After three long flights we finally arrived in Jogyakarta and met with friends. We started our adventures with a visit to Borobudur temple just outsde the city. The temple is amazing and is the largest Buddist complex in the world. It was even better when we visited a second time for a sunrise tour at 4am.
The locals were very curious and friendly and I had contant requests from people to take my photo which was hilarious. Maybe they had not seen anyone with legs as white as mine before!!! Ha ha. Funny enough no-one wanted a photo of Shabe (maybe he looked like a local).
After visiting Borobudur we all went to Prambanan Temple which was beautiful. It's a Hindu temple just down the road from Borobudur. Again I had shreiks from children wanting my photo and was beginning to feel like a local celebrity.
A few days later we decided to head to Mt Bromo (an active volcano in the east of Java). We boarded a train from Yogyakarta to Malang on an overnight sleeper train which was interesting!!! We arrived in Malang around 6am with an amazing view of local rice fields and houses built so close to the railway line you could almost touch them.
Thinking we were somewhere near our destination we started to negociate for a local cab (bemo). It turned out we were another 4 hrs from where we needed to be. We took a local taxi and headed for the hills. Soon after we realized the 900cc engine was not going to get us and our bags up the mountain, so reluctantly got out and walked the steep parts following behind Emma andJay. The cab had to stop several times as the engine was smoking but lucky enough it made it to our hotel. We gave the driver extra money for the stress we put his engine under (maybe he can invest in one bigger than a lawn mower now).
After checking into our hotel (which had the most spectacular view!) we made arrangements to climb the view point and then summit of Mt Bromo the following day. I was not prepared for what was the come when we set out in the pitch dark at 3am. We started our gruelling 9 hr trek (for which most people take a 4x4) with no light but a head torch. Walking past farmers fields I was freaked out with visions from the film Signs and my fears were not put at ease when sudden noises appeared behind me and I comfronted with eight glowing eyes (which turned out to be a horse and three stray dogs).
We arrived at the view point overlooking Mt Bromo and although I thought I would pass out from exhaustion it was so worth it!! Sunrise was amazing and we could see puffs of smoke coming from the volcano in the distance although this was only part of the trek. We then decended the entire mountain and down into the valley below. Surprisingly though there was a lady selling cofffee half way down so we stopped for a well deserved break.
Crossing the valley was the easy part and there was an interesting Hindu temple sitting right below the volcano (maybe not the best place to build a building). Armed with a walking pole I dragged myself up the volcano to the crater rim. Sitting at the top was amazing but we were contantly hit with flying sand and smoke coming from the volcano. The volcano smelt stronly of sulphur and was making some very scary rumbling noises. After taking many photos and stopping Shabe from leaning too far in to get the perfect photo we left and arrived back at our hotel covered in ash. Where we stopped for a well deserved Bintang Beer. It took at least three showers to get get rid of the volcanic ash.
Whilst in Bromo we were told of another trek up a sulphur mine near the crossing for Bali and being a gluten for punishment we signed up and headed there the very next day.
The sulphur mine was up another mountain trail and thinking it was an easy 1hr trek I agreed (the locals have a very funny idea of what is easy). At the top we could see a beautiful lake inside a crater and plumes of smoke coming from bright yellow sulphur oozing from the mountain side. Towards the centre locals could be seen mining the sulpur (which when dried looked like polystyrene) apparently due to the nature of this job they only have a life expectancy of 40 yrs (which is very sad).
From here we headed on a local bus to the ferry terminal crossing to Bali. After squashing more people on the bus than I ever thought possible we were off. Soon after we were engaging in conversations with the extremely sweet and friendly locals. We met a man called Arif who spent the bus journey singing Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park songs to us (apparenly Linkin Park Numb is his favourite song). After all this I didn't think or journey could get any weirder!!!!
The crossing was easy although Shabe being an idiot picked up his first injury when he fell sideways from a single step into a muddy puddle (much to the amusement of the locals).