied, then his gaze flew out the taxi window to enjoy the atmosphere of Solo City.

Lobby and reception desk.
Escalalator to Robinson Department Store.
Toilet near reception desk.

The online taxis were moving towards southwest, about three kilometers. And in 15 minutes arrived in front of hotel lobby. Swiss-Belinn Saripetojo Solo, the name of the hotel. Located on south side of protocol road, namely Slamet Riyadi Street, directly opposite the Purwosari Tabanas Monument.

Our CEO was kind. He ordered a three-star hotel which was integrated with city’s shopping center, namely Robinson Department Store. But who would have thought that this hotel was a former ice factory building from Dutch colonial era in 1919.

As soon as we got off from online taxi, we went straight to reception desk and asked where was Mr. Bekti who was in charge in marketing division. It turned out that he was in a meeting and we had to wait up to fifteen minutes.

For some time waiting, Mr. Bekti came and a moment later we were invited to tour to all rooms which would be related to our Marketing Conference event. Starting from the meeting room then continuing to the barelo (bar, restaurant, lounge), swimming pool, fitness center and spa and massage room, all shown one by one.

Corridor towards ballroom.
Lounge in front of Keraton Balroom.
Keraton Ballroom.
Keraton Ballroom.

The main survey, we allocated it to see the Keraton Ballroom, because this location would be the main venue for our event. We have to pay attention to ballroom layout in detail to design the best form of event which could be done.

Meanwhile, the second facility which was be our goal is barelo. We would make a plan that this place would be the location for a gala dinner with local band, namely Artcoustic Band. We were also allowed to do food testing to determine the best menu which we will chose to serve at the event.

Lounge in front of barelo.
Barelo.
Outdoor Barelo.
Outdoor Barelo.

It was just a shame, I couldn’t see guest room because in that morning, rooms were still full of guests. Finally, our last survey was conducted to see swimming pool, fitness center and spa and massage room.

Swimming pool..
Fitness Centre.
Spa and massage.

We thought the survey this time was enough and it was time to go to next place.

Hunting for Jaladara Train and Balekambang Park

Riding a Dutch heritage train was an important agenda item in Marketing Conference in next October. Therefore, on the first day of my survey to Solo, Jaladara Tourist Train was the first priority. And a board which could be informed about this tourist train was Solo City Transportation Board.

So after enjoying the last spoon of Dawet Telasih Ice, I left Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional market to Menteri Supeno Street. My goal was to meet an officer who was in charge of Jaladara Tourist Train rental license and asked about its mechanism and costs.

Office of Solo City Transportation Board.

Not long waiting, an online taxi picked me up and drove me there. Not far, only four kilometers at west of Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market, in 15 minutes I arrived. When arriving at Solo City Transportation Board which its atmosphere was very busy, maybe since this morning, many vehicles have been queuing to do KIR test. That was the only magic certificate for a transport vehicle to hunting Rupiah in my country.

I was directed by a security guard on duty to a small building which was functioned as an office to meet Mr. Sandi who was a Jaladara officer. But Mr. Sandi was having a meeting and wasn’t there. Finally, I only got a little explanation about Jaladara Tourist Train from an officers on duty. The information included rental price of IDR 3,500,000 per 3 hours, if you wanted to add a tour guide, music and market culinary on the train, you needed to add around IDR 2,100,000. And the latest information was that Solo City Transportation Board also offered me a Werkudara double decker bus service which could be used to Solo City tours.

Storing that information and while waiting for Mr. Sandi, I decided to visit a city park near Solo City Transportation Board office, only 600 meters away, so it can be reached by walking. The city park was Balekambang Park, an integrated art park covering an area of 10 hectares and was located in Manahan area. Balekambang Park was one of art performing venues in Solo, besides that, this park also had functions as an educational park, botanical garden and recreation park. Every month, there are art performances in this area. Sendratari*1 and Ketoprak*2 are performances which are often held there.

Gate of Balekambang Park.
Main area of Balekambang Park.
Information of next performing art.
Lactation Room for visitors.

The art scent of this garden was felt when I entered its gate. A high gate with a carved exterior with a mountain concept was very cool. Meanwhile, several blackboards bearing schedule for performing arts at Bale Kambang were plastered around the park. Made visitors easy for get an information.

Meanwhile, a row of shipping containers were placed on one side of park and have functions for visitor facilities such as Lactation Room and Medical Room. Making this park so human to become a place for performing arts in its entirety.

If it was classified, the eastern part of park had functions as a place for outbound activities and plant nurseries, while in center of park was an art building and a main garden with an open stage for outdoor performances. Meanwhile, the western part was dominated by lake and swimming pool for visitors to enjoy.

That morning, there wasn’t much I could do in the park because there was really no art event at all. So after I was satisfied walking around, I decided to return immediately to Solo City Transportation Board to meet Mr. Sandi, who might have returned from his meeting.

Notes:

*1=Sendratari is art, drama and dance, drama or story presented in a dance form without dialogue, usually accompanied by music (gamelan).

*2=Ketoprak is a traditional drama art originating from Central Java.

Dawet Telasih Ice and Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market

North Gate of Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market.

Even though Rahadian had just arrived in Solo very early in the morning and had a chance to take a shower and breakfast in hotel, according to schedule, I still checked out from Grand Amira Hotel by Azana. The time was already 8:30 hours when we came out to hotel courtyard.

I immediately ordered an online taxi and headed for Sudiroprajan area to do the first culinary survey. The special culinary which I was aiming for was Dawet Telasih Ice*1, dawet which was consisting of black sticky rice, jenang sumsum*2, tape ketan*2, telasih seeds, liquid sugar, coconut milk and ice cubes.

I was dropped off at the north door of Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market, right next to Pasar Gede Clock Tower. This old market building of Dutch heritage was indeed amazing. The combination of Javanese-Colonial architecture could be clearly seen from the appearance of Colonial-style walls and Javanese-style roofs. Thick walls, high ceilings and windows extending upwards.

When I arrived, market courtyard area was already busy that morning. The flow of visitors who come in and out of the market to shop, traders who flocked to entering their trading goods into market, boisterous of pedicab drivers who looking for passengers and busyness of light culinary traders outside the market made atmosphere of the biggest market in Solo City very lively .

Its Courtyard.
That is Pasar Gede Clock Tower.
Market inside.
Market inside.
Market inside.

I rushed into market inside to find whereabouts of Bu Dermi’s Dawet Telasih Ice Shop which was said to be very well known throughout Solo City. How couldn’t, it was said that Bu Dermi’s Dawet Telasih Ice recipe concoction was 90 years old and hadn’t changed at all since it was first made. Even this Dawet Telasih Ice had become a subscription for Mr. Joko Widodo (Republic of Indonesia President) when he went home to Solo.

Walking through narrow alleys in the middle of market made me immerse in commercial sense of Solo residents. And finally, unfortunate circumstances befall me. When I arrived in front of Bu Dermi’s Dawet Telasih Ice Shop, the shop was still closed and deserted. I tried to ask some traders in the market about when the shop would open.

Later on 10:00 hours, Sir“, they replied.Oalah, aku terlalu pagi melakukan survey dawet ini.

Until 14:00 hours, it usually ends, Sir“, they added information when I sat on one of empty shop benches.

No matter how, I have to find and taste Dawet Telasih Ice to test its taste, because Marketing Conference participants will be directed to Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market to taste this culinary item.

I tried to walk on other alleys in the market, until I found Ibu Hj. Sipon’s Dawet Telasih Ice Shop. Without thinking, I immediately ordered a portion for IDR. 8,000. I enjoyed it so slowly, this Dawet Telasih Ice had very special taste, combination of savory, sweet, soft and cold texture became an appetizing unit. Finally I decided, Dawet Telasih Ice would be the first culinary destination for Marketing Conference later.

One of Dawet Telasih Ice Shops.
Mrs. Hj. Sipon.
Dawet Telasih Ice.

After enjoying Dawet Telasih Ice, Rahadian and I rushed to Solo City Transportation Board to charter a Jaladara Tourist Train*4.

Notes:

*1 : Dawet Telasih Ice is a culinary specialty of Solo City.

*2: Jenang Sumsum is a kind of food in the form of white porridge made from rice flour and eaten with sweet sauce.

*3: Tape Ketan is is a traditional Indonesian food made from sticky rice which is processed by fermentation.

Solo Survey Started from Grand Amira Hotel by Azana

Almost midnight….

The conversation spiced with an additional cup of latte with Mr. Arman in the lobby of Solo Paragon Hotel & Residences was still warm. Meanwhile, Rihsan, his second eight-year-old son, fell asleep on one side of sofa. I was sure that if it wasn’t ended, this conversation would end at dawn. Then I was the one who was responsible for closing this conversation.

Alright Mr. Arman, it’s time for me to excuse myself and rest at hotel“, I said as polite as possible after sipping the rest of my latte.

Oh, it’s almost midnight huh ?. Oh yes, where is Mr. Donny staying?”.

At Grand Amira Hotel, Sir Arman”.

Oh okay. Be careful on your way. See you again next time”.

The streets are deserted. To reduce safety risks, I decided to order a taxi online instead. Soon, I picked up by him. Then, the taxi drove through Honggowongso Street to Pasar Kliwon area. On my way, I tried to track down Rahadian on his way from Bandung to Solo. But my calls weren’t answered, my messages were unrequited, maybe he was sleeping on train.

Is Solo safe or not, sir if i ride a motorbike taxi at night?” I asked to driver to open the conversation.

Safe, Sir. In Solo, online motorcycle taxi runs for 24 hours. Don’t worry”.

Wow that means, tomorrow night I can stay up late in the city, Sir….Hahahaha“.

Culinary night, Sir Donny. Solo is a culinary centre. Culinary here has its own time. There are morning culinary delights, some are open at noon, now at night some are starting to open, Sir“, he briefly explained.

Wow, it’s unique. Culinary traders seem to have their respective sales time slots. Just like a deal….hahaha”, I began to admire the uniqueness of this city.

The taxi driver never knew that my goal to Solo was to do a culinary survey and found several culinary spots which would become a destination at my company’s Marketing Conference event. Tomorrow morning I would start in tasting every famous culinary dish of Batik City with Rahadian.

In 15 minutes, I arrived at the courtyard of Grand Amira Hotel by Azana. Modern minimalist hotel which was booked by my office. For me, Hotel with its cost about Rp. 335,000 per night had become a luxury hotel because I often used dormitories when doing backpacking. My steps in the lobby was greeted by a sweet smile from receptionist who seemed to hurry to standing when he saw my arrival.

Reception desk.
Hotel’s lobby.
My room.
My room.
My room.

“You come very night, Mr. Donny”, he briefly said.

Oh yes, Miss. I had to meet my old friend in Mangkubumen area. It had been fun conversation with him, Miss”, while I handed to her the booking confirmation letter and my ID card.

I see, but you don’t need to worry, our receptionist serves 24 hours, Sir“. Her smile looked sweety while giving a room key and payment receipt to me.

After that I rushed up to room with a lift to right behind of reception desk.

—-****—-

Knock….Knock….Knock“, the sound seemed to have been going on from a few minutes ago.

Oh my God……

I was fast asleep and late to woke up.

Knock….Knock….Knock. Mr. Donny open, Sir!. This is Rahadian”, the voice softly sounded from outside.

It must have been since dark morning, Rahadian had arrived at hotel. I guess that he have waited for a long time in lobby. I saw on my smartphone a lot of missed calls from him. Some Whatsapp messages were unread.

I opened the door and Rahadian’s face was joking as if he was grumbling. “How is it, Sir. If I don’t go up to this room, you will definitely wake up in the middle of day. It’s bad, Mr. Donny”.

“Sorry, Rahadian. Last night, I met an old friend at Solo Paragon. So I was late to go to this hotel….Hahaha. You can shower first, we’ll have breakfast and do a survey”, I joked while rubbing my eyes and jumping back into bed.

Hotel’s restaurant.
Time to breakfast.
He is Rahadian.

This morning I would check out and move to Amaris Hotel in Sriwedari area. Rahadian and I deliberately brought a small and light backpack, so that after checking out, we could freely move without having to put anything at Amaris Hotel first.

Did you want to follow my culinary survey?.

Came on!….

Solo Paragon’s Latte: Adi Soemarmo International Airport’s DAMRI Bus

Mr. Donny, it’s been a long time since we met. Before you go to hotel, please, stop by for a moment at Solo Paragon. We can talk and drink coffee together!”, Mr. Arman short message while I was still in waiting room at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport, Jakarta.

Mr. Arman….He is the husband of my client, a Bangladeshi who became an Indonesian citizen several years ago.

Who are you with in Solo, Sir?“, I replied to his short message.

I am with my second son, sir. I am waiting for your arrival, ok? ”He asked with a little forcefully.

Okay, Sir Arman”.

On 17:30 hours, finally, Citilink QG 126 perfectly landed at Adi Soemarmo International Airport, Solo. In the end, I really canceled on going straight to Grand Amira Hotel by Azana in Pasar Kliwon area. I decided to fulfill Mr. Arman’s coffee drinking invitation.

DAMRI taxi and bus ticket sales counter.
A corridor leads to parking area and DAMRI bus shelter.
DAMRI bus was waiting for me.

Oh yes….

Several years ago, before actively writing on this blog, I had landed at the same airport. It’s just that, at that time I was picked up by a friend with his car to city center. But this time, I would try a public transportation mode to downtown.

I slowly noticed that in the east of airport terminal building, there was a construction project for airport train station which was still half finished. “Finally Solo will have an airport train too“, I muttered. Salute with the development of Batik City*1.

Dark quickly acquired time, I canceled airport exploration. I prefered to immediately look for a counter which sell DAMRI bus tickets. I found that counter in hallway of eastern arrival hall, next to taxi ticket counter.

Get ready for downtown.
Ticket.
See you later Adi Soemarmo International Airport.

That afternoon the counter was quiet, even I only had one queue with a old woman. Behind me, there weren’t passengers waiting in line anymore. Based on information from counter staff, DAMRI bus would stop at its final destination in Tirtonadi Terminal. Towards Solo Paragon in Mangkubumen area, I was advised to stop at Solo Square, a shopping center in Laweyan area. Paid Rp. 25,000, I got a ticket to downtown. “The bus is waiting at its shelter, Sir” she told me.

I quickly walked down a corridor to airport parking area. Seen at the end of corridor, waiting for me a medium sized blue bus. I saw that old woman who was queuing in front of me had entered through the middle door. While the driver seemed to be waving at me to hurry up because bus was about to leave. Even though its seats weren’t full, the bus prioritized punctuality to immediately head to city which is about 15 km away.

The driver checked my ticket before I entered. I sat in the middle seat and soon bus slowly left airport. Riding along Adi Sumarmo Street, continued on Adi Sucipto Street and entered Slamet Riyadi Street. Passing several famous buildings such as De Tjolomadoe, Javenir and Purwosari Station.

Within 20 minutes, the bus started to stop at Solo Square shopping mall and I got off at the edge of Slamet Riyadi Street which is the city’s protocol road. I thought it would be better to have dinner before drinking coffee with Mr. Arman. Finally I stopped at street food stall, I sat down in an “angkringan*2” and ate some “cat rice*3” and some egg satay, shells satay and crackers. Enjoying ginger drink in angkringan was something I haven’t done for a long time. This habit wasn’t a matter of cheap price, but rather about taste and how to spend the night in Batik City.

Angkringan and cat rice.
Arrived at di Solo Paragon Hotel & Residences.

Mr. Donny, have you landed?“, Mr. Arman sent another short message.

Yes sir, I am only 4 km from your place. I’ll be there soon, sir. Wait yes!”, I briefly replied.

I immediately paid for my menu and ordered an online motorcycle taxi to Solo Paragon Hotel & Residences. Within 10 minutes, I arrived and headed straight to lobby.

Entering the lobby, I could see Mr. Arman and Rishan (her 9 years old son) waiting at the door. I shook his hand and lightly hugged then we spent until midnight just talking, sharing and enjoying a cup of latte.

Thank you Mr Arman.

Thank you Solo.

Note:

*1. Batik City is the other name for Solo City or Surakarta City.

*2. Angkringan is a street food stall typical of solo city.

*3. Cat rice in Indonesia is known as Nasi Kucing. Namely, rice packets which is its size is a fist.

Citilink QG 126 from Jakarta (HLP) to Solo (SOC)

Flight route Citilink QG 126 (source: https://flightaware.com/).

Becoming a committee chairman during college….It’s normal.

Then went on to become Committee Chairman for office events….Also it’s common.

Both of them were dizzy and tiring.

Well, this is different….

If you are told to be Committee Chairman at office,but its content program are traveling and culinary. Have you?…..Hahaha.

Yiiyyyy, this was my story….I experienced it….It was real and fun. This was my story when I agreed to become Chairman of the Marketing Conference Committee at my office. So….Let’s be happy, let’s having fun !.

As Head of Committee, I was obliged to conduct a field survey before actual event was held. I did it three months before the event was started. Now, I was going to do a survey with Deputy Chairman of Committee to destination city of the event….Solo.

On Sunday afternoon, with only a small backpack, around 1:30 p.m., I used an online taxi service to Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport to catch a “green airline“. My plane would fly on 16:00 hours, so I have enough time lag, about two hours before boarding.

That afternoon was the start of national long holiday, Sunday afternoon was my departure, Monday was still a working day but I was allowed to didn’t work at office and the day after tomorrow was a national holiday. In next three days, I would not waste time in doing survey for event purposes, as well as conducting city exploration.

Arriving at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport.
The boarding pass to Solo was ready.
Sweet Sit while reading “Linkers” inflight magazine.

My job was very easy this time. Not far from: room survey and food test at Swiss-Belinn Saripetojo Solo, survey of Jaladara tourist train, meeting with Artcoustic Band, survey some historical places, determining where to hunting the best souvenirs and of course, finding and tasting the best culinary in “Batik City“. to be designated as culinary tourism destinations….Wow, cool.

I couldn’t imagine how enjoyable this trip was, because I didn’t need to spend a penny, all costs would be paid by my office. But this time, my Deputy Chairman who was from Bandung, his name was Rahadian, was an aerophobic, so he insisted on choosing to use train from Bandung to Solo. So, the scenario was, I would arrive in Solo this afternoon, while Rahadian would follow me on next day to hotel.

I myself arrived at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport at two pass fifteen minutes in afternoon, taking time to get around to get to know the airport. I just checked-in half an hour later.

Walking on Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport’s apron had always been a memorable thing for me. I could proximity enjoy the plane which I was about to board right from its giant iron legs. Not infrequently, other large aircraft passed right next to plane tail so elegantly but still leave behind the noise which was generated by its two jet engines.

At exactly on 16:00 hours, I sat in window seat which numbered 18F. Moment of sitting in window seat, for me was a planned activity which I prepared before flying. So that seat I would definitely get. Beautiful scenery in the sky is the reason.

The afternoon flight went well, there wasn’t significant turbulence. Because the sky was so clear, two volcanic faces in Java land could be seen very clearly. While Alto Cumulus could be found along this flight route.

Beautiful mountain.
Cotton tub in the sky.
Is that Mount. Merapi?
Solo Touchdown.
Parking at apron which was owned by Adi Sumarmo International Airport.

The Airbus A320 twin jet was traveling at 305 mph over a distance of 371 miles in just 55 minutes. Quick flight which was beautiful.

On 17:12 hours, “The Green” wheel touched Adi Sumarmo International Airport run-off very smoothly.

Thank you Citilink. Time to explore Solo.

Alternatives to plane tickets from Jakarta to Solo can be found at 12Go or the following link: https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

Citilink QG 145 from Semarang (SMG) to Jakarta (HLP)

Citilink QG 145 flight route. Source: https://flightaware.com/

Titan treated me to lunch before arriving at hotel. A portion of Pecel 1* rice near Public Senior High School 1 Semarang. Then he also supplied me with typical Semarang Presto 2* Milkfish to take back to Jakarta. Wow, he was my kind friend.

Before actually checking out, Titan, who was curious about how I chose cheap lodging, he came with me to dormitory room. He paid close attention to dormitory room and its sleeping capsules. “Great Donny, can you sleep in a capsule like this?“, he said with a smile. “When abroad, I did the same thing, Titan. That’s why I can travel at a low cost”, I replied in a whisper.

Toyota Calya in orange metallic color, picked me up at Sleep & Sleep Capsule. Simultaneously, I said goodbye to Titan to leave Semarang. Thank you Titan.

On 15:25 hours, I arrived at the airport. Without further ado and exploration, I hurried over to check-in counter. I was only forty-five minutes from boarding time. Less crowded counters allowed me to finish check-in process in fifteen minutes and finally my boarding pass was in my hand….Nice.

I continued to focus on heading to waiting room quickly. I was only thirty minutes away from flight. And exactly fifteen minutes before boarding, I reached waiting room and sat down with gasping. Not long, after enjoying the beauty of waiting room, A call from ground staff to got ready to fly echoed. Now, I was preparing at Gate 3A to enter aircraft cabin.

Ticket to Jakarta.
Citilink QG 145’s cabin interior. Sat on seat number 10A.

Now I was sitting on seat which matched with its number on boarding pass. I was getting ready to go to Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport, which was 394 Km from Ahmad Yani International Airport. I would fly with Airbus A320’s flying casings with a maximum altitude of 26,000 feet, with a speed of 520 mph and a travel time of 53 minutes.

During boarding process, I continued to enjoy the beauty of Ahmad Yani International Airport’s new passenger terminal from plane window. Seen some planes were back and forth coming and going on left side of plane which I was riding. The sky was cloudy, a sign that I should be prepared for a little turbulence right after take-off.

The time when had been waiting arrived, the plane was already getting ready on runway and waiting for permission to spur its jet engine into air. I was just busy in reading Citilink’s inflight magazine, i.e Linkers. Plane slowly began to advance and showing overall shape of airport from end to end. Beautiful of Ahmad Yani International Airport.

Wings Air’s ATR aircraft.
Which destination was that Air Asia to ?.
Terminal building along with ATC of Ahmad Yani International Airport during take-off.

Before breaking through thick clouds above, this flight quickly showed the beauty of Semarang’s north coast. Combination of dark clouds with orange sunlight which penetrated between clouds, combined with blue sea with the creeping of ships around port….Hmmhh, a very authentic Semarang.

The vibrations began to be felt when plane wanted to stabilize its flying altitude. But after that, sky returned clean and revealed its beauty from a height. That afternoon, I didn’t want to close my eyes and mised that amazing sky show.

Semarang north coast….Wouww, awesome.
The sun version of sky and the sun version of sea …. Beautiful isn’t it ?.
Pilots were very adept in dodging clouds….Smooth flight.

Flight incredibly felt short. Citilink began to get down above capital sky. Land of Bekasi was very dense. Several city icons were clearly visible from above. Patriot Candrabhaga Stadium, which I visited during President Cup match between Bali United and Semen Padang FC, just for seeing Irfan Bachdim’s figure closer.

While another view was LRT line which was being built along Cikampek toll road, it looked very beautiful. That was the path which almost I have taken every day throughout my profession as a salesman in capital city.

Patriot Chandrabhaga Stadium was visible from a height.
LRT line which was currently under construction.

Citilink QG 145 landed at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport very smoothly. As usual, passengers would get off and walked at apron area to main terminal building. I rushed to conveyor belt to pick up luggage and then went home using an online motorcycle taxi.

Get off the plane in apron area.
Several visitors were waiting for Apron Free Shuttle Bus. I prefered to walk..

Many beautiful flights with Citilink. Thank you Citilink.

Alternatives for flight tickets from Semarang to Jakarta can be searched on 12Go or the following link: https://12go.asia/?z=3283832

The Story of Buddha’s Death at Watugong Pagoda

The moped was lauched with all its might by Titan heading south of the city. 15 kilometers away, 30 minutes in length. He said that I would be brought to the highest pagoda in Indonesia, in Pudakpayung area. Almost 12:00 hours, Titan and I arrived there, right on the edge of Perintis Kemerdekaan Street. Entering the gate, I just realized that it was a Buddhist monastery or worship complex, named Vihara Buddhagaya Watugong.

I passed a building with a roof shape which was similar to roof top at Grand Palace, Bangkok. If Grand Palace has a golden roof, this building will be brick red. This building is called Dhammasala Vihara. I started exploring it from top floor which was used as a multipurpose hall then entered its room in downstairs.

Dhammasala Vihara.
The first floor of Dhammasala Vihara is a praying room, decorated with a golden Buddha statue.

Leaving Dhammasala Vihara, I slowly approached second main section of monastery. This was what Titan meant earlier. The seven-story pagoda was with its nicknamed as Avalokitesvara Pagoda. Avalokitesvara itself comes from Sanskrit word “Avalokita” which means to hear down and “Isvara” which means sound. Meanwhile, Avalokitesvara in Chinese language is called by two words, namely “Kwan Im”. Meanwhile “Kwan Im” itself is a manifestation of compassion from Buddha.

Therefore, this temple is also known as Goddess Kwan Im Pagoda. Some people call it as Metakaruna Pagoda or Love Pagoda because of its existence to honor Kwan Sie Im Po Sat figure, Goddess of Love.

Sidharta Gautama statue under Bodhi Tree, a 65 year old Bodhi Tree.
Avalokitesvara Pagoda rises 45 meters in high.
Me dan Titan.
The 5 meter high statue of Goddess Kwan Im is located inside Avalokitesvara Pagoda.

Having finished walking around Avalokitesvara Pagoda which was guarded by God statues which arranged around each side on ground floor, I started exploring its courtyard and garden. There were twin gazebos with two layers of roofs which were used by visitors to sit and rest because they were tired after exploring vast monastery area.

Meanwhile, on other side of its courtyard was Sleeping Buddha Statue (Buddha Parinibbana), which reminded me when visiting Pha That Luang in Vientiane exactly five months before my visitation to this monastery. Next to Sleeping Buddha Statue, lined Ariya Atthangika Magga Monument, which represented eightfold main path as a practice for attaining highest happiness (Nibbana).

Gazebo around pagoda.
Buddha Parinibbana which describes passing of Buddha between two Sala Trees.

I slowly started to leave Buddhagaya Vihara. 7 meters tall Ashoka Monument was also visible. A monument made from solid stone and had lion head. A meaning which is contained in this lion head is that no matter how wild a lion is, when we know its character, it will be easy to conquer.

And at the end, I passed Sanchi Gate and Watugong Monument. This gate is a replica of a gate in front of Sanchi Stupa at India. The gate was built as a symbol of respect when entering temple building.

Meanwhile, Watugong Monument was built to show origin of area name, i.e “Watugong”. The name was taken from an original natural stone in the form of a gong (Javanese musical instrument).

Almost finished in visiting.
Ashoka Monument to commemorate King Ashoka from India who obey in practicing Buddhism.
Watugong Monument and Sanchi Gate.

My visitation in Semarang had really ended. Titan would take me to Sleep & Sleep Capsule to pick up my backpack and supplies. After that I would go to Ahmad Yani International Airport and returned to Jakarta.

Thank you Semarang.

Eating Mangut at Kampung Pelangi

Kampung Pelangi Kalisari (Kalisari Rainbow Village) is three kilometers at south of Sleep & Sleep Capsule, which was a place to stay during my extended period in Semarang. At ten o’clock in the morning, I had driven through Imam Bonjol Street then continued to Pemuda Street, riding an online motorcycle taxi, I wanted to finish my curiosity about the beauty of a tourist village. By visiting “Kampung Pelangi Kalisari“, I don’t have to insist on going to Malang to enjoy the same beauty in “Kampung Jodipan” and “Kampung Tridi“, “Kali Code” in Yogyakarta or “Kampung Teluk Seribu” in Balikpapan.

Last night, I also contacted an old friend who life in Semarang, his name is Titan. It so happened that he took the time to meet up. We agreed to meet in Kampung Pelangi. He would take me around Semarang on his motorbike. Just see in next article, where I would be brought by him.

Arriving at destination, I took time to look for breakfast in a stall complex which was located along the contour of Semarang River which separated Dr. Sutomo Street with houses in Kampung Pelangi. I ate Rice with Mangut (processed smoked stingray, typical from Pati City) very heartily.

A row of stalls at Kampung Pelangi Kalisari front gate.
Pati’s typical “Mangut” cuisine.

I started to enter Kampung Pelangi through a small arch patterned bridge. On this bridge, existence of Flower Market and Kasmaran Park had been informed to tourists through a signpost. Meanwhile, Semarang River looked neat with presence of colorful painted river wall, complete with sidewalk right on river side.

I started to enter Kampung Wonosari (the real name of Kampung Pelangi) through a sloping alley with colored pavling blocks, decorated with colorful umbrellas which provided shade from the sun, rows of flower pots made every aisle looked beautiful and information boards were placed at consistent distance. At some points of climb, a break point was provided in the form of a concrete seat, allowing some climbers who were tired to rest temporarily.

The bridge before entering Kampung Pelangi.
Semarang river.
Pedestrian path.
Information board with location map.

When I reached at hill top, precisely below at a giant signboard “Kampung Pelangi“, there was a burial complex called “Taman Bahagia Wirawati Catur Panca“. This public cemetery was history of Kampung Pelangi origin. It was said, initially, Kampung Pelangi area was designated as a public burial area. But then some residents came and established settlements around this cemetery until it became crowded today.

I didn’t know where the end of road, some tourists got off their vehicles in a parking area. Meanwhile, some residents were lightly chatting at a coffee shop, showing me where the best vantage point to see the city from a height. Show the hands of coffee connoisseurs, located in an open attic belonging to a resident, which when I climbed it made my gaze was brightened by city view without any obstacles.

“Taman Bahagia” cemetery.
Kampung Pelangi” giant signboard

When I was enjoying a nice view of city without sun’s rays, came to the same attic, Mr. Asep from Bogor City. Similarly, he was also currently extending in Semarang after his out-of-town assignment as a Civil Servant. Suddenly I got a traveling companion and a warm conversation was inevitable. I admired him as a person who was young at heart, had same habits as me, it turned out that his hobby was traveling by taking advantage from every moment of his duty at out of town.

Titan finally called me using his smartphone. He was waiting at front gate, where I first entered Kampung Pelangi an hour ago. Immediately, I finished our conversation that was having fun. The surprise was, Mr. Asep preferred to come down with me and continued our conversation while we descended from Kampung Pelangi.

Towards the highest attic in Kampung Pelangi.
Amazing view from top of Kampung Pelangi.
Come on, Donny!. I can take your photo, for your travel memories!” Pak Asep volunteered.

I was at bottom of Kampung Pelangi. Saying goodbye to Mr. Asep, my gaze began to sweep across sides to find Titan. “Over here, Donny!“, Titan called me. Oh, he was sitting at a coffee shop. Meeting with my second old friend in Semarang after last night I also met Ezra.

I left Kampung Pelangi in back seat of Titan’s motorbike. I was ready to go to next destination.