Another Volcanic Sunrise

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
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Trip End Jan 31, 2012


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Where I stayed
Sion Hotel

Flag of Indonesia  , East Java,
Thursday, September 15, 2011

Transit
Had a 8:30am bus to Bromo. Given its an 11hr ride I think I would have preferred an overnight bus. Ideally you would do the overnight bus, arrive at 4am to head up to the view point then spend the day. Not sure though how many other tourist would be willing to put up with a night on the bus though.

Not much happened during the day. Had something like 13 hrs of driving with one break for lunch and a toilet break every 2 or so hours.

Chatted with the serbian, french girls and french couple on the bus since they were doing the same trip. On the tour also had some german kids on the bus but they seemed out of it. While I am sure they wernt stoned, they certainly seemed like they were. Very strange lads. Ended up spending the day staring out the window watching the scenery pass by and listening to music.

When we got near Probolingo I looked at the time and saw that we were already over 1.5hrs late and not even at our destination yet. As a result I decided to skip the last toilet stop here and wandered out to the street where I found a street vendor close buy and some fried chicken and rice. While Im sure the other on the bus had to wait for me it couldnt have been more then a couple of minutes. Luckily also I wasnt the only one to do this since someone else saw me wander off and also followed to get some food.

Once in Probolingo got told about the tour for the following day and then changed buses for the last leg of the journey to the hotel. In the end the bus was 2 hrs later than it should have been which was bad given the early start the following morning. Guess it was close to 11pm by the time I headed to bed.

Worth noting that you can tell when your somewhere cold since you'll find a sheet or blanket on the bed. As I did here. In general though a standard cheap room in Indonesia never comes with a sheet to cover yourself and always with a fan.


Day 1 – Penanjakan View point, Bromo then transit to Lovina
Had a 3:15am start. Ended up leaving in the jeep around 3:30am. Got dropped off near the bottom of the view point and had to walk up in the dark from here. With the moon shining (not quite full) didnt even really need to use my torch.

On the way up had continuous calls of locals trying to get you to take a horse up the hill. I walked and surprised to find that at least at the start I was a bit short of breath. Guessing its either the altitude or the fact I havent done any hill climbing lately. Thankfully didnt take to long for my breath to settle. Made it up in good time to the main tourist stop where locals were selling coffee and other drinks. Here I saw that the trail continued up and so I followed it. The trail from this point was more of a dirt track than the stepped path I had been following earlier.

Headed up the steep hill with the intention of getting to the top which hopefully wasnt to far since I still needed to head back. As I started to get closer and closer to the top I started to find more locals but this time trying to sell rides on motor bikes. Found out why later when I reached a main road that continued up the last bit to the top of the mountain. Would have been happy to walk but didnt want to keep the people in the jeep waiting so decided to take a ride. 15,000R for a return trip and not 20,000 for just a one way one up.

Found lots of older tourists up at the viewpoint and watched the sun ride here. Should be noted that the sun didnt rise over the volcanoes but rather to one side of them. Spent a bit of time up here but not as long as I would have liked since I didnt want to keep the others in the jeep waiting. Got a ride back to the trail from the top (after I tracked down my driver) and then ran down the trail. Found at the bottom that the other people I was with were still there so had some time to take in the views from the lower viewpoint.

Chatted with the other guys from the jeep for a while and then headed back to continued onto the Bromo crater. Here walked past a Hindu temple and up the volcano cone through the traffic jam of tourists. Once again horses were on offer to take people up to the base of the crater.

Found it to be an interesting crater with smoke coming out it and steep sandy sides. Decided to walk part of the way round the crater and found that the sand here was a bit like baby powder in some places. Very, very soft. Found the walk hard going around parts of the crater and taking me longer than it might have in better terrain. Due to this decided I didnt have enough time to go all the way round and turned back after about a third of the way.

In the end Im pretty sure the others in the jeep had to wait a while for me since they just went to the top of the crater and back. No where near as time consuming as including a walk around the crater. In the end probably should have spent the whole day here (had option to leave for night bus at 4:30pm, if could find the shuttle) since a second smaller crater was behind the first one and it would have been a nice place just to wander round. In this case would have left the jeep and walked back even though the hotel I was in was a long way from the large craters edge.

In the end had decided against this since this was not the normal thing and was worried about the need to chase up my onward transport. Besides, the bus to Lovina would have dumped me there at 3-4am in the morning and I would have been stuck waiting for a more decent time to find a place to stay.

Headed back to the hotel for breakfast, at least thats what they called it (banana, coffee and two slices of bread with jam), and then jumped onto a bus to the Bali ferry. On the way back down the volcano found that more clouds started to come in. Seems that we got lucky with the weather and also probably has something to do with the altitude of the volcano getting it above some of the lower level clouds.
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