i took the bus as the traffic was slightly mad and sumatra is too big to cycle entirely with just one month of visa and plans to visit other parts of indonesia as well. i arrived during the night some five kilometers outside town at a typical bus stop. as it was raining and i didn’t know if i could check into the hotel at that time, i stranded there for a while and had some tea and coffee while a tv was showing the soccer match between sweden and the netherlands. at 5 o’clock i cycled into town, checked in and immediately went to sleep. karin, whom i met couchsurfing on penang, arrived some hours later and we just tried to get over the sleepiness from the bus ride.

the next day we explored the city. bukittinggi itself has not much to show for and it is rather the surroundings that attracts tourists. still it is nice to walk over the market, try out some new things and snack ones way through the day. for desert we ended up at a martabak stall and watched while it was prepared.

we chatted with another customer and changed our order to her recommendation: corn, cheese and chocolate. sounds unusual? it tastes great! even though we shared it, we easily skipped lunch and had just a lite dinner. remember lembas, the bread of the elves that gives you enough energy for a long time even if you eat little of it? wonder if tolkien ever visited indonesia?!

we were told about a panorama spot and the bus line going there. but when we asked one of the drivers, he told us we could easily walk there in 5 minutes. just some hundred meters away and totally unexpected, the city ends at the sianok canyon.

some monkeys populate the view point and get by with what the tourists feed them. but they don’t neglect a cool drink either.

the sunset was colourful…

and sometime later a parade of flying foxes moved along the canyon from their sleeping spot to their dining places. we met a nice guy from one of the souvenir stalls taking his time to tell us about the canyon, the culture of the villages there and on our way home we were given a small introduction into herbalism. cinnamon, lemon and mint, everything growing just along the path. he recommended to take a walk down the canyon and along the river to some villages on the other side.

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