Klewer Market and the Great Mosque of Surakarta Palace

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Klewer Market in the morning.

I started walking to north towards Alun-Alun Lor (North Square) of Hadiningrat Surakarta Palace. Its distance was less than half a kilometer from palace courtyard. I arrived in five minutes. As far as my eyes could see, Alun-Alun Lor was quite well-maintained, with an area of ​​almost seven hectares. Covered by imperfect green grass which was covering the entire square, asphalt paths crossed from north to south and from west to east and in each side of square were surrounded by large trees (banyan trees in between). Meanwhile, to limiting the road which surrounding the square, a chest-high iron fence were built which aligned with inner boundary of sidewalk.

I seem lazy to go to the middle of square, just kept walking around it and intended to go to eastern part of square to kill my curiosity about the biggest textile shopping center in Solo, i.e Klewer Market. Like Tanah Abang Market in Jakarta, Klewer Market was the city’s economic pulse with a very capable cash flow cycle. I arrived right in front of market gate which was still quiet. Some traders have started to come and bringing coli of textiles upstairs. Meanwhile, several stalls seemed to be opened to prepare for trade that morning. I tried to step to the first floor and went around looking at each side. Looking at its surrounding conditions, I could imagine that this market would be very busy if all stalls were opened.

I won’t wait until Klewer Market actually was opened, I immediately went down and heading to north of the market. This time I would visit Great Mosque of Surakarta Palace which was still part of Hadiningrat Surakarta Palace. The mosque, with a three-tiered roofs, appeared to be devoted to witnessing the marriage of a couple who seemed to be important people, because I saw there was a greeting flower board from President Joko Widodo and his family. That event then discouraged me to entering the mosque.

Great Mosque of Surakarta Palace.
Great Mosque of Surakarta Palace

The mosque was decorated with classic lampposts in its courtyard, even more beautiful with its elegant single minaret which standing in north of courtyard. This 232-years-old mosque was still quite dashing and elegant standing at east side of Alun-Alun Lor which was side by side with Klewer Market.

Finally, I had been in the last part of Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace complex. I started to leave palace area by passing eastern side of Slamet Riyadi Street which was marked by a Brigadier General Slamet Riyadi statue who looked dashing while pointing a gun into sky. Slamet Riyadi himself was a hero of Solo City who fall in Ambon while carrying out state duties in quelling the rebellion of Republic of South Maluku.

Now my intention was turning towards my first destination when I did the survey yesterday. I wasn’t looking for Dawet Telasih Ice, but a traditional culinary which was quite famous in Solo.

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Fall asleep at Amaris Hotel Sriwedari

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I was still four kilometers from western boundary of Solo City. The air wasn’t as hot as midday earlier, now it was 14:15 hours and I had just finished exploring De’ Tjolomadoe Sugar Factory Museum. A portion of rawon and chocolate ice milk which I ate in the museum at least made me calmer and clearer thinking about the next stage of survey.

But it was been six hours since I left the courtyard of Grand Amira Hotel by Azana in Pasar Kliwon area this morning. I decided to immediately do an check-in process at Amaris Hotel Sriwedari. That means, I have to head to the middle of Solo City again. I decided to take an online taxi.

Soon I ordered it. Until the online taxi which I was riding began to rush towards downtown. After rode twelve kilometers, I finally arrived in front of Amaris Hotel Sriwedari in thirty minutes.

Rahadian at reception desk.
Lobby.
View from guest room.

Rahadian immediately handled of check-in process at reception desk and I chose to enjoy a glass of orange juce as a welcome drink facility at this two-star hotel. We immediately entered the room and I decided to cool off myself under the shower.

I re-opened the itinerary which I had compiled in Jakarta. I took a deep breath, because there were still many agendas left to do. But before heading to the next place, I decided to take a moment to write down all important things which I have been getting since morning. I started to type all important things about Dawet Telasih Ice, Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market, Jaladara Tourist Train, Balekambang Park, Swiss-Belinn Saripetojo and De ‘Tjolomadoe. That notes would be a survey report which was needed by Marketing Conference Event Section to determine conference form in more detail.

Sharing the task with Rahadian in compiling the report, made it faster for us to complete it. It took one hour to make a detailed review of six destinations and the report was completed after I sent it via email to Mr. Dedi who is the Chair of Event Section who was of course still in Jakarta.

Hotel restaurant.
Breakfast on next day.
Third Day in Solo City.

Feeling exhausted after twenty-two hours from the time of my arrival in Solo, I fell asleep beside my laptop which was still on. Looked like that Rahadian let me soundly sleep until a few moments later he started to wake me up.

Mr. Donny….Wake up !. Let’s take another survey. We still have many places to visit! ”, He lightly said with a light smile.

How long have I been asleep, Rahadian?”, I nervously said.

One hour, Sir”.

Oh Gosh, it’s late. Let’s go! ”, I jumped out of bed.

Almost five o’clock….I decided to pack up to go to next destination. I would head east for two blocks. This destination is in Keprabon area and only one kilometer from the hotel where I stayed.

Let me show you that place !.

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Hunting for Jaladara Train and Balekambang Park

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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.

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Dawet Telasih Ice and Gede Hardjonagoro Traditional Market

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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.

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