Leaving Bali has been pretty sad, but this trip had something else to show so the last stop is Yogyakarta, main venue for everyone that are interested in the Hindu and Buddhist temples.
Nonetheless I think that this city deserves a chapter apart. It’s smaller than Jakarta but with one thing in common, It’s pretty ugly. I didn’t visit too many things but I can confirm that its inhabitants are the most amazing thing.
These people are incredible, unbelievable kindness everywhere, one of the best memories of this trip.
The city by the way it’s a mess, incredible traffic, unbelievable number of scooters and cars and unbreathable air, for real. During my life and travels I never found a place where it was difficult to breath like Jogja, the mask with filter is essential, obviously I didn’t have it, fortunately I was almost all the time inside a Uber or Go-Jek (yes, here they work perfectly!), or reaching a restaurant i small and hidden alleys.
Just arrived we took a walk in the main street, Malioboro, crazy place with a huge crowd (half of it was asking us for pictures), people cooking and eating on the sidewalks, rickshaws everywhere.
A friendly man recognized us immediately as europeans, he was (allegedly) a teacher that taught in Florence for a while (or at least this in what he said, but he spoke a bit Italian) and he insisted to show us an art gallery with paintings of students in a narrow street. The situation was not that clear but he was so passionate explaining the technique and the painting process that we indulged him but then he started to insist forcing us to check all his paintings trying to persuade us to buy them. So we stayed there few minutes than we left because we had things to do and started to feel uncomfortable, and he was not disappointed but really sad and embittered. We found out later, reading the Lonely Planet, that there’re many people that try to attract tourist in these so called art galleries to sell their paintings.
I spent the following days to visit a bit to discover something nice, I reached a market called Pasar Ngasen because over there they were supposed also to sell snakes and other animals but I found just an incredible variety of vegetables, meat with flies, blue eggs and many really strong smells.
Nonetheless, unlike other cities in the world, in Jogja is not necessary to look for authenticity because it’s everywhere, here touristy places are well hidden or far away. In fact we found one of them randomly, just strolling around we bumped first into Water Castle Cafe, really typical and quiet place were we drank a super good smoothie with fresh fruit (my stomach has never been good like in this trip, for real), then we were suspicious about the name, in fact we found the real Tamar Sari (Water Castle). The place was the venue of the royal garden of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta, characterized by different areas and a european architecture since the project manager, Tamenggung Mangundipura, learned about it during his travels to Batavia (Dutch East Indies), the current Jakarta.
Then the weather was definitely not good, so we decided to rest and to use our time to visit the two main temples in the area, Prambanan and Borobudur.