3D2N in Solo by: Cita Inggil M

Solo City is always the answer when someone asks me where I live. In fact, I live on the border between Karanganyar and Solo. Yes, I live in Palur, a small village near the Bengawan river. It’s not that I’m not proud of my own city. However, people will remember me more easily if I mention the city of Solo, especially if those who ask are people from out of town.

Not without reason, this small town is widely known to the public because of its myriad characteristics, ranging from a variety of cultural tours, special traditional food, and historical tours.

Because my city is close to Solo, I often spend my time traveling like a tourist coming from a faraway city. I call it me time. Yes, for me time there is no need to go to far and expensive places. All of that can be done with a minimal budget, for example going to a neighboring city, namely Solo.

This time I will tell you about my most memorable visit to the city of Solo. I got this sweet experience when I visited Solo on September 17 2020. Why is it effective? Because I did the trip with my friend who came from Jogja. She is Karina, a classmate when we were interns at Prambanan Temple in 2015.

It was Thursday morning, Karina told me she had just arrived at Balapan station. I told him to immediately take the Batik Solo Trans bus corridor two to go to the Taru Jurug Animal Park, because we made an appointment to meet there. After he said yes, I got ready to immediately head to the Palur terminal.

It only took five minutes for me to arrive at the Batik Solo Trans bus departure terminal. Upon arrival at the terminal, I immediately entered the bus corridor 1 with the aim of the Taru Jurug Animal Park. To be honest, even though it’s close to home, I rarely visit this animal park. However, my guest who came from Jogja really wanted to visit the Taru Jurug Animal Park, so TSTJ became our first destination.

At 8.50 I arrived at the TSTJ bus stop and I saw that Karina had not arrived yet. Ten minutes of waiting, finally Karina came, then we walked into TSTJ. Before buying entrance tickets, the staff sprayed hand sanitizer and checked our body temperature first. Apparently this has been implemented since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic to maintain health protocols according to government recommendations. After passing the body temperature check, we also got entrance tickets and were able to enter the conservation area.

The atmosphere in this animal park is very beautiful and comfortable. It feels very suitable to choose this place for just me time and healing. Apart from the ticket price, which is only Rp. 20,000, there are also several stalls selling food at relatively cheap prices. So, it is highly recommended for those of you who want a low budget vacation. Haha…

At that time TSTJ had a collection of more than 400 animals, ranging from herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. However, as a result of this pandemic, TSTJ’s management limited the number of visitors and there were rules that only those over fifteen years of age were allowed to enter.

It didn’t feel like it, for about two hours we went around looking at the animals, then we finally went out and headed for the bus stop which is located in front of TSTJ. Not long after BST corridor 3 arrived, we rushed in and decided to go to Kauman Batik Village.

20 minutes we arrived at the batik making center. Passing through a small alley, we walked between the batik shops. There you can see some craftsmen making batik. We stopped for a moment to approach one of them. Seeing the process which is quite unique, it is not surprising that the price of hand-drawn batik is indeed more expensive than stamped batik. In addition, batik also requires high creativity and accuracy.

Satisfied with the batik process, we continued walking to the nearest prayer room for the midday prayer. After praying, we stopped at one of the HIK stalls because my stomach suddenly felt hungry. Apart from tengkleng, timlo and other typical Solo foods, Solo has a characteristic that is known by many people, namely this HIK stall or wedangan. With only Rp. 10,000, I can finish two packs of milkfish rice, one glass of iced tea, and five fried foods. Wow, it’s no wonder that the city of Solo is dubbed as a city with a low cost of living.

After feeling full, we left the alley to the main street of Coyudan to wait for a bus with directions to Sriwedari, because we wanted to visit the Archipelago Keris Museum. Roads that are not so jammed make it easier for us to access tourist attractions using public transportation. Besides being cheap, we can sit comfortably in the refrigerated bus.

At one o’clock in the afternoon we arrived at the Keris Museum. This museum has four floors, on the first floor, there is an information board about the distribution of weapons in the world. Then on the second floor, there are sources of literacy regarding matters related to keris. Then on the third floor, there we saw the aroma of the process of making keris at the Borobudur Temple and Sukuh Temple. On this floor, we also see a statue of a man wearing Javanese traditional clothes and his keris. Finally, on the fourth floor is a storage area for keris artifacts.

After visiting the Keris Museum, I invited Karina to go to Triwindu Market. We went there by taking the BST from the MAN 2 Surakarta stop, then got off at the Ngarsopuro intersection. In this antique market, Karina looks really impressed. Incidentally, he really likes all things vintage.

It was getting late, we chose to check in at the Istana Griya Hotel. Apart from its location close to Triwindu Market, this hotel is quite friendly for our pockets as senior semester students. That night, we decided to go to the main road to buy nasi liwet for our dinner. After dinner, we returned to the hotel and rested.

Friday, September 18 2020. That morning we checked out at eight, then chose to have breakfast first before starting the tour. After breakfast at the nearest soto stall, we headed to Mangkunegaran Temple. There I was a bit nostalgic, because the last time I visited Mangkunegaran Temple was about five years after I graduated from school. In the past, I came to Mangkunegaran Temple to practice as a tour guide, now I come as a tourist. It’s a pleasure.

Mangkunegaran Temple has not changed much. The collection is still the same as when I came last time. Inside, there is a collection of historical objects belonging to Puro Mnagkunegaran which have been collected since 1926.

Approximately one and a half hours in Mangkunegaran, we decided to visit the Radya Pustaka Museum. Because at that time the BST route to the west had not yet passed Jalan Slamet Riyadi, we decided to take an online motorcycle taxi.

Not much different from the museum in Mangkunegaran, the Radya Pustaka museum also houses royal historical objects. The difference is, this museum used to only store letters, but now it has added other collections, such as all kinds of wayang, precious metals, ceramics, statues, and others. As the oldest museum in Indonesia, the shape of this museum building has not changed since it was opened.

After looking at the collections at the Radya Pustaka museum, we decided to have lunch at the Viens Strait. According to Karina, you haven’t been to Solo if you don’t eat the Solo Strait. There we had lunch as well as midday prayers, while thinking about which other destinations we would visit. Sure enough, after eating we immediately got the idea to go to Balekambang Park. There we just unwind and hide under shady trees until late afternoon.

For tonight, we plan to stay at the KoolKost inn near the Solo Indonesian Arts Institute campus, because tonight we will be attending a Central Javanese Traditional Art Performance event at the Central Java Cultural Park in Surakarta. The performance featuring various dances from Central Java received a lot of attention from the local community. This proves that Solo’s nickname as the City of Culture is not just talkative, but true.

In closing, on the last day I invited Karina to visit nature tourism in the Karanganyar Regency area. We left Solo for Jumog Waterfall at eight in the morning. Because access to it is very difficult to reach using public transportation, we finally chose to rent a motorbike. Exactly at nine o’clock we arrived at Jumog Waterfall, the free road made us arrive there earlier than estimated. Karina really enjoyed the cold air that hit her skin and bones, while I chose to pull over and buy coffee.

Satisfied with playing in the water, we went up to Cetho Temple. The air here is getting colder, because this temple is at the foot of Mount Lawu at an altitude of 1496 meters above sea level. When entering the courtyard of the temple, we passed a large gate with statues of guardians on both sides. This temple is also still used for pilgrimage for Hindus.

Not realizing it was approaching lunch time, we went down to the Balebranti restaurant. Eating food with a panoramic view of the tea garden really adds to its own pleasure. Fresh air and green scenery in front of the eyes are very comfortable. However, our tour in Karanganyar must stop here, because later in the afternoon Karina has to return to Jogja.

After lunch and midday prayers, we will return to Solo. We arrived in Solo at three in the afternoon, Karina’s train schedule at five in the afternoon. There are still two hours, Karina asked me to take her to Pasar Klewer, she wants to buy some souvenirs for her Jogja friends and family. At four o’clock in the afternoon, I took him to Purwosari Station. We parted there and I went home.

That’s my story with a friend I haven’t seen for a long time. Feels short and fun. Hopefully we can meet another time with the pandemic situation over. Amen……..

Holiday Story