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Eka-ing Out a Great Day

May 31. After breakfast and checking out of the lovely and charming Phoenix Hotel

 we meet our new guide, Eka. She is fabulous. Perfect, understandable english, upbeat manner, knowledgeable and fun. It’s as if a large weight has been lifted from around our necks. On the half hour drive to the Prambanan Temple complex we learn more about the history and politics of the area than we have in the prior day and a half. 
This Hindu temple city was built between the 8th and 10th centuries to honor Shiva and originally consisted of some 240 temples, all of which were buried under rubble until rediscovered by the British Governor Raffles in 1811. It has taken over two hundred years to get it to its present state, and work continues on it. Eka gives us a tour and easily comprehensible explanation of the temple complex and it’s carvings.



After this tour we are driven in a small cart to a nearby contemporaneous Buddhist temple site, Sewu. We spend a relatively short time there hearing about and photographing the site.  
On our way back to our van, Carol makes some purchases at VERY modest prices (which did not stop her from bargaining them down. We continue on about an hour, Eka explaining what we are passing by, to a good Chinese restaurant where we have lunch.
From there it’s about another twenty minutes to our award-winning hotel, the Amanjiwo. Amanjiwo, which translates to “peaceful soul,” is a beautiful, romantic hideaway in Java. This luxury resort is surrounded by extraordinary cultural, physical and spiritual beauty, and offers clear views to 9th century Borobudur (the site we will visit at sunrise tomorrow morning),drawing its design inspiration from this largest Buddhist sanctuary in the world. We have been upgraded from the luxury suite we had booked to an even more luxurious one with views of the temple. Amanjiwo was recently voted one of the best resorts in the world. These photos of our room and our views do not begin to do it justice.

After relaxing and unpacking, Carol and I go up for tea.  Carol then goes back to our villa to read and I join Valerie for a refreshing swim in the 50-meter swimming pool.

We meet the Lewises up for dinner, where there are musicians playing the gamelan and a singer.  Our tasting menu allows us to sample about ten different dishes and both the variety and quality of the offerings were excellent.  

Over dinner, we discuss our reactions to some of the great places we’ve stayed at.  Despite the sumptuous elegance of the Amanjiwo, Carol and I both say that we prefer the Borneo Rainforest Lodge and The Phoenix Hotel.  Valerie agrees.  (Michael loves everything, and can’t pick.)  We’re all content, though, to continue to suffer in the luxury of the Amanjiwo.  Tough duty, but somebody’s got to do it.  

 
 

 

3 comments to Eka-ing Out a Great Day

  • Gilbert Cornfield

    Thanks again for taking us with you. Are there Hindu and Buddhist communities in Indonesia or has Islam replaced the older religions?

  • arnie

    There are still Hindus and Buddhists, though Muslims are the vast majority.

  • Ahdina

    Now that looks fabulous!! No leeches. We are just now beginning to plan an International Folk Art Alliance trip to Java and Bali and would to pass on the recommendation of Eka if you are willing to share her contact info.

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