Category Archives: 07_Indonesia 2012

Happy New Year 2014!

New-Year-2014

Thank you New Zealand, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Timor and Australia for the people we met, the friendly welcome everywhere, the roads we rode, the food we could taste, the adventures we could master, the experiences we made and finally thank you for all the dust in our faces ;) All the best Kerstin and Sascha, www.RTWbyBIKE.com

Ps.: There will be an update soon, I promise! Just don´t know when we will have the time to do so ;) Busy days these days…

Lovely Indonesia, but it is time to think about our next chapter…

We rarely had internet connection within the last weeks. This is why you will face a compact update this time which we divided in two chapter: ENJOY!

Bali, not our cup of tea – Lombok, the south and getting picked up on the street next to Mt Rinjani – Sumbawa, the dry and raff spot

From Ubud we started our day trip to Lake Batur, which is at the bottom of the huge caldera from volcanic Gunung Batur (1717m). We were passing rice terraces and as soon as we reached the mountain we got surrounded by a thick mist. Climbing up narrow streets through the plantations we suddenly could see the lake with a bright blue sky in front of us and we spent some time there. On the way back we had a stop at the temple of Tirta Empul where the people can take a bath in the water of the holy spring.

Bali was not really our cup of tea… It is a huge tourism machine where ever you go. The people are mainly money orientated and they easily loose interest in any conversation as soon as they recognize that they cannot make any business with you. We decided to continue as fast as we could to Lombok!

The ferry was just ready to leave when we arrived and we spend the 5 hours on the sun deck together some school kids… getting kissed by the sun. In Lombok we were heading south direction Kuta. Surprisingly we were driving on a brand new 2 line highway. The best road we have seen so far in Indonesia and since a long time we were driving with 100 km per hour – felt like flying ;-)

Kuta is a nice relaxed place where mainly surfer hanging around. The village has several places to stay and we found a nice quiet “family homestay” a little bit further up the hill. There are little shops, coffee bars, restaurants and warungs (little family run kitchens). We found our favorite warung where we got all kind of fresh food for really reasonable prices. It is worth to have a look around as there are plenty of beautiful beaches with clear blue and turquoise water and nearly no people. When we left Kuta direction north we chose a little road which leads further west along the coast line. The road is not the best but you come along wonderful lonely beaches and you catch nice views over the valleys and secluded bays.

Back on the highway we passed Mataram the capital of Lombok and when we reached Senggigi we were just shocked. Full of tourists! We had a short stop at a shop and were immediately surrounded by “businessmen”. It took only a second for the decision to continue. The coastal road climbed up the cliffs and we could see huge resorts down the bays and of course the famous Gili Islands. We continued with the risk that it will be probably hard to find a place for the night…

Around 4 PM a car behind us were giving light signs. When we stopped, the car came next to us and a European looking man was asking us in German where we are going. A little bit confused and surprised we explained we do not know yet and that we are actually looking for a place to stay overnight. The person introduced himself as Roland and said:” Follow me and you will stay the night on the most beautiful campsite in Indonesia”! This sound great and so we followed him the next 30 km along the coast road until Bayan. Here we climbed up for the next 4 km the hill directly towards Gunung Rinjani. Mt Rinjani is the second highest mountain in Indonesia (3726m) which is called “the seat of gods” by the Balinese. Gunung Rinjani was welcoming us with a clear and breathtaking view and after we climbed up the last loops through beautiful rice terraces we were warmly welcomed by Toni, Roland`s wife.

Toni and Roland were exploring for many years the world with their sailing boat “Albatros” and “stranded” up here in this piece of paradise where they created a little oasis. Now we realized they are running a „guesthouse” with a restaurant which is called “Rinjani Mountain Garden” … but Roland said immediately we should not worry and offered us even to stay in one of their bamboo huts which were already prepared for us by Toni.

In the end we spend 3 nights up there and it felt like home. We could exchange some travel experiences with Toni and Roland (and this in German language… more or less, Roland is a Schwabe ;-) and could eat delicious food creations in the restaurant prepared by Toni. She creates lovely German and Asian dishes and for sure you have to try their home breed smoked fish – yummy! And not to forget the homemade bread! Their place is just fitting itself in the nature, with terraces where you can find a fire place, a camp site, a pool which is constantly feed by fresh spring water and several animals around and last but not least these incredible views to all sides: the ocean, the mountain panorama and the rice paddies. And we were lucky to spend the full moon night at the fireplace with “Stockbrot” after watching the beautiful sunset and chatting around with their other guests and their stuff. We are looking forward to meet them again one day in their peace of paradise! Thank you so much again Toni and Roland!!! We already miss you!

We left on the mountain road via Sapi direction ferry port. A great road going up in turns through the villages, jungle parts and we had some great views overlooking the plateau. The ferry to Sumbawa was just a short boat trip, but the atmosphere was different than on all the other ferries we took before… the people were watching us, but not directly, more out of the edge of their eyes. And it took a while longer before they start conversation. Let`s say more carefully. The landscape in Sumbawa looks different, more ruff, more dry. We spend a night in in Sumbawa Besar, where some young guys caught us when we were cruising around. “We know a guy who was here with the same bike like you shortly before” they told us. It was Jannick, a traveller on an Africa Twin which we never met personally but with who we are in contact via internet for a long time already. How funny was that!

The next day we left for Hu`u which is a little village at the south coast where surfer do not have to wait for long times for their next big wave. These really big waves are just coming in constantly one after the other. The atmosphere is really relaxed here and we were lucky to find one of these little hut places with nice neighbors from Australia and some young fellers from New Zealand. It’s a good place for hanging and chatting around, eating coconuts or having a beer or two.

July 14th – Flores – The beautiful green and nearly untouched island – West Timor, last days Indonesia

Our next destination was the ferry port in Sape where should go the daily ferry the next morning. When we arrived somebody told us there is probably an unscheduled ferry going tonight. So we were hanging around together with two girls from Switzerland on their bicycles waiting for information. At around 6 pm they asked us to enter the ferry, nobody else where there so far, and at around 8pm we he could hear the trucks driving in. Finally at 9:30 pm the ferry was leaving full of trucks and with nearly no people on board. Each of us could use a full bench to sleep for the next 8 hours.

When we arrived in Flores, Labuan Bajo, it was still dark but we could see the silhouettes of the Rinca and Komodo islands and many remarkable sailing boats around. After having a coffee in the sunrise the girls continued on their push bikes while we started our search for an accommodation. Having the whole day available we explored the “city” and doing the research for the trips they offer for Komodo or Rinca Island. After bargaining in different places we chose a day trip to Rinca Island for the next day. Early morning we left to Rinca, 2,5 hours, with a wooden boat. We were lucky as there were not many people around and already after the first view meters we spotted one of the dragons. A couple of meters ahead 7 lazy big dragons were hanging around between the wooden local houses – and to be honest: we were pleased that they are lazy and stuffed J. We started our jungle trip with our guide. Some jungle turkeys passed our way and suddenly a huge male dragon came across, smelling around with his tongue… He looked certainly like he could eat a small mouthful and we and the guide had great respect while staying in a 3m distance.

We left Rinca Island to stop on a small island for snorkeling. Here we spend the rest of the day on a small sandy beach and most of the time we were in the water discovering the beautiful reefs under water.

Now it was time for Flores! Straightaway when we left Labuan Bajo the road climbed up the hills in narrow turns along the deep jungle. Flores…. Flora, Flowers… just a wonderful green nearly untouched place and just perfect with the motorbike going up and down the hills in endless turns on more or less perfect roads and with stunning views either to the coast line or the rice terraces or just to the deep wild jungle next to you. The villages we passed looked very gentle. Even though the houses are very simple bamboo huts, they are usually surrounded by flowers and very clean clay yards with a fire place.

We enjoyed every meter riding in Flores. From Ruteng we went north to Reo. Nothing special about Reo but the way down was just lovely.  Heading east we spend a night in Bajawa where we got invited to a local wedding when we arrived. It was the preparation day and Joseph, the brother of the bride, introduced us to everybody and to their tradition. The entire family, about only 300 people :-), came together preparing the food and the drink for the big day for about 3000 guests. Eight pigs got slaughtered beside numerous smaller animals and everybody was busy. Unfortunately we were a bit short in time as we had the appointment for the shipping from Dili to Darwin together with Kanchan and Nick who were ahead of us and therefore we had to refuse the invitation for the big wedding day and we said good bye next morning. On the way to Moni next to Mt Kelimutu some guys stopped next to us when we had a break. They are members of the Indonesian Motorcycle Club and were just coming from Kupang, Timor. Surprisingly they do know Jannick as well and we got of course some contacts for Kupang from them. So funny meeting them in the middle of the jungle…

In Moni we stayed in a “family homestay” and we intended to go up Mt Kelimutu with the sunrise next morning. When the alarm clock was ringing at 4 am it was pouring rain. Every next hour we checked the weather and at 8am it stopped raining and we crawled out of our bed having breakfast on our terrace. Slowly we could see the how the mist was disappearing and after a while the first blue hole in the sky appeared. We drove up the 12km to the parking square. From here it is just a little walk up to the volcanic lakes. We left the main trail and climbed up a rocky wall which led directly to the rim of the first lake. A slight breeze pushed the clouds and the mist away and we had a fantastic view over the first two lakes for about 40 minutes.

Noon we left Moni direction Maumere. On the way we met Brice, a guy from Australia who just started his trip with his Landrover and with whom we were already in contact via a forum (www.horizonsunlimited.com). Along the south coast we stopped for some food and got in touch with a couple we met already at Kelimutu living in Bali and partially in Perth. Probably we will meet them once again in AU ;-)

A bit east of Maumere we settled in a bamboo hut under palm trees at the beach. Time to think about ferry schedules to Timor, recapping Flores while listening to the waves and the wind in the palm trees and having a swim in between…

YES… it seems currently still unreal but soon it will be time to leave South East Asia behind us. After more than 6 month crossing Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and finally Indonesia we have to plan now the next big step: Going to Australia via East Timor.

We adored the beachside, the wide empty beach under palm trees – even though we got attacked once by an unripe coconut. There was a hard sound suddenly between us in the sand “TOCK!!!” and we did not want to imagine how that would be with a full-grown coconut… (Note: more people getting killed by a falling coconut than by shark attacks and lightning’s all together, about 9000 a year worldwide – and usually we take care where we sit down)

Now it was time for Larantuka, the east of Flores, where the ferry to Kupang is going twice a week. We arrived early afternoon and had time enough to gather all essential information, buying some food and water for the next day as well to discover the coastline. There are some nice islands around and we wished to have time for a couple of days more…

When we arrived at the ferry port the next morning the ticket office was already open and we did not had to wait long until we could park and prepare the bike on deck for the 16 hour trip. There were still 2-3 hours to go until the ferry left, but as we heard it gets usually crowded we preferred the opportunity to find a good place for the bike and ourselves… And we were lucky that we did so: it became really packed! The boat is planned for about 300 passenger and we were around 600, additional pigs chicken etc. Every square millimeter was used and it was just impossible to go down to the bike. Luckily we could protect one bench with four seats for us, so Sascha could rest on the floor and Kerstin on the upper level… rest but not sleep as they were playing nonstop extreme loud music. What to say: we survived ;-) And after spending 19 hours on the ferry we finally reached Kupang at sunrise. Most of the hotels were booked but finally we found a place.

Since a long time we had internet access and soon we found out that there are some couch surfing opportunities around in Kupang. We met up with an Australian guy, who is living here since 9 month and we moved finally in a place of an Indonesian guy who is running a wedding shop and as well some apartments where we could move in as he has some free. Great!!! Yesterday evening we got another contact, a German guy who is just building up a hotel business here. We will pass by for a coffee later on the way to the beach. Unfortunately Kerstin got a little stomach problem since yesterday which is limiting our activities a little bit currently.

The countdown is running now… a few more days Indonesia before we will enter East Timor. We could organize already some shopping for cleaning materials and as well some good contacts in Dili.

The journey will have a new chapter

Volcanized in the last days of Java

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…

Last days in Sumatra – An incredibale warm welcome in Java

… from Danau Minanjau, Padang to Krui along the west coast, Danau Ranau, Kalianda

Recovered we left lake Minanjau on a mountain road towards the west coast. Smelling the sea we rode down until we reached a little beach south of Padang. We had a jump into the ocean and were chilling at the beach directly in front of our room until late night. Heading further south along the coast the rain caught us half way to Krui. Krui is a well-known surf location and we had difficulties to find a non over prized accommodation. In the end we did, we hung out our clothes for drying and went for dinner. Unfortunately the food was not good and the result was that Kerstin hanging on the toilet for the whole night. Not feeling well and flabby we decided to go only until Danau Ranau a small volcanic lake close by in the mountain. Not many accommodation offers in that area are available but in the end we found a nice family where we could stay with a view over the lake and got served with tea.

Time was running and we started the next morning direction Kalianda which is just 40 km away from the ferry port to Java. Cruising around at the end of the day to find a room Kerstin lost her rain liner which she was carrying in her hands – stupid! But feeling broken-down and dizzy without eating the last two days it was not really surprising that something like that would happen… Of course we had a look around immediately when we recognized it, but if you lose anything here it will be picked up by anybody within seconds for sure. While having dinner (time for Kerstin to try eating some plain rice) in the garden of a restaurant Sascha saw his first wild cobra! Two cats were playing with something in a bush when suddenly the cobra rose up, it was only a baby but nevertheless Sascha was trying to explain the owner of the place that he has a snake in his garden. When he got it everybody was shouting immediately “ular! ular!” and started hunting. We learned a new vocabulary and they caught the snake ;-)

The next morning we left for the ferry to Java. We were in contact already with Lutson, a member of the HTML- Club (Honda Tiger) from Tangerang and he organized that we get picked up by some club members from Cilegon which is close to the ferry port. We jumped on the ferry and after 2,5 hours we arrived at Java. A view minutes later three guys from the HTML-Club arrived. They escorted us until we got out of Cilegon on the right road to Tangerang. It was just great how fast we got through the traffic! The last 20km before Tangerang were really painful: The traffic turned crazy, the road became more and more narrow and full of pot holes and we were more standing than driving – nearly wide as a car with the panniers on it is impossible to sneak through the cars, trucks and busses. Finally we arrived at the meeting point where other HTML members were already waiting for us. Ivan, the head of the HTML-Club for the Tangerang district invited us to stay in his place where we drove all together.

 

… Tangerang, Bandung, Pangandaran, Dieng Plateau, Yogyakarta

Honestly! These guys are incredible!!! Everybody welcomed us so hearty and everybody was offering his help. The hospitality of Ivan and his family was just unbelievable!!! We found a “home” and GREAT NEW FRIENDS!!! The plan was to get a new front tire in Tangeran. But in the end thanks to the help of Ivan, Lutson and all the others we got as well a new horn (Sascha was dreaming of getting a truck horn since a long time alreadyJ) and we could extend our visa within two days for another month (time is running just to fast hereJ). And the most important: Our new friends introduced us to their culture, their life style, their tradition and their great hospitality. We joint the weekly HTML-Club meeting, we attended a traditional celebration for pregnancy, we got served traditional food all day around, we had our first Durian (a smelly but delicious fruit) and we were accompanied wherever we had to go. Thanks to Pitri, Ivans wife, we felt like home and additional got done all our laundry. And thanks to Fathir, their lovely little sun we learned a lot of new vocabularies and had always a nice entertainerJ

We were really sad after 4 days to leave but we are sure we will see them all again… one day! There are no existing words to impress how much we enjoyed meeting YOU ALL!

Of course we got escorted out of Tangerang by Lutson and we got the contact of the HTML-Club head of Bandung district, Lutfee, who was welcoming us with his friends before we reached the city. They helped us to find a place for the night and we enjoyed riding at the back of their tigers up the hill to have dinner together with a great view over Bandung at night. The next day they accompanied us out of Bandung. Heading direction Pangandaran we enjoyed the ride over the mountain roads while catching some views to the volcanic scenery. The traffic became less and less and in the middle of the way we got stopped on the road by a group of traveller. It was the “Ring of Fire” team: A family who is riding on Tenerees around Indonesia and working on a great documentary for the local television and for the Discovery Channel. They invited us for lunch and we had the chance to exchange our experiences. We got great tips for riding from them and we could watch some of their impressive videos.

When we reached Pangandaran at the south coast we found an accommodation in a guesthouse of another HTML member ;-) The next day we explored the close by Green Canyon, the coast line around and the nature reserve area. The sunset we spend swimming and sitting and the white beach, watching the monkeys, deer and huge bats.

The next destination was the Dieng Plateau, a high plateau surrounded by volcanoes. It was a great riding day. And a lovely scenery when we reached our destination with misty green hills and swirling clouds within the volcanic landscape. We had a look around in the dawn until it turned dark and the next morning we started at 5AM to hike up to the view point. Later on after breakfast we were riding around the plateau area up to the mountain villages and the volcano lakes finally heading direction Yogyakarta.

We had an invitation from Andy to stay with him in Yogyakarta. Unfortunately he had to leave for a job so we will not meet him personally. His lovely girlfriend, Shinta, welcomed and guided us around. Yogya is a nice city, with small lanes, not much traffic, a lot of green, cultural scenery… we had some walks around at the water castle, Taman Sari and the underground mosque, we met Shinta`s family, got invited in her uncle´s restaurant which is located in a part of the royal palace and who is riding a tiger as well. Today we will go together with a friend of Andy, Tommy, up to Mt Merapi, Mountain of Fire. It is Indonesia´s most active volcano. He knows the area very well and we are looking forward having a nice afternoon on the motorcycle!

As you can see, we have a lovely time here in Indonesia and we are impressed by the hospitality, the friendliness and last but not least the breathtaking landscapes. As we do not have internet connection that regular like in other countries, the up-dates are less often and perhaps a bit longer… We hope you enjoy it anyhow!

 

Sumatra …

… 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!!!