Every trip needs to come to an end, especially if it was a vacation, so it’s time for a small analysis, inevitable after one month abroad.
Every journey teaches something, a long one in particular, and this time the lesson was to bring less clothes (obviously) and maybe one lens more (but not necessarily).
Starting with a technical consideration, since this one is supposed to be a photography blog. I have to say that in my case less hasn’t been more because sometimes I’d have needed a lens for portrait, but anyway, moving often from one place to another I didn’t have so much time to change the lens when I needed to. On the other hand, more was more because I decided to bring my tripod, a light one (1,5kg), that I used just few times at Raja Ampat and in some cases I’d have achieved the same goals with some ingenious trick, but clearly not for the pictures of the starry sky.
So for this trip I brought my Canon 5D III, the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 and the tripod, since I travelled often and through three time zones with multiple weather and light situations I’d say that it was a correct choice, 24-70 never betrayed me and it’s awesome also for portraits.
However my iPhone 7 has been an incredibly useful tool thanks to its great camera, all the pictures that I posted on my blog have been taken with it and I’m incredibly pleased about them.
If I wasn’t a photographers but just a blogger I wouldn’t have needed anything else, not even a light mirrorless, I don’t need to pretend to be cool or hipster.
Now something about the trip.
Discovering Indonesia has been amazing and I’m so thankful to my friend Fedo that gave me the chance to join him on this trip, it was the sixth time for him here, so his help to discover, to explore, to find accommodations and to solve situations has been priceless. Now thanks to Fedo I’m in love with this country and I already decided to come back, able to manage myself and eager to enjoy again one of the most relaxing place in the world.
Clearly I wanna thank also my other two travel mates, Marialaura and Alice that with Fedo are three of my colleagues in my real life in Venice.
Obviously I will always remember the amazing places where I’ve been, Raja Ampat over all, an incredible paradise, Bali and its magic atmosphere, the temples in Java, but the most unforgettable memories of this trip will be for sure the incredible kindness of Indonesian people, their hospitality, their willingness to help in every situation, their generosity and honesty.
Knowing this people helped me to realize how lacking we are regarding tourism, all over Indonesia I found the opposite attitude towards tourist than we have where I live. I've been treated like an holy creature during my stay, everywhere, in Venice instead, more than sometimes, tourists are considered like intruders that need to be ripped off to earn as more money as possible.
Once we'll learn something from these countries, way more poor than our, outcomes will be amazing and our image will be definitely rehabilitate especially after the sad facts happened in the last months that has been around the world and immediately on every international newspaper.
Obviously I wanna thank everybody that followed my blog and had the patience not only to read but just to click on every link to take a look to the pictures. From know on I'll remember a bit of my trip through the other pictures I took that I'm editing and that I hope you'll like.
So now it's time to go back to the real world, working and saving for the next adventure.
Here we are to the real reason for being in Yogyakarta, two amazing temples, an hindu one and a buddhist one.
I don’t know how many people will read this post, anyway one thing above all, nobody has a reason to complain about the price of museum and churches tickets in Italy in particular, especially international tourists
Yes, the temples are truly amazing but the international ticket price is not justified compared to everything else in my country. 325.000rp (20€) are like 60€ in Europe and considering this, nobody won’t visit anything here.
By the way the price of a tour guide is super cheap (6€) and it’s definitely worth because it’s the best way to understand the the place (but not just in Indonesia obviously).
No polemic here, but it’s funny when people consider Doge’s Palace or the Vatican too expensive because they have to pay about 20€ for something that represents the maximum worldwide expression of art.
First stop Prambanan, the biggest hindu temple in Indonesia, the second in the world after Angkor Wat in Cambodia, built in 850 a.d., originally composed by 232 temples, now just a few because of two earthquakes (half of the 17th century and 2006) that destroyed a lot of them.
The main ones are of Shiva (the king Rakai Pikatan considered himself the reincarnation of Shiva), Brahma and Vishnu, and then others. It was super interesting to hear about history of the temple and about the low reliefs all around, but actually what impressed me more was to discover that to control, improve and get rid of our bad character is necessary to let work our 7 chakra, soooo… doing yoga and meditation.
I started immediately, hope to see good results in a while!
Second stop Borobudur, built in 800 a.d., the biggest buddhist temple in the world, with a squared base, 2672 low reliefs about Buddha and 504 statues representing him.
About this place it’s necessary to be careful with tourist informations in Yogyakarta. We booked the sunrise tour from the temple but nobody explained us (or we didn’t read carefully enough) that the sunrise was from a hill few km far from the temple with amazing lights, amazing view, but not from the temple that was a small spot far from us.
Anyway nice view and good vibes, then the timing at the temple was good as well and the tour with another competent guide too.
It’s impressive to see all these Buddha’s statues during the climb from the first level with the desire’s spirals, to nirvana where there’re the three circular terraces with many bells with Buddhas inside as well.
Once we arrived on the top it happened something super funny, like rock stars or famous actors we have been surrounded by kids with their phone and selfie stick asking for a picture with us, they were really nice and polite but so many many many that our guide needed to distance from us to finish the tour.
Anyway what happened was a sort of nice end of our trip that summarized our great experience in Indonesia through incredible places with amazing people.
Now it’s real, time to pack our stuff and reach the airport.
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.
Being the first time on this side of the world, in this trip I decided to explore rather then stay for a long time in the same place. So I've never been in the same place for more than 3 nights, so despite of the short time and even if the accommodation was not that good, the atmosphere around here was perfect.
Canggu has few beaches but I decided to stay at Batu Bolong, good waves, good vibes, both locals and tourists particularly kind. Clearly Bali is the most occidentalize part of Indonesia (comparing with the other that I visited) and this aspect reflects itself in the quality of life in general.
Tide permitting the beach is nice, many beach loungers and several rental surf board places, everything with a temple in the background. After the beach, starting from 7pm, the place to be is the Old Mans Restaurant, a sort of restaurant/bar/club on the beach, mainly for tourists but also with locals.
Anyway all along Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong there 're many nice shops, barber shops, nice restaurants and fancy cafes. Actually Bali, at least in the central areas, doesn't seem Indonesia, it's definitely westernized and probably there's also the influence of Australian owners concerning the interior design of bars and cafes. So great food, fresh smoothies, good coffee, amazing atmosphere.
Also here we found a great place for pizza, at "Pizza Fabbrica" products were definitely tasty and good, we tried also a fried panzerotto and it was simply perfect.
Also here forget Uber, Go-Jek and app concerning transportation. The best way to go around is to rent a scooter, cheapest and easiest solution also because if you walk around away from the central areas you risk to be killed by thousands motorbikes and cars. Anyway the areas far from the center are pretty fascinating.
So definitely when I'll come back to Bali Canggu will be my favorite destination to stay because from here it's easy to reach many other places with scooter or car, life is good, there're a lot of nice people and most of all no chaos.
Now it's sadly time to move to the last stop of this trip, on my way to Yogyakarta to see the temples.