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June 29th 2012
Published: September 13th 2012
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We checked out the hotel at Banyuwangi to cath the train to Probolinggo from where we would continu to see Mount Bromo and its crater. The morning train had already left, so we had to take the next train (economy) at noon, that was gonna take between 5 and 6 hours to bring us to Probolinggo. Still a few hours to go so we went back to the hotel to relax by the pool and left again later for a second time... great hej this kind of travelling, luckily we had plenty of time!

We got on the train, a very slow train that stopped in every little station... It took more then 6 hours and we were all very tired by arrival. The train was like a true market place, at every stop hawkers got on to sell their products, mostly food and drinks, sometimes toys... At a certain point we bought some fried banana and from that point on we had all attention! All the hawkers came to us because we would surely buy from them as well. It did get very cosy 😊)

Probolinggo was very busy, two becaks brought us to a hotel I had booked the same day... At the hotel they didn't get a confirmation from Agoda so we would have to pay again... No way I was going to pay double up. The becak men waited for us as if they knew bad news was on the way and they brought us to the Bromo Permai hotel where we had a lovely (compared to most welcoms) welcome ! It must have been past 9pm, the boys were too tired to eat so me and liv went to get some take away next door.

Next morning: dealing with a tourist agent to go to see Bromo... not that easy a task. It was high season by now and all hotels were fully booked. The guy told me so and I also phoned a couple of hotels, if there was a room available it costed IDR 400.000.per room (€32) ( wat een afperserij) . So our guy told us he had some rooms blocked in a hotel up there and so we were forced more or less into a deal with him. Afterwards I felt ripped off not really for the money, but more for principal matters. One good advice is to book your trip to Bromo ahead and don't deal with local agents, they are masters in cheating.

This time we were getting up before sunrise... I think Jesper an myself didn't sleep because of a noisy group of young people having fun outside our door. We woke the kids 04h30...and left to witness a sunrise over the valley. The driver left us at the foot of the hill of Mount Penanjakan which gives a good viewpoint. 20 minutes and we were up there together with a little group of tourists. It was really freezing cold and we tried to heat up by a little fire. It was quite cosy to be up there... and slowly the sun rose and we saw the sea of sand and the surrounding volcanoes more and more clear. It's a special feeling, but I was not going to do this again with the kids. This was only the start...

We went down and that's when our walk to the Bromo crater started. First down the huge crater rim and then a walk in the sea of sand to Bromo. Liv and Skye got on a horse and were waiting for us for quite a while by the foot of Bromo... In the meanwhile we braved the tempered sand and lots of people and horses...There was a que up the stairs (yes, there are stairs for the most visted volcanoe of Indonesia) but we reached the top. With the last erruption in 2011 the fence had been blown away and there was no protection what so ever and the rim was very narrow, people stopped to move on the rim there were it got less then 1 metre I guess. Can you imagine the crowd standing up this very dangerous place ( the crater is very steep on both sides ) and us with 3 little kids. We stood there max 5 minutes and decided to go down again, FAST!!! BRRR, creepy....but of course amazing and overwhelming too!

That was Bromo, later the afternoon we went back to Probolinggo. There was a fair going on and we thought this was a perfect activity for the kids. But my god, it was crowdy (more scooters then people) and we felt like we were the attraction. Lots of people wanting to talk to us, to touch the kids ... Every 2 meters we had to stop. So we did a very small part of the fair, due to the crowd and all the attention! It was a step back in time, the attractions were very old but the kids enjoyed it. I even enjoyed a little ride in a wheel after waiting 10 minutes in one of those eggs for it to be repaired!!!

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