A Project at Loji Gandrung Front Yard.

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Loji Gandrung

Have you ever visited Merdeka Palace? Or visit DKI Jakarta City Hall? Yes, these two important places in Jakarta often offer visiting tours.

So, what about Solo City?

Yups, Solo City also has a similar tour. A place which has become attention center for this tourism type is Loji Gandrung, An official residence of Solo’s Mayor which is located on south side of Slamet Riyadi Street.

The night went on, it was almost nine o’clock in evening when I finished in designing a Marketing Conference teaser. Luckily, I got help from a design staff in Jakarta. I have also sent that teaser to Whatsapp number and email of all prospective Marketing Conference participants.

Now, I thought again about next destination. My task this time was to choose several destinations along Jaladara Tourist Train line which be rented by event comittee to get around Solo City on second day of Marketing Conference. So in remaining time, before it got too late, I would survey at least three tourist attractions which were located nearby each other.

I immediately ordered a taxi online, then drove to downtown. I moved south for five kilometers from Manahan area to Laweyan area.

Loji Gandrung, Sir!”, I asked online taxi driver.

Wow, it had closed, Sir

Oh, it’s okay, Sir. I just want to find information there”.

Oh well, Sir. Loji Gandrung is indeed popular in Solo City, Sir. In the past, President Soekarno often stayed at Loji Gandrung when he visited Solo”.

Wow, it’s cool, Sir“, I started to be stunned by a story from that young driver.

Our conversation topic progressed to several things, until driver hit brake just across Loji Gandrung gate.

Loji Gandrung gate.

Without hesitation, I entered the gate. It seemed that renovation was underway at Loji Gandrung front yard. I just saw the top end of a bronze statue whics was tightly covered by a row of project boards. My arrival made a security out of his post and swiftly directed his steps towards me.

What do you need, Sir?. Sorry this is a city government building. It’s forbidden to carelessly enter the yard”, he admonished.

Oh sorry, sir. I just want to find information

What information, Sir?”

Sir, we will rent Jaladara Train and intend to make this place as a tourist destination on train route. Can I know the procedure, so that I along with event participants can visit this historic place, sir?”

Wow, the licensing is a little tight, Sir because it’s being renovated. But you may submit a formal application and is addressed to Head of Household Department. Hopefully on the event date, you can be allowed to enter”.

Oh good, Sir. I hope so“.

I looked around. This Loji Gandrung building had a very classic architecture. There was a blend of European and Javanese architecture. Thick European walls were covered with a typical Javanese roof. The front and back yard of the building was wide with several trees.

I realized that what was in front of me was a government building and I couldn’t stay long in that place. I must immediately go and empathize to security by did’t disturbed the comfort of that place.

Before I stepped out of Loji Gandrung yard. I was still intrigued by project mystery around front yard. Finally, I ventured to ask to securiry.

“Sir, whose statue is blocked by this project board?”

“Oh, that’s a statue of General Gatot Subroto, Sir”.

I said thank to secutiry because he had accepted me well even though he only talked for no more than fifteen minutes.

Why should it be General Gatot Subroto statue?……..

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Suddenly Survey at Taman Pelangi

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After exploring Jongke Market, I stood for a moment on a bridge which was connecting the two sides of Dr. Rajiman Street which was separated by Solo River. I closely looked at a fifteen meter wide river, whose water seemed to dry and have brown colour.

It was almost five o’clock in the afternoon, from a bridge side, I was waiting for online taxi arrival which I ordered.

Soon, five minutes later, an online taxi arrived. I rushed into it in its front seat, next to driver.

GALABO yes, Sir!”, I confirmed my destination.

GALABO at this hour isn’t ready, Sir. All traders are still preparing their food which are going to sell”, that young driver gave me an important information.

Sir, I was actually surveying a tourist spot for an important event in my office. Sir, are there any recommendations for places which can visit by event’s participants? “.

What if I take you to Taman Pelangi (Pelangi Park)?”

Okay, Sir, rather than waiting for GALABO which hasn’t opened yet“.

Okay, we go there, Sir!”.

Not felt, the online taxi which I was riding had left Laweyan area. Slowly but surely it was advancing eastward through Abdul Rahman Saleh Street, continuing onto Monginsidi Street and running a little fast on Colonel Sutarto Street.

After struggling in traffic jams at Solo’s streets, I arrived at Taman Pelangi (Pelangi Park) on 06:41 p.m. Overall I had moved for ten kilometers in thirty minutes.

Taman Pelangi Jurug gate. People also called it Taman Satwa Taru Jurug.
Parking area.

Online taxi stopped at one of parking slots in large front yard. I immediately got down and headed to ticket counter.

Still open, Ma’am?”

Just opened at 17:00 hours, Sir. We close at 23:00 hours “.

How much is the entry ticket, Ma’am?

Twenty five thousand Rupiah (USD 1,8), Sir“.

Oh well. I buy one ticket, Ma’am”.

Okay,Sir”.

I immediately entered the park after having a ticket in hand. Entering park area, I immediately understood that this was a night tour which tempts every visitor with a light show on every side and corner of the park. This three year old park was full of light.

It was just that I arrived too early, at six o’clock in the afternoon at Solo City, not able yet to darken the sky. The beauty of this light show didn’t look perfect because the sky was still bright. According to ticket counter staff, the best time to visit this park was after eight o’çlock in evening.

But it all didn’t matter to me, because I came to this place only to survey a tourist locations for Marketing Conference destination candidates.

Parking area.
Be ready to entering Taman Pelangi Jurug.

Less than half an hour walking around the park, I started to walking out of it. Then I started thinking to make a conclusion. It looked like that I wouldn’t make Taman Pelangi as a destination for Marketing Conference participants because the type of tourism which was offered by this park didn’t match to the event concept. But at least, I enriched destination options which could be input for Marketing Conference committee.

I immediately ordered a online taxi again because at seven o’clock tonight, I should be in GALABO. GALABO was a night culinary tourism in Kedung Lumbu area.

I would enjoy dinner at that place.

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Jongke Market: Food Souvenir Center at the Banks of Solo River

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Toko Bu Cokro inside.

The silence of Mangkunegaran Palace set my steps to leave one of power entities of kings era in Java Island. Towards half past six in the afternoon, I continued a survey agenda to Laweyan area.

An online taxi which I ordered would slowly penetrate traffic jam around Keprabon area, i.e an area where Mangkunegaran Palace was sat. Slowly I headed west, crossing Honggowongso Street and completed by fulfilling a current along Dr. Rajiman Street.

After covering a distance of five kilometers and within a span of fifteen minutes, I was dropped off at the bank of Solo River, on east side to be precise. At this stage, at first I wanted to visit Kampung Batik Laweyan, but I canceled. I chose to would directed Marketing Conference participants to Kampung Batik Kauman because of its strategic location and on the route of Jaladara Tour Train.

I quickly thought to eliminate Kampung Batik Laweyan from the list of destinations and I chose a replacement destination, namely Jongke Market. This market would become a destination for hunting food souvenirs for all participants later.

In fact, there was nothing special in this twenty-eight year old market apart from prices which were offered by food souvenir sellers inside. Amazingly, I still found food souvenirs at a price of seven thousand Rupiah in this market.

I started my exploration in an area around Jongke Market by visiting the famous food souvenir outlet, i.e Toko Bu Cokro. This shop which was located right on the side of Dr. Rajiman Street was so striking because of large size of the shop to massive food souvenir displays. I myself got a recommendation for this place from one of my colleague who came from Solo.

Meanwhile, precisely on front opposite were row of food souvenir outlets with the largest stall called Erlangga Jaya. Some food souvenir such as ampyan, chicken fried claw and intip were quickly seen in this outlet. Meanwhile, the front yard which also had function as a parking area looked neat with pavling block.

The front of Toko Bu Cokro.
Food souvenir outlets near Jongke Market.
Food souvenir outlets near Jongke Market.

Meanwhile, I realized that Jongke Market itself has been closed since an hour ago. I was just trying to find out its location to get accurate information. I took my steps towards the west, passed Solo River and arrived within three hundred meters. A row of bicycle stalls could be clearly seen from road side. Meanwhile, at inside, there were rows of sweets, vegetables, groceries, meat and clothing stalls. The name of Jongke itself was also used by a village name which was located around market.

Meanwhile, in a series of Marketing Conference agendas, Jongke Market would be accompanied by other destinations in same category, namely Javenir which is located one kilometer on the western boundary of Solo City and Toko Abon Mesran Mistopawiro which is located in Jayengan area. So it was hoped that all participants would be spoiled by the existence of several options for hunting food souvenirs.

The afternoon slowly turned dark, while my itinerary still featured six places to visit. It didn’t matter if that places still open or have closed, I would visit it.

Let’s continued…..

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

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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.

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