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We were picked up by our guide Luckee and driver Sunario on time. Luckee was very kind and before leaving Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city, took us to see a ghastly sculpture of an intertwined shark with a crocodile, which represents the city. The city itself looks quite pleasant and we regret not spending more time in in it but unfortunately the guide books do not rate it and we took their advice only sending one night on our way to Mt Bromo. The drive to Wonodoro village where we spent the night was good, especially when we started climbing up towards Mt Bromo. Our biggest and most welcome surprise was the standard of the Jiwa Jawa hotel where you spend the night before going to Mt Bromo. It's a terrific hotel, with a good restaurant, shop and art gallery. We expected some sort of home-stay place but the hotel was a real show stopper for us. It does have one slight drawback and that is that the rooms do not have any heating. It was chilly and a small heater would not go amiss but there were additional blankets and all was well at the end. We walked around the village and got invited to join a wonderful wedding ceremony that was taking place at the village hall behind the hotel. The music was terrific, gamelan with a bit of punk and soul absolutely terrific. We became part of the show, much to the amusement of the other guests. The groom insisted that we should stay for dinner but we felt that the appropriate response was to decline their kind offer as we had already spent too much time with the guests. It is an early start of 03:00 hours for the assault on Mt Bromo. The journey is done by jeep and, wait for it, there are around 200 jeeps going to the same location, hence the early start. There are apparently three look out positions for the sun rise, a lower, medium and high location. The high location was closed and so we went to the medium location. Please remember that once you get to the setting off point, it is very crowded with the parked jeeps taking up most of the narrow road, so expect a bit of jostling with people getting out of the jeeps and walking to the vantage point. It is all good fun as most people are in a good mood. Unfortunately, for us it was overcast and the sunrise was a bit of a damp squid. We were glad to be there but frankly, most of these sunrise and sunset events tend to disappoint. In the end, I think it would be best to go to Mt Bromo directly but I would not put anybody off from going for the sunset. After you've had your fill of watching Mt Bromo, it is back to the jeep and down the mountain to get acquainted with Mt Bromo. It's quite a long walk to the steps to walk up to the rim of the volcano. This tour provides horses to take you to the steps of course, you can walk if you so desire. The climb to the rim looks daunting from the bottom but it's a question of taking it easy. At the rim, you can see inside the volcano, which when we went was belching out water vapor. There are no railings at the rim, so it is a question of taking it easy as there are quite a few people up there and if you slip and fall either inside the rim or outside, it is a long way down, so it is a question of taking great care. It's all worth it at the end of the day. From the rim it is back to the Jiwa Jawa hotel for breakfast and check out. In summary, this was a tremendously good tour both because of the excellent guide and driver that we had as well as the unexpected bonus of staying at the Jiwa Jawa Hotel. A memorable trip.
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