Our plans were a bit in pieces since we did not manage to get all the way to Pacitan. We did not feel like adding another day here before getting to Solo (also known as Surakarta, don’t ask), hence we passed on the first couple of beach detours along the way and headed straight for a Pacitan beach proper. The one we picked, closer to town was already developed for Indonesian tourists. That means no vegetation behind the beach, a vast desolate beachfront with moderate amounts of rubbish and some “fancy” places right at the beachfront with a bit of a view. All in all it was nothing that could coax us to stay for more than a coffee, especially with it being too hot to swim. We could have gone and check out one of the more remote beaches, but we were not feeling it today.
So off we went north towards Solo. About half an hour or so later, our bellies started rumbling once more (Nina’s a bit more than mine, she was not feeling too well) and we were looking for a place for lunch. For a moment, I was almost decided on heading out again from the palace we stopped. Now I am super glad I did not. For one, we had a really nice noodle soup and the Es Jeruk (Fresh citrus fruit juice on ice) was the best in a long while. But more important was what followed when we were about to leave after our lunch. Adi, the sweet proprietor, tried to make a point and with google translate it turned out he was pointing out we should have a longer break. A brief look outside explained why: Thick dark clouds were gathering and is was just about to start to rain. The rainy season has started in earnest now. That was all the convincing we needed. I got to put my bike inside under the roof and we all settled in for an hour or so to sit out the rain.
Adi dished out another round of Es Jeruk on the house for us, I got the second pineapple out and shared it in return with him and his wife. Then I got talking to two other fellas on a road trip with their Kawasaki Supermoto, Apri and Bangun. With the pleasant company and in a safe place, time really flew. Nina used the break to chill out and recharge her batteries a bit watching the rain soak the surrounding rice fields. When the rain stopped and it was time to go on, it was smiles all around and we all gathered around for a customary group shot around the bike.
Coming into Solo, I was surprised of how little was going on on the streets for a city this size. Traffic was almost easy and we found a hotel right next to the action in no time. The reason we were going to Solo was for Nina to check out the local Batik manufacturing and maybe get a present or two to send home. So after checking in, parking the bike securely and having our customary post-road shower, we got some time left to explore the “Batik Quarter”. Turns out, that same as in the rest of the city, the “sidewalks have been flipped up” as we say in Germany. Most shops and manufactures were closed. One was open, though it was the fanciest in town. Nina and I were quite overwhelmed with their massive store and their hefty prices. We still enjoyed a little tour though and having a look at the manufacturing process in the very back of the shop. Sadly, no pictures were allowed there.
For dinner we went out to a street recommended in the Lonely Planet. Next to the old Dutch fort, a street is closed off for traffic daily and a whole armada of stalls woe for the attention of potential diners. Only that, most like in the rest of town, no one was really out. We could count the people dining on two hands, with about three times as many stalls waiting on customers. At least it did not detract from the taste. Nina got a grilled corn on the cobb and I had another delicious round of sate. All was well, except for Nina’s belly …
Nina’s comment: I started having stomach troubles in the morning and it didn’t get better during the day so I had a hard time riding the bike till Solo. Wasn’t very social and also not up to much.