I decided that Yogyakarta is the best place for me to both recover from my saddle sores and fly from when my Indonesian visa expires. Yesterday I had gone to the train station to inquire about taking my bicycle on the train, but a man at the ticketing office told me bicycles were not allowed. I started my day today by looking for the bus station to try my luck there. There is a bus terminal marked on Google Maps but I annoyingly discovered that in reality nothing is there. I was told that the bus station for buses to Yogyakarta is located in Malang, 14km away. I was resolved to ride the distance, but something made me want to try again at the train station. I had luck. This time I was directed to a business on the other side of the train tracks that offers the service of sending large items (mostly scooters) on the train. I assume they are a private business that hires a carriage. They indicated I need to buy a train ticket first so I went back across the tracks to the ticket office, At this point a bystander who could speak reasonable English took it upon himself to help me. He walked me through the ticket purchasing process and then came over to the transport business and did all the talking there. Only business class seats were left (this was a fact, not an attempt to get more money from a foreigner). I paid 270,000r for my seven-hour train journey and I was charged 200,000r for my bike. At this point it was about 9am and the train wasn’t departing until 4.30pm. I could have left my bike at the transport office, but I didn’t want it out of my sight for that long. I entertained myself in town until 2.30pm, which is when they said I needed to deliver the bike.

On my return, I found workers in full swing tying cardboard around scooters to protect them during transport. My bike got royal treatment, all the bags and the top tube of the bike being covered with cardboard. There was no way any hand could slip into a pannier without first cutting off a whole heap of ties and removing the cardboard. I stood around watching until my bike was fully wrapped, then I ventured over to the train station to wait for my train.

On getting off the train at Yogya I immediately walked along the platform to where my bike and other gear was being offloaded. I had to follow it all to their ‘office’, where the cardboard was removed and I had to sign it out. It was now 12.30am (that is, the middle of the night). I rode into the darkness and headed for Andrea Hotel. On the way there I got chatting to a friendly Indonesian guy who showed me the way, only to discover the place was closed and had a ‘no vacancy’ sign up. We started heading back out of the gang when the guy asked if I wanted to stay at a little losmen we passed. I didn’t want to spend the whole night searching so I said okay. He walked in and knocked on a door. I then felt super bad when a half-asleep guy staggered out to check me in.

Day 403 (pic)

The bike-packers

Accommodation $ Guesthouse
Distance ridden today 0km
Total distance ridden 10,698km