Today was a day of beautiful scenery, unique Java sights, and sore legs.
We had engaged a driver for the day (how posh does that make us sound, ha ha ha!) so we had transport to take us to some places outside the city. We went to Borobudur, to Bukat Rhema (aka Gereja Ayam, which means ‘chicken church’, to Ketep Pass, which is a lookout for Mount Merapi and the other one next to it that I can’t quite remember right now, and then back to Yogya to the south square, to see the most ridiculous neon decorated pedal-powered cars ever.
It was so beautiful. Troy and I went to Borobudur when we were here, but I really enjoyed going again. It inspires such awe…it’s so old and beautiful, and every part of it was made by human hands. I know I wrote a few weeks ago about how much my faith in people was shaken, but something like Borobudur reminds me that people can make strong and beautiful things that can last.
The chicken church was hilarious and just so weird and perfectly unique! It did require a walk up a slope that felt like it was 45 degrees (coming after the millions of steps at Borobudur) that just about killed me, but it was worth it. The chicken church was actually meant to be a non-denominational church in the shape of a dove, but it has turned out looking pretty much like a chicken. The guy who built it went bankrupt and it wasn’t finished, but I think they’re working on it now because of the tourist potential. It used to be not well known at all, but it was in a popular Indo film and so more people are visiting now. It has a basement with prayer rooms and a lot of little cells for solo contemplation (I mean, I suppose they’re not for keeping prisoners in, but who knows?), then the body is a big space where you would hold service, and then you can climb up the stairs to look out the beak, and then continue up to stand on its head and look at the view. I just love that someone thought up this concept and actually went ahead and built it!
The lookout to Mount Merapi was stunning. They had viewing platforms, a museum and a restaurant there, so that’s where we ate lunch. I also enjoyed the weather up there- we were high enough that it wasn’t really that humid for once!
The south square of Yogya just contined the funny weirdness of the chicken church. Apparently it’s now just like a fun little festival at night- there are shells of old cars that are all outlined in neon lights, and that are powered by the people inside pedalling it. It just seems so bizarre, but it was a really fun sight. The rain hit while we were watching so we took shelter and ate some sate ayam and fairy floss, and then came home. Alyssa and Emma powered through their sore legs from all the climbing and walking and went and played elastics with the kids here, and I did this and then watched the elastics game…I am too old and tired to join in!