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Published: November 21st 2015
I caught an early morning train from Yogyakarta yo to Probolinggo which is the town closest to Mount Bromo. I was so happy to be in a train (and it was the regular economy train too - nothing fancy!) as opposed to another bus that I didn't even care when the Indinesian lady across from me put her bare dirty feet on the seat beside me. It was a 9-hour trip through small villages and rice paddies and I listened to the entire Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets book on audio book during the trip. It was very pleasant and I would certainly choose to ride the train over the buses here any day!
I was picked up at the train station in Probolinggo with a couple from Poland and two girls from Singapore. We drive about an hour up the mountain to a small village called Cemoro Lewang where we spent the night. We were picked up again the next morning at 3:30 am to ride a jeep up a mountain so we could watch the sun rise over the Mount Bromo crater. It turns out the original crater is 11km wide and the "mountain" we were
on was the lip of the original crater! What I thought was the volcano crater was just the active cone in the middle of the old giant crater! The cone is slightly active right now so it had steam rising from it, very beautiful in the early morning and I got some great pictures.
We then drove down into the crater and hiked up onto the rim of the active cone. It was pretty steamy and sulfur smelling and made it hard to breathe a few times but was still neat. You couldn't see anything down in the steam though.
We then loaded up into a van with an Austrain couple and drove several hours to a tiny village called Sempol near Mount Ijen on the east end of Java. We spent the night there and got up at 1:30 am in order to hike up the mountain (basically hiked the equivalent of the grouse grind twice in the dark) to see some blue sulfur flames that burn and can really only be seen in the very dark. When the sun came up it was a very beautiful site, we had climbed down right into the crater where
the sulfur steam was coming out of a crack (along with liquid sulfur) beside a beautiful blue sulfuric acid lake (very hot to the touch). We had to wear respirator masks as the steam made it really hard to breathe. It was very, very cool!
We hiked back out of the crater, down the mountain, then loaded up the van for the short drive to the ferry terminal which took me to Bali! I shared a nice air conditioned car with the Austrians (and took a wonderful nap!) to a small beachside town on the north shore of Bali called Lovina. I checked into a pretty nice hotel on the beach with a pool, king sized bed and air conditioning (a bit out of my budget but I thought I'd splurge!). I explored the town a bit then singed up to join a scuba diving trip tomorrow!
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