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Chapter fifty eight - Denpasar

Having a lava in Java

sunny 25 °C

Day 218: Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia 04/05/2012

A very, very early morning (ten to three) is our reward for yesterday's slog and we are out before three, with our trusty poundland head torch, for the walk up Mount Bromo for sunrise. The very early morning is accompanied by a very steep walk and before long we arrive at a very dark and desolate plain to cross to reach the volcanoes.

'Which one is Bromo?' Gemma asks as we are confronted by numerous peaks, and I point confidently at the one dead ahead. So up 'Bromo' we go, struggling in the dark and with the distinct lack of footpaths. After trying and failing to ascend this mountain, and me falling flat on my back down a ravine, legs kicking like an overturned turtle, and with the sun starting to peak over the horizon, we look up to next volcano to see trekkers casually strolling up to the summit laughing and in good spirits. It appears that I was wrong on my assessment of which volcano was for us...

So we arrive at the top of Mount Bromo just in time for sunrise and despite the few, ahem, technical hitches we enjoy the spectacular spectacle of the sun rising over this prehistoric landscape, with Bromo's menacing, smoking, smouldering crater nicely contrasting the stunning views around. Glancing across at 'the one that got away', it becomes clear this is a near impossible climb given the steepness of the sides and the softness of the terrain. Still, a bit of ambition never hurt anyone...

Hitch a lift back to the hotel on a motorbike, shower then hijack a nice minibus back to the bus terminal out of town, before boarding a bargain bus to Bali. An easy journey up until the ferry, a relaxing journey on the water (like crossing the Mersey) and a truly terrifying one once on Bali, with oncoming lorries, blind overtakes and manic speeds causing the most distressing journey since India. Eventually arrive in Denpasar (after being pulled by the police twice) and have a bit of difficulty finding a room, before settling down to some spicy chicken and Eddie Murphy's Coming to America.

Posted by tevs 04:39 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia java volcano bus sunrise ferry journey bromo Comments (0)

Chapter fifty seven - Ngadisari (Mt Bromo)

Time to erupt

sunny 26 °C

Day 217: Ngadisari, Java, Indonesia 03/05/2012

So, we arrive on the train to Surabaya at about 6am, where naturally there is a two man band playing to about fifty people on the station concourse. Some very welcome baby wipes are bought from the station supermarket followed by an even more welcome breakfast. Take a taxi to the bus station and get straight on the bus to Probolinggo for Mount Bromo (a geographer's dream haha). It is when we reach Probolinggo the headaches begin, with the accommodation for Bromo two hours up the road and the local minibuses not even dreaming of moving until packed to the rafters. As the only two people looking to go there this could be a long wait (really welcome after a night on the train - the Lonely Planet has a lot to answer for) so we sit at a cafe and have a drink (where an old lady walks around serving tables with a saw in her hand).

I take a walk down the road to enquire into alternatives and despondently heading back without any ideas I am shouted at to run to the minibus by an old man, as apparently it is waiting to leave. So after my best Forrest Gump impression to the minibus it naturally does not move for another forty five minutes.

We eventually get to where we wanted (some twenty hours after leaving Pangandaran) and find a room. A quiet afternoon and an early night are much needed.

Posted by tevs 04:26 Archived in Indonesia Tagged indonesia java volcano bromo probolinggo Comments (0)

Chapter fifty six - Somewhere in Java

A loooong journey

sunny 25 °C

Day 216: Somewhere in Java, Indonesia 02/05/2012

Wake up slightly the worse for wear after yesterday's drinks (quite a lot by recent standards) and with this our bonus day in Pangandaran (as decided last night) we are soon at the beach trying to decide on our next move. Reading the Lonely Planet when have a brainwave...why not travel overnight?

Straight to the internet cafe to check the train times, when on the way in we see a baby monkey tethered to the tree outside. As I run back to get the camera there is a seven year old boy feeding the monkey using a baby's bottle. Take a moment to stroke him. The monkey that is, not the boy...

It soon becomes apparent that the overnight train is a possibility to get to Mount Bromo tomorrow. We hurriedly gather up our stuff, head to the bus station and learn the last bus to Sidarejar (the nearest train station) has sailed and the next one is in the morning. However, there is an alternative route according to the old bus conductor, going from Banjar to Surabaya - check this online and he is right. So, we jump on the bus to Banjar, hopeful we would be on time for the train, get dropped outside the station in good time and after a quick tea we bunk down in the train carriage ready to cross a fair chunk of Java by the morning. Reasonably comfortable to be fair.

Posted by tevs 04:10 Archived in Indonesia Tagged indonesia java travel train Comments (0)

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