So now that you have a short, vague, and possibly incorrect (I cite the internet as my infallible source of knowledge) understanding of the history of first millennium Central Java, maybe I should share a few pictures...
At the start of the walking path, there is a large stable with a whack load of saddled horses and their guides. At first, we had no plan on hiring a horse, but then we figured maybe we'll acquire just one horse, and the kids can share. Well...the guys with the horses were smarter than us, because two of them followed behind us at a safe distance with two more horses, just waiting for the reality to hit Simon and Helena that Luke was on a horse and they weren't.
Parental pleas of "Just wait, you'll get your turn" just didn't cut it. So, before you knew it, Luke, Si, & Helena were each on a horse of their own, and Amy and I were huffing away trying to keep up.
As it turned out, it was the highlight of our trip as all three kids loved it! There were lots of loud exclamations of excitement such as:
"Look at me!!!"
"Giddee up horsthy!"
"My horse just pooped!"
"Mine is having a snack!"
(Some of these photos are washed out a bit as it is so extremely bright when the sun is out...and I wasn't paying attention.)
Ruins of some structures that were too far gone to ever rebuild in any likeness of the original.
As good Canadians, it was very much a surprise that you could walk right up to, and even walk right inside 1100 year old temples. It was surprising to have no ropes, fences, or big signs surrounding each site talking about the great lengths each and everyone of us should all aspire to ensure the gentle preservation of a special piece of human history. That said, the sites were all very clean, and there was no graffiti that we noticed. Except I did notice some very old Arabic looking writing, which could have translated "So-and-So wuz here" or "Grad 1432".
The above picture is another temple which is across a small valley from where we made it to. It was very beautiful to be up on the mountain side. It felt familiar with the mountains and the pine trees, and yet it held different type of natural beauty I was unfamiliar with, as it was my first outing away from roads and cars in Indonesia. There was also the knowledge that many generations of people called this place home many years ago, and toiled and slaved to build what they did.
I am so thankful to know the Creator of this beauty, as the knowledge of Him is a gift He chose to give to me, something I definitely have not earned. To be up in a place like this and to know and love Him who made the pine trees and formed the hills, is almost overwhelming. Natural creation just resounds with the character of God.
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
Isaiah 40:28 (esv)