it’s a pretty crazy little planet we live on. how strange is it to think that everything we see around us from mountains to rivers to cities to oceans… all of it is just a small outer layer of Earth. this is all the outside, while the inside is full of hot red molten lava. luckily for us, *usually* the red stuff stays on the inside, and only rarely causes havoc on the surface. here in indonesia, there are 129 active volcanoes. most of them just sit around spewing smoke all day long, while others erupt from time to time devastating everything in their path and killing thousands of people. because of this, even when you know that the chances of an erruption are slim to none, staring up at a smoking volcano is still exhilerating and just a bit unnerving.
the town we were staying in, Cemoro Lawang, is perched up high on the rim of an enormous crater, 10 km across, that errupted ages ago. although this volcano itself is no longer active, inside its enormous caldera, 3 new volcanoes have since formed. when you walk down from town, into the huge crater, the view all around you is absolutely stupendous. you’re surrounded by the lush green crater walls towering above you. beneath your feet is a huge expanse of greyish blackish sand. this “sea of sand” fills the gigantic crater, and is actually ash and not sand. when you kick it up, it dissolves into a very fine spray and floats away. and the best part of it all, is that in the middle of this huge grey area, there stand 2 large volcanoes: one of them covered w/ green trees and inactive while the other one is a grey rocky crater with smoke slowly rising out of it.
Batok, the inactive vlocano inside the crater
Bromo, smoking away
the whole setting was just so surreal. first off it was crazy to be walking inside this huge 10km crater. and then staring up at smoking Bromo was just so impressive. walking through, we were almost giddy w/ the excitement of seeing it all. Bromo has a set of stairs going up its side and after climbing the 253 steps, we stood on Bromo’s edge and peered down inside.
we stood there watching smoke slowly billow out for quite a while, and then decided to walk partially around Bromo’s rim to see the inside of the crater from some different angles.
me, on the edge
Bromo’s edge, w/ Batok in the background
looking over the edge
one of the best views of Bromo and the surrounding area is from a viewpoint high above on the outer carter’s rim. the view is supposedly best at dawn, and despite the fact that getting up at 3:45am sounded absolutely hellish, we decided to go for it anyway. to make matters even more annoying, i ended up not being able to sleep for hours on end that night, so when the alarm went off the next morning, i had only slept for about 3 hours. ouch. we took the bumpy road up in a jeep, and soon found ourselves at the top. around us, enterpreneurial indonesians sold everything from tea to wool hats to huge coats to batteries. the sun was about to start coming up, so we walked the remaining 100 meters to the top, wondering if the view would end up being worth getting up so early. it was. this was definitely one of the most stupendous views i’ve ever seen in my life. staring down on the scene below i just couldnt get enough of it, and i must have taken a million photos.
the 2 volcanoes, w/ Semeru smoking in he distance
from a different viewpoint
a while later, completely exhausted, we took the jeep back to our hotel. on the way past Bromo we saw tons and tons of people standing around. indonesians selling hose rides, and tourist buying them. everyone comes out here to climb Bromo at sunrise. it made us really glad that we climbed Bromo the previous day during the afternoon. we had the volcano all to ourselves and it was completely quiet and serene unlike the madness and shouting that surrounded Bromo right now. after a quick breakfast we took a van back down the mountain, quite satisfied w/ our volcano experience!