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Full Circle

Day 120: Mount Bromo to Surabaya

Mount Bromo, Indonesia 
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Early departure for Bromo. The Lone Ranger and friend.
Michael Palin - Full CircleA cup of coffee and a bar of chocolate later, it's a quarter to four and I already feel as if I've been up half the day. I'm sat astride a small pony heading off into the darkness from the dimly lit doors of the hotel. The sky is clear, there is no wind and the stars are out. A group of local guides watch their ponies anxiously as they bear us off down a stony track. We are a motley posse. Some Japanese, an Australian or two. The only thing we have in common is an inability to ride.

After half an hour the stony track levels out and I feel a little more confident astride my podgy little mount, comforted by the warmth coming out of him as I put my hand to his neck. We strike out across a solid, dusty plain. The first pale shades of blue and white creep into the pitch black sky and it's like having a blindfold lifted.

At first sight we are in a stark, silent, vaguely menacing landscape, unlike anything I have ever seen. And the more the light fills the sky the stranger it becomes. We are crossing a deeply fissured surface between looming ridges of volcanic ash stretching, like giant splayed fingers, up to the top of the nearest peak. A lone cloud hovers above the peak and I catch an unmistakable smell of sulphur. We have reached our destination. Mount Bromo, active volcano. Height: 7639 feet above the sea. Latest substantial eruption: last October.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 120
  • Country/sea: Indonesia
  • Place: Mount Bromo
  • Book page no: 175

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