Published: March 18th 2007March 15th 2007
Gunung Bromo (left) 2329m, Batok (center front)2440m and Gunung Semeru (back) 2581m
Time for something a bit more adventurous... how about visiting 3 volcano's, of which 2 are active and walking right up to the crater lip of one....why not! its Indonesia - the land of natural chaos!
So Gunung Bromo is the place. We drive for two hours straight up the side of a mountain (actually an ancient volcano itself) in a local minivan. The minivan is how locals get from the town markets at the bottom to their various villages scattered throughout the mountain. At the start of the trip there was 24 passengers crammed into the van - a couple of blokes hanging off the side of the bus and gear packed on the roof - a classic scene straight from the movies!
The drive up had amazing scenery. The rice paddy fields and forest were so so green. Its the end of the rainy season here so we saw the direct effect of having so much rain in such a warm climate - the plants love it! One of the things I came to realise driving up was the amount of cabbages planted - fields upon fields of cabbages - actually hillsides upon hillsides of cabbages -
land of the cabbage
lots and lots of Gole (cabbage). The whole mountain side was full of cabbage fields which are all handpicked with machetes
i was amazed :) There were enough cabbages to feed the entire population of Indonesia! (225.3million of you were wondering). i have now named the area 'Cabbage Mountain'.
Anyway, the best time to see these volcano's is sunrise and early morning before the clouds set in. So, the next day me and Jen wake up at 2.30am (yes thats right 2.30am!), leave the hostel at 3am and start the 2hr walk up another mountain/hill to the top viewpoint, arriving bang on time for the 5am sunrise. At that time of the morning/night its pretty dark, so the odd unfamiliar noise that occurred while walking along this mountain track had us jumping at times - not me of course, just Jen ;)
The view from the top - amazing, amazing, amazing. I think the photos attached show everything you need to know.... it was like being in prehistoric times. Smoke was coming out of two of the volcano's - 'so...' i thought to myself 'tomorrow lets walk the crater lip of one and have a peak over the edge'.
The next day comes, this time a later wake up of 4am, Jens got a bit of a cold
so stays in bed, so i'm off to climb me a volcano. I walk along the dry lake bed as the sun is rising over the volcano and a Muslim Mosque situated near by. I reach the stairs to the volcano (damn, i wasn't the first person to set foot in this area!) and look up to see 50 other tourists have already beaten me to the site (I'll have to find another 'world first' to do).
You will notice a slight lack of photos from this point on, as after taking one photo of the stairs my battery camera goes flat - great. I get some Dutch tourists to take a couple of photos of me at the top for which they will email me later...
Looking into the mouth of the volcano was very cool - steep steep sides, volcanic mud dried at the bottom and a few huge cracks with the sulphur smoke rising out. After buying a coffee at the top it was time to head back....
"Climb a volcano - Tick"
There are more photos below