The weekend was full of madness and chaos, but I had a blast. We rode a bus for 11 hours to Mt. Bromo to catch a sunrise and to view the crater thereafter. It was an amazing trip I'll never forget. I'm glad I survived the ride.
For 11 hours, we road a tourist bus to Mt. Bromo. We were supposed to arrive at midnight, but ended up in the area at 0300 a.m. instead. The madness immediately began as soon as we stepped off the bus.
Once the bus stopped, we were confused about where we were going and if we should grab our bags. It was total chaos. We were swarmed by nearly 10 men selling hats and mittens once we stepped off the bus. I felt like I was in Kopeng all over again. I grabbed my bag and immediately got into the second bus, a mini van. Although I believe only 10 should have fit into the bus, 18 people later, we were crammed into an extremely tight and uncomfortable van, driving up windy roads for the next 20 minutes. There was traffic and we barely had time to drop off our bags for the 5:15 a.m. sunset.
It felt like forever in the van, as the driver quickly sped up the mountain at terrifying speeds. My friend was crammed in the van so bad that she wasn't even on the seat, but out of exhaustion she ended up sleeping on my bag. I'm glad she could fall asleep because I sure couldn't. I was too afraid to sleep. My arm started to go numb because of the bags on my lap and I wondered when we would finally reach the hotel.
Thank God I never brought my laptop because we couldn't make it to our rooms by the time we reached the hotel. Instead, we tossed our bags into a large room at the hotel and changed quickly before quickly rushing into our next vehicle: a jeep.
The last 20 minutes had already been an insane experience, but nothing could compare to the jeep ride up the steep mountain on unpaved roads. There's a dream I oftentimes have of having to travel up a steep cliff side in a car and it reminded me of it. It was dark outside and there was fog everywhere, so it was difficult to see the road. There were other jeeps trying to surpass us and sometimes, it felt like our jeep would stall out on the mountainside.
With a limited amount of time, I could only think of running up to the peak of the mountain to watch the sunset, but realized it was a bad idea because of the altitude. There were jeeps and ojeks (motorcycle transportation) everywhere. Over and over again, ojek driver's asked if I needed a ride. I almost got hit by an ojek and a jeep in the dark, chaotic night. I wasn't the only one. It was pure insanity.
After walking some distance, we finally reached our destination. We were ready to witness an incredible sunrise! Unfortunately, the clouds covered the sun and after sometime, we decided to leave. It was time to move on. It was, however, an awesome experience to be there with people from around the world!
We headed back to our jeep to our next destination. It turns out that the sunset wasn't at Mt. Bromo! We were now heading to Mt. Bromo to see the caldera. I had a chance to ride a horse and walk alongside the crater. It was beautiful and an amazing experience.
My friend bargained to get us cheaper rides on the horse, so we ended up paying 25,000 which is equivalent to about $2.50. But I felt sad for the old man who walked the horse up the mountain with me, so I gave him a little extra. The horse was small and I know the old man works hard. Every time someone gets on his horse, he walks up the mountain too.
After climbing the 205 steps needed to reach the caldera, the view was spectacular and completely worth the trek up the mountain. Mt. Bromo is one of the most beautiful places I have seen in my life. I felt as if I was on another planet.
Since we didn't have much time to spare, we had to quickly head back to the hotel. But we had a small dilemma, as the jeep would not start. Thankfully, the driver got the jeep to move after sometime!
Once we arrived at the hotel, it was yet another interesting experience ....