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Published: February 24th 2020
So our quick but so worthy stopover in Probolinggo was over and once again we took the train for our ongoing journey. We organized a grab to go the the train station. Have we mentioned in our blogs that travelling in South East Asia is now so easy with grab or gojek? No hassle with annoying taxi drivers, just use the app and have a cheap taxi drive in a decent car - reliable and fair. And what we exerienced, 99% of the drivers are super friendly and informative.Well, it also has its downsides, as the adventures times are a bit over.
From Probolinggo it is a wonderful 5 hours train ride through amazing landscapes to Banyuwangi. We took the cheapest class on the train this time, ekonomi. It still is super comfortable. Unfortunately it was heavily raining throughout the whole journey So we could not see too much off the amazing volcanic landscape we passed. But we felt that this is a region we want to come back one day for some hiking and exploring. We reached Banyuwangi in the afternoon and it was a short walk from the train station to our lovely accomodation, Didu's Homestay.
had long discussions about doing a tour up to Ijen. Of course, we wanted to see the blue fire, enjoy this surealistic landscape we have seen on so many pictures. But for whatever reason, we had a strange feeling of going there. Doing some spiritual practices and following a master you start learning to listen to your feelings and sometimes see things a bit differently. So, while travelling we always take care if it feels good for both of us to go somewhere or do something. And visiting a place you can only reach with gas masks felt strange for both of us although we did not talk about this. By arriving in Banyuwangi we also realised that in that night we had planned to visit Mount Ijen it was the night before the ecplise of the sun and the beginning of a very turbulent 2-3 weeks (energeticaly wise). So for us there were no discussions: we changed our plans and did not visit Mount Ijen. It felt better.
So we took it slowly in the early evening as we had no plan for the same day and no plans for the next day. We hired a scooter and
went to Banyuwangi town and beach. There is not much to see and it is not really beautiful. But as it was indonesian holiday season a lot of things were happening there. So we enjoyed our first views of Bali over the Bali Strait, visited a Night Market and just watched life passing by among the local tourists.In the evening for the first time we had really troubles to find vegan food and ended up eating white rice and nothing else. Even though we just ordered veggies and rice the veggies came with seafood. Our mood was down as we were really hungry. We had some cookies in the room. But the really bad thing was that also for breakfast we only had some fruits and dry toasts. Well, kind of a fasting day for us.
But our mood became better when we met 2 indonesian guys, Lulu and Awan from Jakarta, in our homestay. We told them that we had planned to visit a waterfall nearby with the scooter. And we quickly decided to do it together. And what a fun time we had! We drove to the Jagir Waterfall. The main fall was already full of people
but we walked up through the rainforest to a secret waterfall which we had to ourselves. We made fun pictures before we drove to the Osing village. Osing are the local people. They earn there money now by doing ancient batik techniques and sell the products to tourists, and they grow there own coffee and run a great coffee shop. We had so much fun there. As the 2 speak bahasa and could talk to the locals (and learned some words, of course) we could communicate with them and I was invited to do some batik with them. We enjoyed the time a lot. Later on we went to the most stylish and cool coffee shop we have ever been. Oh, how much do we enjoy the local coffee here. The robusta especially is amazing. They put the coffee powder in the cup and just pour water over it. You drink it carefully and the powder stays on the ground. Normally, I can only have 1 cup per day. If I have more I feel the side effects of coffee. But from the indonesian coffee I could have 3 or 4 without having any side effects. Sometimes I even had
"Kopi Jahe" which is coffee with fresh ginger. That is a real treat!
Early afternoon we went back to the guesthouse to pick up our bags and order a grab again. It was time to leave Java. Java has blown us away. And we realised quickly that we had planned not enough time. Banyuwangi is really not a great town but from there there are so many amazing things to do and see. We could have easily stayed a couple of more days. We were so sad to leave Java. So many amazing things to see and explore there, so friendly people, great vegan food (except in Banyuwangi where we really struggled) and a stunning landscape. And many remote areas worthy to explore. To put it short, we were really sad when we arrived in Ketapang to take the ferry to Bali. And, of course, we were so sad to leave our new friends Lulu and Awan behind. Hope to see you guys again soon somewhere in this wonderful world!
And Bali did greet us in a very fierce way. Beforehand, we have read a lot of warning about the taxi mafia in Gilimanuk (where the ferries arrive).
signs on the train
luckily, we did not carry a snake with us - might have gotton us into troubles ;-)
As we wanted to go to Pemuteran which is just a 1 hour drive from Gilimanuk, we had planned to take a local bus or bemo. What we did not know was that the local transport to the north-east of Bali only goes in the morning. There is no service in the afternoon. Of course, all the aggressive taxi drivers told us this when we put food on Bali. But, being a bit experienced with these guys, we did not believe it and went to the bus terminal. It was slowly getting dark. Not the best situation to be in among all the taxi mafia. We finally realised that is does not make sense to wait for a bus as all the buses at the terminal were only heading to Denpasar and the bus drivers also told us that there was no bus to Pemuteran or Singarajah. So we tried to call a grab. But the taxi mafia is so strong in Gilimanuk, we had no chance to find a grab driver picking us up. So we had to argue with the taxi guys. Somehow we were lucky. We found one who drove us for 250.000 Rupiah - the regular
price, as we found out later, was 300.000 Rupiah. So at least it was a good deal, the driver was nice and we arrived safely in Pemuteran.
How did we pass the first days in Bali? More about this in our next blog.....
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