Surabaya Heritage and Historical Tour with Ukrainian Family

The car arrived at 10.00 a.m. So we took off immediately, I knew that we were early. But being early is better than being late, isn’t it? The main reason I set the car at 10.00 a.m. is due to the trust issue I had for the car company.

Surabaya Car Renting Issues

It got lots of bad reviews on the internet. Bad reviews can be two things, first, it’s bad for real, or the reviews come from its competitors in Surabaya. So it’s a 50/50 chance.

I had no choice but to use its service. It was the only car rental company that require a small amount of Down Payment, only 25% out of the price. The other would be 50% up. And I could pay 3 days before the service.

So in case of the car being late, I set it at 10.00 a.m. Turned out everything was fine, the car wasn’t late, the driver was a friendly guy and the unit was just fine. It’s the opposite of everything written on the reviews.

The North Quay

Noth Quay

At North Quay Surabaya

It’s another 2.5 hours waiting at the port. We arrived at 10.30 a.m. and the Cruise will come at 01.00 p.m. But it’s alright, I could enjoy the newly renovated port. I went to North Quay, to see if it is as cool as shown on Instagram.

There was a confusion about where should I take the guests for lunch. I initially planned to take them to some local cooking restaurant in the city. But then the time is really not visible to do that.

Then I learned that the foods in Noth Quay are fit to what I had in mind. It’s local and the prices are reasonable, not to mention that I could pay wit OVO apps which offers lots of discounts.

It’s 01.00 p.m. I could see the Cruise Ship was docking. Marina said she would be out in any minute. I was so excited to finally see her and the family. But then she refused to have lunch, they already had it before their arrival. Looks like my OVO balance was going to waste.

Question after Question

We then met at the front of the arrival gate. I was very excited to start the tour. I took them to the car, they said that it’s the exact car they were using in Bali a day before. So I guess I made the correct decision about renting this car.

Our first destination was the Majapahit Hotel at Tunjungan Street downtown Surabaya. On our way, I got a lot of unpredicted questions from Marina and her family, especially the Mom.

All I had in mind were questions related to tourism in Surabaya or Indonesia in general, instead, she asked about education, healthcare services, main commodities and some other questions that I couldn’t provide the answers in an instance.

So I tried my best to answer them all, I couldn’t even translate words I had in mind into English. I panicked and at the same time glad for such curiosity they had towards those issues in Indonesia. If I were the tourist, I wouldn’t bother about education in the country I’m visiting, and they did.

The Flag Incident at the Majapahit Hotel

Majapahit Hotel 02

Painting of Flag Incident by Ruslan Abdul Gani

The skies were already dark upon our arrival at the Majapahit Hotel. The rain is coming at any moment. So we waited for the hotel guide to take us for the hotel tour.

While we wait, I had the moment with the family talking about why this hotel is so special. I told them the Flag Incident that happened at the Hotel in 1945 which sparked a great war, The Battle of Surabaya.

That was the first heroic moment of Surabaya Youth to defense Indonesia’s Independence which declared a few months earlier. The Dutch tried to reclaim its colonial power by joining the British troop as the Allies representative to release the Indo European war prisoners.

Mojopahit Hotel 05

Enjoy Coffee after the Tour

Mojopahit Hotel 06

In front of the Dining Room

Things happened quick and spontaneous and lead to the coming big war on November 10th, 1945. Therefore Surabaya has its nickname as the City of Heroes. This is where the first revolution war broke out. It’s known as the largest Allies attack after World War II ended.

We then continue with the hotel tour. By then my job was taken over by the Hotel tour guide, I was just following them and taking pictures during the tour. As I predicted, the rain came gradually, as the skies got darker and darker.

I guess all my plan of having Walking Tour ruined by the rain. It’s impossible to walk along the street while raining. Not to mention that I had no umbrella or whatsoever. So we continue to the next destination by car.

Joko Dolog Sanctuary

We got out the car and rush to the Joko Dolok Sanctuary to get cover from the rain. Luckily, the guard let us wear our shoes while going up to the Buddha statue. Normally we have to take off shoes in order to go closer to the altar.

So without further a due, I started to give the historical background of Joko Dolog Sanctuary. From where the Buddha statue comes from to the story of the stone inscription written on the statue’s pedestal. They were listening to it solemnly and rouse some questions regarding the place.

The rain was distracting us from exploring the sanctuary further. I couldn’t show some of the statues that have stories of its own. I guess I had to keep them for myself.

Joko Dolog 01

The main Altar

Joko Dolog 02

Prasasti Wurare

The Bambu Runcing

We were supposed to stop by at the Zangrandi Old Style Ice Cream shop, but then the rain made us skip it and move straight to Siola building. There we can see the Warrior statue holding Bambu Runcing, so I explained to them about this special weapon during the war.

Bambu Runcing literary means The Sharpen Bamboo, it is a traditional weapon that widely used by local fighters to kill the foreign troops, The Dutch and The British. We did have a modern weapon that we took from Japanese weaponry, but it wasn’t enough for the fight.

Those who didn’t get a modern weapon like guns will use traditional weapons like Keris blade and Bambu Runcing. Although considered as a traditional weapon, they were lethal to the enemy.

The British even mentioned them in the ultimatum leaflet as weapons the Surabaya people must hand over to the British troops in Surabaya on November 9th, 1945.

Shopping Time

Siola 03

Shopping at Gift ShopWe then moved to the gift shop in the building. Here my job was doing nothing. I let them busy picking what to bring home for their friends. It took more time than I expected.

The Mom said that she had to buy a lot of souvenirs for their friends and relatives at home. Indeed they brought many bags as we got out of the shop.

The clock has shown 04.10 p.m. and they had to be at the port at 05.00 p.m. but one thing was missing. Marina insisted to go to the iconic Sura and Baya statue.

I told her it would be impossible since the time was so little left and the traffic is bad for that particular hour. So there was a little debate over where we should go next

Luckily our driver gave the idea to visit the new statue built near Plaza Surabaya. So everybody was happy. The rain got heavier once we arrived at the place. So we had to take photos under the thick rain. As a result, we all got wet.

The wet clothes and the AC in the car were a perfect combination to trigger cold. The Mom still gave me questions about general issues, but this time I have prepared the answers.

We finally reach a goodbye moment, they said they were happy about the tour. That is all I want to hear at the end of the story. And I am happy to have them in Surabaya and to share some stories about the beloved City of Heroes.

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