12.07.2008 - 13.07.2008 30 °C
A 13-hr minibus ride took me from Jogja to Probolingo. Of course, this include our bus breaking down. Luckily, our driver found a mechanic shop and found the parts he needs to fix the carburetor. We passed by many villages and towns in central and east Java. Since it is Saturday night, traffic was quite bad in some towns with families cars and motorbikes everywhere in a lively atmosphere. Because of all these, we arrived a few hours late at Probolingo, where we get another transfer to our hotels up on the mountain close to Gunung Bromo (~2300m). The French tourists impatiently complained about the delay and the dangerous driving practice of our excellent driver and demanded compensation. Without him, we probably would not even make it to Bromo for sunrise. It is completely normal for cars to pass others on the opposite side of the road here. Drivers here seldom honk except for signaling and gladly yield to one another during passing.
Gunung Bromo is not the highest, but has the most dramatic scenery of all volcanos in Java. Crowds of tourists wake up before dawn and make their way up to a viewpoint for sunrise every morning. After only a few hours of sleep, I dragged myself out of bed and got into our Jeep. Within 30 minute, we were brought close of the summit of another mountain and was completely mesmerized by the most beautiful sunrise I had ever seen. Even more magnificent than Mt Sinai because of the surrounding volcanoes and sea of clouds.
After sunrise, we were taken to the bottom of Bromo and had to walk on the sea of sand to the staircase led to the crater. The scenery here is equally breathtaking. Shadow of horses scattered among the foggy mist form a perfect picture. I slowly walked up to the crater while most others hired horses. A smoky crater reminds me how meniscus human being are. Longing to admire this natural power in its resting stage, I decided to trek around the enormous crater. It took me some time to follow the trail behind the crater to the lake and hilltop behind and another good hour to climb up and down along the narrow trail around crater edge. Without doubt, this experience is more satisfying than simply trekking up a volcano.
After my adrenalin was gone, my body yearned for rest. I took a slow horse ride back to the simple hotel next to the volcano, had quick breakfast, showered, checked out and sat next to the horses to do some sketching before heading down the mountain back to Probolingo. Another bus to Surabaya where I would fly to Borneo, or Kilimantan early next morning.