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Surabaya is the second largest city in Java, after Jakarta. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the largest city in the Dutch East Indies, bigger even than Batavia (now known as Jakarta). Surabaya is a huge, sprawling, rather messy city, packed with people busy doing something or nothing. We only had one day here, but could easily have spent more time exploring. We stayed at the Majapahit Hotel which was made famous as the site of the start of Indonesian independence from the Dutch when the blue stripe was removed from the national (Dutch) flag to produce the white and red flag of Indonesia.

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In the morning, we took a taxi to the House of Sampoerna which is where they make clove cigarettes. The museum here also runs guided tours so we took the 1-hour Trading Tour in the afternoon. Then we walked through the backstreets to the Pasar Pabean (spice market) and finally found a taxi to take us back to the hotel for a swim before dinner in the art deco bar.

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© Helen Gray 2020