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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Medan 2015: Day 4

Day 4: Berastagi to Medan

We checked-out of Grand Mutiara Hotel Berastagi at about 8.00am.

Agriculture is big business in Berastagi and the surrounding area, thanks to the cool climate and fertile volcanic soil. The climate here is similar to that of Cameron Highlands. This makes the market a popular attraction.

On the way to the market, we stopped by the Church of St. Francis of Assisi.

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[Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Berastagi]

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[Interior of the church]

We arrived at the market at around 8.30am. There is a wide range of flowers, vegetables, fruits, as well as clothes and souvenirs. The fruits are perhaps a bit more interesting here. The passion fruit (markisa) and tamarillo (terung Belanda) are popular (they are also made into juice concentrate). Also available are the local persimmon, pepino (a kind of small purplish melon), snake fruit (salak), avocado, mango, grapes, and dragon fruit. It was also recommended we try the sweet-spicy grilled corn.

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[Berastagi Market: Flowers]

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[Berastagi Market: Vegetables]

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[Berastagi Market: Fruits]

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[Grilled and boiled corn]

After the market, we headed to Gundaling Hill - a popular lookout area to view Gunung Sinabung and Gunung Sibayak. We arrived at about 9.30am. Both volcanoes are still active. Gunung Sinabung has recently been erupting off and on. Besides the volcanoes, the kids were especially excited over the dandelions, wanting to pick the blowballs to blow.

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[Gunung Sinabung]

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[Gunung Sibayak]

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[Dandelions on Gundaling Hill]

At about 10.15am, we arrived at a strawberry farm to pick strawberries. Unfortunately, it was off-season and the kids had to make do picking the left-overs. They didn't mind though. We did not see any dark red strawberries, but even the "off-red" ones were already as sweet as the ripe Cameron Highlands variety.

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[Picking strawberries]

At 10.45am, we visited Lumbini Nature Park. It is a Buddhist temple with a wooded nature park nearby.

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[Buddhist temple at Lumbini Park]

We left at about 11.15am and headed back to Medan. At about 1.00pm, we arrived at the Marian Shrine of Annai Velangkanni. It has a very unique and elaborate design. "Lessons" on the seven days of creation can be found on the circular ramps leading to the main church area. The seven sacraments can be found on the ceiling of the church. There is also a mini Jerusalem in one corner of the church compound.

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[Marian Shrine of Annai Velangkanni]

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[Interior of the shrine]

We were dropped-off at the Kuala Namu airport at about 3.00pm for our 6.30pm flight home to Penang.

For the record, we can think of perhaps two rather unfortunate incidences during the holiday:
  1. While having a dip in the bathtub in the hotel in Berastagi, Julian bumped his head against the bathtub tap, resulting in a 1cm gash. Luckily it was not as deep as his first (and major) gash. However, it was enough to cause a scene, and the obvious need for a plaster (see the photo of Julian picking the strawberry).
  2. We liked the mixed passion fruit and tamarillo juice (called martabe = markisa + terung Belanda) we order during one of our meals. So, at the Berastagi market, we bought a bottle each of passion fruit and tamarillo juice concentrate. However, we absent-mindedly forgot to check them in at the airport. They were discovered in one of our hand-carry bags during the security check and had to be left behind.

Overall, it was an enjoyable and interesting holiday. We were happy that the places we visited appealed to the adults as well as the kids.

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