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My SE Asia Adventures: Part 2 - Java, Indonesia

Tuesday 14 August - Jakarta

I arrived just after midnight in Jakarta with the tune of The Boys song from K-Pop group, Girls Generation in my head - the plane had this song on repeat as we boarded and exited the plane! My FaceBook friend, Angela met me at the airport and accompanied me in the taxi to my hotel, Onyx Residence, which took a long time to find. It was about AU$10 for the BlueBird taxi (the company that many say is the only taxi you should trust to travel) and the airport fees.

When I got to the hotel - it wasn't really that nice - I found out that my Dr Bronner's liquid soap had leaked all through the bottom of my bag and onto a few of my things which was really annoying to sort out so early in the morning. I threw out a few items including my first deck of tarot cards that my friend Michelle from high school had bought me years ago and reflected on moving on from things. I was exhausted. The place wasn't that great but would be fine to sleep in and do a bit of computer work when I wake up.

Unfortunately the hotel didn't have anything for my breakfast so I worked on a few things when I was waiting for Ange to come to pick me up for lunch at Loving Hut, Jakarta. I had a chat to an Indonesia guy who had just come back from Kuala Lumpur and showed him my Vegan Passport to which he had a great laugh.

Due to the terrible traffic in Jakarta, Ange ended up getting stuck in traffic for an hour or so. I ended up getting an Express Taxi to Plaza Semanggi, a shopping centre. Up a few levels the bright yellow and red signage of Loving Hut greeted me kindly:

Loving_Hut_Jakarta 

I waited for Ange to arrive and I ordered the Thai Fragrant Rice Set consisting of Tom Yum Soup (my Dad's favourite at the Loving Hut back home), Thai Fragrant mock Chicken, Tofu with salt and pepper and rice in the shape of a love heart! Rp 33 000 (about AU$3.30 - move the decimal point 4 places to the left)

Thai_Fragrant_Rice_Set_LH 

I also ordered a Strawberry milkshake which was great Rp 23 ooo:

Strawberry_milkshake_LH 

They had a large menu of Appetisers, Soups, Rice dishes, Noodles and Western meals. Ange and I were there for a few hours on my laptop working out my next moves East. I also ordered a Chocolate milkshake afterwards:

Chocolate_milkshake_LH 

A few of the people recognised me from the Supreme Master TV station news and some info that my FaceBook friend, Tjahaja had sent them, so I was asked to pose for many photos with the staff - never a problem for me!

LH_staff_Jakarta  LH_chef__LC

They wouldn't let me pay the bill either. Lovely people and photos. Here's one with Ange and I too:

LC__Ange 

Ange and I then caught a shuttle bus into Jl. Jaksa where my friend, Chay's friend, Amelia - also another FaceBook friend - had suggested that I look for somewhere to stay for the night. Ange picked up a cheap Telekomsel Indonesian SIM card for me from a seller near the bus stop – now I can ring people and receive messages!

Pretty much as soon as I arrived in Jakarta I was ready to leave. My original plan was to travel from Jakarta to Bogor for a 10 day Vipassana silent retreat, then train to Bandung, Yogyakarta and meet up with my FaceBook friend, Tjahaja (pronounced “Cha-hiya”) in Magalang. I didn’t get into the retreat in Bogor and I wanted to see Tjahaja before him and his family left for their Bangkok holiday on the 19th. The Muslim holiday, Idul Fitri was on at present and the journey I was making travelling East through Java was part of Mudik – the journey home for a lot of Muslims to reunite with their families. They would travel back next week. Tjahaja and Angela had both said it was the worst time to travel.

This was where I was planning on going in Java via train:

Java_map

I payed Rp 175 000 for the night at a back packers hostel, upstairs from Memories Cafe with my own bathroom but no WIFI. There didn't seem to be any free WIFI in the area - we looked! However there was access downstairs at the bar/cafe. After I found the place to stay, Ange and I got a taxi back to Onyx to get my back back pack and then back to the hostel where I waited for Amelia at the bar/cafe area. This place has a really good, laid back, touristy vibe with a lot of different people from all over the world meeting and/or staying there.

I had dinner with Amelia at Komala's restaurant - one of the best Indian vegetarian places in Indonesia. I ordered the Pun Jabi Thali - aloo parotta, basmati pulao, chama masala, dhaal, a yoghurt replacement and pickles Rp 62 636 along with a Mango juice for Rp 25 454

Pun_Jabi_Thali 

Thanks for dinner Amelia. Amelia walked me back to the hostel and I went to sleep.

Wednesday 15 August - The beginning of the Mudik journey from Jakarta

Check out time at the hostel was 12 midday, so I wandered around the street a bit before I did some computer work in the bar/cafe area. I was waiting for a mini van that was to pick me up at 16:00 so I had a bit of the day to catch up on my travel blogs, computer work, website and Social Media updates. I met Mitch who is from Leicester in the UK and Joni who lives in Jakarta. Mitch is doing a very similar trek as me from Jakarta back to Bali so hopefully we can meet up along the way or travel a bit together.

I ordered a great Gado Gado and mango juice that were really cheap.

Gado_Gado_at_Hostel

Angela had unfortunately sprained her ankle so I wouldn't see her again. She had booked the mini van trip for me and let me know that they would be picking me up by 18:00 and would realistically be leaving Jakarta by 20:00 that night due to the traffic and having to pick up the other passengers. At about 18:00 three guys Dany, Nusa and Echo picked me up in their mini van and took me to the office where the Aditya tour and Travel company was based. Dany and Nusa spoke a bit of English, plus Nusa had a translator on his phone. They were great company and it took about an hour due to the traffic to get to the office where I was transferred into another mini van.

There was another solo female, a solo male traveller as well as a family of four: Mum, Dad and two girls who slept most of the way. Our luggage was crammed tightly into the space behind the back seat with about the width of an LP lying down – not much room at all. The trip from Jakarta to Magelang was meant to take 10-12 hours and cost Rp 350 000, but Joni from Jakarta had said he doubted it would be that due to the holiday. So, who knows how long...

We left Jakarta late that night and stopped at a rest stop in Cikampek to change our tyre. The place was huge! There were buses, cars, trucks and other vehicles full with people and there was so much happening including karaoke. I should have joined in but I thought we were only going to be awhile – it took about an hour until we left. It’s good to see the motorcyclists wearing helmets and protective gear now along with masks as the pollution and exhaust fumes are pretty intense. There’s not much vegan fare at the rest stops so I bought a packet of Oreos and had a few of them on the trip. You can’t see many stars when you look towards the sky from here.

Both Angela and Tjaharja text me throughout the trip to see where I was and make sure that I was fine. The driver didn’t speak English that much and as I didn’t speak Indonesian, it was hard to know what was going on. Luckily I slept a lot and also listened to some music if I was awake. It was best to not look at the road ahead as there were so many vehicles chaotically driving in the same direction. Most of the time it was stop and start. Some time we would be speeding through winding tracks and steep hills. Best to keep the eyes closed and hope for the best!

Thursday 16 August - Madik continues & arrival in Magalang

This trip honestly feels never-ending. I was told that it wouldn’t be 12 hours so I wasn’t really sure how long it would take due to the amount of traffic. We made a few rest stops and spent a few minutes where the driver tried to have a rest before being moved on. Otherwise there was a lot of driving. I really shouldn’t have travelled through the holiday but it was something different to experience I guess. At around 08:00 Tjahaja text me to say that we’re still 300km from Magelang. At about 11:00 I think the driver told me that we’ve got about 5 hours to go and that we’re in Solo.  

I finally arrived in Magelang at 15:00 and I was dropped off at the front of Tjahaja’s Nevo store – about 21 hours after leaving Jakarta! Tjahaja offered for me to stay at his house for a couple of nights with his family, wife Juliana and sons Nathan and Dave. It will be great to have a place to stay for two nights in a row.

We headed to a warung (small restaurant/food cart) to have late lunch at Pelopor Tahu Kupat (tahu kupat = tofu rice) where we ate a traditional Indonesian meal consisting of tofu, kupat (rice wrapped in a palm leaf pouch and boiled), sweet soy sauce, bean sprouts and cabbage Rp 14 500 each. I was pretty hungry.

tofu_rice

Then we went to Loving Heart Therapy Centre in Magelang that also has a small vegan grocery store, so I could buy some Monggo chocolate, produced in Indonesia by a Belgian chocolatier. You can even visit the chocolate factory or chocolate shop in Yogyakarta. I bought the mango and strawberry versions. Not all of the range are vegan, but there are a few vegan options.

Then we went home and I had a shower. It was pretty amazing.

For dinner Tjahaja, Juliana and myself went to Jamoeran Rumah Makan a restaurant specialising in Jamur = Mushrooms. Juliana had ordered food on the drive over so when we arrived the food was already on the table for us to eat. We had chicken skewers satay (Sate Jamur) Rp 8 500

chicken_skewers_satay

Tongseng Jamur (soup) Rp 7 000 – this was great!

tongseng_jamur

Jamur Crispy (deep fried) Rp 9 000

jamur_crispy

Jamur Asam (Sour) Manis (Sweet) Rp 9 000

jamur_asam_manis

Here's a photo Tjahaja took of me eating:

LC_at_Jamoeran

Tjahaja won’t let me pay for anything when I'm a guest in his house. I could definitely get used to this!

Here's some photos taken of Juliana and myself and the three of us together:

LC__Juliana_ Juliana_LC__Tjaharja

There were also a lot of photos taken of me with the staff which is always fun. Slept early and well tonight.

Friday 17 August - Borobudur Temple, Yogyakarta & Batik

Today is Indonesia’s Independence Day where they celebrated independence from Japan. In the morning Tjahaja helped me plan my next stops in Java to get back to Bali. I couldn’t get through to my friend, Mitch I’d met in Jakarta so I just booked what I could and hoped I’d hear from him soon.

Tjahaja and I had breakfast at a warung (small restaurant) food cart called Karunia Jaya (Mbok Joyo) - the most popular place that sells Nasi Pecel in Magelang. Nasi Pecel with veggies, rice and tofu Rp 5 000:

gado_gado_veges_at_warung

Then we went to pick up some boxes from the other Nevo store in Magelang that Tjahaja owns. He also has a store in Yogyakarta. There were markets on the street and I met a customer of the store, his wife and daughter – they were waiting for the store to open at 09:00. Magelang is a town that has a lot of business and trade along with government jobs. It’s a really great place and a good vibe – especially after Jakarta.

After breakfast we visited one of Tjaharja’s high school friends, Joko who runs a home stay and travel company, Joglo Tour & Travel (Joglo = Traditional Roof) just opposite the Borobudur Temple. I wish I’d known about the great tours that Joko runs before I’d decided to book my next part of my trip. I really wanted to learn how to make tofu, pottery, attend a wedding etc with the local villagers. Next time… 

Next Tjaharja and I walked across the road to see the biggest Buddhist temple in the world, Borobudur Temple. It cost me US$20 to enter (tourist price) and Tjahaja only Rp 30 000 – quite a difference!

Borobudur_temple

Borobudur Temple was built in the 8th century and is World Heritage listed.

Borobudur_temple_2

“Boro” = Temple/Shrine from Sanskrit “Byara” and “Budur” = above the hill from Balinese “Boduhur”

Here's me out the front of the temple - we all had to wear a sarong, not sure why really as it was shorter than my dress...

LC__Borobudur_temple

There were 2 million pieces of stone to make and put together in a really interesting T-shape fit.

Tjahaja and I watched the 20 minute video that said it would take about 5 hours to walk the whole 2km circle around the temple. It didn’t take us that long. The temple was impressive to see and the carvings in particular are wonderful:

stone_art_at_Borobudur

stone_art_at_Borobudur_2

It’s just very touristy. I had thought it would be more of a spiritual experience more than a money-making one. As soon as I walked through the entry point, various locals were trying to sell me/us tours, umbrellas (it was quite hot), water, trinkets, photos and more. It was a bit overwhelming.

watching_over fish

It was good to see but I’m not sure if it’s worth the admission price to be heckled pretty much the whole time you’re in the gates of the park. 

buddha_temples

There's little Buddhas in each of these domes

buddha_home

If you can touch their hands it's meant to bring luck and prosperity. My arms couldn't reach:

trying_to_touch

Here's some of the views:

view

view_2

Here's the view of where you enter/walk up the temple:

entrance_view

There was also this renovation info on display explaining the process: the ash covering the temple, the dry and wet cleaning, ash removal, removing and repairing of the floor, and the final conditioning:

environmental_info

We also checked out the museum

ship_art

boat

and then walked through the massive markets to the car over the road. We drove to Yogyakarta passed the Mendut temple where I just took a photo when we drove past:

Mundut_temple

When Tjahaja and I were driving, I was able to ask him what a lot of the signage/advertising meant. Some of them I'd been tryint to work out and wasn't getting anywhere. Most of them I found out were for cigarettes. SO many people smoke over here, actually pretty much everyone. And in public places as well like restaurants and buses – in front of kids and others – it’s a bit shocking for me as a health-conscious non-smoker. Tjahaja told me that Indonesia is the second biggest cigarette consumer in the world – China is first.

We went to the Loving Hut Express in Yogyakarta for lunch where I had a traditional Javanese drink, Es Cendol – coconut milk, palm sugar and green jelly Rp 7 000:

Es_Cendol

Buncis Tausi – beans with black beans etc Rp 20 000 - I like this picture a lot:

Buncis_tausi

Tjahaja had Joyful Rice Set Rp 22 000:

Joyful_rice_set

I also tried the LuVe Litee vegan ice cream green tea flavour for dessert from the Campina Ice Cream company. It wasn’t that sweet which was good. Tjahaja said most people like the Raspberry Rosella flavour as it’s the sweetest. There’s also chocolate, of course.

LuVe_Litee_vegan_ice_cream

Yogyakarta (Yogya for short) is a student and traveller town where a lot of the best universities are. My American friends would call it a college town. There is a lot of shopping which I’m not really into. We ended up having really early dinner/second lunch (instead of dinner) at a great place called Milas Vegetarian Restaurant that looks like this:

Milas_Vegetarian

Milas is a vegetarian restaurant with a street youth open house, organic veggie garden that sells handicrafts and has a multilungual library and playgroup – I was pretty impressed! They have been running since 1997 as a Not For Profit with educational, health and environmental programmes. I would love the restaurant/community space I run to one day have the vibe and ethos like Milas, plus all-vegan of course.

Here’s some chairs and tables made from tyres that my Dad, enviro and upcycle friends would love:

tyre_chair

tyre_table

They have a massive menu with traditional drinks, juices, small dishes, sandwiches, salads, main meals, rice and noodle dishes, burgers, a kids menu and dessert. Tjahaja brought me here as he said I just had to try their steak made from tempeh. Not my sort of fare at all, but I’ll give it a go. We were both still mostly full from lunch but we divided the meal. The Steak Tempeh is tempeh loaf with onion, tomato and mushroom sauce on top. Served with fresh fries and vegetables Rp 22 000

tempeh_steak_at_Milas

It was great - I ate all of my half and even all of the chips soaked in the sauce! It must have been around 3pm as we could hear the amplified sermon (?) from the Muslim temple right next to the restaurant. This happens a few times a day pretty much everywhere in Java!

The Milas menus were made with wonderful handmade cloth covers that Tjahaja said is a fabric called Batik. We ended up driving past a place, Batik Winotosastro (Manufacture) that has Batik fabric – they even have a hotel out the back. I had a chat and a little bit of a tour with one of the lovely girls who worked there and spoke English really well.

Batik is a traditional pattern that is either stamped or drawn/outlined onto fabric by hand with a canting (pen) filled with wax.

Batik_workers

White cotton (or silk) is used and an image is drawn/traced, cut out and drawn on/traced with the canting (pen) with a wax mixture made of oil, gondorukem (gum from pine trees) and paraffin wax.

Batik_workers_2

When you draw the wax onto fabric and the fabric is dyed, the colour won’t set where the wax is. After dyeing the fabric one colour, you can dry, boil the fabric to remove the wax and start the whole process again, with different dye colours for as many times as you like. Here’s some of the patterns you can get.

I like the fact that the wax is re-used over and over again. The first time you use the wax it’s the original time for drawing, the next times the wax is re-boiled, it becomes black. Batik by hand = Batik Tulis. Batik my Stamping = Cap.

Stamping is where already existing copper stamps like these:

Batik_stamps

are stamped onto the fabric from boiling on a stove with wax.

Batik_wax_pot

The people who stamp the fabric have to stamp twice in exactly the same spot – I could never do this!

Batik_wax_stamp

The process of dyeing the fabric, boiling off the wax and re-stamping other areas if necessary is the same as for Batik by hand. This is cotton fabric finished with the stamping and ready to be dyed:

Batik_with_wax

I find this process immensely fascinating. Not only is this a traditional method, it’s easy to buy the tools of the trade and do it yourself at home. Also, every aspect is vegan and all the wax is reused. They use chemical colours along with natural colours and the boiling method is the traditional wood burning method.

The dyeing process takes place below with chemical colours - you can also get natural colours and they're dyed in a separate place

Batik_boiling_station

Then is dried:

Batik_drying_rack

Here's where the fabric is dry boiled to get rid of the wax:

Batik_dry_boil

The wax is removed in the process and reused:

Batik_wax_removal

I really want to do a Batik course. Maybe when I get back to Bali. I wish I had room in my back pack to buy a few things here as I just love this style/process etc!

After the Batik store we stopped to get some sweets from a street cart/warung:

Sweets_warung

From left to right: Klepon – sticky rice and palm sugar, Cenil – wheat (gluten maybe), Putu – rice filled with palm sugar (in cylinder) and Getuk – yam. All were sprinkled with coconut and icing sugar and a couple of bags only cost Rp 6 000. This was my dinner. Here he is making the Putu:

making_Putu_sweets

Tjahaja helped me finalise my journey back to Bali. I am going to leave from the Yogyakarta train tomorrow afternoon and get to a hotel in Surabaya tomorrow night. Sunday I would get a mini van from the hotel to Probolinggo and the driver would help me with the mini van to Bromo where I would stay the night. Way early Monday morning I would be driven up Mount Bromo in a car and then would be either getting a car from Bromo to Bunyuwangi or getting a mini van from Bromo to Probolinggo, then a bus to Bunyuwangi, then a ferry to Bali where my driver Dewa would pick me up. Phew. Exhausted already. I’ve booked a place in Bali Monday night+ so I hope I get there in time. Tjahaja’s friend’s friend, Mul was helping out with the arrangements too and I would see him in Bromo when I arrived at the hotel.

Saturday 18 August - Yogyakarta & train to Surabaya

For my last morning in Magelang, Juliana once again made me some fresh guava juice - I am now obsessed, I love it. I caught up on some computer work and had the lunch that she made for me before we left for Yogyakarta. I had Laksa (Soto) with rice noodles, basil, bean shoots, tofu all in a broth. Served with rice, Perkedel (fried potato), chilli and soy sauce.

Julianas_food_for_lunch

Great meal before I left. I had such a great time with Tjaharja and his lovely family. The boys Nathan and Dave joined us in the car as Nathan had a cello lesson in Yogyakarta. We were on our way to meet Chindy Tanjung who is the General Manager of the Indonesian Vegetarian Society (IVS) and the Vegan Society of Indonesia (VSI.) I had an interview with her for the upcoming edition of the Info Vegetarian magazine that you can download for free at the bottom of this page. Here’s a photo of Chindy with my What Do Vegans Eat? book and myself with the Info Vegetarian magazine:

Chindy__LC

A photo with the two of us deep in conversation and me showing off My USA Adventures book:

Chindy__LC_with_book

Plus here’s a photo with Chindy holding my favourite vegan documentary Making the Connection DVD, me holding the Info Vegetarian magazine and Tjaharja holding my What Do Vegans Eat? book:

Chindy_LC__Tjaharja 

Chindy then had some Bakpao (Chinese bread) for me to try. The purple is a black bean paste an sweet flavour and then White one is a savoury flavour like a vegan steamed pork bun:

Bakpao_chinese_bread

Tjaharja dropped Nathan and Dave off at the Institute of the Arts for the cello lesson and we drove to the train station. Here's the three of us:

Nathan_LC_David

Tjaharja made sure I was on the train by waiting with me on the train until it left at 16:00. The ride should take 5 hours to Surabaya. Here’s me on the train:

LC_on_train_to_Surabaya

This Eksekutif train reminded me greatly of the US Amtrak trains with a bit more room. There was power and a place to just fit my back pack overhead. I am thinking of coming back to the Yogyakarta/Solo area for an upcoming IVS/VSI event, we’ll see…

Tjaharja had introduced himself and I to a young lady, Lestari and her Mother who were also going to Surabaya. Lestari sat down and spoke with me every now and then and just when I was getting hungry about halfway through the trip when the train stopped at Madiun, Lestari bought me a meal wrapped in banana leaves – Pecel: noodles, rice, greens with a sachet of peanut/Gado gado-type sauce. Just what I needed!

Pecel

Mixed together:

Pecel_mixed_together

We arrived at the Surabaya station on time at 21:00 where Lestari helped me wade through the mass of taxis to get a BlueBird taxi. I arrived at Galaxy Hotel pretty soon after as it was only a couple of minutes away. When I checked in there was a delivery from the local Loving Hut waiting for me that Tjaharja had organised:

Loving_Hut_food

My meal was Porsi sate (chicken satay sticks):

Persi_sate

And NS Putih (plain rice) with Sweet chilli and lemongrass chicken:

Sweet_Chilli_Lemongrass_chicken

I found out later that the Loving Hut staff refused to accept Tjaharja’s payment for my meal. I definitely am getting looked after by the Supreme Master Ching Hai Indonesian crew when I’m over here!

Sunday 19 August - Surabaya to Bromo

I woke up a bit earlier than I was going to today and luckily I did as my mini van came to pick me up at the hotel at 08:00 instead of 09:00. I had organised a vegan breakfast to be served at 08:00 but I didn’t get it unfortunately. I knew it would probably be awhile before I ate. I was being driven from Surabaya to Probolinggo for Rp 80 000 which would take about 2.5 hours.

There were a lot of families out and about today, all dressed up and going to the mosque I assume. We picked up some other people in the van who all seemed to have been thinking the van would be later as well. On the drive I received a phone call from Hendro who runs the Campina Ice Cream company – the vegan Luve Litee is one of his products – and who offered me a lovely place to stay in Surabaya next time I’m there.

We stopped in Probolinggo for lunch at a massive eatery. One lady spoke a bit of English and helped me try to get a vegan meal. The vegetables were all out and the fried rice had just a “little bit” of chicken. I ended up just getting a bowl of plain rice with a slab of tofu. Not that exciting but something at least. The majority of the people in the van are going to Lamjung to see their families. It was about 30 minutes to the bus area where I would be dropped off.

When I got to the bus area, there was a French couple – Silva & Mirna waiting for the bus to Bromo and myself, but we needed at least 10 people before they would leave. I thought it would take awhile, but soon we had 18 (!!) people all shoved into the bus and on our way to Bromo.

When I arrived at the hotel - which turned out to be a hostel, Café Lava Hostel that wasn’t that ritzy - I changed my room to a single room with a shared bathroom for Rp 200 000 instead of Rp 450 000 for a double bed and bathroom with no WIFI next to the French couple. There was actually no WIFI in the whole town, which may or may not have freaked me out more if it wasn’t a Sunday.

Tjaharja’s friend’s friend, Mr Mul (Mulyono) met me at the hostel and took me for a bit of wander around the area. Mul runs tours to Mt Bromo and around the Bromo area. The area grows mostly corn, rice and onion crops:

crops_in_Bromo

another_view_of_Bromo

Here's a couple of photos of me with the crater behind - this would be where we would drive past in the morning to the mountain:

LC__Bromo

LC_at_Bromo

I ended up deciding to go on a motorbike with Mul tomorrow morning for Rp 200 000 instead of a hired jeep for Rp 400 000 as Mul spoke English quite well and I was up for another motorbike adventure.

For an early dinner, Mul and I went to Warung Puput where I had nasi goreng without egg for Rp 10 000 (that’s about AU$1 for all of you playing at home!)

nasi_goreng

I was in bed by about 19:00 as I had a mighty early day ahead.

Monday 20 August - Sunrise on Mount Bromo & journey back to Bali

I woke up at 02:40 and put on every single warm layer that I had in my bag on . Mul picked me up at 03:00 and we started the bike trip to the top of the mountain. We had no helmets and the journey up the mountain was quite scary in the dark. There was sand that we had to drive over that made us slip a few times and when we finally got up onto the main road the bitumen wasn’t very safe either – there was a lot of the terrain that was made up of rocks but not gravel.

There were so many jeeps and bikes making their way up. You could also hike up the mountain, this was meant to take about 2 hours. Not my idea of a good time. And then you have to get down again. My French and Russian friends were doing this. The procession of vehicles looked like an army of glow in the dark ants as they made their way up the mountain.

There was a time where the terrain and the climb was too much for the bike, so I got off and walked about 20m up the steep hill and Mul waited for me where it was a bit safer to continue on the bike. When we finally arrived at the top it was freezing. Mul and I sat down in a little warung with a lot of other cold people and I ate some boiled potatoes on a stick:

boiled_potatoes

Mul took the photo of me and said I looked like an Arab. We walked up to a spot and waited until the Sun was about to come out.

the_Sun_is_coming

There weren’t that many people near where we were looking, but there were a lot of people on the mountain.

almost

It was pretty beautiful. The early morning and cold was definitely worth it, don't you think?

Sunrise 

Sunrise_2

Sunrise_3

Sunrise_4

mountain_peak

The village below:

village

hills

Here's me, like, way cold:

LC_cold_atop_the_mountain

Mul has a HEAP of other photos from Mt Bromo and around the Bromo area HERE.

We drove back down the mountain – I had to get off and walk at the same spot down. Here's a few photos on the way down:

Sun_and_clouds

view_from_above

Bromo

Bromo_2

Bromo_3

The terrain:

the_terrain

The procession of vehicles towards the crater:

the_procession

driving_towards_the_crater

sand_and_crater

temple_and_crater

Temple near the crater:

temple_near_crater

We stopped quickly at the crater for a photo:

crater

There was frost on the sand too which made the drive slippery:

frost_on_sand

frosty_plant

People could also climb the stairs to the crater. We went back to the hostel at around 07:30 and Mul and I got a photo together:

Mul__LC

Here's a dog friend:

dog_friend_Bromo

I had free breakfast of fruit and a bit of rice and then I had a shower and got ready to leave on the 09:00 bus back to Probolinggo.

This time the bus had about 15 people and the price is still pretty good Rp 25 000 for about an hour with great views. I definitely suggest people go to Mount Bromo for the sunrise but maybe stay somewhere a bit out of the town or get a lift late at night like my new travel friends did. Ramona and Frank from Germany had been travelling with Jean Paul an Italian who had been living in Darwin. I joined up with them to travel back to Bali as we were all going on the same route. Ramona and Frank had just started their 3 week trip and have a blog in German. Jean Paul was just about to finish his 9 month trip. It's great to have some people to travel with and share experiences.

We caught the bus from Probolinggo to Bunyuwangi Rp 50 000 which was meant to take about 4-5 hours. It was a great bus with all the windows open. The four of us had the whole back seat to ourselves and our back packs on the floor near the back exit. At about 14:30 we had to swap buses for some reason and it ended up being a really crowded bus  - we definitely were lucky before. Jean Paul and my bags took up one seat and some of the commuters were not impressed with this. In the end, I ended up sitting on Jean Paul’s lap for 2 hours (!!) with a lady next to us, until others left the bus. It was then another 1.5 hours until we got to Banyuwangi.

When we arrived at Banyuwangi an English speaking “official” notified us that there was no way we would be able to get a taxi or bus to the ferry because of the Ramadan Muslim holiday. We ended up waving down and mini van and Frank got us a good price to the ferry Rp 6 000 each. Or the ferry to Bali may have been that price… The ferry took about 45 minutes with a bit of waiting around. Dewa met us at the other end and thus began our drive to Ubud which took about 3.5 hours and cost Rp 150 000 each.   

This is the route I ended up taking from Jakarta to get me back to Bali:

Java_Adventures_map

We finally got to Yuliati's House home stay where I had booked for 8 nights and Jean Paul would be staying with me for a few. When Dewa pulled up around 02:00 the first thing I saw was the sign for free WIFI. All will be good. The place was lovely. Ramona and Frank ended up getting a place a few doors down and we all slept well.


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