Thursday 24 August 2017

Bruce's No Need Bread

Bruce's No Need Bread

We have found a lot of recipes for bread being passed around that make a loaf big enough to feed a family of six.  When there is only two of you then it’s time to trim it back and make a loaf that is good for a day or two. The recipe for this loaf will still be fresh (soft) for sandwiches the next day, if kept in a zip lock bag once it has cooled.  We found a small loaf tin in one of the big supermarkets, not sure which one but have a look as you’re passing the cooking section. We only use volume measurements, I am not sure if some boating recipes have ever been made while out of the marina. Why do I say this?? Try using weighing scales once you’re underway and making way. Good luck on the loaf this will make by using weight rather than a volume measurement. 

Being in Asia for the last year has taught a thing or two about different flours and bread mixes. We could use bread mixes and flours up to and some times past the use by date when coastal cruising in Australia. However we found this wasn't the case in the heat and humidity of Asia, and we began to have failed loaves. To keep it simple and use the local produce I have gone back to basics and are producing nice crusty fresh bread every couple of days. 

This loaf is easy to make and tastes great.   If you haven’t made any breads previously then to stop the dough sticking to your hands lightly flour them like you do the surface you are going to work the dough on. The next thing you’re going to need is patience, be prepared to wait for it to rise then be prepared to let it cool once its cooked and the smell is driving you crazy, of course you could cut into it, but it won’t slice easily and it may turn in to a misshapen mess.

No Need Bread

2 Cups of plain '00' or high protein bread making flour 
180-200 ml of luke warm water
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 Teaspoon of salt
1 Teaspoon of dry yeast/instant yeast
1 Teaspoon of raw sugar (or white or honey)

Cook's notes
The flour it needs to be what is known as "strong" or "high protein".  The higher the protein the better, read the label on the side of the pack and look for 12grams or more of protein per 100grams.  Much lower than that and you might need to add bread improver. 

Oil is your friend, it will stop the dough from sticking to your hands/bowl/bench top/bread pan and the oil left on the dough after removing the wrap will help it brown.

 The cooking time for this loaf is about 25 minutes. I like to crank the oven up to 210 deg C to start the first 10 minutes and then reduce the temp to 180 for the remaining 15 minutes.  

Oven temperatures are for either a conventional or fan-forced (convection), I find the gas and fan forced work the same, if using an old convection you may need to add a few degrees. 

We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. We have found the bread pan to cook the loaf in is 220 x 105 x 60 mm, this makes the loaf manageable once its cooked and your slicing it up.

To make the dough, dissolve the yeast in the water add the sugar and a teaspoon of flour then mix well, stand for 10-15 minutes, it’s good to go when its bubbling up in the cup / glass /container you have it in.

Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, pour in the yeast liquid, add the oil and salt, and start mixing with a bread and butter knife, then use your fingers to bring it into a dough ball. Tip the dough onto a floured cooking bench and knead for 8–10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and shiny. If you have a mixer fitted with dough hooks, leave it in the bowl and you can let your appliance do the work for you in half the time, I like this option the best. But just because you’re using dough hooks you will still need to mix / knead the dough for 5 minutes, don’t stop once it’s all come together, keep going. Once you have made a loaf or two you should be able to spot the change from a combined dough to a elastic dough ball.

Whichever method you use, the dough should feel slightly sticky. If it seems way too wet, add one tablespoon  of flour at a time and mix. Likewise, if it’s too dry, add a (little oil once) or water one table spoon at a time. All flours tend to vary slightly, even within the same brand, and you have to let your instinct guide you. The dough ball needs to be elastic without a large amount sticking to the bottom of the bowl.

With floured /oiled hands shape the dough into a ball, then put it back into the mixing bowl cover with a plastic film (glad/cling wrap) or a moist tea towel and rest for 20 minutes. After this time, you will notice the dough has become soft, shiny and elastic. Stretch it with your hands to form a rectangle, then fold it into three and shape it into a ball. Place the ball in an oiled bowl, cover with a plastic film (glad/cling wrap) or a moist tea towel and leave to prove for 1 ½–2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on floured cooking bench and knead for 1 - 2 minutes to knock the air out of the dough. Now Stretch it with your hands to form a rectangle the width slightly shorter than the length of your loaf tin, now roll the dough along the length and place into the greased loaf pan.
Knock the air out of the dough and flatten 

Rolling up the dough

The dough roll ready to be put into the oiled bread pan

Place oiled plastic film as used previously to cover the mixing bowl or a new sheet over the pan as the dough rises. Once the dough has doubled in size heat your oven to 210°C (190°C fan-forced). Remove the plastic gently and place the loaf tin into the center of the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes or until golden and puffy.
Rolled dough in the bread pan

Cover the top with oiled cling wrap and let rise
About time to turn the oven on, dough has doubled in size.

The loaf should fall easily from the pan when cooked and will sound hollow when tapped with the back of a finger. Let the loaf cool on a wire rack for half an hour if you can before cutting.

Why have I called this no need bread? Its “No Need Bread” because there is no need to go the shop to get a great loaf. You can’t make a nice elastic chewy loaf of bread that melts on your tongue without doing a bit of work and knead it. If you don’t want to put in the work you may as well just make damper.

About to become egg and lettuce sandwiches

Hints and Tips
Plain flour off the shelf of the supermarket will not work very well because the good stuff (gluten) has been taken out of it. Look for bread making or fortified flour.  In Australia Wallaby flour or a bread making flour by Defiance both work well, there are other brands but I haven’t used them. Another reason I haven’t used them is they are not available off the shelf at the local supermarket.

Flours like white wings or defiance plain flour won’t work, and the large supermarket store brands do an even poorer job. Of course you could buy bread mix but I have found it does not have the same life span that the plain flour has in the heat and humidity. The other thing about bread mixes is you won’t (we haven’t) see it on the shelf in Asia.The bread making flours pictured have been used with success on board. As you can see bread is pictured in the products made on the front.

In Malaysia we now shop in dedicated baking goods shops, it took over a year and a half before we found these shops. We were not looking and it was only by accident we stumbled upon a new one near the 2 RM shop at the turn off to Lumut.  (Pangkor Marina) Since then we have found several others. They usually have a great range of available goods, including the 2Kg blocks of Anchor Cheese and some keep Mozzarella, dry fruit, mixed peel, molasses, golden syrup and basic baking goods not stocked in the supermarkets.   We buy the high protein flour and have found this works for making bread, however if your shopping in one of these stores the staff should be able to help your choice.

Indonesia Bread Making Flour

Malaysia Bread Making Flour

Thailand Bread Making Flour
Salt, don’t leave this out because you’re thinking we don’t eat salt. Believe it or not, salt is an important ingredient and will help the flour / dough become elastic, and you want elastic.

Which brings me to the next subject; failures: a loaf that rises and then collapses may be caused by the flour being too old. I have had flour and bread mixes that are too active and I think this is caused by wild yeast starting to ferment the flour. You may notice the dough does not hold shape when proving, cooking or starts to get a very very slight brown colour or tastes slightly different. These could all be the signs of wild yeast infection or the flour is too old.
Test loaf, the flour wasn't right for bread,but will toast up Ok

As you can see the loaf collapsed slightly when cooked

Open grainy texture on top, the flour used is ok for cakes etc but not bread.

How do you know if the dough is too wet? If using a dough hook(s) it won’t leave the bottom of the mixing bowl, once the mix is good at least 95 % or more of the dough will be off the bottom of the bowl while you’re mixing and you can hold it in your floured /oiled hand quite easily. The same goes for hand kneading the dough will be controllable and not a sticky mess.

Bread improver, I have found this can improve a loaf if the packet of improver is fresh. Unfortunately it appears to have a shorter life span in the heat and humidity than flour has. Even unopen packets don’t appear to like the heat. The symptoms are over active dough or collapsing loaf while being cooked or won’t hold shape when proving.

Yeast; we buy a big cans of dry yeast or large vacuum packets and once open keep them in the fridge.

In Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand the good bread making flour is available you just have to do a bit of detective work to get the right one. I have found the pictures on the front most times let you know what it’s good for.  Make sure there are no holes in the plastic packs (give them a good squeeze) a sure sign something has got in or bored their way out. 

A couple of knife cuts on the top before proving produces a patterned top

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Six Days in Jawa visiting the temples of Borobudur & Prambanan 2017

Maps, tickets, passes etc from our 6 days.
For over a year now we had known people who went to see the Borobudur Buddhist Temple in Jawa and came away feeling overwhelmed, leaving us with the desire to see it for ourselves. We had two choices of where to leave Matilda at anchor: Lovina, Bali and fly over to Jawa or Karimunjawa and use the fast ferry to Jawa. Due to weather, we decided to leave Matilda at anchor at Karimunjawa and catch the fast ferry over to Jawa then make our way to Magelang to see Borobudur – we were not disappointed in our decision, our trip of 6 days was full of amazement and far succeeded our expectations.

Borobudur Temple
We left Karimunjawa August 16 and returned on the August 21st 2017. Here is our journey with details and tips for others to consider as they travel in Jawa. But before you head off download these Apps:
  • Google Translate, 
  • Go Jek (has a motor bike in the middle of the words) and 
  • WhatsApp (commonly referred to as WA). 
We used these 3 app’s a lot as they are very helpful and easy to use. Good thing with Google Translate is it can be used offline.

All of our accommodation was booked using

We also enjoy being in charge of what we are seeing and when. If you join a tour group or allow a guide to organise your day you risk not having the luxury of doing things at your own pace. Some things you will tire of quickly and others things you will want to spend more time on - these are just our thoughts after having been caught in this situation before. 

This little butterfly landed on tree leaf beside me, so I took a quick shot.
DAY ONE – August 16, 2017
Prior to leaving Matilda for Jawa we had been dealing with our agent Joe (aka DJoe). Joe was very helpful and had good advice for us. He helped us with car hire and booking The Manohara Hotel. We also had booked our friend Hasim who is a local here in Karimunjawa to pick us up from Matilda (saving leaving our tender at the dock for 6 days) and take us and our luggage to the ferry terminal. Hasim also looked after Matilda for the 6 days we were gone. 

Deb on Hasim's water taxi - ready to go!
We arrived at the ferry terminal 1 hour before departure at 1100. Loads of people started to turn up and we where glad we had purchased our tickets the day before. The seating is allocated on the ferry which is great, as there was no rush for the line to board. The journey took 2 hours and we enjoyed a movie on the way over.

Entry to the ferry terminal - Karimunjawa

Our fast ferry waiting at the dock.
It was great to see our driver 'Sisca' waiting at the end of the walkway with a sign welcoming us. Sisca was a great driver and full of interesting facts as we drove along. We asked her to stop for lunch at Sultans Chicken - a popular take-way here in Jawa. After lunch we jumped back into the car, which was in excellent condition and we continued our drive to the town of Magelang on some very good road ways and highways.

These two beauties are in the foyer of The Manohara. 
The scenery as we drove into the central Jawa was breathtaking. We saw loads and loads of magnificent green rice paddies fringed by coconut palms. There are many volcanoes and at one stage we actually drove on the rim and could clearly see the rest of the rim, it was an incredible view.

Taken from the car window, check out the load on the truck in front.
In total the journey from Jepara ferry terminal to The Manohara Hotel took us 6 hours. Keep in mind we did stop for lunch, there was (always is) loads of traffic in Jawa's main townships and once we reached Magelang, Sisca did not know where The Manohara was exactly and it did take a bit of finding in the dark due to the lack of signage. We where in our room by 1930.

The Manohara is not the cheapest option in town, but what appealed to us was the hotel is literally in the grounds of the temple. Once settled we had a quick shower and headed to the hotels restaurant for dinner and beers. Dinner was excellent and the beer was very cold. Back to our room where we watched the hotels 30 minute video on the history of the Borobudur Buddhist temple, which made understanding the reliefs a bit easier. The video is a bit dated giving us a laugh at fashions but it is interesting.

So glad this sirloin was on the menu. It was so good after eating endless amounts of noodles and chicken. 
A long day of travelling had made us tired which was good because we had booked into the Sunrise Tour at 0415.
Our bed at The Manohara had the softest linen and the bed was so comfortable.
Helpful links:
  • You could also use Pipit at for transport. Pipit can arrange car, bus, etc
  • Pipit can book you on the coach which picks up the ferry terminal in Jepara and goes directly to the Artos Mall in Magelang. This journey takes around 6 hours, dependent on road conditions. 
  • There are loads of various accommodations to choose from in Magelang.
  • Magelang is very close to the Borobudur Temple and is a very populated township
  • You do not have to be a guest of The Manohara Hotel to enter the grounds for sunset/sunrise. Your hotel, home-stay, agent whatever can arrange your entry in to the grounds.
  • Buy your ferry tickets the day before travel and don't forget your passport for identification 
DAY TWO – August 17, 2017
Sadly for us we did not receive our 0415 wake up call due to the previous guest turning off the ringer on the phone. Luckily the staff used their initiative and came knocking at 0500 to wake us up. In a mad dash we got up, threw on some cloths, grabbed the cameras and made a run for the temple as we wanted to do a time lapse movie of the sun rising over the Mt. Merapi volcano.

One section of the many steps we had to climb at 0'dark 30.
Poor Bruce felt unwell with a horrible and persistent head cold complete with blocked sinuses but he didn't want to miss this much anticipated event after all this time, so he braved the 300 odd steps up to the top. In our mad dash out of the room we forgot to take some water, so we were glad to be in a hotel in the temple grounds as after sunrise was complete as we could walk back to our room for showers and breakfast.

Here comes the sun right beside the volcano in the distance - spectacular.
The Borobudur Buddhist Temple is one of the most incredible sights we have seen in all of our travels in Asia. As you enter the long walk and up the steps its hard to believe what your seeing and walking on. We where so glad we had watched the video the night before as we enjoyed talking and wondering about those who built the temple some 1100 odd years ago. What an incredible feat. 

We had taken 2 cameras. One on the tripod and set to sunrise/time lapse movie mode and the other camera went for a walk with whoever was not standing guard beside the tripod (loads and loads of people walking around) to take pictures of the other side of the temple complex. You can not take a bad photo here, its just incredible.

Here are some interesting facts on Borobudur:
  • It is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world
  • Borobudur is still used annually as a place of worship during Vesak in May or June
  • It is Indonesia’s most visited tourist attraction
  • In total there are 9 stacked platforms - 6 square and 3 round
  • The base square is 118 meters on each side, covering 123m x 123m with 4 meter high walls.
  • From ground level the highest point is 35 meters
  • On the very top is the largest Buddha and he is surrounded by 72 smaller Buddhas all seated in stupa's (domes)
  • In total there are 504 Buddha statues on the temple
  • It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site during 1975 - 1982, with its final listing upon a completed restoration in 1991
  • Constructed circa 760 – 830 (9th century), reportedly taking 75 years to build
  • The temple was abandoned during the 14th century due to the decline of Hindu kingdoms in Jawa
  • 1814 Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles who was then the British ruler of Jawa, revived the site which was reportedly totally covered in layers of ash and jungle growth
  • The preservation of Borobudur commenced 1814. This included removing over 1 million stones during 1975 to stabilize the sagging ground underneath the temple, which was successful, after which the 1 million stones where returned to their positions
  • Borobudur has survived 9 bomb attacks in 1985 and in the mid 1980's the temple was bombed again by Islamic Extremist Group, several earthquakes, in particular one during 2006 reaching 6.2 magnitude
  • Its greatest threat now is its visitors defacing it, wearing it out by walking on it and sadly the public wanting ‘momentos’. 
  • Sadly loads of the Buddha's have no heads and no hands due to people wanting souvenirs including back in 1896 by Saim's King who took 8 massive cart loads away with the consent of the Indonesian colonial government!
The giant gold Buddha.
After breakfast we headed back out to the temple and its grounds for a more leisurely walk - this time with plenty of water in our bags. The grounds open to the general public at 6am for those who have not booked their sunrise tickets. We were surprised at the amount of people all over the temple and its grounds by 0930. Even though it was busy, it was lovely to just walk around and look more closely at the reliefs admiring the workmanship. The entire structure has no mortar, the blocks simply sit on top of each other.

The grounds surrounding the temple also are home to various other displays. We were keen to visit the replica ship: Kapal Samudra Raksa (which means ‘Defender of the Seas’) display. Here we saw a replica of the very same ships which sailed trade routes between the 7th – 13th centuries. It’s mind boggling to think they sailed in these outriggers all those years ago for trade with other countries. Just how far did these vessels travel for trade? No one is totally sure but the vessel on display had traveled from Jawa across the Indian Ocean around Cape Horn then up the West Coast of Africa.

A copy of the rock drawing dated 3000 BC.

Another copy of a drawing dating back 500 BC.

The route the replica followed in 2003
Then we walked back to the hotel passing elephant rides in the grounds, which we always find upsetting. The sight of these poor giants as they droop their heads and shuffle their massive feet for people to make money is very depressing. A few also had their tusks cut ½ way so they had no point. They looked so sad.

The pick in his hand is how they control the elephants.They literally hit the pick into their head!
These poor little horses are every where, carting people around in the heat. They are like a taxi. We just couldn't understand why they were not resting in the shade which was right beside them (to the right of the photo).
The grounds also offered archery for something to do and one part of the walkway was covered in small umbrellas hanging down which looked very oriental and fabulous with the walkway looking towards Borobudur.

By midday we needed to check out of The Manohara and make our way down to the central hub of Yogyakarta. We used the Go Jek app to secure a car & driver for the 1 ½ ride to our hotel being the Jumbuluwuk Malioboro Boutique Hotel. The hotel foyer is fantastic along with its staff. We had arrived too early for our room so we enjoyed a late lunch by the pool.

Once we could go to our room, I enjoyed a long hot bath and Bruce enjoyed a snooze. We had heard that the place to go at night was Malioboro Street. It’s famed for its shopping, places to eat and general busyness. We had to walk down a quiet street not sure what we were meant to be seeing but once we turned a corner to the street, it was a shock. There were 100’s of people walking around. For local transport there were horse and carts (another sad sight), rickshaws powered by either motor or foot pedals and a massive volumes of cars and buses – it was crazy!

After we did some shopping we found a fantastic place to chill, eat and enjoy a beer on the top floor of the Legion restaurant. We enjoyed it so much we came back for dinner every night. Sitting above the madness, just watching the mayhem over dinner was very entertaining.

After dinner and feeling pretty tired after a big day out with a very early start we jumped in a rickshaw and happily paid $5 for the ride back our hotel for a good nights sleep.

Poor sick Bruce, I was dragging him all over the place!
Helpful links:
  • Don't forget to take your sunglasses and water at sunrise 
  • Wear good walking shoes
  • Take a hat and or umbrella, it gets very hot quickly here
  • You can have breakfast at the Manohara hotel even if you are not a guest
  • Don't forget to walk around the back of the temple during sunrise for some photo's as the views are incredible.

DAY THREE – August 18, 2017
After a fabulous night’s sleep we enjoyed our complimentary breakfast and headed straight out for our rickshaw ride to The Kraton. The ride only took about 20 minutes from the hotel and was a good choice. It’s a nice slow and at times scary ride about town and you get to see things. Not only that the sides of the road to walk on are a bit hit and miss. We saw a lady fall over after slipping on rubble and Bruce also slipped on our way to Malioboro Street the night before, so being in a rickshaw we think was a safer option for us. Our driver was really good pointing things of interest out to us along the way.

The Kraton is incredible, it’s a totally enclosed city in the heart of Yogyakarta. We spent all day in here including enjoying lunch at a Prince’s place and visiting the Water Palace. The only disappointing thing is there are little to no signs and the signs we did see were not transcribed into English. Most of the day we had no idea what we were looking at haha.

The Kraton is a palace complex for the current and all previous Sultans of Yogyakarta and still to this day guarded by His Majesty’s Kraton Guard Regiment. Construction of The Palace began in 1755 and was completed in 1790. We found it interesting to learn the word Kraton aka Keraton is the Javanese word for ‘Royal palace’.

One of many present Palace guards. Note his Kris tucked into his belt ready for action.

This is a life painting in oil. Every single Sultan had his portrait done many times. Lots of paintings we couldn't photograph. So we were happy when we saw this painting with out the 'no photography allowed' sign on it. 
The Palace is shroud in myth and holds many secrets in its Kraton walls. To quote from one website: It was built to be a focal point of the Sultan’s entire kingdom. The Keraton is built facing directly north towards the majestic Mt. Merapi with to its south backing the Indian Ocean which is believed to be the abode of Kanjeng Ratu Loro Kidul, the Queen of the South Seas and the mystical consort of the Sultan.

In 1812 Stamford Raffles (yep same bloke who unearthed the Borobudur Temple 1814) attacked the Palace inside the Kraton and took over the walled city. After looting it, he burnt down the palace and in later years the locals rebuilt the Palace.  Then in 1876 and again in 2006 the Palace and surrounds where devastated by earthquakes and again was rebuilt both times.

What a big padlock you have

We couldn’t get over the attention to detail. Everything that could be decorated was, right down to base the lamp posts. The displays housed incredible artifact’s including every Sultans batik made for him. Each room we went into had amazing light fittings, but most we were not allowed to photograph.

The grounds are used every day for performances. Gamelan (traditional ensemble music), Golek Menak puppets, cultural dancing, Macapat and Wayang (special puppets) perform for free every day of the week. We visited on a Friday and totally missed the Macapat 0900 performance we were very disappointed.

Musical instruments, packed away neatly until the next performance.

After exiting the Palace grounds (but still inside the Kraton) and getting out of the clutches of the heckling merchants we found a delightful quiet place to have lunch at the Gadri Resto. This is the residence of the current Sultans son, Prince Joyokusumo’s home. We knew he was home because his beautiful black Audi was parked in the driveway. He also has quite the collection of artifacts. There was loads on display, and he welcomes guests to enter the rooms for closer inspection of these glorious pieces of a time gone by. As we enjoyed lunch we watched with amusement as a troop division from the army jogged in order chanting a song as they went past, even the staff found it amusing.

Once we had rested up at the Prince’s place we jumped in another rickshaw and headed to the Taman Sri Water Palace.  These were the former royal gardens of the Sultan (no longer used) and it had multiple functions: resting area, a workshop, meditation area, a defense area and a hiding place. There used to be 4 wet areas, but now only 1 has been preserved. The pool we saw was a sad sight enclosed in a grand scale building. The water was totally green and slimy. Sadly people throw their rubbish into the pool. Even as we watched one of the waterfall lions having water coming out of his mouth a black plastic bag flew out and splashed into the pool.

In the Water Palace grounds we enjoyed an ice-cream and enjoyed visiting the batik shop which only sold (according to the man in charge) local artists work. It was the most interesting batik we have seen, and we have seen ridiculous amounts of batik works. So impressed with it we purchased two pieces for our future land based home.

Batik print in the making (Borobudur circled with a dragon) 

A finished framed batik, very cool

Handmade puppets, there is an enormous amount of work in making them 

Since 1995 the entire Kraton complex has been listed as a tentative World Heritage Site.

After all this excitement we headed back to our room to freshen up and then headed back to The Legion for dinner. Finishing the night off a little earlier to watch a movie in our hotel room. Its lovely chilling out on a huge bed! 

Helpful links:
None this day.

  • Take water with you, it gets very hot here
  • Research The Kraton before you head out, there is little to no information on offer once your there, unless you pay for a guide
DAY FOUR – August 19, 2017
After another big sleep we enjoyed our breakfast, ordered a car via the Go Jek app and driver to take us to the Prambanan Hindu Temple. It was only about 30/45 minutes away according to Go Jek and we were very happy to pay the $7 for the ride. When our driver arrived he announced he did not speak English, no problems I said and confirmed with the door man of our hotel (who spoke English) that our driver understood we were booked to go to the Prambanan Temple – yes he announced. Excellent, off we go.

Never missing an opportunity to celebrate their 72nd year of Independence.
After one hour and thinking we should be seeing it soon (it stands 47 mtrs at its tallest tower) we started to wonder if our driver was a little lost. After some very broken English conversation, and finally remembering the Google Translate App we stopped the car and indeed realized he for some reason thought we wanted to the township of Prambanan – no we didn’t. We all had a laugh and took off in the right direction. If we had said we wanted to go to Candi Prambanan he would have known where we wanted to go, temple isn't in the locals vocabulary.

One the grounds of the Prambanan temple there was a massive display of arts, music (Jazz) and culture. We assumed a part of the 72nd Independence celebrations. These young ladies where employed we think by Telkomsel (local phone company) as they had the same colours on as all the signage (which was everywhere).

These were the two guards into the temple. Everyone is always up for a quick happy snap!

We felt bad about the confusion with our driver. We asked him to join us but he declines, so we asked if he could wait for us while we went into the Temple grounds. He did and at the end of day we paid him $50 for his troubles,,,he was extremely happy. So were we considering that was a round trip and we were in the Temple for about 2 hours. It was endearing when we got back, as he had downloaded the Google Translate app and was very glad to be able to use the voice activation option. We had a good chat on the way home!

The Prambanan Temple is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia and one of the biggest in South East Asia. It was constructed in the 9th century circa 850. Before 930 the temple was home to 100’s of people living with the original compound walls, but soon after this the temple and grounds where abandon due to Mt. Merapi erupting causing serious devastation.

A lot of the temples collapsed during an earthquake in the 16th century.  To use a quote from Wikipedia: ‘The temple attracted international attention early in the 19th century. In 1811 during British short-lived occupation of the Dutch East Indies, Colin Mackenzie, a surveyor in the service of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, came upon the temples by chance. Although Sir Thomas subsequently commissioned a full survey of the ruins, they remained neglected for decades. Dutch residents carried off sculptures as garden ornaments and native villagers used the foundation stones for construction material.

Half-hearted excavations by archaeologists in the 1880s facilitated looting. In 1918, the Dutch began reconstruction of the compound and proper restoration only in 1930. Efforts at restoration continue to this day. The reconstruction of the main Shiva temple was completed around 1953 and inaugurated by Sukarno. Since much of the original stonework has been stolen and reused at remote construction sites, restoration was hampered considerably. Given the scale of the temple complex, the government decided to rebuild shrines only if at least 75% of their original masonry was available. Most of the smaller shrines are now visible only in their foundations, with no plans for their reconstruction.’

Even though most of the original temples are gone it was certainly awe-inspiring being amongst what’s left. The temples are very decorative and it seemed no stone was without some kind of fancy decoration, artwork or inscription. Again the entire the construction is without mortar.

Once finished we jumped back in Go Jek hire car and returned to the hotel for a hot bath, a snooze for Bruce and then off in another rickshaw to Malioboro Street for dinner at Legion. Deb enjoyed a foot rub from a mobile massage lady on a seat in the street while a mobile band played hits from The Beatles and The Bee Gees after Bruce gave them a generous $5 tip.

This lovely lady rubbed Debs feet, arms, hands and neck for about 45 minutes and couldn't believe we paid her $5. In Rupiah that was 50, 000.

Being our last night, we soaked up another great night of watching and enjoying the passing parade in Malioboro Street, Yogyakarta!

Travelling details.
None for this day

  • Walking around the temple is very hot, take water, hats and an umbrella if you have one
  • Use the Go Jek app quick and easy car travel.
  • Rickshaws make travel around town cheap and easy
  • Candi is the local word for temple (in Bali it is Pura)

 DAY FIVE – August 20, 2017
An early start today. Alarm was ringing at 0600 so as we had time to enjoy breakfast, showers and pack our bags. We needed to check out of Jambuluwuk Hotel and be ready for our hire car (booked by the hotel) to take us on the 5/6 hour journey across the country to Jepara for our stay in the Hotel Jepara Indah. The hotel is close to the ferry terminal being only 2km away. We were picked up by two wonderful people who kept us informed and very safe during our journey.

These were our guides. Extremely nice people and very informative. 
The trip was to take us up and over the mountain ridge between Gn. (Mount) Sumbing and Gn. Merbabu. Giving us a giggle as we passed the official sign ‘Welcome to Top Selfie Spot’ which was at one of the best and highest spots to take a selfie – naturally.

Misty mountain pass

The areas we passed in the hills where magnificent. They are totally covered in farms. We passed fields full of: strawberries, pumpkins, cabbages, tomatoes, spring onions, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tobacco, corn, chili, bok choy, pak choy, savoy cabbage, coffee and bananas. The bamboo on the side of the road was some of the thickest and tallest patches we had ever seen. We were right up in the clouds and the view was incredible of the terraced farms on the sides of the mountains – so green, like emerald green. This was the most active farming communities we have seen in over a year. There were people everywhere. In the fields, walking the roads with stock and mini utes loaded to the max with produce.

A local truck taking his produce to market.

Farmers on the side of the road preparing their cabbages for transport to market.
We saw quite a few celebrations, so lots of parades with colorful costumes and dancing for the people still rejoicing in the 72nd year of their independence from the Dutch. There was some major road works on the way, so this added to the time taken and we stopped for lunch at the very funky place called Beatrice’s Cuisine House. Owned and operated by an Italian guy so pizza was the main dish but the extended menu was great and our lunches were delicious.

Thanks to Google, this is the street view of Beatrice's.

Deb's chicken club sandwich & fries. These fries where the best fries we have eaten in years.

Bruce's burger. Absolutely delicious.
After lunch our hotel was only 10 minutes from Beatrice’s. We bid our driver and guide a safe trip home because they now had to do the return 6 hour trip. We paid our $90 to them plus a tip. We checked in and were taken to our room. Our view was over more rice paddies and we got to see the sun setting – spectacular. We freshened up and went down for dinner and a few cold beers.

Sunset over the rice paddy at the back of the hotel

On Guard duty, Dvarapala 

The food here in hotel restaurant was very good. We really enjoyed sitting in the cool well-furnished room reminiscing about our last few days over dinner. Afterwards we went back to our room, watch a little bit of a movie and fell asleep. Had to be ready for another early start tomorrow for the ferry ride home to Karimunjawa.

Breakfast bar at the Jepah Indah Hotel.

Helpful links:
  •  If going on a long road trip, ensure the petrol and tolls are included in your price
  • Take water and a snack
  • Don’t be worried about asking to stop for a meal, your guides will know the best places
  • Ask the driver to stop if you see something you wish to take a photo of, they dont mind 

DAY SIX – August 21, 2017
Another early start, alarm at 0600, quick shower and down for breakfast. In a taxi by 0715 for the quick ride around to the ferry terminal. We couldn’t buy tickets the day before as the office on Sundays shuts at 1400.  Bruce got in line and we waited and waited and eventually we got our tickets.

The ferrys here run right on time.

Bruce in the que chatting with a local agent.
We boarded and found ourselves in the VIP section which was funny, just meant nicer curtains and a bit more leg room between seats.

The home was a bit rough as a strong low was over the Java Sea creating a decent swell with the easterly winds. Some poor souls found it to much and we could hear lots of vomiting going on.

Vendors outside the ticket terminal.

The ferry terminal at Jepara.
Arriving at 1100 it was lovely to see Hasim’s smiling face with hands out stretched to take our main duffle bag. Soon we were in the taxi and heading back to Matilda.

It was a wonderful trip and we were so glad to be home and see our girl sitting pretty at anchor.