Coffee Plantations and Sulphur Lakes
Trip Start May 20, 2010
195Trip End Sep 05, 2011
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DOMINIQUE HERE :
Day : 114
Temperature : 24 degrees
Weather : Cloudy, intermittent rain, some sunshine
We left Bromo at 6am on Sunday morning and made our way back to Probolinggo. After catching an extremely busy, hot and overloaded public bus we eventually arrived in the town of Bondowoso 3 hours later. After haggling down the price of the journey with yet another bus driver we crammed into the minibus and set off up the mountains towards the small village of Sempol. Once again the roads were in atrocious condition and the journey was slow going
We finally reached Sempol and arrived at our hotel absolutely starving. After checking in with the reception we sat down to enjoy a good meal. It had been a long day after all...9 hours in total. Unfortunately there were only two things on the menu...fried noodles and noodle soup..wow, what a choice! We ordered fried noodles, received noodle soup, sent it back, and finally received a fairly bland dish of fried noodles. It was at that point that we decided we would not be staying for 2 nights, but rather we would get up early the next morning, hike to Lake Ijen, then head off. After finding a helpful member of staff we organised a 4 wheel drive to take us to Ijen in the morning then onwards to Bangyuwani. All this cost rather a lot of money, but our alternatives were to endure possibly another 2 days of travelling to get to Bangywani...and we'd had enough bad food, bad mattresses and bad travel for the time being!! On a positive note, the hotel did have hot water which was such a luxury...our last hot shower was one week ago! More commonly we have been using a "mandi"....which essentially is a bucket of cold water and a scoop
Our wake up call was at 3.20am!!! Bleary eyed, our legs took us to the reception where"breakfast" was waiting...2 slices of bread and a hard boiled egg. We bought some Bourbonne Biscuits and some water from the hotel and decide just to get going. Our journey to the car park at the start of the hike took approximately 45 mins in our lovely jeep. Unfortunately it starting chucking it down as soon as we arrived. Not to be deterred we donned our waterproofs, put our head torches on and set out up the mountain as dawn was breaking.
Kawah Ijen is a beautiful turquoise, sulphur lake surrounded by the mountains of Ijen, Merapi and Raung. It lies at an altitude of 2148m above sea level, and it's a fairly strenuous hike to get there. At the lake edge sulphur is collected by many local workers who carry the heavy loads down the mountain, where they receive just under 50p per kilo. As they gather their load, sulphurous fumes billow out all around from many of the volcano's vents. Despite breathing in these noxious gases day after day, many continue this work for years.
As we neared the top of the crater the clouds cleared for about half an hour allowing us incredible views of the lake. However, it was cold and wet up there, and we were soaked with sweat from the physical effort, and so after around half an hour we decided to go back down the mountain to the warmth of our waiting jeep where we headed to the coast, and so ending the Java section of our journey.