So yes, week 41 was the last week travelling. Last week in Indonesia and last week with Marina. Although it seemed a pretty sad week, I wasn’t sad at all. I kept on thinking on the good things that happened to me the last months, and I can’t feel luckier. It all has been so amazing!

Anyway, last Sunday we headed to Pangandaran, in the west of Java. To go there we took a bus for 8 hours. 8 hours in the worst road I’ve seen in my entire life. Are you picturing it? It’s even worse.

Pangandaran is a touristic area for Indonesians, so there were not many western tourists. That meant that Ramadhan was way worse. But anyway, it seemed a nice town to spend a couple of days.

On Monday we did the Green Canyon tour. First we went to see how they do the coconut sugar and we saw a man doing the Wayang wooden puppets (different to the leather ones of the center of Java). We felt like japanese tourists a bit, but well, it wasn’t for long….

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clothes and coconuts
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Wayang puppets

After that we went to the highlight of the tour: the Green Canyon. That was pretty beautiful. We swam on the canyon and saw some local animals. It was really nice. Then we became japanese tourists again, they took us to the beach, to eat and we ended the day visiting a Turtle Recovery Center. The turtles were SO CUTE! I want one!!!

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little turtle

Me with a super cute turtle (not as little as the other one!)

On Tuesday Marina took a surf lesson. I just took pictures expecting her to fall every time. But damn it! She did it really well! She stood the first time she tried!!! After that, it was time for a massage. She deserved it and well, me too! 1 hour massage with Andy for 4 €. Awesome!

Later we went for a walk to town. Pangandaran is the area that was devastated by the tsunami in 2006. All the town is filled with alert signs and evacuation exits. Besides that, is a fisher’s town: really quite, pleasant, nice, and with an amazing beach.

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Tsunami evacuation

But we had to go back to Yogyakarta. This time we took the train instead of the bus. And as soon as we arrived we saw that the usually (because of the Ramadhan) empty Yogya was crowded with people and street restaurants and more people and thousands of becaks all around. What was that? Indonesia’s Independence Day. I’m sure there was a massive celebration in Bali. In Yogya was nice, but I guess if August 17th wasn’t Ramadhan, they would have done a way bigger party.

Oh, before I forget it: after some weeks analysing the food, Marina and I realized that Indonesians eat pigeons. And pigeons’ eggs. I don’t want to make any comments about that fact.

On Thursday we went to the other temple that we had to visit: Borobudur, a massive 8th century Buddhist temple in the north-west of the city. The excursion was at 5 am and we went to visit the temple before having breakfast, so it was exhausting. But anyway, the temple was incredible. Borobudur it’s a World Heritage Site for UNESCO, and it’s totally understandable. No matter how hard I tried to take pictures, it’s something that you should see with your eyes.

With nine platforms that represent a buddhist mandala when viewed from above, has more than a thousand panels with reliefs, 504 Buddha statues and 72 stupa with Buddha statues inside. It’s just impressive.

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Borobudur’s stupas

And well, the rest of Thursday and all Friday, what did we do? Nothing. We were tired and it was too hot to move. We just moved to get some food, and spend the rest of the day in bed under the fan. Hell yeah!

Despite Ramadhan, despite all the hassle, I have to say that Yogyakarta has something pretty special. Indonesia is amazing because every single place you visit is similar but completely different to the next one. With their languages, their religions, their different cultures. A huge country made of small little countries. So much to discover!

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Yogyakarta’s becak

And what I’ll probably miss more of Indonesia is the sound of Gamelan, a traditional musical ensemble that has accompanied me all around Bali and Java: in their temples, in their dances, in their puppet shows. It’s hypnotic. Everytime I’ve seen a Gamelan orchestra playing my mind has blown away. That sound just takes me to another dimension.

By the way, although I’m going to miss Indonesia, I can’t wait to eat CHEESE and drink MILK. And I’m never going to eat rice again.

Barcelona, here I go!!!

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Last Monday, 8th of August, exactly 9 months after starting travelling, Ina and I met again. Yeah! I think the best way to end my trip is exactly how I started it: with her. So my last couple of weeks in Indonesia will be with her.

We met in Ubud, my last time in that amazing city. It feels like I’ve been there forever, with Yasmin, with Ade, with Matthias, with Erwin, with Björn. My Ubud friends! So we had some dinner together once again. We drank arak and, like always, life is nice if you are surrounded by the right people.

On Tuesday I took Marina and Björn to do a tour on the main highlights of Ubud. Having been there already 3 times I had become an official tourist guide of the city! So Monkey Forest, drinking avocado juice and my beloved temple Samuan Tiga. I also had my experience with the local police: in Bali police are totally corrupted, so they stop random westerns (I’m not really sure if locals too) with the aim of giving them a fine. No matter what you do, no matter what you have, they just want money. As a good Spaniard that I am, I sorted out the situation just paying 2 Singapore dollars (the equivalent of 1 euro) when the normal fine is between 10 and 15 euros.

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rice fields in Ubud

After a really nice day, we had dinner all together for the last time. I even had a guest star from Spain: finally I saw Yolanda and Simon, who had been almost chasing me for the last month in this part of the world but with a bad timing that didn’t allow us to see each other until then. It was a perfect day as a last day in Bali.

Bali! That island will always remain in my heart. I know it’s damn touristic, but I think it’s still totally worth it a visit. Their culture, their villages, their beaches. Bali is a little piece of paradise. It’s just a matter of finding your own spot in that island and forget about the rest of the world. I would have spent the whole month there, but I was curious to visit another island, and I know that I’m coming back to Bali someday, so on Wednesday Marina and I took a bus direction Java.

And here starts the longest day ever: we left Ubud at 14h. We first went to Ubung and from there we took a bus to Probolinggo, where we arrived at 3h (in the morning!). If you are ever considering going there: don’t. We went there with the idea of visiting Bromo, but it turned out that it’s way easier if you just hire a guided tour with all included. Doing it yourself will just take you longer and cost you twice as much. We left with the tour towards Bromo at 3’30h, so we could see the sunrise from Mount Penanjakan, viewing Mount Bromo and Mount Batok.

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Sunrise from Mount Penanjakan
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Mount Bromo

The sunrise left us speechless. Smoking Mount Bromo seems from another planet. After seeing dawn there, they take you on a jeep to Laotian Pasir and you can even go up Bromo. It’s just stunning. The pictures don’t make justice at all to the beauty of that place.

After that, what? Yes, another bus. 10 hours in our way to Yogyakarta. In total, it took us 30 hours from Bali to Yogyakarta. Longest day ever.

We woke up on Friday and we finally understood that we were in Java instead of Bali. One word: Ramadhan. Java is mainly muslim. And in 2011, Ramadhan is in August. So during day the whole island seems almost asleep: shops closed, almost no people in the street (considering the population of more than 100 million people just in Java, it’s pretty amazing to see empty streets!!). We went to visit the Kraton, which was (or maybe still is) the Sultan palace. Kraton is boring, empty and totally not worth it, but well, we had to visit it. The city looked like a desert! I just kept on thinking of what people told me about Yogya, and I couldn’t see any of that. No street life, no musicians, no food on the street. Nothing at all until 18h. As soon as the mosques called to pray and fasting was broken, the city came back to life. Suddently everyone was eating, drinking, smoking. We found an amazing food market in a hidden street with food to die for. Yogya has to be so cool during the rest of the year!!

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Food market in Yogyakarta

On Saturday we took a bus to Prambanan. One of Yogya’s must-see. Prambanan is a Hindu temple from the ninth century that has more or less resisted several earthquakes and human disasters. It’s just impressive. Massive. But also weird because now it’s surrounded by mosques.

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Prambanan temple in Java
Me in Prambanan

At night we went with some friends to see Wayang Kulit, a leather puppet performance, at Sasono Hinggil. It took ages to find the place, and there we were the only foreigners. I would like to say that it was worth it, but it was the most boring think I’ve seen in my entire life. The puppet performance lasts around 7 hours. We only stayed 1. It’s a puppet show in ancient Javanese with just one man speaking. We thought we didn’t understand it, but the truth is that the locals didn’t understand it either: they were just eating, chatting, smoking. It was sort of social event for them. But well, we had the chance to see it and I’m glad for it.

You know what? In a week I’m back in Spain. The trip is almost over.