Jogja and Mt.Bromo on Java island

Trip Start Feb 18, 2011
Trip End Feb 17, 2012

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Where I stayed
Fuji villa
Tiga lima homestay

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

As we already had the next flight from Jakarta to Singapore booked, we knew we had to end up in Jakarta at the end of our 30 day visa.
The most recommended city to visit on Java island (where Jakarta is located) is Yogya (Yogyakarta).
Trying to make the most out of the trip we decided to also make a stop at Mt. Bromo - one of Indonesia's famous active volcanoes.
So we started our 2-day bus tour from Kuta/Bali in a micro-bus of perama tours towards our first night's stop at Mt.Bromo.

The first day we spent most of the time in the car, with little breaks for food and the ferry ride (included in the tour) from Bali to Java.
The driver brought us to the closest little village on the skirt of the mountain where we spent the night in a quite shabby old homestay-room.
Altough the place was really not nice, we didn't care too much, as we only stayed there to sleep a couple of hours until we got up at 3:30am in the morning to see the sunrise over the volcanoe.
We got picked up by a 4wheel-drive that took us to the furthest point accessible by car.
Altough this was all organised by the tour-company we were totally surprised by the sheer number of tourists who were trekking up the narrow path.
The trek took just 30 minutes on foot, but tired folks could also hire a horse to get to the viewing area.

Whilst waiting for the sun to rise it got pretty cold and that was the first (and so far only) time we regretted sending all our warm stuff back home.
We were quite lucky to have a clear sky that morning so we could see the sun slowly rise over the mountains, lighting up the volcanoe and the vapor coming out of the crator surrounded by the valley's morning mist - really beautiful!

Expecting the tour to be finished after arriving back at the car, we were pretty surprised to be taken down INTO the valley to actually climb the crator!
Mt. Bromo's last eruption was just on January 22nd this year and the whole valley is still covered in powdery ash.
Resisting the offers of the horse-taxis again (IDR10,000=1€ one way) we tramped to the crator and climbed the half covered stairs up to the unprotected edge.
There was no fence or security guards and we couldn't see a way you could possibly be pulled out if you happened to slip towards the still ash-spitting hole in the center... quite scary.
After walking around the volcano area, our cloths and shoes were totally covered by ash...
Nevertheless, it was a great experience and totally worth to see!

After another 12 hours bus ride, we finally arrived at our destination, Yogyakarta.

Yogyakarta, known as Jogja, is definately one of the culture-richest cities in Indonesia.
There are two famous UNESCO World heritage sites around the city. The first one is the "Borobudur Temple compound" located 1 hour drive away from the city. This is an 8th-century Mahayana Buddhist monument. The scale was much bigger than we expected and it was astonishing altough the top 3 stories were prohibited to enter due to the "cleaning of the ash after the eruption of Mt. Merapi in 2010".
The other one is "Prambanan temple". We could see the inpact of the huge Java earthquake of 2006 everywhere inside the compound. Altough it has been already 5 years since the earthquake, only the main complex was restored so far. Other temples surrounding the main temple still looked like a pile of stones...
Except for the day, we spent our time in Jogja walking around the town, having lunch at our favorite restaurant "Bedhot Resto", meeting couch-surfers from Jojga and Singapore and much more.

The most memorable experience was a batik workshop. Batik is a textile-dying-technique where wax is applied to fabric at areas you want to protect from the color, which is then added using water soluble dyes. It all started on the first day of Jogja, when a street-vendor brought us to a tiny "batik-gallery". He told us we were lucky we could see the last 2 hours of the "exhibition" before they pack up and leave town. One very friendly painter there explained us the process of batik-painting and was actually not only a quite good painter, but also salesman. His "masterpiece" was really nice and I was seriously considering to buy it, until we talked numbers and we both realised that backpackers are not the target-group of this kind of art. After a friendly goodbye we walked off, curious for more.
A couple of days later, we found a batik workshop advertisement at our favorite restaurant.
And thats how it done: First of all, we traced a design on a cotton canvas by pencil. (We chose some sample pictures designed by our teacher) Then we started tracing all the lines with liquid bee-wax. This was the most difficult part for us. If you move the pen too slow or not smooth enough, the line is going to be very thick and uneven. If you are too quick, the wax is not completely sealing the fabric. And if you think that looks quite easy and are then surprised by unwanted waxdrops over your painting, you could end up spilling the whole thing over your cloths *gmrl* ;)
After the wax-drawing process, we moved on to the coloring. The all natural liquid-colors the teacher prepared for us looked quite pale at first, however it then dramatically changed to an unexpected vivid intensity after a quick dry under the sun - just like magic! He actually told us the coloring is not possible on a cloudy day, because the natural colors need the light of the sun to come to their full brightness.
Once the color got completely dry, we then brushed more wax on the part we colored in order to protect it from the final background-tinting. Once you wrapped your head around the wax-thing (like a negative of a photo), the new possibilities are rather amazing. Some of the more complicated paintings use several to many iterations of the waxing/coloring-steps.
Limited by time and skill, we were already satisfied with doing it once - so the whole wax was boiled out (that can even be used again) and after a final dry in the sun we are now proud owners of "Fishes" and "Face with apple" =)
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