Thursday, 6 August 2015


Another full day's tourism. For us it's always an achievement when we manage to do 2 activities in one day. In the morning we wanted to do a tour of the local area by car but there wasn't one available, so we had to settle for a horse-drawn carriage. Most tours seem to use these carriages, which are great and take you back to the olden days. But in our experience after 5 minutes the novelty is over and you long for speed, suspension and aircon. So it was with a heavy heart and some dread we clambered into the carriage, redying ourselves for 3h of bottom-busting voyaging.

We clip-clopped round the local area. First round a small village, past fields of rice and tobacco (Indonesia is famous for it's kreteks, or clove-spiced cigarettes). We stopped to visit a tofu factory (back-breaking work from 3am to 6pm mostly involving moving water from one beaker to another). After that we visited another small village where they made pottery. Lucas and Aisha tried their hand at the potter's wheel and produced two great small bowls to store their treasures. We then skipped the honey place for some reason (maybe it wasn't on the itinerary) and also the noodle factory (closed), passed by the main temple and had a quick unplanned stop to shop for shoes (Aisha was missing her high heels and found some great Hello Kitty ones).

The final stop was to visit the famous civet coffee plantation. The civet is a wild animal which resembles a mongoose. The Asian palm civet in particular is a bit of a gourmet coffee bean eater: it only chooses the best beans. Combining this feature with the part-digestion by the animal (yes, the beans are collected from it's poo) results in a happy combination which creates one of the worlds best (or at least most expensive) coffee. The really good (and expensive) stuff comes from chasing civet droppings in the wild. The stuff here was "low grate" (30 euros for 100g!) from farmed civets. At least they seemed properly cared for - apparently some places use pretty horrific battery methods.

It tasted of... coffee. Nice but coffee nonetheless. I had the same happen to me once when I coughed up a similar price for Blue Mountain. Nice but... coffee. I think I'd rather spend my hard earned cash on wine. So we didn't buy any.

There was a small temple by the coffee place which we visited quickly and then we went back to the area where the main temple is. Got in a bit more shopping as well - a football kit for Lucas.

Had lunch for the fist time in a proper local restaurant. No English menu (luckily there were some photos of some of the dishes), eating on the floor (they did have tables but this was more fun), and you had to share with the flies. Food was delicious and the kids actually eat up with less complaints than some of the western food they have been getting.

After that the sun had died down a bit (and the clouds were out) so we could visit the temple (the other option would have been to go at 6am). It is often compared with Angkor Wat in Cambodia, but here (to my surprise) there is only one. Also it seems much smaller than the central temple at Angkor (though apparently Borobudur is the world's largest Buddhist temple - so either Angkor counts as Hindu or all the walls trick you into thinking it's bigger than it really is). However it is amazingly elaborate. There are endless reliefs and some lovely egg-shaped contraptions with Buddha statues inside. It's quite a magical place.

Finished off the evening with an amazing ginger tea at a stall by the hotel. After pouring the stall owner mostly ignored us and went to see Mary Poppins with the kids on the tablet.

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