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Posts tagged ‘Volcanoes’

Dieng, the mystical highlands


“No,” Bart said forcefully, “Not here. The view isn’t the one I saw in my friend’s photo. We have to go further.”

On a grassy ridge at the top of Gunung Prahu, the mountain shaped like a boat’s hull, I was getting exasperated. “Close enough,” I thought. We’d pulled ourselves out of bed at one in the morning, as the rest of the village slumbered peacefully under the brightness of the full moon. Captivated by the rugged scenery around Dieng, a fertile basin in Central Java’s volcanic highlands, our group had unanimously agreed to a sunrise hike some two days earlier. By this time, on the cusp of dawn, I had grown so tired and miserable I almost didn’t care. Read more

Kawah Ijen: a lethal beauty

Ijen_1aThe hike to Kawah Ijen begins with a struggle. It is most likely the sulphurous fumes rising from the depths of the volcano, combined with the effects of little sleep. Bama tells me he doesn’t feel well – he is gripped by nausea. We limp along a trail of volcanic ash, taking refuge on the gnarled, low-slung branches and tree stumps beside the route.

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Indonesia: dangerously beautiful

Indonesia Roundup_1

If we only believe the sensationalism of Fox News, CNN America and other media outlets, Indonesia is the kind of country a lot of people might want to avoid. Historically, it has made world headlines for all the wrong reasons – plane crashes, violent protests, terrorist bombings and large-scale natural disasters. Read more

Kelimutu: like water for chocolate


Across the valley banks of mist swirled above a church steeple poking through the dense vegetation. From the Trans-Flores Highway Dino had glimpsed the crest of Kelimutu through the clouds, and we soon found ourselves gunning up a slender road towards the summit. Read more

Lombok: from summit to sea

Above the clouds, Mt. Rinjani

When winter comes to Hong Kong, chapping lips and penetrating homes with no insulation nor central heating, I dream of a faraway tropical island among a chain of more than 17,000 spread like jewels along the equator. It waits in the shadow of its famous sister, separated by nothing more than a deep sea strait. Read more

Summitting Rinjani

Rinjani at sunrise

Standing precariously on a ridge of loose volcanic scree, I squeezed the top of the trekking pole and pushed down with all my strength. A thin, broken trail of lights was now snaking its way to the summit roughly 100 metres above my head, a darkened mass that loomed tantalisingly close under the brightness of a full moon. In the distance I could just make out the finish line: two pinnacles forming a natural gateway to the peak. Read more

Breathless at Mount Bromo

High up in the mountains of East Java, the village of Cemoro Lawang is a far cry from the heat and humidity of the island’s north coast. We are here a quarter after six on a Sunday night, searching for dinner along one of its two streets laid out in a Y-shaped pattern along the rim of the Tengger Caldera. Below our feet the ground is coated in a thin layer of fine volcanic dust, a sign of the active volcano residing on its doorstep. Read more

The Journey to El Teide.

My first impression of Tenerife was not of a beach, nor of palm trees and coastal resorts. Instead it was a sea of clouds and then the sudden appearance of a conical peak, dazzling in its beauty and draped in a layer of freshly fallen snow. I instantly thought of Mt. Fuji but there was something about this mountain that made it even more alluring. Read more