Posts Tagged ‘Surakarta’


At the end of a pub-crawl the participants cannot walk, crawl out of the last pub and somehow make it home in the dark. The same is true for a volcano crawl, especially when the last road climbs to 2000m. I got cramp, walked up the last 400m and whizzed down the last 50km. I arrived well and truly in the dark.

Exhausted

Exhausted

Before leaving, I didn’t check on how far Madiun was, nor how high the volcano pass was. I had a leisurely breakfast with my new biking friends in Solo. It was great to meet them. I wish them all the best with their plans to improve Solo as a cycling city.

Cycling friends in Solo

Cycling friends in Solo

I had a date in Madiun this evening – with a lovely warmshowers host that Clement stayed with. Actually, my host Ammia later told me that she couldn’t be there, but had booked and paid for a hotel for me, and arranged lots of friends to meet up with me. I had to be there.

After a lot of climbing, I stopped for lunch, and looked at just how high this mountain was. I was at 800m altitude, and the pass was 2000m. The last 12km climbed 1200m. Ouch!

Note to others doing this pass – don’t take the old road (called the alternative road). It is much much steeper.

View of the much less steep new road from my vantage point on the old road

View of the much less steep new road from my vantage point on the old road

If I didn’t have my date in Madiun, I would have stopped, and finished the pass tomorrow. While walking up the mountain, realising that I was going to have to cycle down in the dark, I decided to accept any lift that I might have been offered to the top. I had cramp, and couldn’t cycle. I was hot and bothered and just wanted to get there. Many cars passed with their windows down, giving me the thumbs up.
‘How are you, mister?’
‘Tired!’
That got a chuckle.
No lift was offered, and I was not at the point of actively asking for one yet. I kept on going, and at 17.15 was at the top. I have no pictures of the views – there were none. Everything was in cloud the whole way.

I made it down the windy dangerous bit before dark, and then zoomed down the straight downhill roads all the way to Madiun. When I arrived I felt a great sense of achievement. 2000m and 110km in one day. I’m glad noone offered me a lift!

Thanks to Ammia, my warmshowers host, and all her friends in Madiun for a lovely evening. I enjoyed today!


In Australia the pub-crawl is an integral part of student life, going (and finally crawling) from pub to pub in an evening of drinking at a multitude of venues. In Java, a volcano crawl is the act of scaling (or crawling) volcano after volcano in a tour of join the dots. Today was volcano pair number two.

Merapi

Merapi

Today’s volcano pair – Merapi and Merbabu – were much more pleasant than the last pair. The road was a small road with quite a bit of roadworks, which meant there was little traffic. Cycling up the steep road, I was fascinated by the cloudscape above. Bright sun turned to dark clouds within minutes, and then back to bright sun. The volcanoes disappeared behind a cloak of cloud, only to reemerge an hour later. I passed small villages of ‘Hello misters,’ and rice fields. This is the way volcano crawls are meant to be.

On the way down

On the way down

The view below

The view below

I spent the evening with the lovely people from Kota Kita – an NGO in Solo with a focus on improving life in the city through policy change and community empowerment and participation. I also said hi to the cycling community who have lots of plans in the pipeline for this month.

The Solo cycling community

The Solo cycling community

Merapi

Merapi