Then, I started to cycle again. Java is a great island. Indonesia count 257 million people and 56% of them are living on Java. So you can imagine how packed it is in here. And on the roads, well, it is hectic and the bus drivers are like crazy! I saw a few buses driving with the windscreen totally destroyed, overtaking trucks while some cars were coming on the opposite way… except of those crazy buses all the other vehicles are driving kind of “safely”. The main problem, it’s the pollution. It’s so hard to cycle in the black smoke of big trucks and buses all day. At the end of the day when I take my shower, the water is literally black.
Javanese are very friendly people like everyone I met on the road and they love to share the way they are living with me. Even if we don’t speak the same language, not a lot are speaking english even in hotels and touristic places, we can understand each other.
01/11/2016 – Camping in the bush
Total distance: 8479km
So today I’ve been cycling well. As I left my place quite late, I only did 60km. I could have keep going for a while but the night came and I was in the middle of a national park. There was monkeys everywhere and I didn’t know how it was to camp with monkeys around.
I pulled over the main road when I saw a track heading in the forest and found myself in the middle of a vast field approximately 300 meters from the main road. perfect to spend the night. I built the tent and put the extra fly ready on top. It’s too warm to put it on as I want the best airflow possible in the tent but I can see some lightings all around in the sky so I want to be ready in case of rain.
It didn’t rain and I slept well. Ready to keep going.
02/11/2016 – Huge contrasts
Total distance: 8573km
When I camp, I like to get up early with the sun and cycle a lot before the temperature is too hot. So at noon I almost done most of my day. Here, it’s a bit different because even if I can get a lot done early, the temperature and humidity, even in the early morning pushes me to stop a lot of times.
At the end of the day I made it to a 5 stars hotel. I don’t really like to go in hotels but it is my only option as it is getting dark. For the equivalent of 18€, I’ve got a bedroom with aircon and a really good internet. It’s really good to get a shower after this couple of days cycling because here I sweat way more than anywhere else. While in Australia I could be ok not having a shower for 8 days, here it’s almost impossible to not have one in more than days.
I will have a great night!
03/11/2016 – I’m sick…
Total distance: 8632km
In opposition to camping, when I stay in a comfy hotel it’s hard to start to cycle early. First, because the breakfast is served at 7am only, then because it’s comfy so I like to just lay down on the bed after breakfast as the checkout is at noon.
Today, I made it to Probolinggo to go to see Mt Bromo! So excited by this huge volcanoes! Just before I reach the place where I’m gonna spend the night, I met Ananda, he offered me to go have dinner together. I said ok. So we went for a Bakso which is meatballs in a soup then Es Campur which is Ice with fruits.
That was a great night, Ananda is a cool dude who loves to go hiking outdoor and he knows a lot of good places to visit all around Indonesia. Probo seems to be a nice place! But that night, I’ve been sick. I was feeling cold and shivering even if it was 35°C and that I was wrapped in my blanket… In adition, at 2:31 AM hte mosque right next door started to sing for 30 minutes, speakers full on. It was like I was sleeping in the Mosque. Well, Mt Bromo seems to be not doable for tomorrow…
04/11/2016 – taking a decision
Total distance: 8677km
So, as I spent a really bad night and don’t really feel to go in the wild, Mt Bromo, I decided to, first change of place because I definitely can’t sleep with a mosque singing loudly at 2am. I decide to give up on Mt Bromo. It will be for next time. Instead I cycle towards Sidoarjo and will stop when I feel to have a big rest.
Finally, I’ve made a decent 45Km even with shivers. I found another hotel, 5 stars again… It looks like the closer I get to the city and the harder it is to find cheap places (around 8€/night) Instead I just find crazy luxury places (around 23€/night)
I need a rest so it’s still very early but I close the curtains, take a shower, and go to sleep. A big sleep.
05/11/2016 – People are so kind!
Total distance: 8717km
This morning, I feel a bit better, I will try the breakfast. First food since 24h… it went well. After that I went on my bed again for another sleep before checkout.
Around noon, I start cycling, there is a conference at the hotel where I was staying and everyone wants to take a photo with me. That’s cool but I spent like 15 minutes taking selfies with everyone on the car park 🙂 It looks like it’s really rare for Indonesians to see caucasian people in this area.
After a good ride, I decide to have a break. As I can’t really eat yetI just take some ice tea and a coca cola. while having a rest, A family sit next table, start to ask me questions. We have difficulties to understand each other but we use Google translate to understand what is the question and to give the answer. They can’t believe that I am cycling all this way. They see me just drinking. The husband disappeared and came back with a box full of bakeries for me. I told him that I can’t eat as I was sick and don’t feel to eat. But I ended up eating it anyway. It was so kind! Then he went to find a doctor for me.
So I was here having a rest, and this man, Abdul Salam that I didn’t know just offered me a whole box of food and went to get a doctor for me. As I was feeling better than before I just told the doctor that I was fine, I don’t need any tablets whatsoever. We had a chat for one hour and a half… he was really interesting and I was very curious about what it is to be a doctor here.
I finally made it to Sidoarjo and met my friends lecturer met at Mt Ijen a week before. They welcomed me so warmly! It was great to see them again!
We went to my homestay then to dinner all together. It was great.
06/11/2016 – 07/11/2016 – Sidoarjo University
For those two days, all the lecturers team gave their time to entertain me and it was awesome. We’ve been visiting The Mud volcano in Sidoarjo. It’s a terrific story about a petrol forage and an earthquake that created a huge mud volcano in the middle of the city. Since May 2006, it never stopped to errupt mud. It’s the world biggest volcano as it is releasing up to 180 000 cubic meters of mud per day. Today, it’s way less with 10 000 cubic meters of mud per day. The flow is supposed to continue for the next 25 to 30 years. It has been a disaster. The mud covered two districts and left more than 40 000 people homeless.
Then We went to visit two temples and fishing. On Monday night, I gave the presentation in front of 100 of students. It was kind of a funny situation to motivates students to study to become engineer as I quit my job three years ago to travel the world. I motivate them to follow their dreams and I realised that many of them had dreams totally different of what they are studying. Well, I believe that it’s better to have someone following his path rather than trying to push him/her to study something that doesn’t speak to them.
08/11/2016 – on the way
Total distance: 8789km
Back on the road direction Jogjakarta! I’m looking forward to be there! I’ve been hearing so much about this area! After a day of cycling, I’m staying at a very cheap but very good hotel!
09/11/2016 – on the way
Total distance: 8893km
This morning I left early, I still have lot of energy after staying a few days in Sidoarjo. I will make the most of the daylight. I ended up in in Ngawi, mid way between Sidoarjo and Jogjakarta.
10/11/2016 – Last night before Jogja
Total distance: 8952km
Today, It was hot and I was feeling weak so I didn’t cycle much but it felt like ages! Not the longest 60km ever but very uncomfortable. I stayed at a weird hotel. They tried to sell me the luxury room with aircon etc… but I choose the cheapest one. In their face I could read their astonishment to see a white person choosing a room without european toilets neither shower and aircon. I prefer to save money for my holidays in Thailand in 2 weeks!
11/11/2016 – Jogja!
Total distance: 9041km
I was motivated to reach Jogjakarta. I knew that I was gonna stay there for a few days. In addition, I contacted Risky on Couchsurfing and he was keen to host me. Maybe our similar Instagram account made the connection easier 🙂 and I ended up staying 3 days in Jogjakarta with Risky and the Journesia startup team! Such a great time spent there.
Actually I did interviewed them and you can find it here: Journesia podcast
While I stayed in Jogjakarta there was a couple of things I wanted to visit, Borodbudur temple and Jomblang cave. Both places just blowed my mind! Check out those photographs of it!