Indonesia – Pulau Samosir and heading to Berastagi

20/09/16

Waking up early we headed North to try and catch the Batak dancing in the Batak Museum Simanindo at 10.30am. As we were leavin Tuk Tuk we came across a market, and then a large tomb with some statues on top, right across from the tomb were the stone chairs.

The stone chairs are 300 years old and were where village meetings were held and executions happened. Before the stone chairs there were some beautiful traditional Batak houses, they look like boats and caravans mixed together, very folklore. They are really detailed at the front wth carvings on the beams, and we had a look inside one of them and it’s so basic with the kitchen and weaving done on the main floor and then the family would sleep on the floor above. The executions would take part on one of the stones by the stone chairs, first the magc manwould do s stuff then the man would be cut on his torso and then beheaded. It seems pretty gruesome.

We then drove for 30 mins and finally got to Simanindo, there were many times where I stopped the car along theway as there were some amazing Batak houses to look at and the view of the lake is stunning. The museum costs 50,000rp each which is steep! The dancing had just begun so we ran in to watch. There are 4 hut to sit in to watch the dancing and some benches in front too. There were 3 traditional Batak houses and a tree in the middle of the performance ground with a buffalo tied to it, behind the tree were around 10 Batak people dressed traditionally. The dance consist of 11 stories and the movements are all very basic, and the accompanying music was similar to the Thai boxing music!

Some of the dances were stories like the man needs to prove himself to the love of his wife and one where a villager had become possessed by a holy ghost or ancestor and blessed everyone with holy water. They eventually invited everyone up to dance with them, and we were all given this sashes to wear over our shoulder. I really enjoyed joining in, we just had to step very quickly and put our hands in the prayer position and walk around, and then when we came to the Batak people we just shouted Horas to each other which means welcome.

After the dancing we had a look round the museum and the houses, then headed off to find somewhere to eat. Before we found a restaurant we stopped off at the port just round the corner of the museum, Pelabuhan, where you can see Pulu Malau. Then we stopped off at the northern point Pantai Batu Hoda, where there’s a beautiful view of the lake, close by was a BPK Babi Panggang Karo restaurant. BPK is grilled pork and rice with a special pigs blood sauce and a soup, normally it is quite fatty so it is juicy but this one was fat free which made it nice and healthy.

The next stop was Danau Sidihoni which is the lake within a lake, a must see, but after a long drive and bumpy roads it was definitely not worth it. There was a nice view at the top but the lake itself was a huge disappointment. On the way down we chilled at a kopi shop where they tried to over charge us, and then we headed off Pulau Samosir and to the hotsprings.

The hotsprings were so stinky of sulphur and the actual hot springs are just swimming pools filled with the natural hot water. We had a look at a couple different pols and they were all green and filthy and they were trying to charge us 100,000rp each! I’d get a disease just sitting in the water…

So we quickly headed off to Tele, where there is the most amazing view of Lake Toba. You have to pay 2000rp per person to go up the tower but it’s so worth it. After looking at the view we thought we could find somewhere to stay in Tele and rest up for the day but Tele is tiny! Nothing there, so rather than turn back to Pulau Samosir, we decided to drive to Berastagi.

My maps showed us the way and we passed small village after small village each with their own church and hoardes of farmed cabbage .Unfortunately my map thought it would be a good idea to turn off the main road and go down the most horrendous pot holed road for about an hour. It was dark and many villagers didn’t have lights on their bikes, we couldn’t wait to get off this road!

Eventually 1 hour longer than planned, we arrived in Berastagi. We quickly found a room for the next couple of nights at the Sibayak Losmen Guesthouse and got a decent double room fro 125,000rp per night. Absolutely shattered from the drive!

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