Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park Indonesia

The Volcanic Sea of ​​Java

Rings of Fire
Semeru (in the distance) and Bromo volcanoes in full swing.
steps to hell
Wooden staircase leads to Bromo volcano crater.
Tengger natives
Owner of one of the horses that transport visitors on the Tengger Sand Sea.
Ash and gases flow from the crater of the Semeru volcano into the skies over Java.
Sulfur mound
The smoky and toxic crater of the Bromo volcano, one of the lowest but most active in the Tengger Sand Sea.
A Java Profile
Javanese visitor on the summit of Mount Penanjakan (2770 m), which offers a privileged view of the remaining volcanoes.
little dark night
Full moon lurks over the rim of Tennger's caldera.
for later recall
European traveler photographs the cluster of volcanoes in the Tengger caldera
faith in mercy
The Hindu temple Luhur Poten, built by the Tengger people in reverence to their gods and volcanoes.
The gigantic Tengger caldera rises 2000m in the heart of a sandy expanse of east Java. From it project the highest mountain of this Indonesian island, the Semeru, and several other volcanoes. From the fertility and clemency of this sublime as well as Dantesque setting, one of the few Hindu communities that resisted the Muslim predominance around, thrives.

Always faithful to their posts in Surabaya and zealous for that particular mission, the pair of Indonesian Ministry of Tourism officials Widarto and Bambang assure us that the awakening must be at three in the morning.

We frown, but we are mere strangers in those distant lands of Bromo Tengger Semeru.

Even reluctant, we obeyed the indication and returned to the room resigned to the certainty that, once again, little or nothing would go to sleep.

At the exact hour, there is a knock at our door. Already dressed in his olive green semi-uniform, Mr. Bambang makes sure of our awakening with a stamped smile that tastes of sadism. "Are ready? We wait for you inside the jeep.” We left prepared for everything but the outside temperature.

We've been traveling for months. Certainly, bordering 4 or 5 degrees, that was the only cold worthy of the name that Southeast Asia offered us. We got into the jeep.

Having exhausted a few words of ceremony, the local driver turns on the lights and, slowly and slowly, he makes him plow through the pitch of an almost full moon over the sandy soil of the 50km caldera2 who had admitted us.

Evening on the edge of the Tennger caldera in Java, Indonesia

Full moon lurks over the rim of Tennger's caldera.

The Night Ascent to Mount Penanjakan

More jeeps appear out of nowhere. Some surpass us.

Others remain in the background. This motorized dance ends in a caravan of six or seven vehicles that then make their way to the steep and worse-than-goat path that would take us to the top of a hill called Mount Penanjakan.

When we reach the 2770 meters of its summit, even without a big wind, the frigidity intensifies, we estimate that it skims 0 degrees. A battalion of resident vendors profit from the plight of the most incautious visitors.

Minute after minute, they rent coats, sell gloves, bonnets and scarves and serve teas, coffees and hot chocolates at prices inflated according to the early hour and the urgent need for their services.

The lights that illuminate the operation make it more difficult to recognize the configuration of the surrounding landscape. At the same time, foci of different spectra generated by the lanterns and headlamps of hikers on their paths across the Sea of ​​Sand in the depths, spotlight the blackness.

We could be in the dark about the landscape, but we knew one thing: in a little while, that section of the summit would be full of people and, as Sylvia and Rafael, a Spanish couple of travelers had told us, the dispute for the ideal contemplation of the dawn would be fierce. returning colors to the sky and to the renowned volcano constellation of the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park.

The Shining View of Java's Great Volcanoes

We inaugurated a reconnaissance tour. We do our studies. We inquire enough not to make harmful mistakes.

Following the process, even though there was no competition, we set up the tripod at the end of a concrete slab facing where we had concluded the volcanoes were, to the detriment of the direction from which the dawn would appear.

For half an hour, we endure the cold practically alone.

Soon, more and larger caravans composed in other hotels and inns intersect at the base of the mountain and complete its ascent.

Visitors on top of Mount Penanjakan in Java, Indonesia

Javanese visitor on the summit of Mount Penanjakan (2770 m), which offers a privileged view of the remaining volcanoes.

Gradually, the brightness increases. The newly arrived passengers quickly form the crowd and animosity that had been augured for us.

The sun re-emerges from behind opposing mountains. Much of the public prefers to accompany him. We, like the evolution of tones from the volcanic ensemble onwards: Mount Batok below. Behind, slightly to the left, gray instead of ocher, with its sides also striped, the steaming volcano Bromo.

Finally, in the apparent projection of Mount Batok but at a great distance to the south and much higher, the upper mountain of the island of Java, the Semeru volcano, with its majestic 3.676 meters, well above the poison crater of Ijen where we had recently been.

Semeru: a Giant of the Ring of Fire

The great star reveals itself in all its splendor and warms the atmosphere above the caldera. At that time, the first illuminated – and visible – eruption of Semeru occurs, which generates them at regular intervals.

Semeru (far) and Bromo volcanoes in Java, Indonesia

Semeru (in the distance) and Bromo volcanoes in full swing.

Stunned by the spectacle of the inverted cone fluttering with ash and gas, the crowd runs from the side facing the dawn to the side facing the volcanoes and disputes every vacant nook.

With the strongest luminosity, that eccentric volcanic assortment revealed to us its shapes and lines in detail. Informed that Semeru's mini-eruptions repeated every twenty minutes, we waited for three more.

All proved to be spectacular. All had their burning clouds swept west by the wind that blew steadily in that direction.

With the last cloud gone, around seven in the morning, we return to the jeep, descending to the bubbling flatness of the Tengger Sand Sea, the only protected ecosystem with a somewhat desert look in Java.

Eruption of Semeru volcano, Java, Indonesia

Ash and gases flow from the crater of the Semeru volcano into the skies over Java.

Tengger's complex is as eccentric as possible. Product of the incessant volcanic activity characteristic of the Ring of Fire, five volcanoes share the interior of the 200 to 600 meter walls of its caldera.

They are the Batok and the Bromo, the Kursi (2.581 m), the Watangan (2.661 m) and the Widodaren (2.650 m). Of the quintet, Batok is the only one inactive.

Several other mountains above 2000 meters rise around the Tengger caldera. The Semeru volcano, which had kept us busy all dawn, – also referred to by Mahameru (The Great Mountain) – polarizes its own complex.

At that moment, it was Bromo that interested us. That's where we point.

To the Conquest of the Sacred Bromine

With so much reverence for Semeru, when we arrived at the base of the Bromo, the flow of visitors was already coming down the slope, on their way to the vehicles. Some descended on foot, others on horseback.

Strand of the Bromo volcano, Java, Indonesia

Wooden staircase leads to Bromo volcano crater.

Dozens of natives from the village of Cemoro Lawang and elsewhere had tried to rent their little horses to them and thus spare the more indolent or unprepared strangers from the drudgery of ascent.

We went up the long wooden staircase. On the edge of the summit, we can see the smoky and sulphurous bowels of the volcano. As a rule, Bromine is limited to expelling gases. From time to time it becomes capricious and erupts.

In 2004, two people succumbed to rocks thrown up by their explosion. In 2010 and 2011, the lingering prospect of a truly catastrophic eruption worried authorities and people more than ever.

The establishment of an exclusion zone that ranged between two and three kilometers has ruined tourism.

Eruptions that released huge amounts of ash at high altitudes forced the cancellation of dozens of flights to Bali, Lombok and other destinations with nearby routes.

The authorities also warned the natives of the risk of roofs collapsing in their houses due to the accumulation of ash, from time to time wetted by rain.

The Balinese Hinduism Legacy of the Majapahit Empire

But the threats from volcanoes are nothing new for these people who have inhabited villages in the Tengger Mountains since the 1293th century. The Tengger are believed to have originated in the Hindu Majapahit Empire (1500 – XNUMX) which, at its height, conquered or subdued much of Southeast Asia.

In the XNUMXth century, in a context in which Portuguese navigators and conquerors already had their role based on the recently taken over Malacca, the Muslim Sultanate of Demak achieved political-military supremacy on the island of Java. Defeated the descendants of the Majapahit Empire who were warring with each other,

Of Hindu faith, these were forced to seek refuge. Courtiers, artisans, priests and royalty moved to Bali where their lineage and religion are now predominant.

With the strengthening of Muslim rule in Java, the Hindu kingdoms gave way where they still resisted there. Only the havens of Bali, Lombok and the eastern Java ranges saved them from more than likely annihilation.

The Tenggers, today farmers and cattle raisers, including the horses that carry visitors, “guardians” vulnerable to the whims of Bromo and other volcanoes but believers in their mercy and that of the gods, come from these conflicting times.

Horse owner in the Tengger Sand Sea in Java, Indonesia

Owner of one of the horses that transport visitors on the Tengger Sand Sea

With the subsequent overpopulation of the island of Madura, its powerful Muslims began to settle in the fertile and sacred lands of the Tenggers. Many Tengger eventually converted to Islam.

This concession displeased their leaders. They turned to Balinese Hindus to help them reform their culture and bring it closer to the purest Hinduism of Bali.

The Divine Stronghold is now Protected from Bromo-Tengger-Semeru

In much more recent years, the authorities of the Indonesia they chose to respect the Tengger's demands. They declared “their” mountains and volcanoes a natural and cultural reserve. They banned several of the earlier blemishes.

From the top of the Bromo, as Widarto and Bambang wait and despair in the car park, we detect the rectangular silhouette of the Luhur Poten temple.

This temple embodies the Tengger's faith in the blessing and mercy of Ida Sang Hyang Widi Wasa and the god of Mahameru (of the Semeru volcano). But the temple, by itself, does not seem to satisfy some of them.

Hindu Temple Luhur Poten, Java, Indonesia

The Luhur Poten Hindu Temple, erected by the Tengger people in reverence to their gods and volcanoes

On the fourteenth day of the Yadnya Kasada festival, after meeting and praying, the Tenggers from a village called Prolinggo climb to the summit of Bromo.

Over the narrow edge of the volcano, overlooking the effervescent abyss and certain death, hundreds of worshipers throw fruit, rice, vegetables, flowers and small livestock into the crater's interior, as offerings or sacrifices.

The ceremony was conceived with the dignity and elegance so typical of Balinese Hinduism. And yet, over time, this very double characteristic contributed to admit that several needy natives began to risk their lives armed with nets and other tools below, prepared to collect as much as possible of what was thrown close to them.

Some believe that, more than precious food, the offerings will bring them good luck. Truth be told, the day is yet to come when volcanoes drive out or destroy the Tenggers.

Until then, these once marginalized people will continue to thrive on the fertility and geological exuberance of their mountains of fire.

More information about PN Bromo-Tengger-Semeru on the respective page of UNESCO.

Chã das Caldeiras, Fogo Island Cape Verde

A "French" Clan at the Mercy of Fire

In 1870, a Count born in Grenoble on his way to Brazilian exile, made a stopover in Cape Verde where native beauties tied him to the island of Fogo. Two of his children settled in the middle of the volcano's crater and continued to raise offspring there. Not even the destruction caused by the recent eruptions deters the prolific Montrond from the “county” they founded in Chã das Caldeiras.    

Mountains of Fire

More or less prominent ruptures in the earth's crust, volcanoes can prove to be as exuberant as they are capricious. Some of its eruptions are gentle, others prove annihilating.
Moyo Island, Indonesia

Moyo: An Indonesian Island Just for a Few

Few people know or have had the privilege of exploring the Moyo nature reserve. One of them was Princess Diana who, in 1993, took refuge there from the media oppression that would later victimize her.
La Palma, Canary IslandsSpain (España)

The Most Mediatic of the Cataclysms to Happen

The BBC reported that the collapse of a volcanic slope on the island of La Palma could generate a mega-tsunami. Whenever the area's volcanic activity increases, the media take the opportunity to scare the world.
Big Island, Hawaii

Searching for Rivers of Lava

There are five volcanoes that make the big island of Hawaii grow day by day. Kilauea, the most active on Earth, is constantly releasing lava. Despite this, we live a kind of epic to envision it.
Lombok, Indonesia

Lombok. The Bali Sea Deserves such a Sonda

Long overshadowed by the neighboring island's fame, Lombok's exotic settings remain unrevealed, under the sacred protection of guardian Gunung Rinjani, Indonesia's second-largest volcano.
Ijen volcano, Indonesia

The Ijen Volcano Sulphur Slaves

Hundreds of Javanese surrender to the Ijen volcano where they are consumed by poisonous gases and loads that deform their shoulders. Each turn earns them less than €30 but everyone is grateful for their martyrdom.
Lombok, Indonesia

Lombok: Balinese Hinduism on an Island of Islam

The foundation of Indonesia was based on the belief in one God. This ambiguous principle has always generated controversy between nationalists and Islamists, but in Lombok, the Balinese take freedom of worship to heart
Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Mauna Kea: the Volcano with an Eye out in Space

The roof of Hawaii was off-limits to natives because it housed benevolent deities. But since 1968, several nations sacrificed the peace of the gods and built the greatest astronomical station on the face of the Earth.
Villarrica Volcano, Chile

Ascent to the Villarrica Volcano Crater, in Full Activity

Pucón abuses nature's trust and thrives at the foot of the Villarrica mountain. We follow this bad example along icy trails and conquer the crater of one of the most active volcanoes in South America.
Gili Islands, Indonesia

Gili: the Indonesian Islands the World Calls "Islands"

They are so humble that they are known by the term bahasa which means only islands. Despite being discreet, the Gili have become the favorite haunt of travelers who pass through Lombok or Bali.
Tongariro, New Zealand

The Volcanoes of All Discords

In the late XNUMXth century, an indigenous chief ceded the PN Tongariro volcanoes to the British crown. Today, a significant part of the Maori people claim their mountains of fire from European settlers.
Masai Mara Reservation, Masai Land Travel, Kenya, Masai Convivial
Masai Mara, Kenya

A Journey Through the Masai Lands

The Mara savannah became famous for the confrontation between millions of herbivores and their predators. But, in a reckless communion with wildlife, it is the Masai humans who stand out there.
Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
Treasures, Las Vegas, Nevada, City of Sin and Forgiveness
Architecture & Design
Las Vegas, USA

Where sin is always forgiven

Projected from the Mojave Desert like a neon mirage, the North American capital of gaming and entertainment is experienced as a gamble in the dark. Lush and addictive, Vegas neither learns nor regrets.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.
Kente Festival Agotime, Ghana, gold
Ceremonies and Festivities
Kumasi to Kpetoe, Ghana

A Celebration-Trip of the Ghanian Fashion

After some time in the great Ghanaian capital ashanti we crossed the country to the border with Togo. The reasons for this long journey were the kente, a fabric so revered in Ghana that several tribal chiefs dedicate a sumptuous festival to it every year.
Journey in the History of Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands, Varandas Avenida Marítima
Santa Cruz de La Palma, Canary Islands

A Journey into the History of Santa Cruz de La Palma

It began as a mere Villa del Apurón. Come the century. XVI, the town had not only overcome its difficulties, it was already the third port city in Europe. Heir to this blessed prosperity, Santa Cruz de La Palma has become one of the most elegant capitals in the Canaries.
young saleswoman, nation, bread, uzbekistan
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.
Kigurumi Satoko, Hachiman Temple, Ogimashi, Japan
Ogimashi, Japan

An Historical-Virtual Japan

"Higurashi no Naku Koro never” was a highly successful Japanese animation and computer game series. In Ogimashi, Shirakawa-Go village, we live with a group of kigurumi of their characters.
Spectator, Melbourne Cricket Ground-Rules footbal, Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia

The Football the Australians Rule

Although played since 1841, Australian Football has only conquered part of the big island. Internationalization has never gone beyond paper, held back by competition from rugby and classical football.
Young people walk the main street in Chame, Nepal
Annapurna Circuit: 1th - Pokhara a Chame, Nepal

Finally, on the way

After several days of preparation in Pokhara, we left towards the Himalayas. The walking route only starts in Chame, at 2670 meters of altitude, with the snowy peaks of the Annapurna mountain range already in sight. Until then, we complete a painful but necessary road preamble to its subtropical base.
Indigenous Crowned
Pueblos del Sur, Venezuela

Behind the Venezuela Andes. Fiesta Time.

In 1619, the authorities of Mérida dictated the settlement of the surrounding territory. The order resulted in 19 remote villages that we found dedicated to commemorations with caretos and local pauliteiros.
Rainbow in the Grand Canyon, an example of prodigious photographic light
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Natural Light (Part 1)

And Light was made on Earth. Know how to use it.

The theme of light in photography is inexhaustible. In this article, we give you some basic notions about your behavior, to start with, just and only in terms of geolocation, the time of day and the time of year.
Music Theater and Exhibition Hall, Tbilisi, Georgia
Tbilisi, Georgia

Georgia still Perfumed by the Rose Revolution

In 2003, a popular political uprising made the sphere of power in Georgia tilt from East to West. Since then, the capital Tbilisi has not renounced its centuries of Soviet history, nor the revolutionary assumption of integrating into Europe. When we visit, we are dazzled by the fascinating mix of their past lives.
Vesikko submarine, Suomenlinna, Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki, Finland

Finland's once Swedish Fortress

Detached in a small archipelago at the entrance to Helsinki, Suomenlinna was built by the Swedish kingdom's political-military designs. For more than a century, the Russia stopped her. Since 1917, the Suomi people have venerated it as the historic bastion of their thorny independence.
ala juumajarvi lake, oulanka national park, finland
Winter White
Kuusamo ao PN Oulanka, Finland

Under the Arctic's Icy Spell

We are at 66º North and at the gates of Lapland. In these parts, the white landscape belongs to everyone and to no one like the snow-covered trees, the atrocious cold and the endless night.
Visitors to Ernest Hemingway's Home, Key West, Florida, United States
Key West, United States

Hemingway's Caribbean Playground

Effusive as ever, Ernest Hemingway called Key West "the best place I've ever been...". In the tropical depths of the contiguous US, he found evasion and crazy, drunken fun. And the inspiration to write with intensity to match.
Cascades and Waterfalls

Waterfalls of the World: Stunning Vertical Rivers

From the almost 1000 meters high of Angel's dancing jump to the fulminating power of Iguaçu or Victoria after torrential rains, cascades of all kinds fall over the Earth.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
very coarse salt
Natural Parks
Salta and Jujuy, Argentina

Through the Highlands of Deep Argentina

A tour through the provinces of Salta and Jujuy takes us to discover a country with no sign of the pampas. Vanished in the Andean vastness, these ends of the Northwest of Argentina have also been lost in time.
North Island, New Zealand, Maori, Surfing time
UNESCO World Heritage
North Island, New Zealand

Journey along the Path of Maority

New Zealand is one of the countries where the descendants of settlers and natives most respect each other. As we explored its northern island, we became aware of the interethnic maturation of this very old nation. Commonwealth as Maori and Polynesia.
Look-alikes, Actors and Extras

Make-believe stars

They are the protagonists of events or are street entrepreneurs. They embody unavoidable characters, represent social classes or epochs. Even miles from Hollywood, without them, the world would be more dull.
Surf Lesson, Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii
Waikiki, OahuHawaii

The Japanese Invasion of Hawaii

Decades after the attack on Pearl Harbor and from the capitulation in World War II, the Japanese returned to Hawaii armed with millions of dollars. Waikiki, his favorite target, insists on surrendering.
Peasant woman, Majuli, Assam, India
Majuli Island, India

An Island in Countdown

Majuli is the largest river island in India and would still be one of the largest on Earth were it not for the erosion of the river Bramaputra that has been making it diminish for centuries. If, as feared, it is submerged within twenty years, more than an island, a truly mystical cultural and landscape stronghold of the Subcontinent will disappear.
Executives sleep subway seat, sleep, sleep, subway, train, Tokyo, Japan
On Rails
Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo's Hypno-Passengers

Japan is served by millions of executives slaughtered with infernal work rates and sparse vacations. Every minute of respite on the way to work or home serves them for their inemuri, napping in public.
city ​​hall, capital, oslo, norway
Oslo, Norway

A Overcapitalized Capital

One of Norway's problems has been deciding how to invest the billions of euros from its record-breaking sovereign wealth fund. But even immoderate resources don't save Oslo from its social inconsistencies.
Casario, uptown, Fianarantsoa, ​​Madagascar
Daily life
Fianarantsoa, Madagascar

The Malagasy City of Good Education

Fianarantsoa was founded in 1831 by Ranavalona Iª, a queen of the then predominant Merina ethnic group. Ranavalona Iª was seen by European contemporaries as isolationist, tyrant and cruel. The monarch's reputation aside, when we enter it, its old southern capital remains as the academic, intellectual and religious center of Madagascar.
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.