Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Via Via Cafe

It was a bizarre 24 hours that took us from Lombok to Yogyakarta via Jakarta. We had spent one night in Senggigi, Lomboks' premier beach resort. Well after the paradise of Gili Meno, anything was going to be second rate. You can not beat heaven that's for sure. 
We decided to get out of Lombok. So we took a taxi to the airport and asked how much fares were to Yogyakarta and Denpasar in Bali. Yogya was very expensive and Bali's next flight was in the late afternoon. So after much discussion and a flip of a coin that we have for making difficult decisions. We settled on Java. Then we noticed that the next flight leaving Lombok was to Jakarta. We asked how much, and it was not that much more expensive than flying to Bali and it left in less than 2 hours. Out came the credit card and off to Jakarta we went. 
We were counting on that we could get a train ticket out that night to Jogya. We however did not count on the fact that Ramadan was ending, and it's a time when every single Indonesian is on the move. 
We soon found out that the thought of leaving that night was but a dream. Apart from standing for 10 hours we were going nowhere that night. Asking in the information centre we found that we might have to stay at least 3 nights. Not a great thought. So we queued up to buy a ticket, when as by a  miracle 2 seats appeared for a train the next morning. Heaven sent. Pachamama was looking out for us. Thankfully noone brought those last two seats before we got to the front of the queue. Tickets in hand we found a hotel, ate, slept and arrived back in the train station 12 hours later for a fantastic trip through the Java countryside. 
I was expecting something similar to Ubud in Yogyakarta. Well it is, but only about 100 times bigger and busier. But still as loveable. Well almost. 
Yogyakarta has 2 sides for tourists. The part by the train station with its small lanes and cheap hotels and restaurants and a slightly plusher side 3 km's South. In the plusher side we found 2 very good places. One to satisfy my addiction to caffeine and the other my desire to eat some good tasting food. A happy soul I was.
The Ministry of Coffee (Great name) sells the best cup of coffee I have tasted in Indonesia. Actually the best since we left Vietnam. Java coffee at its best. Quite strong but with some great nutty taste to it. I was in coffee heaven. It was quite a trek to go there, but as the local cyclos were so cheap it was well worth it. 
The other place ViaVia Cafe, which was a bit further up on the same street satisfied my belly. Indonesian food is good, but like the food in Malaysia, everywhere sells the same and after a while a change is called for. 
It's a pretty cool place. There are about 10 of these cafe's dotted around the Globe in the most random places. They are owned by a Belgium group who believe that travellers should be able to get a good feed plus a nights sleep at these rest stops. Great idea in my view. A modern day inn or Ryokan if you are Japanese. This particular one also sold tours arranged by local guides and sold locally produced handicrafts. I imagine they all do the same, but do not know for sure. 
For lunch or for dinner, we did both, it fitted our need for some good and different food. I have to say though that it wasn't the best food I've had on this trip, but they did a pretty good job of it though. Looking at the photos the salad is a little chunky, like the onions with the fish, but all was cooked pretty well. Well the kebabs could of done with a bit of cumin to spruce it up a bit, the fish we had was a tad over cooked, hey ho. All in all t'was pretty good food they delivered, and that is all that matters, and they saved us from another meal of Nasi Goreng and the like. We needed saving for a time. 

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