Friday, 17 February 2012

Gunung Bromo

You say it's your birthday
It's my birthday too, yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you.
                                   -The Beatles

We left Jogjakarta on the 15th January, destination Gunung Bromo on the island of Java to witness one of the most spectacular natural sites on earth...sunrise over the highly active volcano; Gunung Bromo. A lunaresque landscape of epic proportions and sureal beauty, it is said to be one of Indonesia's most breathtaking sights. Mount Bromo is just one of three ancient peaks to emerge from a vast caldera, the Tengger Massif which stretches 10km across, its steep walls plunging down to a flat sea of lava and sand. Bromo sits closely by Java's largest mountain, the fume-belching Gunung Semeru, which stands a mammoth 3676m. This smoky cone oversees Bromo's supernatural beauty and the entire vocanic wonderland forms the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park.

We set off early from Jogyakarta; it takes over 12 hours to drive east to our destination and so I was prepared with my ipod fully charged and my superb book...'Once an Eagle'. The journey was fine, we arrived at a small village around 8pm, it was very dark by now as we were out in the sticks, in the shadow of the giant mountain range. We booked our Jeep for the morning, got our accommodation sorted and then got into a more suitable vehicle and drove up into the mountains to our accommodation. It's a strange feeling when you are driving in the pitch dark, unaware of your surroundings, your sense of hearing more in tune trying to make sense of the world around you, listening intently...especially to the lower gears roaring and groaning, determined to negotiate each steep incline.  It was a bumpy ride, an English guy next to me was trying to eat some noodles, but unfortunately dropped them all over his bag...pity the smelt lovely. After about 40 minutes the jeep came to a halt. I noticed the condensation on the windows, the air from the peoples was cold up here. I jumped out of the 4x4, a little short of breath and the cold hit me straight away. We were over 2000 meters high and the clouds hung over us like a giant piece of cotton wool. I had to laugh as I was totally unprepared...I had a pair of skimpy shorts on and t-shirt. It was so quiet it was unnerving but so peaceful. It was a very eerie feeling to be up here away from all the world, away from everyone. We got to our accommodation and it reminded me of Dolly Hall the only difference being, we had a squat toilet. We got changed in to our arctic clothing, had some supper, bought a hat off one the locals and set the alarm for 3:30am...fully clothed ready for bed and an early start.

It's always hard getting up, but, once you are up its worth it and I was full of anticipation and excitement at watching sunrise over Mount Bromo. The jeep took us over very bumpy ground to Gunung Penanjakan (2770m) we got out and walked for about 40 minutes to the view point. From here you get the best views of sun rise over Bromo, the Tengger crater and towards smoking Semeru, which as I was to find out is spellbinding. At the top we waited for sunrise, due for approximately 5:20am. Everyone is waiting in anticipation, but its so dark you cant see a thing. Slowly more light shines through like some one is slowly opening the blinds...tantalizing you. Then, you get a glimpse, an outline of features, which grows until you begin to make out this desolate, barren, primitive landscape that has a distinctly end of the world feeling. About 6:30 we drove the short journey to the Bromo and walked up 253 steps to it's crater and gazed into the guts of this giant beast, a highly active volcano that last erupted only 6 months ago.

Sunrise and the whole experience of visiting this ancient volcanic range was spellbinding, but words can't always describe or even justify what you want to say. Therefore, I have put a series of pictures in chronological order from around 5am to 7:30am to let the pictures tell the story of one of natures most dramatic and beautiful visions. As they say; 'a picture paints a thousands words'...It was an unforgettable birthday...just don’t ask how old I am.

Sitting on the crater of Bromo

"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves"
                                                         -Edmund Hilary

1 comment:

  1. i love the mountains. i get to see clouds up there and the view is just so amazing.. >_<