Today started very early – or it was supposed to, anyway. The six of us were off to sightsee the active volcano Tangkuban Perahu. I had set the alarm for 5:50am as we needed to leave the house at 6:50am to meet our driver for the morning and with a baby, it is no longer possible to just get up and go. Besides, Scott needs his 20min morning shower just to wake up! The alarm goes off at the requisite time and Scott hits snooze – twice! By the time that I’m aware of what’s going on, it’s about 6:10am and we both need our showers and breakfast and Catherine needs to be woken up and changed. Needless to say, we skipped breakfast and were ready to go at 6:50am.
We (Andrew, Donna, Kate (and her baby seat), Scott, Catherine (strapped to Scott in her harness) and I all hopped into the 4 wheel drive with Andrew in the 3rd row, Kate, Donna and I in the middle and Scott in the front. The cars here only have seatbelts in the front but we were fortunate in this instant to have an extra one in the middle which we used to strap Kate’s seat in. Andrew, Donna and I were at the mercy of…everything! The drive itself was pretty uneventful except for the time where we had to pass Catherine back to me because she needed a breastfeed. The scenery was really nice once we got out of the city – Andrew said it almost felt like we were driving up Mt Tambourine, except that on the way up Mt Tambourine we don’t have roadside stalls selling rabbits and rabbit satay.
We reach the entrance to the “National Park” and the entry fee is 20,000pp, a total of 100,000. Our driver however, tells the guy on duty that we live here so we should only pay half. The guy says, “Okay, we’ll make it 56,000.” Driver then says, “50,000 will do you,” and the guy agrees! Unbelievable! We get to the top of the volcano and are warned by Andrew and Donna that there will be heaps of people (touts) wanting to sell us stuff and not to look interested unless we wanted a bevy of them following us. They followed us anyway… There was an assortment of “stuff” for sale, from postcards and strawberries to a Sponge Bob Square Pants thing. As Donna said though, “As if I’d come all the way up here to buy Sponge Bob Square Pants.”
Standing at the top of the crater. If you think I look really grumpy like I’m about to hit someone, I am. The guy to my right has been trying to flog off some postcards to me for the last five minutes, I’ve been saying “No!” or trying to ignore him and he’s still going…
The six of us standing at the top viewing platform with the crater/mountain behind us.
We acquire a guide and start the descent. It’s a long way down but at least there are steps. That’s what I thought until we were well into the journey and my knees started letting me know that they had had more than enough jarring for a week. The reason is that though there are steps, some are shallow (this is good), some steep (this is not good) which really aren’t made for people with little legs like Kate…and me.
Then it gets slippery as well… In all seriousness, being cool and misty the walk down was actually really nice. It was almost like walking through a rainforest in Brisbane except that some of the plants were different. As we got lower, we could smell the sulphur wafting through the air. All up, it was about a 45min walk down into the crater itself. We took a few photos and a couple of videos of the bubbling and boiling water and spent probably another 45min wandering around the in the crater.
This was taken on the descent to the crater, about halfway through our walk.
The boys went off to find some “sulphur flowers” while the girls sat in the little open air eating place, waiting.
Then, the return. It wasn’t actually too bad because we took a different route and didn’t really have to climb back all the way up to the top. When we were about 200m from the carpark it started raining heavily and we were very thankful that it hadn’t started earlier!
All in all, it was a very tiring half day! And that’s not all we did…in the afternoon we went to an Indonesian wedding! More on that later!