Friday, October 10, 2014

Last day in Yogya

Thursday, and its our last morning in Yogya. Sophie and Maddie have loved our tour bus (with a full bench seat to themselves, opulently padded and fully air conditioned) and we need a pic of them with it - just for the memory. For some unaccountable reason the bus is decorated with an unmistakable (and very apt) kangaroo!

We didn't have too much planned for the morning: a visit to the Sultan of Yogyakarta's Palace Kraton at the southern end of Malioboro Road.......

We were amused by the large numbers of Sultan's guards on the palace grounds. Apparently it is largely a volunteer force, most often retired members of the Indonesian army. They look like they're enjoying their roles and hanging out all day with their old army buddies. One of their important duties is to air the shadow puppets once a week to check they're working and free of mould.

I hadn't realised before the significant role the Sultans of Yogyakarta have played in the government of Indonesia. This century the various Sultans have been Vice Presidents, Governors and Defence Ministers in the central government. The current Sultan (number 10) lives at the palace in Yogyakarta.

We also visited the old Sultan's water palace Taman Sari. Designed by the Portuguese in the mid 18th century, today only the bathing complex and a few pavilions have survived, although not in pristine condition any more.

We finished off the morning with the inevitable visits to the arts workshops (and goods for sale of course!).  I quite enjoyed our quick visit to the batik workshop.

These ladies can take up to a year to complete the intricate batik waxing and fabric dyeing processes for costumes for royal ceremonies and weddings etc.

As our last Yogya treat Rob and I ordered the dish the city is renowned for - gudeg (otherwise known as "green jack fruit sweet stew"). It was quite a sweet dish based on coconut milk and palm sugar flavours. Its characteristic reddish colour is due to the addition of teak leaves as a colouring agent. Our gudeg was served with chicken, egg and beef skin(?). An absolutely beautiful dish that will be a definite favourite of mine forever more!

Our flight left Yogya at 4.15pm, with a few hours in Denpasar, and arrived in Sydney early Friday morning. We've had a fantastic two weeks in Indonesia - plenty of indulgence in beautiful Ubud and lots to learn and experience in Java too - all shared with great friends, making it much more fun and enjoyable. We'll definitely be back!!

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