Countries i will visit on my journey

Countries i will visit on my journey

Flags of all countries

Flags of all countries

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Gunung Rinjani (Lombok)

On Gili Air I met a Spanish couple (Mira and Carlos) and Dec from the UK. Together we planned to hike Gunung Rinjani on Lombok. With its 3726m it is the 2nd highest volcano in Indonesia and its a 3-days hike to the peak.

As a picture usually tells more than 1000 words I give my very best to show more pics of our adventure than writing boring descriptions. I know that most of you will appreciate that, as I am not really a Shakespeare when it comes to writing articles about my trip around the world... :-)
Ok, here we go:
Our hiking group, among them one of the finest guys I had the pleasure to hike with.
From the left to the right:
Will (Phl), Raph (Aut), Mira & Carlos (Esp), Dec (UK), Annetta & Casper (Pol), Romy (Ger), Charly & Sophie (UK), Julia (Ger), Jürgen (Ger)

Lots of ascending on day1, first through the tropical jungle, which clears in the afternoon to wide open plains with single trees

Further up the stunning landscape while the clouds underneath are covering the jungle...

After 8 hours hiking finally at the rim of Gunung Rinjani, where we set up our camp.
The view in the late afternoon sun, simple breathtaking!!
On the other side of the rim we could see our final target, the peak of Rinjani.

 A few sunset pics of the sunset on day1 from our camp side. Without words... :-)

In the morning of day2 we started descending the steep path down the rim to the crater lake of Rinjani. The diameter of Rinjani's giant crater rim is about 7km, which is pretty amazing!!

Finally at the crater lake. Close to the lake there are some hot springs where we went for a swim and
relaxed our tired legs in the warm water. Afterwards Dec and me also jumped into the pretty cold crater lake.
Things to do before you die: Swim in a crater lake of a volcano; check!! :-)

After lunch we hiked up the rim on the other side of the lake for 3 hours in the heat of the day.
Was pretty tough. But I think you can not complain, when I took a look to our porters.
They were carrying our food, water and the tents, which was much more heavier. And the best is that they hiked the mountain just in Flip-Flops!! They were as fast or even faster than our group, doing an amazing job!
The view from camp2 down the rim an lake was again amazing!
At sunset we could even see the majestic Gunung Agnung, the greatest volcano on Bali.

At 2:30am on day3 we started hiking up the peak of Rinjani to be there just in time when the sun rises. I would say this was the toughest part of the three days. As it is partly very hard and especially the last few 100 meters are the worst. It is very steep and just gravel stones. An awful combination, two steps forward means at least one step sliding down again...
However, Dec, Charly, Sophie and me made it to the top way to early and had to wait there for more than an hour until the sun rises. It was freezing cold but luckily Charly brought some sleeping bag, which the four of us shared as a blanket while waiting and telling jokes to kill time... ;-)

But it was worth waiting and we had an amazing sunrise!
Not everybody made it to the top at that time but I am proud about our group as finally everybody managed to get there!!
(According to our guide "D", just 30% of all hikers really make it to the top of Rinjani, the rest give up earlier...)

View from the top of Rinjani. In the background the crater lake. Where a new volcano, Gunung Baru, emerged a few hundred years ago. A volcano in the crater of another volcano. And Baru is smoking the whole time at it is still very active. Sometimes during the year, the hikes up Rinjani are cancelled due to much activity of Baru...

One more view of the lake, Baru and Rinjani's giant rim.
While descending it was essential to wear a scarf. Because it was super dusty walking down. Some parts I could even slide down because it was so steep!
Skiing down a volcano on gravel stones, how very cool!! :-)

Down at the camp side we had breakfast and one last time the beautiful view of Rinjanis crater.
I turned around and looked up to the peak, where we have been a few hours before...
Slowly I realised how crazy Dec, Charly, Soph and me were. We almost ran up to the peak in two hours... :-)
Finally we hiked down all the way to a small town, where we were picked up and had to say goodbye to each other. What an awesome trip, thank you Rinjani!!
And many thanks especially to Dec, Charly, Sophi, Mira, Carlos and Jürgen. It was a pleasure to meet and hike with you guys!! :-)

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Bali & Gili Air

After the big city of Singapore I was looking for a country where I could do "outdoor-stuff" like hiking, swimming or snorkeling. I finally chose Indonesia because it has a lot to offer:
Stunning volcanoes to hike, nice idyllic beaches to relax with crystal clear warm water, rich in diversity of underwater species. Booked a flight to Bali and first stayed in the cultural capital of Bali, Ubud.

The first day I went to a park at the end of the city which is called "monkey forest". As the name already says it is a jungle-forest with lots of capuchins. You can walk through and watch the small playful monkeys. If you like you can feed them bananas but you really have to take care of your belongings. As this small animals are very smart and snatch things from your pocket searching for food...

Rented a motor-scooter together with a German girl and together we drove through Bali, visiting the most popular temples.
On the busy roads it was a hell of a ride and remembered me a lot to my stay in India... :-)
Nobody cares about any traffic-rules, everybody drives reckless and very mad and the most important content of the vehicle seems to be the horn.
But I think visiting the temples was worth the ride. Some of them are really beautiful and you pass by many rice-terraces which characterise the scenery.

Gunung Kawi for example is partly built into the mountain and lies in a secret valley surrounded by rice terraces. Or Tanah Lot is located on a cliff at the south-west coast of Bali. During low tide you can walk to the temple, while during high tide the ocean isolates the temple.

Beside the fine art (carvings and paintings) as well as religious dances and festivals (almost daily) offered in Ubud, there is much more to do:
I joined the first time of my live some Yoga-classes at the Yoga-barn and it was quite a good experience.

Tried out different typical Indonesian/Balinese food like Nasi Goreng or Mie Goreng (fried Rice/Noodles with egg) as well as Gado Gado (vegetables with peanut sauce) or the sweet dessert BurBur-SumSum (green beans in a sweet sauce).
And in the morning we always had pancakes cooked with banana-pieces and Balinese coffee.

I also tried the famous Luwak-coffee!! :-)
Luwaks are animals which looks similar than a marten. The animals get beside other food coffee beans to eat. Once the shit the beans out they are collected, washed and grounded to get the famous and very expensive Luwak-coffee.
Sounds disgusting eh? Drinking coffee made of the shit from another animal... But while the Luwak is digesting the beans they get more aroma (at least that is what the locals say).
For me the Luwak coffee tasted pretty similar to any other coffee back home. But I am not a coffee specialist. I would not taste the difference of a premium Arabica bean coffee and the one you get from the (fu^^ing!) vendor at my old company's  break area... :-)

But the highlight for me on Bali was for sure the sunrise hike up to the volcano Gunung Batur.
The view from the top was amazing!! You could even see Gunung Rinjani from the neighbouring island Lombok. The only disadvantage is that you almost have to fight for a good sunrise spot as there are hundreds of other tourists. But it was fine and I met a really nice German girl... :-)
When I first saw Rinjani at that sunrise day I somehow had the impression to go there. So I swear myself to hike this volcano on Lombok (which is the 2nd highest mountain in Indonesia by the way).

But before, I spent a few relaxing days on the Gili islands, which are close to the north-west coast of Lombok. From Padang Bai on Bali ferries are running to the Gilis every day. Spent a day in this small little fisher village before I got to the islands.
Padang Bai is also very remote and quite except in the morning and evening when all the tourists are coming from or to the Gili islands.

Gili Air:
Gili Air is basically is a mixture of both other Gili islands. Whili Gili Trawangan is known as the party-island, Gili Meno is the relaxing-island. On Giki Air you have both!!
Came there to just relax for two days and used it as base to get to Lombok for hiking Gunung Rinjani.
The best on this island was the crystal clear water and the reef around the island.
There are lots of companies offering scuba dive courses or snorkeling trips. I just rented some snorkeling gear for one day and explored the reef by my own. Was pretty cool, saw lots of colourful corals fishes and even two sea-turtles.