Thu 22 Sep 2011 02:05
07:39.763 S 111:11.522 E
Elev 1943 m (Gunung Lawu start)
After seeing the amazing Bromo at sunrise, we headed to a town called Tawangmangu, (5 on sketch map) in Central Java. This town is in a spectacular valley whose sides are covered with to-die-for farmland, tended to within an inch of its life into an intricate patchwork of greens and browns. Nearby is Gunung Lawu, another holy mountain, with a couple of Hindu temples on the way up. It is very popular at weekends with students who hike up and spend Saturday night at the top (3265m), watch the sunrise and come down on Sunday.
We chose our own hotel in Tawangmangu, from Lonely Planet. It was nice, fun, and cheap, and we left Verdy to sort himself out. There were loads of warungs (roadside cafes) selling nice(ish) food for almost nothing, up and down the road. I got up early before our volcano walk and went down to the market to buy myself some wet weather gear. I got a nice second hand jacket for £1 and hoped for rain. We got it!!!!! To do Lawu properly you need 10 hours, which we didnt have, so we decided we would walk up for 3 hours and down for one and a half. It was a beautiful walk, through neatly tended terraced farmland and tropical forest, in thick mist and pouring rain, and my new/old jacket did me proud. It leaked like mad but the rain was warm! We got up to 2590 m, which was really hard, it was steep! We didnt get high enough to see any temples, only tin shelters, and loads of litter. Missing the temples was compensated (for me anyway) by the plant life – eg the miniature Indonesian version of Edelweiss, known as puteh puteh (white white).
We didnt see a soul until the last hour, on our way down, when we met a few kids on their way up. They did quite a fancy handshake involving the whole hand and the thumb, so we knew we had made several new friends, and had many photos taken to prove it. When we got back to the warung at the bottom, Verdy was there. He hadnt gone back to Tawangmangu but waited for us the whole four and a half hours. He was still shivering. Why doesn’t he wear a coat? You can get one for £1.