East Java, Road Trip. Day 7

Mount Ijen- Blue fire!

The hardest day of the entire trip hands down, this was it. The best time to see the blue fire is at the peak of darkness. Our resort was about 45 minutes from the volcano. 

We got to base camp, meaning there were plenty of small vendors serving up coffee and snacks. This is not a huge mountain climbing adventure so it was not truly a basecamp. This is a tourist attraction. I got conned into buying a hat from the local vendors and all in all it was the best purchase because I was about to find out that things will get cold. 

What we didn’t bother checking was the process of getting from the base of the mountain to the rim of the volcano. We also neglected to read up on the ascent and descent from the Blue Fire itself.  

The three-hour hike.

This was something unexpected. Don’t get me wrong, I did check on a map. I just didn’t read the details. About one and a half hours of the hike was let’s say manageable. The other hour and a half was a 35-degree incline to the top. 

We began our trek to the top. I thought I was underdressed as I was the only idiot in shorts. Later on, it turned out to be okay but I was sure happy I bought the hat. Despite smelling like kerosene it kept my head warm. I wonder how it will smell when I get it back from the laundry. 

No matter, we trekked on and I had to pause a few times, okay many, many times. Partly because of my injury and partly because it was damn hard. We climbed and climbed for what seemed like forever. 

Reaching for the top. 

Well, we did it. My friend and I made it. We had a guide that was showing us around, but we were not done yet. We had to go down 900 meters into the crater of Mount Ijen.

This is where we get to see the famous Blue Fire. The descent was crazy. It was rocky and slippery. There was moisture in the air and everything was damp. Watching every step as we went was important. No railings to hold onto here. If you fall it’s a long way down. 

We had our headlamps but it was not an easy trek down. By the time we got to the bottom, I was very tired. We had not had breakfast, no coffee, only water. I could have used a nice hot latte at the bottom. 

The Blue Fire.

I’ll just say it. It was not worth the trek. Now I can say I did it even with a bad leg. However, if I knew then what I know now, I may not have gone. It is methane gas burning at the bottom of the crater. The size of the fire is supposed to be quite large but we could only see 10-15 meters by maybe 5 meters of it. 

Under the Blue Fire, miners were getting huge chunks of sulfur and carrying these slabs to the top to sell. These miners do the climb 2-3 times a day. I was dead doing it once. 

The small gifts sell for under a dollar and large chunks of the sulfur can be purchased but it is not like crystals. Some chunks are amazing and others are only slabs. 

Getting back to the top seemed as if was going to take forever. The winding paths were nearly too much. By the time we made it to the top, it was daylight and the scenery was spectacular. All in all, I am glad I did it. Even if the Blue Fire could have been a little more exciting. 

#roadtrip #eastjava #surabaya
#bromo #volcano #traveling #travelling #exploreindonesia, #photography
#travelblog #indonesia


Published by Zsolt Zsemba

Zsolt Zsemba has worn many different hats. He has been an entrepreneur, and businessman for over 30 years. Living abroad has given him many amazing experiences in life and also sparked his imagination for writing. After moving to Canada from Hungary at the age of 10 and working in a family business for a large part of his life. The switch from manufacturing to writing came surprisingly easily for him. His passion for writing began at age 12, mostly writing poetry and short stories. In 1999, the chance came to write scripts. Zsolt took some time off from his family business to write in Jakarta Indonesia for MD Entertainment. Having written dozens of soap operas and made for TV movies, in 2003 Zsolt returned to the family business once more. In 2018, he had the chance to head back to Asia once again. He took on the challenge to be the COO for MD Pictures and get back into the entertainment business. The entertainment business opened up the desire to write once more and the words began to flow onto the pages again. He decided to rewrite a book he began years ago. Organ House was reborn and is a fiction suspense novel while Scars is a young adult drama focused on life’s challenges. After the first two books, his desire to write not only became more challenging but enjoyable as well. After having several books completed he was convinced to publish them for your enjoyment. Zsolt does not tend to stay in one specific genre but tends to lean towards strong female leads and horror. Though he also has a few human interest books, he tends to write about whatever brews in his brain for a while.

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