Lisa writes again:
After 3.5 hours travelling through the night we arrived at the Lava View Hotel, our ‘base camp where we transferred to Jeeps and drove another half an hour to the look out to view Mt Bromo and Mt Semeru at sunrise. It was very cold at the top, which took a few tour participants by surprise. Luckily there were some large coats to hire for Rp 100,000 as well as locally made gloves, hats and scarves to bargain for.
We were very lucky to have clear skies today, and view the mountains at sunrise without cloud. Everyone was able to take excellent photos & enjoy the mountainous/volcanic scenery as it emerged at sunrise.
From the lookout we travelled back down to the ‘sea of sand’; a wide/long expanse of ash that appears like a sea when viewed from the lookout. Some chose to hire a horse & guide that will take you to the bottom of the path where you then walk 250 steps to the top of Mt Bromo crater. Flowers can be bought from sellers at the base of the steps, which are then thrown into the crater after making a wish. Two of the group participants (Peter & Alison) took on the challenge to walk the rim of the crater (approx. 1 hour) on a fairly narrow, sandy pathway that few people walk. The accomplishment was evident on their faces when they returned, and we all admired their achievement!
After returning to the Jeeps via horseback or on foot, we were driven back to the base camp for brunch & a rest before the journey back to Kaliandra. Back at the resort we enjoyed another organic lunch and then participated in either a yoga class or traditional cooking class. Participants from both groups enjoyed their workshop of choice. Those who took part in the cooking class received recipes for the meals that were cooked and are looking forward to testing them out at home in Australia.
After the workshops some took advantage of the Wellness Centre massage services to recover from the morning walks at Mt Bromo & lack of sleep! Following dinner we enjoyed a performance of Wayang Kulit with the Kaliandra gamelan orchestra (consisting of local villagers and Kaliandra staff). Although we couldn’t understand the local dialect that the Dalang (puppet master) used, the performance was still very enjoyable, and a short explanation in English afterwards provided a review/summary of the performance.
Tour participants really enjoyed the relaxing but educational value of the visit & stay at Kaliandra. It provided us with a chance to see some beautiful scenery in Java and experience the tranquility and community spirit of Indonesian villages and rural areas. All the tour members really enjoyed this break away from the major cities and crowded shopping malls, and many participants felt that this would be an ideal destination to take their students to.