Wednesday, 16 January 2013

9 to 12 January - to Bawen and Ambarawa (Indonesia)

I found the following on the internet and it is thought provoking as to how it actually happens and the effect on any tourists.

Nyepi Religious Day & Cultural Event
Please be informed that Bali island celebrates Nyepi (Silent) Day each year on below dates. The Nyepi (Silent) Day is a day of absolute silence throughout the island. No outdoor activities are allowed including check in and check out from hotels.March 12, 2013 | March 31, 2014 | March 21, 2015 | March 9, 2016 | March 28, 2017. For more information about events in Bali, visit  and

I spent one night in Bali then caught a bus to Bawen as I wanted to visit the railway Museum in nearby Ambarawa with the overnight bus taking 21 hours for the trip. The first bus left Bali at midday and arrived at Bawen at 09.00 hours. There was a stop at 22.30 hours for a dinner of fried chicken, rice, vegetable soup and watermelon, all included in the fare. Apart from dropping people off at various places during the night there was no further stop until we reached the destination. Thee was a toilet on the coach (no comment) and the seats were like airline seats but I did end up with a sore back and neck.

I happened to sit next to an Indonesian lady on the bus. She spoke very good English having worked as a nanny for a Brazilian family in Bali and then going to Winchester (UK) with them for a year. She had also been a nanny in Singapore, Switzerland, and Uganda and now free-lanced for families on holiday in Bali, days or weeks at a time as required. She said that it was cheaper to employ her than to use the hotel baby-sitting service. As to how she finds the work, well, she advertises on the internet and on Facebook. I  asked her to explain the ‘quiet day’ and this is what she said having been in Bali for one herself.

On the day in question the Indonesians have to stay home, no cooking is allowed nor light in the homes. It is supposed to be a day of prayer and fasting but she was not clear if that was from sunrise to sunset or for the 24 hours. In the villages the children are taken to one house where they are entertained all day. No loud noises are allowed anywhere. The Bali airport is closed for the day and all tourists must stay in the hotels, they are not allowed on the beaches, they cannot make any noise but they are able to eat. All bars and clubs are closed for the day. The religious police patrol the streets, towns and villages to make sure that everyone is doing what they should. The lady said that a lot of tourists go to Bali at this time just to observe what happens on the ‘quiet day.

Ambarawa was a military city during the time of the Dutch Colonial Government. King Willem 1 ordered the construction of a new railway station to enable the government to transport its troops to Semerang with part of the line requiring construction of the short (7 km) rack section, the only such example in Java. On May 21, 1873 the Ambarawa railway station was built and called Willem I Station. The Station was originally a trans-shipment point between the 4ft 812 in (1,435 mm) gauge branch from Kedungjati to the northeast and the 3ft 6in (1,067 mm) gauge line onward towards Yogyakarta. It is still possible to see that the two sides of the station were built to accommodate different size trains.

The railway museum has a number of steam locomotives which remain from the closing of the 3ft 6in (1,067 mm) railway line.The museum has 21 steam locomotives of which four locomotives are operational. There are also old telephones, morse telegraph equipment, old bells and signals equipment, and some antique furniture.


At the station
Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Station, 1873, 11 January 2013 (2)

Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Workshop, 11 January 2013 (2)
Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Workshop, 11 January 2013 (1)
Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Manual Crane, Haarl, N-725, 1906, 6000 kg at 4 metres, 11 January 2011 (1)
Workshop manual crane
Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Loco, Haarl Germany, N-B2503, 11 January 2011 (1)

Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Loco, Guards Van, 11 January 2011 (1)

Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Loco, Haarl Germany, N-B2502, 11 January 2011 (1)

Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Workshop, 11 January 2013 (3)
Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Turntable, 11 January 2011 (1a)
Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Carriages, 11 January 2011 (1)
Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Loco, 11 January 2013 (1)

Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Loco, C1801, N259, 1908, 11 January 2013 (1)

Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Loco, C5028, 1928, 11 January 2013 (1)

Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Loco, Kayu Germany, B2014, 1905, 11 January 2013 (1)
There was a large horizontal steam boiler inside this locomotive
Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Loco, Krupp Germany, 11 January 2013 (1)

Indonesia, Ambarawa Railway Museum, Loco, Krupp Germany, 11 January 2013 (2)

Some of the steam locomotives are the 2 B25 0-4-2T B2502/3 which is from the original fleet of 5 supplied to the line about 100 years ago. The B2502 and B2503 were built by Esslingen in Germany in 1902 and 1906. These are the original locomotives built for the rack line. One locomotive, B2501, is preserved in the War memorial Park; the E1060 which was originally delivered to West Sumatra in the 1960s for working the coal railway was the last steam commercial locomotive in the world to be built (1966) outside India and China; and a conventional  locomotive 2-6-0T C1218 which was restored to working order in 2006.

Up the road from the Railway Museum was the War Museum for which there was no information available. I did however take some photographs of the items in the War Museum, shown below.
Museum train
Locomotive N/1902
CR 62-1
Inside the carriage
P45 Mustang
Indonesia, Ambarawa War Museum, 4 ton Dodge 1941, 11 January 2011 (1)
4T Dodge (1941)

I asked in different places where the post office was so that I could post some cards and in the end someone took me to the building only to find it was closed for lunch. Making it clear that I would go back later was not acceptable as the man then banged on the glass door until those inside came and opened the door and sorted out stamps and posted the cards for me. Being a foreigner in some countries and in some places that do not see many foreigners actually walking the streets has its advantages.

Indonesia, Ambarawa, Local Bus, 11 January 2011 (1)
One of the local buses
The following day I went by bus to Jogyakarta  a journey of only two hours this time. When I arrived at Jogyakarta the man sitting next to me asked where I was going and took me to the street showing me how to use the local transport called Trans Jogja (known as Trans locally). This bus service costs IDR3000 (20p) per trip no-matter where or for how long. The bus stops in the street are raised off the ground, covered, and the money is taken at the bus stop itself. The bus pulls up, the doors are manually opened at the stop, manually opened on the bus and someone always checked that I was getting on the right bus. This was all the transport I used for my stay in Jogyakarta.

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