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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Medan 2015: Day 3

Day 3: Samosir to Berastagi

We checked-out at 7.00am. As we drove away from Samosir Cottages, we saw some rocks that were rhyodacite lava domes.

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[Rhyodacite lava dome]

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[An idyllic lakeside view of Lake Toba]

At 7.30am, we arrived at our first stop for the day - the Stone Chair of King Siallagan. The stone chairs and statues found at this village were made from rhyodacite lava rocks we saw earlier. The chairs were used by the king and elders to conduct trials on crimes committed. Criminals who were sentenced to death are taken to another area for execution.

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[The Stone Chair: Daddy on trial]

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[A mock execution]

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[Instruments used for execution]

We then took a long drive uphill to the Tele Viewing Tower located on the mainland just west of Samosir. We arrived at about 9.50am. From the tower, we enjoyed the panoramic view of Lake Toba and Samosir. The tower itself is rather shaby and not well maintained, but the view is truly amazing. There is a small shop in the area where we bought a few hard-boiled duck eggs, much to the amusement of the kids.

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[The Tele Viewing Tower]

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[A north-east view from the tower]

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[A south-east view from the tower]

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[A panoramic view from the tower (thanks to AutoStitch)]

At 11.15am we arrived at a hot spring, also on the mainland. It is a rocky, off-the-beaten-track sort of place with a small stream. Some rocks were stained yellow indicating the presence of sulfur, and the smell of the air confirmed this. Nearer the source, the water was really very hot. There were lots of piping in the area, very likely taking the water to hot spring bathing pools that are popular in the area.

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[At the hot spring]

At 11.45am we had lunch at Saulina Resort. We order grilled ikan nila stuffed with sambal. It was delicious! Apparently, ikan nila is a popular aquacultured fish in the Lake Toba area, some of which are even exported to Europe we were told. As it turned out, after some Googling, ikan nila = Nile fish = Nile tilapia! Anyway, for a tilapia, it did not have the muddy-pondish taste of our local tilapia.

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[Grilled Nile tilapia]

After lunch, we were back on Samosir. We were supposed to have gotten on the 1.30pm ferry from the Simanindo jetty but it was full. So, we took a short walk to another Batak Museum nearby to while-away some time.

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[A traditional Batak boat at the Simanindo Batak Museum]

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[The kids waiting for the ferry at Simanindo]

We caught the next available ferry at 4.15pm and drove towards Berastagi. On the way, we made a pit stop at Simarjarunjung at about 5.20pm to take some photos. Our driver, Jack, was anxious to get us to Sipisopiso waterfall by nightfall as it gets dark around 6-ish. To our relief, we arrived at Sipisopiso at around 6.10pm with just enough daylight to enjoy the spectacular view of the 120m waterfall. The water appears to be gushing out of "a hole in the wall".

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[Sipisopiso waterfall]

By about 6.30pm it was already dark. We had dinner at one of the stalls at the Sipisopiso lookout area. We had simple fried instant noodles (because of the kids) at tourist prices, but the experience of dining in a rural jungle-like environment with a chorus of crickets singing in the background made up for it.

We made it to Grand Mutiara Hotel Berastagi at about 8.30pm.

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