Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Big North Sumateran Adventure

The Plan

The end of October and early November of last year witnessed my sister and I in one of our many happier moments - not only as sisters (we both probably had evil thoughts of wrestling with each other, that didn't pan out), but as people in general. 

It's been ages since then, and details are a little vague, but it certainly involved a few bookmarked pages, blogs by other people who have done similar things and some concern regarding missing information about transportation from the middle of nowhere to the city, and in all that insanity, the two planners extraordinaire had completely overlooked the fact that our destination had recently been subject to a volcanic eruption from a volcano that had gone through centuries of inactivity!
The Plan - sort of

Our plan, however, was to make our way from KL to Medan (by flight, naturally), and then get away from Medan to Parapat, spend a night there, go on to the Island of Samosir the next day, visit some selected places based on the websites we read, spend the night and then leave for Parapat again, and then head on to Berastagi where we will spend another night, and spend the next day travelling back to Medan for our flight back. We had some difficulty in getting info for transportation from Berastagi back to Medan, and therefore decided to get some help in the form of a guide - plus we're two girls with very little street cred in a foreign land.

Some Airport Drama

Read this post.

From Medan to Parapat

Medan greeted us with a slight drizzle, and despite losing the pink duffel bag, thoughts of adventure clouded most of the worries that were related to losing the bag. Toiletries could be bought, we could conserve energy on our phones by taking turns keeping it on, and we could do without face towels and tissue papers. All you need was to relax. Medan itself was pretty much like any other city, vehicles moving back and forth, buildings, some trees, etc. Naturally excitement built up from the knowledge that a few hours later, we'd be away from he city, smelling fresh air and seeing a lake that has been covered in our geography books while we were in school.

However, due to the lack of sleep from the night before, I found myself in deep sleep throughout most of the journey! Sad but true, I suppose I missed seeing the transition of scenery as we moved out of the outskirts of the city into deep single lane roads of the countryside. I was awake after lunch, though, and as we went deeper into the island, the land elevated, and the temperature became much cooler. We could see trees, clouds and the lake even from a distance. The sights can literally take your breath away.

Parapat

Parapat: Overlooking the lake

Horas!
We reached Parapat late in the afternoon, and were introduced to the words Horas! - which is a greeting, much like "hello"

Parapat is a little town that's adjacent to Lake Toba. Most holidaymakers go here, as can be seen by the rather large number of lakeside resorts and hotels.

What makes it interesting though is that the locals use the lake for their daily use and went by their own business that Saturday afternoon, unlike in some other tourist destinations. A family of three sisters and a brother washed their clothes by the lake, taking turns to scrub, rinse and squeeze the clothes. A bunch of skinny young boys happily swam in the lake, one of them trying out some stunts by hanging onto a moving ferry and diving into the lake when it was deep enough to the cheering of his mates. One of them saw us when they came back up ashore and asked us if we wanted to take their picture which we politely declined ;)

to be continued...

(map from traveling Indonesia)

5 comments:

  1. That looks like a beautiful place which now makes me long for a nice holidays somewhere like that :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. That looks really wonderful. What made you switch sites?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nick: I definitely recommend this place - peaceful to the max, you'd never want to go back to M'sia!

    SAW: It was... Well, I had a bit of a scare regarding my actual identity being identified... long story.

    ReplyDelete
  4. the lake looks so peaceful! :)

    ReplyDelete