After a 10-hour trip from Jakarta the train rolled into Yogyakarta station. The train journey itself, watching the Javanese countryside slide past, was a pleasant experience. Our hotel was only a short walk through the bustling Malioboro area and it allowed us to stretch our legs before grabbing a taxi over to the other side of town to a recommended French restaurant. We weren’t disappointed. Tartare de bœuf, gratin dauphinois, magret de canard, fresh baguette, rocket salad, … and affordable delicious wine. Something which is unheard of in Indonesia. What a treat. It was so good we went back twice more in the next few days. Our bellies full, we returned to the hotel for an early night and woke up at 3.30 am to head to Borobudur for a sunrise visit.
Borobudur temple. The largest buddhist monument and one of the world’s wonders was built at the beginning of the 8th century, during the golden age of the Syailendra Dynasty. When Europe’s greatest cathedrals were just being started, Borobudur had already stood for 400 years.
It’s hard to describe the feeling you get when you walk around the many terraced levels. There’s an energy and beauty that makes you pause. Our guide, a great story teller, managed to enthuse the boys and as we went up, level by level, he explained the symbolism and the history of this ancient place. He had grown up near the temple and used to play hide and seek with his friends amongst the ruins.
Buddhism is such a pure and beautiful set of teachings, a way of living, that is inspiring. When the sun finally rose and shone its rays right on Buddha’s head, I felt very privileged to experience it all. A magical moment.