Roadtrip to Bromo

Trip Start Jul 28, 2007
Trip End Aug 30, 2008

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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Thursday, December 27, 2007

We get up early for our roadtrip to exciting Bromo. We leave at about 8:30AM and should be arriving by 7:30 at night. The weather's good, and we make good time...until about 12:30, when our driver, who has seemed a tad nervous up until this point, pulls our car over mysteriously, asks the guy in the passenger side seat to get out, and then he lifts up the front seat of the minivan (also referred to as Colts in Indonesia). After a slight adjustment, a huge cloud of steam rises from the engine of the car, and everyone scrambles to open their windows. Radiator trouble.

Fortunately, there are two Colts riding together, probably because of the rainy season and road conditions. So lucky travelers in the other car get to stop too, in order to help tow us (rope-style) to the nearest repair shop.

We're there for about 2 hrs, where we enjoy a nice meal while we wait. 2-3 hours behind schedule isn't bad, right? The weather's still good.

Yes, at 3:00PM, the weather was great! But at 3:30PM, not so much, as torrents of rain came down endlessly, and wouldn't leave us for the rest of the trip. To make matters worse, some of the major roads were closed down due to flooding (we'd actually heard a bit about this on the news), and so our Colts were forced to take some major detours. The roads shifted from flat and well-paved, to hilly and rustic. Soaked Indonesians helped guide traffic through to keep people moving, and we could only hope our Colt would survive the obstacles. On numerous occasions, our driver again pulled over to release more steam from the radiator, but fortunately the Colt kept going.

Finally, we returned to the main roads, and could actually recognize somewhat where we were. At 7:30PM, our driver pulled us in to a restaurant for a quick meal. Here, our group eventually came to the realization that we were not 2/3 of the way as expected...we would not be 3 or 4 hours late. We were about halfway! The dinner stop was actually where we were supposed to be having lunch!

We quickly finished up dinner and were soon on our way. At 12:00AM, we hit the base of Gunung Bromo, where we changed Colts (probably a good idea).  It was another hour up the steep mountain-side, shrouded in fog. When we finally reached our hotel, full of relief, it was about 1AM (so much for 7:30PM!).


Apparently there weren't enough rooms in the hotel left, because there had been major flooding...we would have to go to the next hotel. Fortunately, this wasn't too far up, and actually would have a nicer view. But the heaterless, hot-waterless room, which we would only get to sleep in for 3 hrs or so anyway, was little reward for our day's journey.

Bromo was, however! We got up at 4AM to make it to the top of the volcano by sunrise. It was still dark, so we could see very little as we approached, but as we approached, and the fog cleared, we began to understand why we had just made the 16hr journey. There are actually three volcanoes in the area, and the one we climbed was still steaming and had amazing views. In spite of the thick sulphuric gas that would regularly blow into your face, it was a wonderful sight. We spent a good five hours enjoying the area from different  points...afterwhich, we were off again on a Colt, for another 8hr journey to Bali!
This one would be much smoother though!
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