Freitag, 20.12.2013

Jogja Part #1

The first Semester is already over and it doesn't feel like three month at all...time here just flies by! Because I have been a little busy lately, this will only be a little summary of Jogja and surroundings from the first semester.

All in all I have to say, Jogja is a really great city to live and ...yes, study ;) Due to many (like 17 or something) universities, the city is full with young people, there is much to see and do in Jogja and around. One really big advantage is, that it is one of the cheapest cities in Indonesia. You can easily get an indonesian meal for less than 1€ and even western food harly costs more than 5€. Many complain that there is not so much variety, but I generally like the food and try to try as many different things as possible.

Red Rice with Beef and cooked papaya leaves Backpia Mie ayam the best desert in town

the sultans street art street art   

My favorite area in Jogja is around Kraton and Taman Sari, the Sultan Palace and the Water castle as well as the underground mosque just south of well known Malioboro street. This is the only part of town suitable for just walking around too, because there is no pavements nowhere in Indonesian cities. Everything above 10m is considered too far to walk, so no need for pavements ;) The area has many cute little houses, galleries, little shops and traditional Jogja handicrafts and art.

Making Wayang the traditional Jogja puppet underground mosque local market taman sari - the water castle where previous sultans used to bathe Kraton - the sultans palaca

The local bird, or rather animal market offers almost everything from birds, puppies, monkey to 5m gigantic snakes.It's really an experience, while waiting for my friend I met the parking lot guy, who later showed us around to the most interesing "attractions" and told us all kinds of stories. It's definately worth a visit. The most expensive bird costs 60 Million Rupiah, but was sold out so we couldn't see it :( I really wonder what kind of bird it is. All in all it's really not for people who get too sentimental, because animal rights are not a priority here :/

There are two huge arguments to come and visit Jogja: Prambanan and Borobodur! the huge Hindu and Buddhist temples close to the city. It is astonighing to see what people were able to build thousands of years ago and thanks to protection and reconstruction is still in an almost perfect condition. An absolute must see in Java! I went to Borobodur with my friend Inna from the Philippines who was couchsurfing at a friends house. 

Borobodur the Top (Nirvana) Borobodur Borobodur got interviewed by a school class Buddhas Borobodur Elephants in the Backyard

After 3 month my boyfriend is visiting me here in Jogja and we went to Prambanan. Before we're going to start our trip through Southeast Asia.

Not far from Jogja is Goa Pindul, where we visited a Batcave and did "rafting" of a really slow and quiet river. Thanks to two super nice Indonesian girls, we had a great day in the Area around Wonosari, not even an hour drive from Jogja.
While sitting in our tubes and being pushed by our guides we learned that the hundreds bats in the cave have different rooms in their house, just like humanans...bathroom, living room, bedroom and so on. Because we went before the rainy season really started, the rafting was not rafting but more chilling on the river, but still fun! After we visited another temple close by, Candi Plaosan. The special thing about it is that is has elements of Buddhist and Hindu culture.

after the they call it nanananana nanananananna...Batman!

Candi Plaosan

There are two little highlights, I won't keep from you either. First, the soccer match, where our team PSS sleman won the championship, this was just craziness! From the first second to enter the stadium the people were singing dancing and throwing toilet paper (I finally understand what Indonesians use it for) and the atmosphere was just great. As a german, even though I am not a big soccer fan, I have to say the quality of the game does not really deserve attention, but the fans really do!

  Securities wearing fire extinguisher :)

The second highlight was an invitation to the wedding of one of my classmates. It was not the actual wedding, we attended, but the big gift ceremony. It's held at the Jogja convention centre and there are at least 1000 people! Its a tradition for a javanese wedding that everyone the bride and groom as well as their parents and relatives know, is invited. There is food for everyone and musik and of course a lot of picture taking. The newly married couple has nothing else to do but stand on the stage and shake hands and take pictures for hours....sounds like fun :) But it was really great to be a part of it.

   

So and finally for this year, for everyone who does not believe I actually studied, some pictures from the university! Yes...we have been there.

Thanks to our international office, we are able to take all final exams early and that is why I am going to say goodbye for the next month to Jogja. I will be back after travelling to Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Sulawesi and Singapore.

Selamat Natal, Selamat Tahun Baru!
Sampai Jumpa (next year)!

Dienstag, 03.12.2013

Short get-a-way to Bali

Before the semester ends and midterms and presentations are calling us for the last time this year, we took a little trip to Bali.

the rain ain't stopping us! almost every house is like a temple

Unfortunately, after I booked the flight I got sick and so I had a bad headache and some fever for most of the time, the rainy weather didn't help with my mood, but nontheless...Bali is great! It really doesn't deserve the bad reputation it has, because if you leave Kuta...Bali is very diverse, magnificent and a cultural highlight. The first thing that came to my mind was: That's not like Indonesia! And it really isn't...mainly due to the fact that it's not muslim like the majority of Indonesia, but Hindu. Almost everywhere you look there is temples and offerings, that gives it a very unique charme. A real advantage for travelling is that almost everyone speaks at least little English, so we had no trouble getting on our motorbikes and start driving.

Rice fields close to Ubud   Monkey Forest   View in Munduk Gunung Kawi Tv in the temple Nice Beach in the south
Since it was raining when we landed, we decided to head to Ubud first, instead of staying at the beach. I have to admit, I was kind of disappointed by Ubud, because everyone kept telling me how it is THE cultural centre of Bali, but after all it's just another tourist hot spot.
After visiting the famous Monkey Forest Centuary and seeing beautiful ricefields and temples just north of Ubud, we continued our journey north and reached Munduk in the evening. With good visibility, you can already see the north shore of Bali from the village of Munduk. The landscape and surroundings are lush green and perfect for trekking and relaxing. Especially with the low season, it's really quite and restaurants take the last order at 8pm already :)
Our last day we spend back in the south. Kuta, Legian and Seminyak are the main tourist destinations and are really no different from what you find in Spain or other holiday countries. Restaurants, Stores and Sellers who offer massages, jewellery and all kinds of other useless stuff for "cheap prices", the beach is only average. It's really worth to south to Bukit peninsula though, explore some "hidden" beaches like Balengan and eat amazing grilled fish at Jimbaran beach.
Although it seems pretty small, Bali has so much to offer, it's not even nearly possible to see everything in only a few days...so I will have to come back!

Sampai Jumpa

Sonntag, 17.11.2013

Roadtrippin'

Not even the rain season can stop us from getting on the scooter and cruising around the island of java ...off the beaten track.

Sunrise

 

Dieng Plateau is about 4-5 hours drive from Jogja in Central Java. The official attractions are a few small temples, colorful lakes and steaming and bubbling sulphur hot springs, but the actual attraction is the landscape. Dieng is perfect for a little two day roadtrip. Even though the roads are pretty steep and bad at times, the view compensates for everything. We spend the night in a cozy little homestay in the middle of Dieng Plateau, so it wasn't far to get up and see the sunrise in the morning. After a little nap, we explored Dieng I and II with the help of a map, the owner of our homestay had drawn for us. The weather there was nearly perfect, although 18° feels really cold after living in Indonesia for a couple of month!

Scootergang restaurant to go:DArjuna templePotato farmers and a marketalam indahbubbling hot springsSulphur springs stink!Sulphur springsTelaga warna - colorful lakesStreet decoration ^^

The next weekend we went towards East Java, destination Pacitan! Its about 4 hours drive, but the roads are quite good and the drive is easy and nice. Many friendly people are happy to point in the right direction, if you're not sure about the way :) Most beaches on the South coast of Java are not very nice and not for swimming, but Pacitan and especcially Watu Karung (ca. 20min drive) are an exemption. White sand and cute little warung make it an own little paradise. We stayed the two nights at Harrys Oceanhouse, which has nice little bungalows are a great hang out area for all the many surfers and everyone else.

  Watu Karung Cockroach hunting Watu Karung my raincoat died on the way back

Sampai Jumpa!

Donnerstag, 24.10.2013

Beautiful Cows in Madura :)

Right after leaving Lombok, our next adventure was waiting. The plan was to go to Pamekasan, the biggest city of Madura, an island east of Java, and watch the famous Bull race Karapan Sapi. This is basically the final of many smaller races throughout the year. Well, I said the plan was....it didn't quite work out the way we had expected, but let's start from the beginning.
So after flying back to Surabaya, we headed to the bus station and luckily there was a bus leaving for Madura right away. According to the price list at the train station, we shouldn't pay more than 23.000 IDR (which is not even 2€) for the ...km. This should have given us a hint on the kind of transportation in the first place. The bus was without AC, with lot's of smokers, many stops and even more people, I even think at some point people were standing in the aisle. So there we were,swetting and sqeezed between old Indonesian guys for 5 hours on the bus.And of course we ended up paying almost double the price... Awesome. The guy in front of me kept staring back through the little space in between seats, so that I finally had to put on a jacket after the shirt I stuffed in the space had fallen down 5 times...But I guess that's what you get for travelling off the beaten track on the hunt for cultural highlights...
The next chapter of lost in Madura followed immediately. Of course we had no clue where we should spend the night and how to get to the city centre in the first place. What you need to know is...there are no taxis, no people with english skills and almost noone who had seen white people before. So right after we left the bus a crowd formed around us with most people just staring or mumbling something in Indonesian to the others around them. Aweseome². Lucky for us, Dimitar sat to a really nice guy on the bus, who spoke some English and was able to get us a Minibus-taxi that took us to the first hotel he could think of. The best part was, that he was driving next to us the whole time...looking like a really overweight cute teddybear on a scooter driving at 5 km/h :) The hotel (we read later on that it was supposedly haunted) was seriously the worst place I've seen in my life. They showed us the best room and it was just shocking, the matresses were covered in a plastic wrap, the finery was comming off the wall and dirt and all kinds of animals had found their paradise there. So we grapped all our luggage and started walking...we asked the guy for other places and according to him, everything was just 100m away...so, after what felt like at least an hour walking, we finally found a real hotel with really nice rooms and most importantly a SHOWER! Finally. :)
The next day started early with a huuuuge breakfast buffet, containing rice, noodles and about 6 pieces of toast that we managed to finish. But off we go to the beauty peagant for cows that always takes place before the famous bull race. The sun was burning already at 8 in the morning, but the approximately 60 cows together with everything going on around was really worth the trouble. At least, it's something we had never seen before and most likely will never see again. When the major of the city and some other supposedly really important people spotted us in the crowd...they invited us to join the opening ceremony. Invited in this case means point and wave until all of us were standing in the middle of the cow-catwalk, shaking hands with everybody, taking pictures and finally waving the flag to open the beauty peagent. Didn't really see that comming... The good thing is, we took our spots in the shade of the VIP area, enjoying some delicious free food and a perfect view over the spectacle :) If it's not cleat yet, white people are something really special in Madura, they don't see so many of us. People are literally stopping in the middle of the road, staring and wondering...or whatever goes on in their little Indonesian heads. Sometimes it's hard to tell if it's fascination, astonishment or disgust. Yes...some of the ladies looks might have killed us, if they coul     d.After 2 hours we had seen enough cows and left the premises to get some cool AC air in our hotel rooms. Since we could not rent scooters (no tourists, no need for that) or have any good ways to get around, we spend the rest of the day watching TV and sleeping...getting rest for the next day and the big event, which we made sure multiple times, was taking place the next morning in Pamakasan, where we were.

The most spacious transport we got The biggest vase I could find Ready to start the peagent Beautiful cows :D Enjoying life on the VIP stage and free foodThe best bebek bakar :)Time to race
Yea....no. The next day we found the stadion completely empty. No selling booths, no billboards and no Bulls! We tried to asked around for a little bit, getting all kinds of information from...yea it's at 2 in the afternoon to...no, maybe in 2 weeks. Great, welcome to Indonesia :) But it turns out, we just had the wrong sources of information. Some hours later, two German girls, whom we had met the first night, texted us that they were watching a bull race right now....in Bangkalan...on the very western end of Madura. Ok so now, with our stuff already packed, we got on the next bus to go to Bangkalan. This time it was a smaller bus and we managed to occupy the back row for us, so we had at least some space. The journey was shorter too and a guy was headed the same direction and showed us how to get to the bull race. And that was really something...I hope you can tell from the pictures, because I'm not sure how to describe this craziness with words. So, basically it's two bulls with some wodden construction in between them on which a little boy "sits" screaming and whipping the bulls to reach the finish line first. The finish line...well it's just that part of the racetrack where the people stand and watch. Yea, right...there is no fence, no nothing...the people just move to wherever the bulls are not headed and than they stop at some point after passing the excited crowd. Along the race track dozens of people just stand and shout and cheer for their favorite bull-team, I guess. I'm not sure how you would spend a whole day watching this, but for a couple of races it's quite entertaining. After we managed to gather everyone back together...we headed back to surabaya to sleep and catch our train the next morning. Oh and of course, prepare for the two midterm exams the next day....have I  not mentioned that before, we're studying here :)
Sampai Jumpa!

Mittwoch, 23.10.2013

Ups and Downs in Lombok

Maybe some of you are wondering if I am actually studying or decided to be a backpacker, I am still going to classes (if it fits my travelling schedule Verlegen)... no, this will be the last longer trip before its time for the midterm exams which also means half of the semester is already over....Time flies!!!

This time our destination is Lombok and our first mission was to climb Indonesias second highest volcano, Gunung Rinjani (3726m). Since sleep is not included in our itineary, we left Jogja on Friday night to take the train to Surabaya and catch our plane to Lombok early in the morning. Since only the economy trains are available at this time, our journey started out somewhat more adventurous than usual. Included in the cheap fare are smoking neighbors, cockroaches, lots and lots of sellers at every one of the many stops and really tight leather benches that are supposed to fit 3 people next to each other...a real Indonesian experience, sleeping impossible. But we had two benches facing each other and used the time wisely to play some cards Lachend

Nap at the Airport Sunrise on the Airfield Sunset in Senggigi

To climb the volcano we booked a tour with a local travel agency in Senggigi, quite cheap thanks to the low season and our bargaining abilities. Our 2 night and 3 day package includes transport, meals, a guide, and people to carry the food and tents and everything up and down. We started at 5 in the morning with a 2h ride to the village near our basecamp and with ONE pancake for breakfast, how generous... The 5 of us, a dutch couple and a german couple started our 5h walk up to the crater rim at 2600m. The route we chose lead through the jungle and so we were protected from the sun, but still we were sweating like crazy when we reached the first stop after 45min. Thats going to be fun with 3 days and no shower ^^ On the way we stopped for lunch and waited for some more people to join our group, so unfortunately they were a little late and we had to starve a little longer and all the other groups around us. We reached the crater rim where we spend the night around 5pm, enough time to take some pictures of the amazing landscape and watch the sunset before moving into our tents and dinner. 

Ready to Go! I'm glad we didn't have to carry it ourselves At the crater rim Our camp for the first night

The next day we started our way down to the crater lake (at 2000m altitude) after breakfast. It was very steep, but it only took 2 hours and a bath in the lake and in hot springs was waiting for us as a reward. A short feeling of cleanliness and relaxation, before it was time for lunch and the way back up to the rim. Because the weather was not so nice, our guides decided we should take the shorter, but harder way up. And it was crazy...it seriously felt like we had to climb straight up a stone wall. It was so exhausting and we got dirty again within minutes. To keep our expectations down, the guides told us it will take 3h, but after 1,5 we had already made it, Surprise! :D The view from this side of the volcano was just as beautiful and for a few minutes the sky cleared so we could enjoy the landscape even more. 

steep way down Refreshing The hungry crowd needs to be fed Our camp for the second night

Remember what I told you about Merapi, how I was glad I didn't see the top before I climbed it? Well, this time I had been looking at the top for 2 days already and knew I was going to climb it on the morning of the third day. We were a little worried about the weather, because we were told that if it's too windy, we can't go to the top. We left at 3 in the morning anyways to hike up the last 1,1km and see the sunrise from the very top at 3726m. Instead of breakfast, we got some cookies and off we go for 3 hours of a steep, uphill climb on ashes and small rocks. Again, remember Merapi...it's very frustrating to take one step forward and slide 3 steps back....and here it was almost the same all over again, only longer, more windy and freezing cold! You could hardly see anything, because we were basically walking in the clouds. After around 2 hours and at our very limit of endurance and strenght, we had the feeling that we would not see much of the sun that morning. And the feeling turned out to be true. We could tell it got lighter, but there was no chance. At that point, we almost gave up...the only thing that kept us going was the all the way we had come so far and the people we met returning from the top, who chanted and said we'd almost made it. You can see on the look of our faces that we were not happy with the situation. The rewarding and unforgettable moment from Merapi was not the same, if instead of a beautiful sunrise all you see is clouds and every part of your body hurts from the icecold wind, the temperature was not much above zero I think, at least that's what it felt like. I admire how the indonesians go up there with just thin clothes and a blanket wrapped around them. So we took a quick picture and started running down, back to our basecamp. That is the good part of the way, the small rocks and ashes are perfect for just running down, it took us less than an hour. On the way the clouds vanished and we were able to get some awesome shots of the surroundings, it's so impressing how beautiful it is.

On the top We made it! Indonesian way of car-sharing traffic jam

Luckily breakfast was ready when we arrived at the tents, after 4h of walking it was about time to eat, pack our things an continue all the way down to the village (I think this one is at about 700m, so that makes it 3km of altitude difference we mastered that day). The first part through the savanna was 1,5-2h steep downhill and the rest of the way was almost flat. 40 minutes before the finish line, we stopped for lunch and at about 1pm 12 dirty Europeans had completed the challange Rinjani. We were so ready to take a shower, but on the way there was a huge traffic jam that kept us standing still for almost 2 hours....great! We managed to get back to Senggigi. We were planning to go to the south right away, but after darkness it's too dangerous, so that we had to spend another night in Senggigi and leave for Kuta Lombok the next day. 

After the last 3 days we deserved a break and some chill-time at the beaches! The south of Lombok is quite touristy, but fortunately it's the low season. Unfortunately for us, all the sellers at the beach directed their full attention towards us...

Say Hello to Turty the turtle Lamp made out of some fruit :) Advertisment deluxe

The next days we rented some scooters to explore hidden beaches around the south and see some more of the island. It's definately worth a visit! We went to one of the most beautiful and remote beaches I've seen so far and by now, I've seen a lot. We had the much needed time to relax and get some studying done for our midterms the next week.Before our flight back to Surabaya on Saturday, we got to know the "dark side" of hospitality....Our guesthouse seemed really nice so far, with a pool, nice rooms and everything, but on the last day they stole two of our phones in the lobby...and Indonesians are really bad liers (when they told us they had no idea what happened with the phones, they could'nt even look us in the eye) But since we couldn't miss the flight we had to leave...So in case you go to Kuta Lombok, don't stay at GR guesthouse....there are better alternatives than these liers. 

...To be continued in Madura! Sampai Jumpa.

Sonntag, 06.10.2013

Volcano #2

Another weekend...another trip.This time we took the overnight train, which is really convenient and comfortable if you take the executive class, to go to Malang in east Java and take a tour to Mount Bromo, another volcano. We left Jogja at 10 pm and arrived in Malang early in the morning, thanks to our lonely planet we found a really nice hostel near the train station and had the whole day to explore Malang, play some cards and find someone to do the Bromo tour with. In Malang there is not really much to do, so we were just strolling around for a while, saw some really nice houses (dutch colonial style) and ended up on a bird market. They don't only have birds there, but also dogs, cats, owls, squirrels and so on Its really sad though to see the animals sqeezed in little cages and some had not even water. I'm guessing animal protection is not really a priority here. After that we went to a traditional javanese restaurant someone recommended to us. But it was quite touristy and the food was not as good as you would expect for rather expensive prices.

Colorful chickens are all over Indonesia Puppies Traditional Javanese Restaurant

After bargaing with some tourguides (we get better and better with the bargaining) we decided to go with the local tourist information. They picked us up at 1 in the morning and we went by Jeep to drive up almost all the way to a visitors platform in order to see the sunrise. We got there like an hour early, but already many people and tourist were gathering, it was really crowded,I am guessing at least 1000 people....it felt more...because it was quite cold we just cuddled up under our blankets and waited for the sun to rise. After the sunrise and finding our Jeep among all the others parked on streets, we went to the actual krater. Since mostly all people did the same thing, it was also pretty packed and you had to stand in line to go up the stairs. The worst part was that it was really windy and all the dust was just flying in the air like crazy, all of us looked like pigs after we got back down. Before we got back to the hostel, we stopped at a waterfall though and could at least wash some of the dirt off. Since our train back to Jogja was leaving at noon, we didn't have much time to get our stuff together and travel back.

Cuddled up  loads of people for the lazy people there were horses waiting :)

Dust!

Sampai Jumpa!

Montag, 30.09.2013

Karimunjawa....Paradise <3

After Merapi and some painful days for my legs it is time for beaches, sun and clear blue water!! Karimunjawa, here we come...

Karimunjawa is the name of the main island with many small little islands around it and its on the north coast of java. We just rented a car with driver to go to Jepara at midnight, the place where the ferry leaves in the morning. Because some advertisement board broke down, the street was blocked and we could only move slowly for 2 or 3 hours...even though our driver had a thing for just switching to the other lane and passing everyone :) We finally made it to Jepara early in the morning...unfortunately the fastboat we wanted to take had "human error", whatever that means Unentschlossen and we had to take the slowboat for some hours ...but for only 2,50€ its alright. We got the economic tickets, and it is really economic ("Holzklasse" literally comes true!), but even hard, uncomfortable seats and smoking people all around could not keep us from sleeping after we've been up almost all night.

After we finally got off the boat we met some guy that somebody in our class knew to show us to a homestay...after some group-internal discussions we got two rooms in really cute and cheap places (I think we paid 2€ per night, including tea in the morning Zwinkernd) not far from the harbor. On the whole island there is only electricity when its dark, so from 5 at night until 5 in the morning, no AC in the room and for the first time no real toilette or shower...but it's fine after all! On the first night we just walked around a little bit so explore the surroundings and the nearby harbor. We got to see one of the most beautiful sunsets so far and many curious people who waved at us and kids shouting "Hellooo Mister!" the typical greating for bulé around here! (Bulé is what the indonesians call western white people). At night we got some really amazing grilled fish from the mainsquare! One of the best I've ever had!

Best grilled fish ever! cute monkey...held on a leach as pet in the yard...but at least he has ocean view   Indonesian breakfast :) Toast soaked in pink liquid with chocolate souce

The next day we booked a boat with guide and equipment to go island hopping, swimming and snorkling...I think the pictures speak for themselves.....its just like paradise! Mostly no other people, except from other island hopping groups, white sandy beaches, the clear water and blue skies! You gotta love it! <3

For our next day on the island, we wanted to explore a bit more on our own, got some scooters and rode around! Funny thing is, we just gave the money and got the scooters, helmets are not that common here and the lady did not even bother to ask for our names Lachend Since we did not have a plan where we wanted to got, we just rode around on bumpy roads for some hours and kept asking people for beaches....but here everything that is by the ocean is considered a beach, so we went back and forward many times. But it is actually a pretty nice way to get to know locals and try out our bahasa knowledge :) After all we found a nice lady who showed us to a private beach with only her husband and a few children on it. So beautiful! 

On the last day we just wanted to get a boat with a captain and go to a small island to chill some more on the beach and of course study a little ;) Since we did not book anything in advance and the word "now" does not exist in indonesians vocabulary, we waited some time, but finally worked it out. And the waiting was worth it. Unfortunately the sea was not as calm as the day before, so we regretted not having life wests on board this time, but we survived :) On the way back we "discovered" a small island in the middle of the ocean, sadly noone had a flag with them to mark our territory. Its also fascinating that the jumping picture worked even though the camera was so far away...it took us like a million attempts before at the beach to get one with everyone in the air

we discovered our own little Island in the middle of the ocean

Our last night we spend on a floating house, Wisma apung....boat shuttle back to the island and shark pool included and seeing the sunset and the sunrise right before we had to leave paradise and go back to Jogja...Since the boat taxi was late to pick us up, we just got a ride with a local police car back to the harbor...:)

The way home took some more time as expected again, because of course we had to go with the slow boat, I think this time the fast boat was just not going as scheduled, so typical indonesian...  when we finally arrived on Java, the driver we booked  had went to some market or something instead of waiting at the harbor. He told us he'd be there in 20 minutes, but indonesian clocks appear to tick very slow (it took more than 1,5h)...But in the end 5 tired travellers made it home to Jogja, ready for classes the next morning.

Sampai Jumpa!

Samstag, 21.09.2013

Sunrise on Merapi

Only one week here and already off to adventure Cool Mount Merapi is one of the most active volcanoes worldwide and is about 30km north of Jogja. When the weather is nice, you can even see it from the city. 

  Ready to go 

We left our house at about 8pm to drive 2,5h with scooters to Selo, the basecamp at 1500m altitude. Luckily we had 2 Indonesian guys with us who had been up there at least once, so we did not have to search for the way. After some cookies we left Selo at 11pm to climb up to the crater at 2914m. After the first few meters (by the way still a real road) I was already sweating Zunge raus 

Most parts of the 5 hour hike are really steep and mostly dust and sand in the beginning and a mixture of climbing and crawling up rocks later. Against our expectations and according to our guides we had a good pace and even took some extra breaks so we wouldn't have to wait in the cold for long. Vegetation reaches surprisingly high levels, so that you can sit protected from the wind. But still, being wet from sweat it got cold really fast when we stopped. After 4 hours we had reached the last plateau before the final part of the way to the crater. 

Looking back I am so glad I didn't see the way during daylight before...the last part is really the hardest! At first it's only ashes, so you take one step forward and slight three steps back...seriously not the most motivating feeling. But since the sky began to brighten slowly, we wanted to reach the top fast. The ashes were followed by sharp and often loose volcano stones and a steep crawl upwards...I thought: we must really be crazy to do that! 

Just a few minutes before the sun appeared on the horizon, we made it and it is really worth every step, every drop of sweat and every dust particle in your lungs (which I can tell you are many). I have never seen something amazing like that before in my life. With the clear blue sky above some soft white clouds around you, it feels like you are on top of the world. It's definately one of the hardest things I've ever done, but reaching the top made me increadibly proud! I hope the pictures can capture the feeling a little bit. Enjoy:

   LAVA Made it!

After pictures, breakfast and amazement we started our way back down. Except for the ashy part where you could just run it was not so much fun... the motivation to reach the top has passed and a steep and dusty way down is not optimal for exhausted legs. I still can't believe how the indonesians just run down like its nothing, some even in flip flops! Maybe not sleeping for meanwhile more than 20 hours did the rest...I was just done with the world when I reached the basecamp an hour after the first ones in our group. Even though I could not really enjoy the beautiful view during daylight, this is one of the first days when I really realized what an astonishingly beautiful country I will spend the next months in.

The way up to the crater Surroundings Done!

Sampai Jumpa!

Mittwoch, 18.09.2013

Finally arrived! :)

After 23h of flights and a 6h stopover in Istanbul and 30 minutes in Singapore I arrived in Jakarta. Because I sat in the middle of an Indonesian travel group on their way home, I already met many nice indoensian people...and yes it's true that everyone who just knows a few english words starts a conversation right away Zwinkernd

I spend the first night in Jakarta, shocked by how many scooters, cars and people can fit on one narrow road next to each other Überrascht It took about 2 hours to make the 30km from the aiport to the hostel (If you ever plan to go to Jakarta, 6degrees hostel is highly recommended!)  Luckily the next day it was a bit faster and then I was on the way to Yogyakarta (Jogja), my new hometown from now on.

The first days here I stayed at a homestay, it's just like a hostel, but with single rooms so that people can stay there for longer periods.

 first indonesian breakfast Bad mit   

After a couple of days I finally moved into my permanent home, a huge house with 3 other Germans and 2 Norwegian girls. It is actually a guest house, so it has 2 kitchens and multiple livingrooms and every bedroom has its own bathroom. And the best thing is, it comes with a housemaid, Yono..who takes really good care of everything.

My Ride My new home 

The first week was basically just formalities for the university and visa and lectures, since the classes had already started two weeks before I got there I had to catch up on some things...Oh, and of course practicing to ride a scooter since this is the only comfortable way to get around. Even though after the craziness of Jakarta, Jogja seems nice and quiet (it's still crowded in german terms)...but there are not really any rules, at least none anyone cares about, it takes some time to get used to it. 

So far for the first week....Sampai Jumpa!