Volcanized in the last days of Java

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A few words here in the beginning this time:

Indonesia is becoming one of our favorite countries we have to admit. Friendly helpful people everywhere, astonishing landscapes and even though the traffic in some areas and the street conditions are a nightmare we really do enjoy it. Going around here and getting known the details and differences in each area is just astonishing. We prolonged already our visa but we feel already sad of the idea leaving the country and not having seen places like Sulawesi, Papua or Borneo… Anyhow for sure we have to come back to meet all the incredible people we became friends and also visit many places which are outstanding!

We divided this section in three parts as we took way too many pictures of these astounding places we have been visited… and we will try to pass you some background information about the locations as well. But for anyone who is more interested at a certain location please look it up in the net… because conditions are changing constantly and we are not an encyclopedia ;)

Mt Merapi – beauteous and scary at the same time…

Mt Merapi, the mountain of fire, is a real active volcano, actually the most active one in Indonesia. The last eruption was in 2010 and still you can see the impact… beauteous and scary at the same time. The people told us how intensive they could feel the eruption and the shakes. It was raining ashes for several weeks in Jogja which is about 50 km away. Thanks to Johnny (a friend of Shinta and Andy) and his cousin we went up little narrow roads and through the lava river to have the closest spot in the dawn. We got internal information about the activity of this volcano and had an amazing trip together with them. Some of the houses we saw have been covered with ashes till the top of the roof. At the same time it is just a big playground, sandbox for all Off-road enthusiasts… Thank you Johnny for taking us there and showing us the place!

At this point we would like to THANK Shinta again! She gave us a lovely home in Jogja and introduced us to her nice family and friends!!! Hope to see you soon again!

1. Dreamlike Mt Bromo…

We skipped Borobudur… we have seen many temples; it is vacation period… not in the mood to see some ruins crowded with tourists and “hello mister people”.  It will look the same in 5 or 10 years… still time for that one day.

So we were heading direction Mt Bromo. BUT at an unusual approach… We entered the area from the northwestern part over Totur (I guess riding the bike there you could call it as well: “Torture”). It was misty cloudy and looked like rain but we stock with the plan we had… Driving up a narrow path not to be called a road anymore we reached the mountain villages at 2400m altitude. Passing accidents on the track of touring trips with jeeps we were happy not dependent on one of those. We entered the scenery of the volcanic area after a long and steep uphill climb.  Caused by the mist and upcoming rain we chose the loop around instead of going through the volcanic sand desert. What a mistake that was! Again like we already experienced in Berastagi area we were heading down the more or less none existing road in a big loop: steep down on shitty trails full of big stones and pot holes. And of course it started to rain as well. Finally we reached Mt Bromo viewpoint area at the northeastern part in the darkness. At the next morning we saw what easy road it would have been to go the straight way through the Sea Of Sand, just 10km a bit of sand… Have a look at the Route Section to have a lough…

Located in a homestay we settled after some negotiation, had a snack and a tea in a local Warung while looking at the stars and put the alarm clock at 3am!  We did not wanted to be in a sandstorm of jeeps going up the hill for the sunrise…Nevertheless we overpassed many of them… We do not know how many went up there in the end… But we did right! We enjoyed seeing the sunrise in this dreamlike scenario. And the secret was just to stay a little bit longer than all the others…

So we could enjoy the Bromo View in the end more or less alone…, when we went down towards the temple and the crater nearly everybody was gone already. The crater we went up when everybody came down already… in the end we were ALONE on the top of the crater.  The whole landscape looks… hard to find the right words… it is really unreal but incredible beautiful!!!! And finally Sascha had a lot of fun driving through the Sea Of Sand which is surrounding the crater – I guess you can imagine!!! :-)

As well we had a look around the more uncommon areas and we were leaving about early afternoon Mt Bromo  happy and full of impressions!

Impressive Mt Ijen (we are becoming volcano experts ;-) and crossing to Bali

Not that far away but still a fair bit of a ride… When we entered the idjen plantation area where they grow coffee, cacao, and fruits we felt a bit like in a fairy tale… having another wake up coffee with the smoking Ijen in the background we were continuing through this more or less non touristic region which has a one-kilometer-wide turquoise-colored acid crater lake. The lake is at the side of a labor-intensive sulfur mining operation, in which sulfur-laden baskets are carried by hand from the crater floor.

We spend one night up there. We built up our tent and we were chatting, laughing and eating with the workers at their fire place. It is hard to put our impressions and feelings in words… this is one of the hardest jobs in the world we guess. Each of the buckets they carry up the crater and then down this 3km steep dirt track is about 60kg… Unreal!

Early the next morning we had rice breakfast with coffee at a local place – and we could see already the guys coming down with their sulfur buckets. For us it was time to leave direction ferry port and we were driving down to the east coast.

We bought a ticket hopped on the ferry and 30 minutes later we entered Bali. We decided to go first to the north coast and as soon as we left the main road we were driving nearly alone on a perfect tarmac road. Wow! This we did not have for a long time…

Bali is different. The style of buildings is different and you have a great infrastructure. Indonesian`s tourism island number one. Even though we went north where less tourism is supposed to be, it is still nearly everywhere developed: resorts, homestays and hotels on each corner. Nearly everybody is speaking English and the prices increased considerably in comparison to all other places we had been before so far in Indonesia. A little bit outside of Lovina beach in the little fishing village of Anturan we stayed directly at the beach front for two nights. It was time for swimming, chilling and starting to work a little bit on our next update.

Currently we stay in Ubud located in the hilly inland surrounded by rice paddies. It´s focus remains on Balinese culture and around are temples, ancient sites and handicraft villages. Sometimes it seems you are driving through a giant museum. We found a nice place a little bit outside in the jungle for a fair price. A huge room with terrace facing the jungle, own bathroom with hot shower, drinking water, coffee and tea and much as we want and a great breakfast included for about 8€. This we took as our base to explore the rest of Bali and finishing our update of the blog.

Yesterday we went to Denpasar for shopping and today we will have a look at the Batur volcano area and probably visiting some temples or ancient sites on the way. But actually we are looking forward to go over to Lombok as soon as possible – perhaps already tomorrow…


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