After a very long, hot and sweaty bus ride, a ferry to Java and another gruelling taxi ride, we finally arrived at our destination for the night, Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park. It is a series of volcanoes set in a sea of sand. We arrived late at night and only had a wink of sleep before our 3am hike to the top of an adjacent mountain overlooking the volcanoes. Our plan was to hike our way through the dark and up to the top in time to witness the supposed brilliant spectacle of the sun coming up over the horizon and illuminating the craters. The problem with travelling is that you never know what you are getting in to and your plans never play out the way you expect.
We ended up walking (which we found out later) ¾ way up to the summit and after thinking we were lost, going all the way down to the bottom again before realizing we were on the right path the entire time. When we finally found our way to the top and exhausted all of our energy, we missed the sunrise but discovered ourselves amidst the most picturesque, cloud covered view point imaginable. Actually it is unimaginable unless you could actually see it for yourself. It was almost as if it were a dream atop the most beautiful mountain, surrounded by lush trees and a view of what seemed like a different planet. After catching our breath and returning from our dream-like state, it was time to make our way back to base camp.
With the sun now well above the tree tops and the sound of the villagers stoking their fires while their chickens clucked and the bees buzzed we knew we were smack-dab in the middle of Indonesia. Just as we thought our day couldn’t get any better, we found ourselves inside an old man’s shack like “house” for kopi (Indonesian for coffee). I do not even remember how we ended up there but we soon found our new friend, frail and with shaky hands pouring us a cup of his finest. Through sign language, drawing on his hard dirt floor between boyish giggles we managed to meet his son who gave us a tour of his home. The tour only consisted of pointing because it was only just one small room. Energized and ready, we thanked him for his hospitality and before we knew it, we were on our way to the bottom again stopping and waving hello to the different villagers along the way.
The view point at the top was out of this world, but the best part about that trip and the whole of Indonesia for that matter, was enjoying a hot muddy “kopi” in an absolute strangers house who could not even speak a lick of English. Who would have thought.