Monday, February 11, 2008

We're going places (Part 5) - What a trip!'s been exactly a week since our return from the trip to Danau Toba, but I think I just recovered from it. It was more exciting and challenging compared to Padang-Bukittinggi that I decided to blog about it first.

I embarked on the trip with a lot of worries, but I tried hard not to make it obvious. When it comes to travelling, hubby is always well-prepared. He helps in planning but not for the trip. I had only booked a hotel for the first night there in Medan as I was not sure of how the fieldwork was like. Remember it was a geological fieldtrip. No car for transportaion was booked, no hotel in Parapat and hubby kept reminding me that it could be crowded there as it was nearing the Chinese New Year holiday.

I was worried that the kids were in the trip, I was more worried that our two co-researchers were there too. I just kept praying.

And Alhamdulillah...thing turned out to be just fine and pleasant, works done and it is such a magnificent place. I have little regrets though for making it short, kids complained of not being able to take a dip in the lake.

We arrived at the hotel in Medan at about 10 pm Friday and arrangement for trasportation was made right away. We rented a Kijang (Toyata Innova) and a supir (driver).

The map is the best I found to illustrate what we actually did in that 3 days.

We started from Medan on Saturday morning, we passed Berastagi and reached Sipisopiso waterfall at noon. It was almost at the northern tip of the lake, not shown in the map. That was the first sight of Danau Toba we had. It was simply breathtaking. We were about 1400 m above sea level and below us winding roads towards the lake shore, which is at the elevation of 900 m. We found sampling site right away and did some work.

We drove towards to southeast to Harangoal, which is at the shore and did more work. Went back to Sipisopiso as the leader of the project ('s me) thought that she had forgotten her precious notebook there.

Sidenote: She found it later in her laptop case, that she didn't had a chance to open at all during the trip. She found it at home. Have not tell hubby about it, I'd let him find out here..hehe!

Anyway, that drive didn't go to a total waste (still feel guilty about it, of course) as we went to Tongging, near Sipisopiso for some sampling. It was dark and windy and drizzling, so we decided to move ahead to Parapat.

The driver was not sure to drive straight along the lakeshore as he said it could be dangerous as the weather was bad, a lot of fallen trees incidents. We took a detour to Permatang Siantar first. Had Nasi Padang dinner there, we reached Parapat around 11 pm and collapsed!

And we woke up to a spectacular view of the lake as our room just at the shore. I cursed a little bit as we had to go to the field but prayed that we were able to return early for some fun. Well it just didn't happen.

Started the day a bit late, we moved to Porsea and up towards the northeast to Siguragura near Asahan valley. It is a huge canyon, with waterfalls cascading through the thick green cover of vegetation. Magnificent!

Had lunch in Porsea, passed Balige and moved a bit to the west side of the lake to Muara. We got carried away here, the weather reminded me of home, said our UK guest. Spent a bit of time there, the view was just spectacular I didn't want to leave, though it was drizzling a bit. At a stop, I just cuddled Adel for some warmth.

We reached the hotel around 8 pm, it was just too dark to play in the water. I had my alpokat fix that night, introduced durian to our guest, bought some grilled corns.

After a lot of discussion (and little arguments, too!), we decided to experience Samosir Island even though time was short as we had a flight to catch in Medan. Took the ferry to Tomok, passed Pengururan in the west of the island, with a few stops for field observations. The most memorable thing about this trip to me is the road from here to Sidikalang. It is a winding road all the way from the shore with the view of the lake and the island above me. Pics would describe better, me thinks!

I thought I was in some postcards!

We passed Kabanjahe, and made a stop in Berastagi for alpokat and some batik. We reached the airport just on time to check-in at about 7 pm.

More pics coming up, and I'd rave more on why I love the place. It's cheap, it is less developed so the nature is intact and during my stay it is not as crowded as I had imagined. Well, I will try to avoid writing about how the geology amaze me, just did that during a lecture today.

Now, isn't it good to think that I'm being paid to do all this;).

And I hope its not too late to wish those who are celebrating, Happy Chinese New Year. Till then...tata!


Blogger raggedyanne said...

you're indeed lucky! so thanks for sharing it with us :)

ahhh, the danau toba view is just as breath-taking as i remember it 17 years ago. those are some great memories i had during that trip. one of it was singing the sheila majid song 'antara anyir dan jakarta' at the top of my voice on a boat ride around the lake, and nobody noticed!

2:22 PM  
Blogger cemutkeyengge said...

Huhu...can't forget about the lake view...althought it's a long time ago, I still remember the goreng pisang and parmesan cheese on top of that..melting slowly n slurp with yummy aiscream sambil mengadap memorable...

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Adam said...

Wow! The pictures look nice. I have never been to Indonesia and definitely would love to visit some of the places you mentioned here one day.

8:00 PM  
Blogger amira shasmeen said...

Reading this particular entry brings me back to the years 1978-1981, when my late father was posted there.

Life was very interesting for us then. There were so many things to do and so many places to visit.

At the early age of 10, I had reached the summit of Mt Sibayak while the rest of my family (mum and dad included) retired half way.

I also remember when we had to roll down the car windows when it was raining very heavily at Tongging and the steep roads were about to be flooded with mud and rocks were starting to roll down ..

Excellent panaromic sceneries ... bliss ....

Did you also visit Sisingamangaraja XII's palace at Balige, I think? Interesting place, too.

Hmmm ... good memories ..


11:01 PM  
Blogger PM said...

M22B..i felt exhausted afer reading ur entry. wonder how u handle ur works and kids at one time..u r a supermom..kalau i agaknye memang dah hangin satu badan..maybe u got very understanding kids yee..

Btw, all those places' names sound like the places in Lor Of The Ring movies..hihi..

Anyway..teke care dear..

3:39 PM  
Anonymous mrs b said...

i wanted to try out the indo cafe at curve after yr posts. really wanted to try out alpokat but b thinks food is all spicy, not suitable for kids. hmmm, maybe just go there for drinks.

5:33 PM  
Blogger KittyCat said...

Wow - what a beautiful view! My uncle's just been there and also returned with rave reviews. I must go there =) Post more photos ok?

1:55 AM  
Blogger Mama22Beas said...

raggedyanne...think the view does not change much from 17 years ago. That's what I like about this place.

Unfortunately fo us, didn't have much time to venture on food:(

Lyza...oh, really? No wonder la...We just stopped at the entance to m Sibayak but the head of the project emphasized that we needed to see more of the young volcanic rocks. So we passed that, and the palace at Balige too.

PM...hangin juga but I have a strong back-up la, hubby who else;)

Mrs B...yes, go for the drinks but alpokat there is not as nice la, dunno maybe they use NZ or Oz avocado as it is priced at RM7. For the kids, they just ate rice and fried fish as most of food, like you said is spicy.

Kittycat...coming up soon!

6:00 PM  

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