Fort De Kock

Hilarious name, boring place.

Fort De Kock is the old Dutch fort on top of the hill in Bukittinggi.  I wasn’t too interested but decided to check it out since it was so close to the Orchid hotel in Bukittinggi.  I needed a day off from motorbiking last Monday the 13th after my marathon trip to Lake Maninjau on Sunday.

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--Old cannon or something. There was only a single sign explaining anything about Fort De Kock. The sign said the fort is named after a guy named De Kock, and when it was built, which I've already forgotten.

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Looks more like a picnic shelter than a fort.

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This ladder, the only way to get to the top of the fort, provided at least a little adventure.

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The pathway at the top of the ladder.

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Not much of a view from the top because the trees are taller than the fort.

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The top of Fort De Kock also features these lovely pipes and that big antenna.

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The ladder really was kind of fun, though.

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The pipes, from underneath. I wish I knew what they were for, but there was no signage whatsoever.

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Fort De Kock is also part of the Bukittinggi Zoo. After seeing this sad cage of chickens (or something), I decided to skip the rest of the zoo.

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Also, a ropes course. Not a chance I'm trying that.

One good thing did come of my time at Fort De Kock, though.  I bumped into another traveller, who I’ll call P because I didn’t ask permission to use his name here.  P is from Quebec.  He’s been retired for several years and spends a lot of time traveling now.  P had already met A, a local Indonesian college student, searching the park for foreigners to practice English.  So I spoke with both of them for a few minutes and we hit it off, plus I had been alone for several days so it was just nice to talk to anybody.  P felt the same,  and the three of us ended up spending the next few days together.  Sometimes the locals trying to practice English can be annoying, but A was a super nice guy and he was a pleasure to have along.

So from Fort De Kock, the three of us set off and saw a bit more of Bukittinggi that day.

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A walking bridge connects Fort De Kock with the rest of the Bukittinggi Zoo. This is the view from the overpass, down onto the main street of Bukittinggi.

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Jam Gadang, the Big Ben lookalike that sits at the center of Bukittinggi. It seems to be the center of tourism for a lot of the Indonesians that come to Bukittinggi, and there is a market nearby where you can buy lots of useless souvenirs.

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I sat down with P and A to have dinner and we got a nice view of Gunung Merapi at sunset from the balcony of our restaurant near Jam Gadang.

Over dinner, we decided to head out to A’s village the next day to meet his family and tour the countryside near Bukittinggi.

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I’m getting behind on my blogging now, so a quick update:  I’m still in the Harau Valley and loving it.  Lots of hiking here, I’m getting to know some of the trails well.  I have to travel quite a ways to get to a computer from where I’m staying (which doesn’t even have electricity), so I’ve been slow with blogging and communication in general.  I fly out of Sumatra on Friday morning from the Padang airport to Kuala Lumpur.  I think I’ll take a day before then to relax back in Bukittinggi and catch up with blogging.

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