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Published: February 24th 2013
Yesterday I took a van ride for 14 hours from Yogyakarta to the foot of Mount Bromo, an active volcano in eastern Java. It's 2,329 metres tall, so not the tallest, but certainly one of the most visited. I made friends with a Dutchman along the way and we chatted for much of the ride. We arrived at our hotel around 9pm. Somehow we (having booked the same place) were at one hotel and everyone else was further up the mountain. We paid more. We found out later that our hotel was far better, being clean, and having luxuries like hot water, warm blankets, onsight restaurant, and locatable staff.
We were up at 3:30am for our 3:40 pick-up time. One person in our group was late or overslept, but our jeep driver refused to leave him since he'd paid. So we all waited and left at 4am instead. We drove up the hill in first gear. Even with headlights it was pitch black. Later we'd see why he never went faster--the road is quite narrow, muddy, and has ruts in it. We arrived at the scenic viewpoint and had to hike 15 minutes to the top. I would have liked
longer, considering it was still pitch-black and the road was steep and uneven, but thanks to Mr Lazy, we had to hurry.
The view wasn't as great at it could have been, but it was still pretty great to see fog rising off of the crater (not of Mt Bromo, of another next to it). Around 6am we went back down to the jeeps to continue our tour... and waited.
Mr Lazy was now Mr Clueless and we had no idea where he was. All the other jeeps left and we were still standing there waiting, our driver sitting down and drinking coffee. An hour later, still no sign of him, so the Dutchman went up the mountain to look for him again. Some people in our group had a bus to catch at 9am, so this was inconvenient. Luckily, I wasn't one of those people. It turns out that Mr Clueless was just enjoying the view and figured we would leave without him and he'd walk to Mt Bromo by himself. It turns out he also needed to catch the 9am bus to Bali.
We drove to Mt Bromo to climb to the crater. Due to
time and being tired (and no breakfast yet!) I opted to ride the horse up as far as I could, to the final ascent. For only 20,000 it was a bargain and saved a lot of time and energy. The stairs were steep and covered in ashy sand.
Finally, the top. I climbed a volcano! We could look down into the crater and see the vapors rising up and blowing in all directions, creating a fog. Some people wore face masks because of the chemicals and the smell, but most of us didn't. The ridge to walk on was only about a meter wide, so passing people and taking photos was tricky business. People were posing everywhere you looked, the steam enhancing or interfering with each shot.
We climbed back down after nearly an hour and took in the vistas. The wide open spaces and flat lands surrounded by mountains made me feel like I was in a movie, and wild horses would chase across in a few moments.
We drove back down and while others quickly left, we rested until 3pm. We discovered we also had a great view from the hotel dining room--surrounded by green
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