Following on from my last blog where we had just arrived in Java and got to Malang for our trip to Mount Bromo, we were up at midnight bright and early for our 1am trip to see the sunrise! We were picked up by our driver Hary, in his Toyota Land Cruiser it was a really cool car – Chris loved it! We were sharing with two others a couple from London called Carl and Hannah who were really cool and we got along really well. Hannah was in the front and me, Chris and Carl in the seats in the back it was a bit of a squash but it was so much fun.
Hary told us the drive was around 2.5 hours, I initially thought that I might get some sleep in this time but there was no chance of that in the back of the Land Cruiser, plus we were all having a laugh chatting and getting to know each other. Harys English wasn’t the best and he just answered yes to everything which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing! After about 45 minutes you could feel the roads changing, they got narrower and more bumpy and we started to climb. Our ears started to pop as we made the climb and if you looked out of the back of the car there was a line of jeeps all making the same journey. It was dark but you could tell that if it was light you would be cringing at the drops and cliffs we were next too.
We arrived at the shops next to the main view point at 3 o’clock, Hary got us some tea and coffee and we had a look round the shops and just chatted, I couldn’t believe how busy it was! Hary said that we should go up to the viewing point at 3.30 for the 5.20 sunrise, it seemed so early to get there and I couldn’t understand why were hadn’t set off later. I said to the others I just wanted to nip to the toilet before we walked to the viewing point (there is a point to this story), so as I went to pay for the toilet the man looked at me a little bit funny but let me in. As I was in the toilet I looked up and saw a sign that had a price list that said Baka 2000 and Baba 3000 – turns out you had to pay more if you needed a poo! It was so funny!
As we got to the view point there were a few people around so we just decided to get a good spot and wait for the sunrise. We passed the hours quite quickly really just laughing and swapping stories, Carl even managed to fall asleep, it was quite cold but nothing too bad. After about half an hour the whole place just filled up and it was packed out, now I know why we had to get there early! So as the ‘sun rose’ (we couldn’t see the sun it was so misty) we couldn’t see a thing. I was so disappointed as I knew Bromo was meant to be beautiful and we had just waited all that time for nothing!
Heading back to the jeep we were very disappointed but Hary said there was another view point down the road which we might have more luck with. It was so beautiful, the view was amazing you could see the volcanos perfectly. It was so lunar like, the volcanos rise from the ancient Tengger Caldera – the large crater is Bromo and the flat topped one next to it is Batok. It was much a magical view and the way the mist had settled below the volcanoes over the land made the view ten times more amazing! The It is up there with the most amazing view I have even seen. I was so happy. As we were leaving the most started moving over the top obscuring the crater from view it was like water flowing the way it moved.
Hary then took us to climb the crater we had just seen, as we got there the whole landscape was made of ash, they call it the sea of sand as it just covers everything. The climb to the top was pretty tough because of the altitude, we kept getting offered a horse, but I opted no because the itinerary said ‘we will chose you a not so aggressive horse’ and if I’m on a horse I don’t want it to be aggressive at all! The last bit of the climb was up a very steep ash hill (we later found out there were steps underneath but they were just covered). As we got to the top the mist had covered and we couldn’t really see anything but the noise was unnerving, I have never heard a volcano that you can physically hear. It was like a jet engine the sound of the steam erupting from underground, the geographer inside me kicked in and I just kept thinking ‘this is really dangerous, if it erupts were dead from pyroclastic flow’. I loved it though it was so cool! We slid back down the ash to meet Hary I asked Chris the time and couldn’t believe it as only 8.30 in the morning!
The drive back across the sea of sand was cool and we kept stopping for funny photos – me fixing the engine, jumping in front of Batok and various poses on the jeep. It really was a cool jeep, all the guides used that type of jeep and Chris couldn’t get over that in England they would be classics and over here they are used as work cars. As we drove and took silly photos the mist cleared and we got an spectacular view of the whole of the volcanoes which really made the trip.
There were a few more nodding heads in the back on the drive back from the trip, Hannah fell asleep on Harys shoulder (sorry Hannah), and somehow Chris fell asleep in the back of the jeep.
Hary took us to a few sites on the way back like the lion rock, waterfall and a beautiful green Savannah. It was such a great trip and it was made better sharing it with Hannah and Carl who made our trip so much more fun. We got back to the hotel at 1pm after our 12 hour trip, it wasn’t over yet though as we had to panic pack and get to the train station for 1.30pm for our train to Surabaya. We were staying the night there before our next train to Yogyakarta.
We had the funniest taxi driver from the train station to the hotel, he told me and Chris that our names were Indonesian and that English people are usually called Albert, Robert or John (he has a point). Then he started drawing a map of Java on some money as he didn’t have any paper, he was just a really funny character.
That night after dinner and cocktails we were asleep for 8pm and up again at 5.45am! As I write we are now on the 5 hour train to Yogyakarta where we have 5 nights in the same place (woohooo). I have had a successful journey really I have admired the lovely rice paddies we are travelling past, wrote this blog, listened to the new Catfish and the Bottlemen album three times and got to level 32 on Cooking Dash on my iPad.