3.30 am Wake-up call! We left the room and it was very cold, but we were prepared for the occasion. Even so, a man offered to rent us a winter jacket for Rs 25,000. Although it was not yet 4 in the morning, at which time we had been summoned at the reception, there were hardly any tourists and jeeps left. We were alone there until a man came and told us to go with him in his jeep. We climbed the two in the front seat a little cuddled and went to the hotel next door, where four more people went up. Once ready, we started.
The hotel was at the same entrance to the Gurung Bromo National Park and the 4 × 4 began its journey on a road where nothing could be seen, partly because of the darkness of the night and partly because of the thick fog that surrounded us. We had hired the excursion that first took you to see the sunrise from Mount Pananjakan and, as we climbed the mountain, we saw how the first rays of sun came out.
When we finally arrived, dozens of SUVs that had arrived before us were piled up on both sides of the road. We walked the last meters before reaching the viewpoint and saw that the climb was full of small bars where they sold food and hot drinks and street vendors who did the same. Upon arrival, the viewpoint was full of people and, despite arriving almost last, a Dutch man did me the favor of making a hole in the front line and thus be able to watch the show.
I don't remember people talking at that time, maybe it was that everyone fell silent when the sun came up or I was just so stunned by the show that I stopped perceiving everything around me. It is like a lunar landscape: the smoky Bromo volcano and at its side Mount Batok with its strange orography and the entire valley that surrounds them covered with thick fog. Even if they had told me it was cotton, I would have believed it. And, little by little, we watched the sun rise through the clouds.
Slowly, people came out of their lethargy and the positions in the front row were taken so that everyone could take the picture of rigor. And that is something else, but the view of the gromo Bromo from Pananjakan is pure photogenic, so much so that when I realized I did not feel my fingers from the cold.
At six in the morning, the sun had already risen at all and there were hardly any people left in the viewpoint. We took advantage of these last moments of solitude to finish admiring the landscape and, when returning to the jeep, we saw that everyone had taken refuge in the bars that were there to eat hot noodles or a tea to get warm.
We returned to 4 × 4 and drove through the fog, which was gradually dissipating, to the valley where the volcano is. The car parked about a thousand meters from the stairway that goes up to the Bromo crater and, when we got off, they told us that at 8 we had to be back in the car.
To travel that little kilometer, dozens of men offered to ride on the back of a horse, which was actually only slightly larger than a pony, for 50,000 rupees (€ 4). The ascent is not difficult, maybe a little in the last two hundred meters, but I was especially excited to ride a horse because I had never done it and it also made me sad that no one paid attention to them and that that day they would not take out a rupee, so, after haggling without any success (normal in me), I got on the horse and went up to the horse.
The final stretch is 253 steps that climb to the top of the Bromo volcano. Once up, there is a railing about ten meters long to prevent misfortune with the agglomeration of people who climb the stairs and stay there. There were people who threw a bunch of flowers into the crater that the locals sold to do some kind of good luck rite ... or something. Once the picture was taken, people turned and went down the stairs, but we walked along the edge of the crater until we were almost alone and up there we saw how, little by little, the fog disappeared completely and the sun was going illuminating everything taking out colors that we had not seen until now.