Our journey continued for our previous post.
Semarang was the next stop where we hopped off the train to visit. Semarang is a bustling city, kind of like Java turned down several notches. There isn’t a ton to see here, but we enjoyed ourselves. Our favorite part of the city was a warehouse district near the port and Church. The warehouses were built by the Dutch colonials. They are in quite a bit of disrepair, but that usually makes for a great place for photos. We also checked out a famous Chinese temple dedicated to the man who brought Islam to the area. After Semarang we made our way north through lush flat lands of rice fields to Jepara. Jepara is famous for its wood products such as furniture and carving. Like the other places we’ve been in Java, this wasn’t much of a tourist destination. There are countless furniture stores which make up for the economy of the city. The only foreigners we saw were the occasional business people importing furniture.We had our fill of furniture and headed about 5 hours south to the cultural capital of Java, Yogajakarta (pronounced Jog-jakarta also know simply as Jogja) This is a great city bursting with personality. This is the first stop that was actually considered to be a tourist attraction, so there was quite few touristy things, but it still has a great charm.
The best part of Jogja is walking through the kraton, which is an area of narrow alleyways between the houses and buildings. It is similar to a medina in Morocco, but there are very few buildings here that are more that one story high. In this area people still live a very traditional Javanese life. There are also quite a few arts that have been passed from generation to generation here, including batik and shadow puppet making. We visited a workshop that makes beautiful shadow puppets from carved and painted rawhide. The rest of the city is full of bicak drivers, food stalls and galleries. It’s really worth a few days of exploration.