Garut & around
t’s time for another trip. This time Limey and I decide go to Garut.
Garut is a small town on a highland about 215km from Jakarta, it gives endless panoramic views of mountains (Mount Papandayan (2622m), Mount Cikuray (2821m), Mount Guntur (2249m), and Mount Karacak (1838m). Some of these are still active volcanoes that provide hotsprings. ) they seem to astonishingly encircle the region popularly known as the Switzerland of Java.
We planed to start early in the morning. But I had plane ticket problems with my Bromo trip that I needed to take care of first. Soon after we fixed my ticket problems we were on the road !
Once again we went in the middle of the week so we could avoid the crazy traffic. Which is usually what weekends are like. On the way there we did not have many problems, traffic was relatively smooth and we reached Garut after about 4 hours.
The hotel was also easy to find since there was just one main street. The Hotel was new and very nice, actually it was really new and some parts were still under construction ( like the swimming pool ) and everyone was really friendly and nice. Then it was time to find some lunch and we were shocked that all of the restaurants were closed, it was Ramadan month and Indonesia is a country mostly populated by muslims, so it was obvious why we were unable to buy dinner anywhere, we just forgot about it, but luckily the restaurant in the hotel was open so we ate there.
After lunch we went to Candi Cangkuang lake. Like always we used google maps and it was a fail again, it took us to some small street with a dead end so we reached our destination the old fashion way, asking local people how to get there. We reached the lake about 4pm and we were almost the only tourists there. There is a lake with a small island in the middle, and the only way to reach the island is by a raft made of bamboo, its looks really pretty. On the island is located the only Hindu temple that was ever found in East Java. I took some photos of Cangkuang Temple and then the sun was beginning set so it was time to go back.
After we reached the hotel we had dinner and later I went to the rooftop to take some photos of the stars, and star trails. The hotel personnel were really polite and they opened the door immediately and the security man kept me company. He also advised me it would be a nice sunrise at this location too and he would be happy to open the door again for me ( I was really happy about that ).
I was shooting stars till 11pm and it was really cold that evening, I took a hot shower and then went to sleep with alarm set for 4:30am.
It was a short night but I managed to wake up on time. I took a long tshirt and small jacket with me ( based on experience of the last night ) and headed up to the roof. The door was unlocked like security told me it would be and I started takeing photos of the morning blue hour, and later the sunrise.Sunrise was really nice and it gave such a nice view of the volcanos and mountains around me. I was really happy with the morning and that I decided to wake up early, it had really been worth it. I stayed on the rooftop till about 7am and then I headed back to the room to get some more sleep.
Later we had breakfast and we decide to go to Pantai Cijeruk ( or Cijeruk Beach ) and the way to get there was a real adventure ! This time we did not get lost but the road was like a snake, very narrow and very winding, up and down and cars from opposite directions really cut every corner and were speeding, We also almost had a car crush with a mini-bus. On the way we saw some breath taking scenes like the tea plantations all around us. We need about 3 hours to get to the beach.
We finally reached the beach and we walked to the sea, all of a sudden rain started !! DejaVu from Bandung ( Kawah Putih ) trip, I was just 30 seconds in my spot and the rain started, so we were forced to spend some time under palms in the little forest till the rain stopped. The beach was nice, volcanic sand all around us and we were almost the only people there, I did not take many photos but I had a nice swim there ( actually not swim, more like just standing in the water till the big waves crashed over me, but I liked it, in Croatia we do not have those kind of waves ). I forget about time and I missed the perfect opportunity for sunset shoot.
After sunset mosquitos started to attack us so we quickly got back in the car and headed back in Garuts direction. I was thinking it would be more easy to drive at night on the winding road because of the car lights, so we can see when somebody was coming in our direction, but I was wrong – it was really thick fog so we couldn’t see anything!
We reached the hotel safe and sound after few hours of driving, and I decided to go try shooting the stars one more time. In the hotel I asked security to unlock the door of rooftop and they did it instantly, and the security men also kept me company during my camera shooting. I shot about an hour and then it was time to shower and sleep.
On the third day I woke up early to shoot the sunrise. But the weather was not very nice, the sky was gray and full of clouds. I decided to wait for sunrise time in hopes some of the clouds would open up the horizon and the sky would explode with colours for me, it did not happen so I just went back to bed and slept some more.
We checked out of the hotel and got something to eat there ( it was the only place where we could order, because all of the restaurants were closed during the day ). I wanted to take some photos from the roof one more time, and security did not mind opening the door even though we were already checked out, I took some long exposure photos with my Lee Big Stopper filter and then we left.
We wanted to visit Mount Papandayan. (A Vulcano that in 1772 nearly killed 3000 people with ash flows, clouds, ashes and an avalanche. The next major eruption was in 2002 in which the crater wall collapsed.) We planned to go there by car, but the road was so terrible that we scratched the car on some holes so we decide to give up and just go back, there were men offering us transport by motorbike ( in Indonesia they are called “ojeg”, everyone will transport you anywhere with motorbike for money, price was 100 000 idr or about $10 usd per ride ), they said it was about a 30 minute ride and then we would need to walk to reach it, but I really didn’t feel like I wanted to go ! Mainly because I don’t like those ojeg people, they drive reckless and I would have my camera backpack and tripod with me, also weather was looking like rain so I did not want to be stuck there if it started to rain and after sunset is cold. I did not know where else to go so we just drove around and decide to visit a tea plantation that we saw on the way to Cijeruk beach.
The plantation was really nice but the sky was just gray, no contrast at all, I took a few photos and soon it was sunset time and the fog started to roll in really fast. It was really nice to see how the white clouds of fog would suddenly coming in to you. When we could no longer see anymore we went back to Jakarta.
The road was a normal speed with little traffic, by Indonesian standards and in total driving back from tea plantation was about 5 hours.
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