📍 Mt Bromo, 19th of August 2018.
Booking Bromo and Ijen tour
Today was the day we were going to find out whether we had transferred 1 million IDR (apx. 70+ EUR) to a stranger for nothing. Let’s rewind. In a couple of days David’s vacation is over, so we wanted to be in some location where we could settle down a bit, have a beach, good wifi and interesting things to do for those of us not working. At the same time, we really wanted to still visit a couple of things in the East of Java. The only way to combine the two was to go with an organized tour - something which we were trying to avoid for various reasons. After reading some blogs we came across BROMOIJEN TOUR. The reviews were great, but the website looked a bit suspicious. Nevertheless, we decided to give it a go. A couple of emails later we had our trip to Mt Bromo and Ijen booked. We had to transfer a deposit and be at the set location at 9 AM. Which brings us to today. A bit nervous, we got out of the hotel at 8:55, but before we could even finish the “what if” thought we were greeted by two lovely gentlemen – a company rep and our driver - Pri. We instantly connected and immediately started exchanging jokes, mostly at David’s expense. Woohoo – this is going to be fun!
Let's the get the adventure started!
The 4 hour drive from Surabaya to Mt Bromo went really fast – a/c in the car, wifi (!), a nice stop in a fisherman’s village with lively colored ships and great conversations with Pri. We have written about it already many times, but since we are still not taking it for granted, we’d love to repeat – the Indonesians we have met so far are so fun, witty, friendly, open and kind! We know already now that we are going to miss it so much!
A quiet afternoon
The only mistake we did on the way to the hotel was not stopping at a supermarket, although our driver suggested so - upon arrival to the hotel, everything in close proximity was closed (and yes, we were hungry). We got changed (it was only 20 degrees in comparison to 30+ in Surabaya!) and decided to explore some villages around. It was good to stretch legs and have a stroll through some small village surrounded by mountains covered in fog - what a view! We had an instant coffee in a small stall and observed the villagers get ready for the carnival tomorrow. The Independence Day celebrations continue. Apparently, villages agree on which day to host the fest, so that they don't overlap and each village habitants can visit the celebrations at the neighbours. Looks like driving out of this place tomorrow is going to be a challenge if we don't leave early enough.
Although the day turned out to be rather uneventful, we were happy as it gave a chance to catch a breath and get ready for the intense two days to follow. To entertain ourselves we played "name top 10 countries/cities with highest/lowest something", obviously not without the help of google. Was insightful and fun (did you know that Ireland was in the top 10 of countries with the highest GDP per capita?)
A surprise before going to sleep
Dinner at the SM Bromo Hotel left us a bit disappointing (expensive, rather dry and cold), but the room was great. Since we had to get up at around 2 AM (the tour started at 3), we decided to go to bed early and watch some documentaries about Indonesia while trying to warm up. It was really cold, we had to cover under blankets and drink hot tea - something we didn't really anticipate doing in Indonesia.
Maybe watching videos about earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis was not the best idea, so when we felt the aftermath of the big earthquake in neighboring island Lombok slightly shake the bed, we really freaked out (especially one of us - we let you guess which one ;)). Scared and weirdly excited, with elevated heartbeat we quickly got dressed and ran outside where nobody seemed to either notice or make anything out of it. Not sure if we had dreamt it, we laughed nervously and started googling earthquake updates. Reassured by the silence of surroundings, we went to sleep, however the dreams were not as peaceful as we would have hoped for. And this was first experience with earthquakes in Indonesia 🙂