Bromo – an ocean of sand and smoke
|Smoke rising from the crater of Bromo|
Our Indonesian friends advertised Bromo with plenty of superlatives: spectacular, stunning, a lifetime experience. In consequence, our expectations were high when I set out with my friend Daria to explore the volcanoes of East Java.
A comfortable night bus (Rosalia Indah) brought us for 115'000 IDR (8 EUR) from Solo to Probolinggo. We arrived around 5am, a perfect time to head to the bus terminal to continue the journey. Quickly we found the minibuses to Cemoro Lawang, the village on the rim of the outer crater. Unfortunately, we were the first ones to arrive that morning. The price of 30'000 IDR (2 EUR) was not an issue. But the minibuses leave only once at least 16 passengers are crammed in. As the trickle of tourists wasn't that steady this morning, we finally left around 9am. During the first hour we crossed the usual cities, villages and rice fields. It was the second hour that got more interesting. The road climbed steeper and steeper, the lanes got more narrow with every meter, but the traffic didn't slow down. We arrived safely and happily in Cemoro Lawang at 11am.
|Sunrise - Bromo on the left, Semeru in the back|
|Lisa and her assistants|
|View from Bromo towards the outer crater walls|
|Lisa on Bromo|
* You might ask yourself why I call the visitor fee inflated. Let me quickly explain. In May 2014, the Indonesian government, always short of money, raised the fees to access it's natural and cultural wonders. They didn't simply double their prices, but increased them eight-fold! Their justification for the now hefty fees? None. I personally don't mind to pay my share for the protection of natural wonders. But the Indonesian government so far failed to convince me that the money I paid in various sites actually contributes to their protection. Garbage is, as elsewhere in Indonesia, liberally dumped everywhere and I never saw a single ranger telling people off for actively destroying the fragile ecosystems. National parks are perceived by the Indonesian government, it seems to me, mainly as cash cows and not as natural wonders worth protecting both for their own sake and for future generations. There is a lot of room for improvement in my eyes until the current visitor fees are justified.