Java: Hiking Mt. Bromo and Kawah Ijen

During our stay at lombok island we skipped the idea hiking Mt.Rinjani as not all of us were fully equiped with necessary gear. Back at Bali i still had the wish to climb at least to one of the millions volcanos in Indonesia. So i spend a few hours on the internet to find a cheap way to go to Bromo and Ijen. The solution: Bromo Adventure Land Agency. Promblem: I had to convince Oliver to join me and find a cheap flight. Well the flight turned out to be expensive (53 €, Garuda) as we booked it only one day in advance but luckily the Problem with Olli turned to be cheap as i only had to get him a few Bintangs 🙂 My Love Parviz and his friend Max left on the very same day. Bad day for the whole group. Saying goodbye isnt easy, even worse if you re hungover and struggeling with, lets say, “stomach problems “.

We supposed to meet Mella at the Airport in Surabaya. She wasnt there. Wrong Terminal. What a great Invention this “Internet” otherwise we probably would still watch out for her 😉 .

Next morning we were picked up by our Tourguide Ian and our driver Mr. Kus(s), lovely people by the way. We arrived at 1pm and had the entire day to explore Cemoro Lawang. So we walked down to the sand sea at the bottom of Bromo, had a dinner at Cafe Lava ( they have a completly new interpretation of a tomatosoup) , where you find the best internet connection in town and spend a very lazy day. Good though, cause the next morning started at 3:30 am with a jeeptour to a viewpoint in the mountains. We run a little bit late cause oliver needs some extra time in the morning ….as always 😉 . I think the town has a double population of jeeps than citizens, i ve never seen so many jeeps in my life. On the way up the hill one of the jeeps lost a tire, i think it just fell off. We were running out of time, afraid of missing the sunrise everybody helped to move the jeep of the road. And we came just in time for the sunrise. Ian took us to a hidden viewpoint, King Kong hill, away from all the crowd, and we enjoyed the view for ourselves. A picture says more than thousands words. The view is just stunning.

 

We drove back to the sand plateau and hiked up Bromo to the crater. You can hear the volcano’s noises. Sounds like an empty stomach so i threw some flowers, which i bought for 20 t on the way up, for good luck. Back at the hotel we filled our tummys with great food and jumped into the car. Mr. Kuss was smiling, he was the only one with more than 4 hours sleep.

Next surprise: a really upper class hotel for us “backpackers” with a concierge and all that stuff. We felt good after a long day walking, taking pictures and selfies. We definetly earned a Bintang. One ” Prost” and we went for a NAP …a really short nap.

Midnight, time to leave. As i already mentioned, Oliver needs a little bit of extra time after waking up, so he gave us an excuse for a cup of green tea for breakfast. We arrived at 2 am at the entrance and were surprised by the amount of people. Apparently Ijen became very popular. Flashlight on and we walked up the hill for, it seems, ages. On the way we rented some gasmasks as it started to smell. It was foggy anyway, but if you come closer to the crater you realize that it starts to get itchy in your nose and your eyes get red. As we arrived the crater we started hiking. There is a small path down to the lake. Normally you walk one by one. The guides normally ask you if you can handle the way down. Now its not an easy hike anymore. You have to take care of your step. Debris might occure at any time. Once you wearing the mask its difficult to breath. Some parts are slippery if you dont have hikingboots. Yeah, but we felt good and hiked down the path. We ve seen the blue fire ( which is actually not a real fire). We literaly cried, not because of the view, rather than the gas burning in the eyes. The miners are working really hard, one kilo of the sulfid values only 1000 rupiah. Even wearing the mask you start to cough. Sometimes you see nothing than fog. Really scary. I am still surprised that my two travelmates handled both hikes, as none of them have ever hiked before. Well done mella and olli!!

As sunrise coming closer we hiked up the path and walked along the crater to see the lake. Ian showed us some nice spots for pictures and we enjoyed our breakfast on the top with lakeview.

Heading all the way back was harder than climbing up. The whole hike took us about 5 hours and back to the car Mr. Kuss welcomed us back with his smile. I guess we looked funny with all the dust in the face and marks of wearing the mask.

The trip ended with the drop off at the bus station as we decided ( democratical 2 against me ) to take a LOCAL bus to denpasar. My dear friends would not listen to me, that this wasnt a good idea. Anyway they made theier choice and i thought ” you ‘ll see” muhahaaa.

One last note: Ian offered us to wait with us till the bus arrives. I said: no thats not necessary, we ve got the tickets …dont worry about us. He insisted to wait and said: i will make sure you get on the bus! We didnt know the meaning of his words till that moment we were pushed in with our bags into an overbooked vehicle which has been a bus long time ago. Backpackers were even pushed out of the bus. I was lucky to have just a half of a seat …yeay…5 hours trip with no toilet, no fan, smoke around you and a semi leaking roof. But this is another story to tell…

Kiss n Hugs Adelia

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Kalimantan: Back to the roots- visiting Tanjung Puting National Park

Okay, so far so good. Everything went more or less as expected, we saw awesome beaches, got to know many peope, had too many beers, and saw vibrant places. Nothing too special for a travel blog, right? What follows now came completely unexpected for me and makes the first outstanding highlight on our trip!

Of course I heard about the reserve of Orang utans in Borneo when I did my preparation for the trip but it always seamed too complicated and expensive to really do it so I didn’t think about it anymore.

Then, spending the days at the Gilis, another traveler told me about it again and I got so excited that I couldn´t stand the chance to just try to organize a trip to Pankgalan Bun at Kalimantan. I spent hours in bars with (hoorrible) wifi connections, in local travel agencies (that can help you so much booking flights) and finally with the help of my mum (mua) we got the tickets for the next day! I love these situations where unexpected things just happen with cool and open people so I got very very excited- this is what traveling really means to me, just admit yourself to a unique situation and make the moment something special:o)

The next day, I went with a boat back to Lombok and flew to Surabaya. This is the third-largest city at Java and has a metropolitan flow with huge skyscrapers and a busy atmosphere. Asking the taxi driver to bring us to the city center, we ended up in a mall, still with flipflops on and our backpack, a wrong place to stay for us! We searched for some bar to have a beer what turned out to be very difficult as alcohol is forbidden in public places here but ended up getting some with the support of a surabayan. Again, we were welcomed very friedly and had nice conversations sitting on the ground. Sleeping at the airport surrounded by many other peope also sleeping on the floor I still felt save and could´t wait for the next flight to Borneo, our final destination.

Arriving in Pankgalan Bun in central Kalmantan, our tour directly began. We booked the tour at http://www.orangutantourstanjungputing.com  and got the best guide, Dody, who welcomed us by imitating some of the Orang utan sounds, the so called longcalls. He explained us everything about the “men in the forest” and it came to my mind that this man himself must have already spent lots and lots of time in the forest as he knows so much! He made many comparisons to the human race and it became clear that the differences between an ape and a human are very few (only 3% of DNA!)- my admiration for these animals grew  and I wanted to see them right now! But first, we entered our klotok, a little boat where we spent lots of time together with the captain, an assistent, Dody and a cook. At the frst day, we went to a feeding station for the semiwild Orang utans.Together with approx. 15 other people we watched 8 Orang utans eat and building their nests. It is an indescribable feeling to watch them moving in the trees, see the mothers with their babies and feel the presence of the “king”, the dominant male in a specific territory.

 

The second day, we woke up early to visit another feeding station and a little museum about the history of this National Park. The first research here took place in the 1970`s when Dr. Biruté Galdikas arrived at the area with nothing but a boat and basic equipment like a tent- very impressive, this woman! When I red this, I wanted to be her for a little second to know what it feels like to really discover a hidden place like this!

Sailing on the lake we were watching the shores of the rain forest and many different animals like crocodiles, rare birds and lizards.

Entering Camp Leaky, we reached the climax of our adventure: while walking through the forests, suddenly 6 orang utans appeared from the trees and met us on the ground. There was a mother with her young child even passing us by and we were so lucky to directly feed her with a banana- she even touched my hand, that was the best, holy moment and I felt very blessed that it was possible without disturbing these wonderful creatures in their natural habitat.

The best moments come unexpected! Therefore, I try to stay openhearted and sometimes linger on the side of my way for a little while to observe the energies passing by and maybe catch  one of the chances that occur. This is what I once more found out at this very moment in the forests and I hope that you are inspired by these words and stay interested in the new and unexpected as well!

Thank you my friends to make this trip come true, I invested some of the Euronen you gave me at our farewell party for this trip. As a reward, I show you my best shots from these haunting  impressions!

 

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Additional notes: As the tour guides I met there were really close to the official park employees, I hope that my feeling is right and that everything we did on this tour is based on a sustainable basis! It is still hard for me to fight my inner conviction about wild animals best being untouched by humans. In the best case, all visitors of this park honor this great experiene as much as I do and go home with the steadfact determination to save this paradise with everything that´s possible! But still, the wildlife struggles a lot from egoistic energies that “play” with endangered species and hold them even as pets :o( This is not what I support and with my entry, I want to emphasize that nature must stay wild and protected from financial interests! It is important to have a critical look at every interaction we have with wild animals to keep the balance between personal interest and disruption… do you agree?

North Lombok & Gili Islands: deep spirituality meets (german) tourism

Our next stop leads us up north.

Spontaneously organizing taxis, flights and hotels is very comfortable here so we could make plans just the night before going to the new destination. As recommended by many travellers we combined our transfer to the Gilis with the visit of the waterfalls in the northeast of Lombok. And, surprise! – another holiday!! so passing by the little villages we were welcomed by a cow-slaughtering ritual right in the streets. Entering the waterfalls, it was very crowded and many Indonesian people headed towards the water. Especially for the children it was a funny refreshing destination to spend the holiday.

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Many people were visiting the waterfalls.

Not too many women were joining the wet pleasure actually, some were just chilling in the shadows wearing a Burka. I felt a little stared walking around and experiencing this ceremony as it was obvious that we didn´t participate it properly. Also many old and injured people climbed the terrasses as a symbol of religious purification and sacrafice- and us just in the middle of everything was still very interessing and funny!
6 hours after leaving Kuta, we headed towards Gili Air by Public boat. The Gilis are 3 little islands that are famous for its chilly, decelerating atmosphere and beautiful snorkeling and diving spots. There are no cars or scooters driving in the streets, instead carriages are offered to simplify a travellers way towards the unknown new territory. We ended up in the just opened Ina’s Homestay what is mostly women-led and where the breakfast is the best I had so far! Nia, the operator was so helpful and fullfilled every dream we mentioned.

Discovering the island by bike we were awaited by many delicious restaurants and beach bars- most of them just opened and flooded by: tadaaa GERMANS! Seems like currently, the islands are mentioned as THE place to be in German travel literature, so I found it a little ashaming to join this big touristic wave and we called the Gilis secretly the new Mallorca. Anyway, it was really relaxing and we again met many nice friends and spend some calm evenings at Gili Air.

The sunset at the northwest break was so beautiful, many people come here to enjoy the beautiful view with a mushroom shake. Even though drug consumption is punished very intensively in Indonesia, at the Gilis there is no police and the atmosphere is quite liberal.

Arriving in the “german Hochburg” Gili Trawangan the next day, we immediately felt an underlying party atmosphere here (no surprise, hmm?) so we couldn’t wait to get some Bintang, the local beer, but first we tried the best indonesian food at a food market near the port. By now, everybody of us already had indigestions (guess how I know?- Because it is a fixed part of our daily smalltalk by now:o)) but the food was worth it this time! All kinds of local fish, noodles, Tempur (a kind of Tofu), chicken, lemongrass salsas, peanut sauces, very hot sambals- the opportunities are unlimted here and everybody is sitting together at long tables and enjoying dinner. After that we found some nice party at a beach and ended up singing Bob Marley songs in the streets at 4 am.

The next morning was hard but we had a very nice motivation: a snorkeling trip. Here, the pictures speak for themselves so please enjoy the impressions!

At this point I also want to say hello to Anne, Nadine and Dominik who joined part of our journey and gave us great recommendations for ur futher trip! Thanks for that, I hope its okay that I used some common pictures here:o)

Thanks also for asking about my leg- it is so much better now and I can move it very good again so in our next entry we tell you about the visit of Borneo where I saw Orang utans in their origin environment and we will climb up the Bromo, a  2329 m high active vulcano at Java.

Stay inspired by our journey!

 

Lombok: the island where cock is king!

 

Lombok is an island about 2 hours east of Bali by ship. We spent already one week here and woke up every (!) single day by a cock crow. But, no, that doesn´t mean we woke up early as we associate it with in Germany. Here, every (!) household has its own cock and these are very active! And loud!! The owner even train the cocks sometimes to join a very popular “sport”- a cock fight.

That is- by far- not the only specific, Lombok has for me. To be honest I went through several cultural shocks during the last days! Beginning our trip in Bali, I was impressed by all the colorful hinduistic influence I noticed. People appear mostly open and metropolitan in a way, many people also from other parts of Indonesia, mainly searching for a job are lasting inhabitants of this beautiful vibrant island.

Arriving n Lombok, the atmosphere is radically different. Many inhabitants you meet have never really left Lombok and are deeply influenced by the islamic doctrins. It seems like they inhalate all the impressions they experience from the tourists (mainly australians, germans and spanish)- that the visitors from other countries may behave a little different than in their normal live cannot be concidered what unfortunately leads to a couple of missunderstandings and prejudices sometimes. The tourism branche here is oriented strongly after the needs of the visitors, especially services like taxi, scooter rentals, homestays are widely spread. But still the daily muslimic prayers and songs can be heard all day long.

Either way, we went to Kuta in the south and headed into an environment that seems perfectly adapted to the dream of a surfer´s life. I have barely seen so beautiful, wild- and plasic-covered beaches nor so many billabong, flipflop-wearing people in the same place so far in my life:o) We stayed in Kuta for 6 nights (8€/night in a basic, clean hotel Surfer´s Inn!) and enjoyed all the comforts that come along with that: many Bintangs (the local beer brand), good local food, coconuts in the beach, impressive waves and excessive parties. We visited 6 spots: the beaches Tanjung Aan, Gerupuk, Mawun, Mawi, Selong Blanak and Kuta beach and really, really enjoyed getting to know so many new people as it is so easy to get in contact with simply everybody.

Pretty often we found groups of locals drinking tea and chatting right next to the pool were the guests chilled in the shadows or played cards, daily life is taking place outside the house in public what is beautiful (and by the way: it is very common here to see little islands of flipflips in front of the house entrance because inside, shoes are a nogo beacause the sand spreads so fast! The house is still the castle here.). We moved by scooter what is a good, cheap (5 €/day) but partly dangerous way to discover the beauty of the island.

Unfortunately I fell the third day and got some injuries that still heal but it was worth it! The Feeling of driving around and watching all the busy people in the streets is awesome! One sunday, we saw a groom and bride in a car (Toyota!) accompanied by approx. 20 scooters, all dressed in their finest wedding suits (aka sarongs).  So outdoor-activities dominate the daily processes, you will quickly notice if you visit Lombok! What you definitely should to!!

So I look forward now to get to know new places in the north of Lombok.

Soon we will write our current impressions.

 

 

 

Stay tuned at our adventure and feel inspired to also expore the world!

We miss you!