...Yogya to Bali Day 1
Trip Start Mar 05, 2012
58Trip End Ongoing
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We left Yogya on an air-con bus headed for Mount Bromo, a now more or less inactive volcano. Being furthest from the bus parking spot, we were the last to arrive and so ended up with the front seat. Cody against the window, me against the large man driving, with the manual shifter pressed into my thigh. The engine in these vans sits underneath the front seat of the vehicle. They generate a considerable amount of heat. I think they put some kind of bullet proof plate under the middle seat in case the engine blows up. In any case, I found myself sitting in a cast iron frying pan without a seatbelt. Fortunately my body seems to know when I am on the road and shuts off for the majority of the journey.
12 hours later we found ourselves perched at the top of a mountain on the cusp desert crater, at the base of Mount Bromo. But not before our new driver (they switched an hour before we reached our hotel) attempted to set the Indonesian record for the fastest ascent up switchback roads, in pitch black, with sheer 100-200m cliffs on one side at any given time.
Our instructions were to be at the front of the hotel at 4am for the 4WD ascent to the viewpoint overlooking Bromo. We considered hiking it but were told we would get to see more if we used the Jeep. At 4am we were in the Jeep, frozen, half asleep, and happy not to be walking up the road in the pitch black as some of the other people were that we passed (I had a sore throat which I attributed to the elevation and cold, dry weather). Five minutes later we were outside the jeep, walking up the road in the pitch black. Our trusty tour operator failed to mention the part where the jeep only takes you half way there. Then you spend about 45mins hiking the rest of the way. Flashlights would have been handy. Nevertheless, the climb was worth it, as you can see for yourself in the pics. In the background you can see Semeru Volcano. Still very much active as it 'erupts' every 20 mins or so.
After the sun came up, it was back down the road, to the jeeps, and down into the 'sandsea'. We crossed the sandy wasteland in the morning mist to the base of Mount Bromo. It was only another 45mins to the rim of the crater, though by now we were feeling the elevation and the lack of sleep. Halfway up the crater, sulfur fumes could be smelled, and they were unkind to our lungs. Most people climbing up the steps were coughing and hacking with each step. It felt like I had millions of pins inside my lungs. This would explain why there are so many locals around offering horses to the tourists to carry them most of the way. As a jeep pulls into the parking area a troop of horses and their jockeys come charging toward the back of the jeep. After being turned down, the jockeys will locate the weaker looking tourists and follow them toward the crater. Eventually some of the tourists end up on the horses.
Both the viewpoint and the crater itself were well worth the trip. Some unforgettable sights were seen, and some pics to go along with them.
By 9am we were back in a bus, and back into the town of Probolingo for a transfer to the bus to Ijen crater.