Today was the most hectic day I have had in a long time! It all started when we got up at 4am to start the volcano walk. By 4:30am we had met our guide, who turned out to be a really nice local Balinese guy, the same age as me. From there we walked along the main road for a while, until we got to the base of the volcano and the real trekking began. The start especially wasn't difficult walking at all, but in the pitch black with a crappy torch and inappropriate trainers it was harder work than I could have been.
Once we got out of the forested area at the bottom, the real climbing began. It was pretty steep and the ground was very unstable. Small volcanic scree was scattered over the rock underneath, so especially in my bad shoes I was slipping all over the place. To make it more difficult the weather was far from brilliant. As we climbed we were literally going through the cloud,'so it made everything that much more wet and slippery.
We eventually reached the top about 5:30am, about an hour ish after we left the hotel. It was pretty good going considering we stopped a fair few times for drinks etc on the way up.
At the tip there was a shack that had been bodged together for everyone to huddle in to escape the howling wind and cloud. We sat in there whilst the guides cooked Bananas and Eggs in gaps in the rock, where boiling volcanic steam was escaping. There were maybe 8-10 others also up there with their various guides, so it was nice to sit and chat too.
Sunrise was due to be at 6:10am, but due to the complete whiteout of cloud we would never have known, and remained huddled in the shack. However by 6:30am patches in the cloud were appearing, and then it would quickly completely clear allowing you to see all around, before more cloud blew in to replace it. Although it was far from ideal, we were all grateful that the cloud Atleast parted in sections long enough to take in all the surroundings.
From the top we went on and walked along a ridge to the most active and recent crater. On the way we came across a big monkey on the path with the guides evidently feed, as I also fed him an orange segment. At another stop we met back up with 2 French women we had chatted to at the top and their guide who were really nice, so we did the test of decent with them.
We got back to our delightful hotel and had an equally delightful breakfast by 12:30pm. Our taxi driver from the day before was already waiting for us, so we had a quick wash and changed and left the place as quickly as we could (Dad even braved using the 'bath', which probably made him dirtier rather than cleaner!). Never to return.
From the volcano the driver took us to a Tea/Cofffe tasting place, every similar (but nicer) to the one I went to with the Scooter Crew when we went to Ubud. We saw the coffee eating animal etc, got some souveneirs and were back on the road again.
From here we went on to the 1st Temple of the day - 'Pura Tirta Empul'. The place centred around a fresh water spring, which had been walled off to make a nice pool. It was pretty amazing to watch the water bubble up and cause big plumes of sand/gravel. This water then flows through decorative statues into a sort of cleaning pool on the other side. People stand under the fountains washing and praying.
This was a clear tourist trap and was swarming with Chinese/Japanese people, but it was good all the same. A guide took us around and explained it which was interesting enough too.
We also all had to wear sarongs, which was a good laugh, despite Mum seeming determined to call them 'dresses'.
From there we went to the 2nd temple of the day - 'Gunung Kawi Royal Monuments', which in my opinion was vastly nicer than the first. There were vitally no other people there, probably because having to go down and back up 130 steps put them off. However I thought it was well worth it. As you walk down you are surrounded by Paddy Fields and then at the bottom the giant status and some of the temple had been carved into the cliff faces.
We were also taken to a little water fall by a rice farmer, to get to which you had to walk along/through the Rice Paddies themselves, which was pretty cool!
Having done this and walked back to the top we were all pretty knakered. None of us were used to that much/type of exercise climbing the volcano, then walking around the temples and up an down the steps finished us off a bit.
When we got back to the taxi it was about 3pm, and we decided to go straight to out place in Ubud. It wasn't that long a drive until we arrived at 'Alam Indah', just off the back of the Monkey Forest.
We spent the last few hours of daylight swimming and reading out books by the pool, as it was still so warm. We had a very late lunch and basically just chilled out. Dad and I had a lengthy chat about life haha, anything from his job, to what I do when I get home, uni and anything afterwards! A bit intense but really good all the same!
We had dinner delivered to our place about 8:30pm, chilled out for a bit and went to bed pretty early, tired after an eventful day.
(Photo - Me, Mum and Indiana Jones on the way down the Volcano).