… Danau Toba – Reunion with Nick and Kanchan
Danau Toba was just the right place to hang and drive around – we loved it!!! Finally Nick and Kanchan arrived as well from Malaysia and we could explore the landscapes partially together. But… of course we had to continue one day and we were heading direction Berastagi…
… Getting wet and riding a hard treck: Berastagi, Bukit Lawang, Medan, Taratung, Lake Maninjau
We chose the way along Lake Toba with incredible views and some strange “creatures” along the way, like a giant metal fish in the middle of the jungle which was supposed to be restaurant ones upon the time… When we arrived in Berastagi we were welcomed by a school class in the middle of the town and had to take several pictures with all of them. Close by there was a little volcano which we explored. We spend the night in a nice little guesthouse up the hill and planned for the next day to go to Bukit Lawang. We asked several people if the road over the mountains still exists, we got several different answers and we just decided to give it a go.
So we left the next morning quite early. We were passing a little volcano lake and driving up nice narrow roads. The road led to the jungle up the mountain and we reached 1850m above sea level with stunning views. Now the downhill part started and the road turned to rough gravel with big loose stones and muddy clay ground steep down… at one point already sweaty and Kerstin was already walking partially we were stopping, watching the “road” and thinking of going back. It was so steep and clear if we go down here there is no return. Suddenly we were over passed by a guy on his little scooter hopping down the big steps and stones! OK! Let us try it! The next three hours we were sweating and cursing and Kerstin was mostly walking down – HOLY SHIT! Additional a monsoon rain rushed in… this was too much. The bike felt down, up again… nothing we could do except continuing. Finally we reached a village in the middle of the jungle and we took cover under a wooden roof while the road became a river. It did not look at all like it would stop raining so we continued – exhausted, completely wet and meanwhile freezing. After a while the road became partially a road again and the rain stopped. We were looking forward and hoped to reach Bukit Lawang before dawn. So we did!!! We found a place to stay and went for dinner and to sleep… It was not the nicest place to stay, it was hot and muggy and the sleep was not good at all. At 5 am Sascha jumped out of the bed, shouting on somebody and cursing like hell. Somebody was trying to grab into our window. What a night (mare)!!!
When we went up we were sleep-deprived and felt every bone and muscle. We had a swim in the river and at noon we got the message that out new screen for our GPS arrived in Medan – a real good message! We left immediately and met our friend Awi. Thanks to him we did not have to go to the center, we met him outside. We did not have much time unfortunately and we left Medan with a heavy rain. The rain went with us until we reached Berastagi – soaked to the skin we met Nick and Kanchan for Dinner and were fixing our GPS afterwards. HURRAY it is working again!!!
Together we left the next day passing Lake Toba and reaching Taratung via the mountains. Driving within Indonesia is definitely more time consuming than elsewhere! The landscapes are beautiful but the streets are bad. So we did only around 180km the next day – sometimes the average is 30km per hour ;-( And it is not easy to find places to stay where there is no tourism. Yesterday we reached Lake Maninjau, a volcanic lake, next to Bukettinggi and we were all looking forward to have at least one day break to recover (our bones and muscles are still hurting), hanging around with the monkeys and catch up for you guys! It is a peaceful relaxed place and we are enjoying it a lot!!!