Day Trip to Árbol del Tule-Mitla-Hierve el Agua

Mornings in Oaxaca (during November) is freshy. Please don’t forget to bring your jacket in the morning to be prepared for the evening for this trip. IT WILL get chilly by the time the sun’s out. Sometimes, people decided to leave their jacket and suffer in the evening. Well, let’s just be prepared for the weather;)

Mercado Benito Juárez

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Mercado+Benito+Ju%C3%A1rez/@17.0589597,-96.728885,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c7224038b4eba3:0x71688b6fd72b54d0!8m2!3d17.0589597!4d-96.7266963

Morning walks has always been my “must-do” during my travel. So before the tour started, I decided to walk several block from my hostel to this huge market. They have so many handcraft shops, food stalls, to fresh meats.

Mercado 20 de Noviembre

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Mercado+20+de+Noviembre/@17.057857,-96.7294396,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c7224022ee0c31:0x1d059e688a2bcd76!8m2!3d17.057857!4d-96.7272509

It’s heaven of fooood<3 Cheap breakfast? Grab one here! You can get all those agua fresca (fresh flavored water) just for 30 pesos ($1.5). My favorite will always be the horchata!!! I still can’t move on. For those of you who don’t know, agua horchata is literally translated as rice water. And, they make it with crunched walnut… Can’t even expect more than this. Drool.

Árbol del Tule

The day tour started at 10am, they have a pickup from the hostel, damn the service is so great. The hostel that I stayed in was Casa de Don Pablo, they have some choices of tours during the week, super recommendable. The ride was directly to this humongous tree, it took us around 25 minutes to get there.

By the time we arrived with that tourist bus, we went to the ticket box to buy an entry ticket. No tickets are included in the tour! I mean, there are no major differences if you don’t wanna buy the ticket because you can still see the tree from farway (but without details of the unique trunk). The wind was so chill that time, even though it was sunny.

Fresh Cotton Home Industry

I feel like I’m in New Zealand! Even though the production process doesn’t start with shaving sheep, we were shown how they made all their cotton products from scratch. They are actually just a home-sized factory, you can count those knitting machine. They also made their own coloring naturally, everything eco-friendly❤ I love it!

Despite that, they sell everything crazy overprized for tourist. I mean I didn’t buy anything, so it doesn’t matter. Along the way, they told us that they still teach their kids how to knit since they’re in kindergarten. Aww! I wish I could see them doing it. Preserving cultures is important!!!

Mezcal El Rey de Matatlán

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Mezcal+El+Rey+de+Matatl%C3%A1n/@16.9945051,-96.5279791,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c732240dcf3943:0x353c252f5e652075!8m2!3d16.9945!4d-96.525785

You’re haven’t been to Oaxaca if you don’t do mezcal tasting!! Oaxaca is well known for their mezcal production compared to other states in Mexico. We started the short tour by listening to the production process, ranging from grinding to fermentation. The machineries are very limited; I think that’s only for display purposes.

Then, it continues to the tasting. There were so many types of mezcal though, from the regular, aged, to flavored. Try to drink them little by little;)

Zona Arqueológica de Mitla

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Mitla,+Oaxaca,+Mexico/@16.9211732,-96.3991341,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c0ccb057457005:0x5497eb6346d2218e!8m2!3d16.9211732!4d-96.3991341

After those alcohols I think you better rest for a bit in this 20-minute ride to Mitla. The sun was heating my beige sweater that time; we were split into 2 groups, English and Spanish speaking tour. And of course, the one in Spanish is much more complete than the English!! The tour was generally fine; the Spanish refurbished Mitla on 1520s as a religious complex, they said. Entrance fee is not included, remember! Just 60 pesos ($3.2USD) anyways;)

created by dji camera

Hierve el Agua

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Hierve+el+Agua/@16.8656531,-96.2760065,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x85c0c8fe944491e3:0x2d9ba5e9d5bb8efd!8m2!3d16.8656531!4d-96.2760065

“What even? A frozen waterfall?”, I thought.

Entrance fee: 20 pesos ($1USD). Indeed guys, it’s a petrified waterfall that form from mineral water which touches the karstic limestone. That is the reason why those crystals were formed on the mountain’s edge. Besides, you can also see the 3 mineral pools that sit beside the cliff. It is rich of calcium carbonate, magnesium, and a bit of sulphur that creates a yellow hue.

I also wonder why the name of this place started with “hierve” (in Spanish), which means boiling in English. Turns out it’s just heavily carbonated but the water temperature is just around 22-26°C (legalnomads.com). And, the water is actually sprouting out from the ground, creating some bubbles on the ground. Aside from sightseeing, you can swim inside the mineral pools too!!

And it’s not the end of the day without a little hike! I went for a 15-minute hike to see the other part, which is the cascada chica. You can see the smaller petrified waterfall with a worm point of view, so wonderful!

That’s a wrap for the day trip! Just make sure you bring some extra money for some entrance fee. Love you guys<3

Tequila, a Land Full of Blue Agave

“When will I go to Tequila? I think I should just go alone”, I said couple months ago.

Traveling alone in Mexico has been a very crazy idea after those scary experiences I had here. But trying is the key, right? Or you will never know, EVER. So I just got this crazy idea to leave Nayarit and also my work. Literally I just wanna leave all those stress and sh*t I was facing at the moment. Turns out to be a brilliant idea.

Looking that I have only have 7 days out of ‘jail’, I planned my trip starting from Guadalajara-Tequila-San Miguel de Allende-Guanajuato-Nayarit. But on this blogpost, it’s time to share about my tequila experience. I booked my Tequila trip just in front of the Guadalajara Cathedral. Because of my “job” as a student, they gave me a 100 pesos discount, show your student card!! Will be even better if you guys book the tour a day prior, it gets full.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Guadalajara+Cathedral/@20.674739,-103.3490365,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x8428b1faa928f63f:0x25dcb2cdab10691a!8m2!3d20.677034!4d-103.346984

The next day I went at 9.45 in the morning, people are very on time surprisingly. We started walking to the bus parking area, just a 5–minute walk from the cathedral. The tour that I booked is the premium 9-hour tour, that’s why all the explanations are both in Spanish and English. Even though I speak Spanish, English is still easier for me. Back to the game! We all went for an hour ride to our first stop.

 

  1. Fortuna Cerveza Artesanal

We were welcomed with a lady which turns out to be our tour guide for this place. She explained so well how they make their greatest beer line. Starting on how they choose the grains, hops, and also the special formulas. Their machines are greatly clean, I can see that they are doing it with love and passion. Regardless, the packaging is also great, I can feel the spark of young creatives.

 

 

The staffs are also very friendly! They are very welcome to pictures.

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After the tour and explanations, she brought us to the bar where we will get the beer tasting. This is what I’m waiting for!! Honestly, I haven’t drink since forever. AND, artisanal beers are actually my favorite. Let’s see how it goes. She started the explanation about IBU and ABV, very useful for a hospitality student like me. Remember, the tasting is not free, you have to pay an extra 100 pesos for it. But anyways, who will complain for $7 tasting for 6 baby glasses of great beer? Also, I did ask for a bonus, their Sake Ale which have a touch of sake taste.

 

We started from Canita Lager, California, AFortunada, Pale Ale, Indian Pale Ale (IPA), Stout, and lastly the great Sake Ale. Dear mother nature, thank you for all the plants you grant us!!! To be honest, AFortunada is the best ever for me, can’t even imagine them drinking it with Asian cuisines. After that, we left to the second spot.

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Full explanations from the guide;)

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The brewer (the guy)

  1. Tres Mujeres Tequila (Three Lady Tequila)

 

Bless me from alcohol. Hahahah! After those lovely beers, we went to the real tequila trip. Our guide explained us how (only) blue agave can make a beverage called ‘tequila’. We can only use the blue agave which has a grown piña (pine) because it means that it’s ready to be used as the base of fermentation. This all information is very new. She also showed us how they make tequila in the old days, from extracting the liquid of the blue agave’s pine and the process of boiling it in a special room.

 

“After those days with tequila, from Shanghai to Mexico, I just knew this now?!”, I said.

Moving on, we started walking to the plantation, it’s not that huge though. I think this place is family-owned? But most importantly, it’s well maintained.

 

We tried 4 types of tequila, the blanco, reposado, añejo, and extra añejo. It was great, but I don’t think it’s the best tequila producer. Imagine going to Don Julio’s!? Daaaamn. We were very happy there, following some sentences before enjoying our baby tequila glasses. Then, we continued our journey to the buffet lunch spot (which I decided not to eat because I’m on budget!). Soooo, skip to:

 

 

created by dji camera

  1. Tequila Town

We literally have 1 complete hour here, what can we even do with that?! I started walking to find a post card and a post office to send a post card back home. Tick, done! Then, I went to see some souvenir shops and start walking into the small streets. It’s indeed colorful, but it doesn’t catch my full interest.

created by dji camera

 

You can start looking at the Parroquia Santiago Apostol, the alleys, and then the plaza. Look at the town!! No es mi favorita (not my favorite). The tour ended there, the drive back to Guadalajara took us a little bit more than an hour. Greatly recommended though!

 

 

Tips on what to bring: a water bottle to dilute your alcohol content, some extra money for tasting and souvenirs.

 

San Sebastián del Oeste, a Homey Little Town

Another magic town on the list! I have been dreaming for the last 1 month to enjoy a little bit of fresh air. As you know Punta Mita; Nayarit area is still burning hot now, temperature varies from 25-30°C everyday. So for those of you who’s having a short holiday to Puerto Vallarta area, this ones for you. Going to San Sebastián del Oeste is just perfect for a day trip, or even a 2-day trip for you guys who wanted to have a more chill weekend in the fresh town.

That time, me and my friends drove from Puerto Vallarta very early in the morning, We started at 7 in the morning, allowing us to enjoy the sunrise on the way–pretty! The 3-hour drive was great actually, we passed by many breathtaking landscapes, from mountains to forests. And again, as a sleepy kid, I fell asleep because of the fresh wind going through the car window.

 

Brief history, San Sebastian is a town which were well known as their mining for silver, gold, and lead. It is found during the early Spanish colonial, in the Viceroyalty of New Spain period. Regarding the growth of this place, their population peaked up to 20,000 people but it remains around 5,000 nowadays. From the records that we have, it is mentioned that the mines start to close around 1910 because of the revolution.

 

As we begin our journey, we parked near a little shop where we can rent ATVs. The name of the place is Abarrotes Durán, the link is down below:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/20%C2%B045’42.4%22N+104%C2%B051’19.9%22W/@20.7625605,-104.8588867,17z/data=!4m6!3m5!1s0x8426b765352d8b4d:0x31d5a4dfad50b4bc!7e2!8m2!3d20.7617815!4d-104.8555394

 

We then rented two 2-seated ATV, the price was a great deal. I paid 700 pesos for 3 hours. Also, a huge reminder, don’t forget to bring your driving license if you wanna be the driver of the ATV! Well for me, I don’t need it because my friend Arturo is driving for me–he’s a crazy driver. 

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Beginning of the track

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On the way to mud splashes

First stop will be the first break point! We went to some crazy tracks, splashed with mud and also water. But for sure, picture first!! Hahaha! We started from the village with locals around, then the mountain area. It was a very bad idea to use my white shirt, OMG!

 

There was one time that our ATV was about to flip away (like fly through the cliff), crazy times. My friend Andrea was even worst, her ATV was almost flipping to more than 3 times! Be careful people! About 50 minutes from the starting point, we finally touched down the first break point. There’s really nothing there, it’s just a signal tower and we decided to take a group picture!

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Pay attention to the sign

The weather was a bit cloudy that day, but it was fresh! Imagine the smell of the forest, plus the mountainous breeze–never fail to make me calm! Afterwards, we endure back our body and soul to the track to La Bufa (the main observing deck). The drive was not that long, maybe only 20 minutes. But there, we have to park our ATVs and start a little 10-minute hike to the observing deck. I was having a very bad kit to hike, because I forgot to use my shoes!! 

 

 

The hike was super easy, I survived! The fog was very strong that we cannot see anything:( We just chill there for a while, taking so much pictures, eat our snacks, and sit down on the rocks. Because there was not really a view to enjoy, we decided to move and continue our journey to a mine, Mina Santa Gertrudis.

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It was quite a long drive, maybe 30 minutes? Mina Santa Gertrudis is a haunted silver mine where some kids (3 girls and some boys) in the depth of 80 metres. We walked through it, it’s cold…. Not long after, we decided to drive back because out 3 hours are almost out. 

 

We were soon hungry after that 3-hour fun drive. My friend Andrea keeps telling me there’s a very nice restaurant in town. And this Italian restaurant is indeed SUPER legit. And thankfully, they were open too! Take note people, the name is: Montebello Restaurant (closed on Tue and Wed)

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Montebello+Restaurante/@20.7614106,-104.8532138,18z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xb07ee993d32f13f9!8m2!3d20.760661!4d-104.851967

 

And of course, I ordered the jamón serrano pizza! And look how they create the friendly and homey atmosphere of the place…. Super comfortable and great when you come with your family, friends, or your partner! Maybe grab a cup of wine when you take your loved ones here! I am so in love with this place<3 

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Just a perfect shot of our food

After a whole pan of pizza, we continued exploring the downtown. At first, we went to San Sebastián Mártir Church. The church is painted in light blue color. Not long after, we just walked back to the the plaza (Plaza Publica) to see some shops around.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/San+Sebastián+Mártir/@20.7617384,-104.8527681,20z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x8426b764b59cd8a7:0xf6d8e21d199bbe00!8m2!3d20.7618542!4d-104.852709

 

 

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We were in Calle Allende looking at this pretty shop, and of course I bought a postcard to send it home to Jakarta. We had a very wonderful time that day. I really can’t wait to go out with them again! See you on the next one:)

 

 

Tips on what to bring: hat, backpack, water, bug spray, UV protector, hiking shoes.

Beach Hike to Las Animas

Working 9.5 hours per day is quite tough to admit. But having my days off on weekends is great. Come on, just be grateful and don’t complain about life. Something better is waiting for ya’ll out there. Mornings are not really tough for me, it’s just part of my routine! But then, the sunrise time during this time of the year is still super late, around 7.40! But anyways, I finally arrive in Nuevo Vallarta to meet my friend, Esperanza.

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The road from Puerto Vallarta down south east

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The entrance to Boca de Tomatlan Village

She drove all the way south east passing Puerto Vallarta downtown. I literally just went to a deep sleep because of the fresh wind from the window. My hair flew back together with the wind, I just feel peaceful! After around 1.25 hours drive from Puerto Vallarta, we finally touch down our feet on Boca de Tomatlan, a little village I can say.

For people out there who don’t own a car or doesn’t rent any, you can also take a bus to Boca de Tomatlan! From Puerto Vallarta Old Town, you should take a bus from Basillo Badillo and Constitucion and get a bus which shows Mismaloya/Boca. If I’m not mistaken the bus color is orange!

Walking in my white Adidas ultra boost was amazing, I don’t even feel like walking! Also a little reminder, never forget to bring water, insect repellent, sunscreen, and snack! The starting point of the hike was clear, there’s a sign and you have to cross a bridge, crossing a river. Then, you have you pass some casitas (small houses) just around the community–super safe here! People are friendly and they always greet us along the way.

The beginning of the hike is just fine, the route is easy, just stairs and nothing is slippery–even the day before was raining. Not long after the hike, we found the first “break” point, you might feel dehydrated after a 30-minute walk, grab your liquid! And you’re back on the track. For those of you who wants to challenge yourself, jogging/running in this kind of track is super possible. It was already 10 am that time, we decided to continue before the sun stung our skin!

Next stop is Colomitos Beach (Playa de Colomitos), it’s a public beach–super pretty! Also, if you want to do snorkeling, bring your goggles or your snorkeling kit. The water is crystal clear, maybe you can spot 1 or 2 small boats going there–they’re the water taxis from Boca de Tomatlan. For us, we just chill a little while there–by means taking some pictures! It was already hot at that moment. Just half way to go to Las Animas–our final point.

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Look how clear is the water

Warning! The route after Colomitos gets harder, but nothing to worry! Just wear your shoes back and control your balance. Additionally, the view is waaaaay more breathtaking. Get ready to be amazed! My local friend told me the “forest” route is almost done–can’t wait! After around 20 minutes, we started walking down the beach and the sand, way easier!! But then, we passed some huge rocks on the way, just be aware!

Not long after, we start passing by some boutique resorts (Hotelio Mio and Playa Caballo Resort). Damn, those resorts look very dreamy! Just check them out at booking.com! Just perfect for couples!! Just look at the tree houses, I wish I can stay there for holiday! Afterwards, we start walking again to the beach route, as we can already see Las Animas from distance.

From the colorful umbrellas, amount of people around the coast, the stalls, and the water taxis gathering that area, you can clearly see that you’re about to enter a little world out of nowhere! And look, I found this pug puppy, made my day already! As you enter Las animas, you can start looking to different food stalls. Servers in the restaurant will start to greet you and offer you different types of food and drink.

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The umbrellas from far away

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That time, me and my friends decided to try Mike’s Beach Club.

https://www.google.com.mx/maps/place/Mike’s+Beach+Club/@20.5071997,-105.3458629,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x84215c2492f565bd:0xffa146e3181efe3f!8m2!3d20.5071947!4d-105.3436742

I wasn’t that hungry in the beginning, but ordering a limonada (lemonade) is always a great idea! Hot weather and cold drinks? Who will ever say no! Hahah! After enjoying a little nap on one of the cabana, I decided to order a portion of marlin fish. Believe it or nor, it was THE BEST marlin plus tortas that I’ve ever eaten in my whole life! I will recommend it to everyone!!!

After chilling out for hours there, we can either hike back to Boca de Tomatlan (which takes another 2 hours back) or take the water taxi. And of course, water taxi was what we chose. It cost only 50 pesos for a 10 minute ride. Just great!! We finally arrive to the coast and decided to go back home.

Tips on what to bring: water, sunglasses, swimsuit, snorkeling kit, bug spray, sun block.

Hiking Alta Vista, a Barely Touched Historic Spot

Big fat greeting from Mexico. I can’t believe it that I am here already. Mixed feelings for sure! Finally my fourth country in the last 2 years. Time flies, plans changed, and of course no regrets! I am loviiiiing it. Moving to Mexico is one of a huge challenge, but I can do a lot of my outdoor hobbies, from diving to hiking!

This time, I am excited to share with you guys for my journey last week with my neighbour, Shane. Last minute decision, but still it was the best decision to make that day. We depart around 10.10 in the morning from La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit. Sun was out, so ready to absorb the light, but don’t forget to use your UV protection guys!

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Half way to go!

We drove up north following the Google Maps to Alta Vista for around an hour and fifteen minutes. The location that Google brought us wasn’t that persistent. We followed the route down south and thought we were lost in the middle of nowhere. We passed by a very long bath of pebble roads in the middle of forests. Here’s what we found!

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What I mean by pebble road

Aguas Termales

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Aguas+Termales+Nuevo+Ixtlan/@20.9747405,-105.2211294,12z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x842132098ddc67cd:0x557992355708c0fc!8m2!3d20.981556!4d-105.1089478

To be honest, we didn’t expect anything from being lost. But we found this amazing place which for sure, only locals knew about it. Swim suit ready, and let’s dip in the hot thermal water! The most amazing part must be going out the hot pool and move to the fresh pool. We just need it after those long drive. We saw some locals there, they even cook with charcoal, I guess? The smell wasn’t great:(

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They look so happy!!!

After a long talk about life, we just double our swimwear with our hiking attire. We decided to ask more locals regarding the place we really want to visit. Beforehand, I read this article online but it was not really helpful because there are no step-by-step guide how to get there. But now that I had the full experience, I can share it with you guys.

While driving up back north to Alta Vista which took around 45 minutes back, we decided to stop for a cold beer. And suddenly it was actually the place where we found the local guide. We saw so many people guys chilling around there. After we bought the beer, we just asked the seller about the place without an actual name. He then introduced us to Christopher, a young locals. There’s a guy who helped us in translating everything to English, but it wasn’t necessary because we both do speak Spanish. We finally reached a decision to pay him MXN$400 for the guiding service.

This is the place where you can find the guides!

https://www.google.com/maps/place/21°04’33.1%22N+105°09’25.9%22W/@21.0728523,-105.2361938,12z/data=!4m6!3m5!1s0x84212933ba25f009:0x53a3d8e46ca213e2!7e2!8m2!3d21.0758707!4d-105.1571846

Christopher then went to the Jeep that we were driving with, showing the roads to get to the place named, Las Ruinas. After a 5 minute drive, we reach this spot

https://www.google.com/maps/place/21°05’28.6%22N+105°10’17.1%22W/@21.0728523,-105.2361938,12z/data=!4m6!3m5!1s0x842129206128d78b:0xe3bc2c096a0db626!7e2!8m2!3d21.0912671!4d-105.1714325 (it’s a horse ranch).

Just in front of it, there’s a sealed gate with spikes and wood. From there, we start a little drive!

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This is the entrance with spikes and wood

We drove little to the east where there are no exact route to be honest. Just forest with tall grass, tree, and bushes. We will never ever found this route without a guide, very worth it! We were able to pass through all of those paths with the Jeep, a sedan can’t even bare to pass this kind of route. Christopher also mention that we can actually start hiking before the forest path, but it will take us around 2 hours to get to Las Ruinas. Also, there is an alternative road (which is longer) which will take 2-hour drive on road.

Driving to the spot where we start the hike was not long at all, maybe around 15 minutes? Under the clouds, we started the hike gracefully until the part where we enter the real forest where low hiking skill is needed. As we walk a little bit, we finally reach the entrance of the ruins, finally!!! Starting here, we can find wooden banners full of information that we have to know about the history about this place.

I can still imagine the smell of the scrubs, it was fresh! After a little walk, Christopher let us try a coconut oil fruit, look! It was delicious as a snack. Afterwards, we finally saw the first stone carving which looks like eyes. The hike was not long at all, maybe just a half an hour to see everything and pictures!

Here are more pictures for you to see what we have seen! From arrows, spirals, sun, and other interesting shapes carved deeply into the stones. We can also see some stones with “givings” on top of it, he said it’s for ceremonies.

After another little hike, we found a small waterfall.

“This is the bath of the kings and queens about 3000 years ago!”. Christopher said.

And of course I tried to pose like one in the pictures below! The water aren’t that clear. That’s why we decided to continue walking and finish all the track.

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The small waterfall

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The seat for the queens back in the old days

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That was the last check point from the whole hike. We decided to come back from that 25 minute hike and look what we found! Fresh soursop just from the tree. Taste sooooo great. By the time we wanna drive back, Christopher offered us another place to explore. It’s a very old place where they suppose to make coffee. The name is Amigo Producto de Cafe, it was about 5-10 minute drive.

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Some locals helped us to unlock the door of this place, they said it was a coffee factory until an earthquake came to destroy the whole building. So many coffee machines are made in New York–interesting.

And that’s a wrap!! See you on the next one:)

Tips on what to bring: sunglasses, towel, swimsuit, snacks, water, sun block (UV protection), bug spray, an extra change for clothes.

From Mountains to Beaches

First of all, thank you so much Marbella for the amazing weather you have. I have been enjoying it so much, but it’s a cold winter they said. Not for me though! After several days walking back and fourth to school and also the supermarket–El Corte Inglés (for you guys living in Marbella for sure you know this place), I just feel that I’m super done with all this long walks. Well, I enjoyed it but then it’s also dangerous. There are no road lights at all when it goes dark, like WHY *double chin face*.

But then coincidently, I met this super cute guy at school. He looks like a high school student, I just cannot (HAHAH!!). We get along together and he really wants to bring me to this place in Istán–a town near Marbella. He drives, which is good! Obrigado, Diogo! I was amazed for the whole ride, the view was stunning! And also note that we went to a curly roads with slopes through the mountain.

This is Diogo

Having a kid driving for me is cool

The Drive

Those curly roads, I’m a little bit dizzy after that!

“Wow, look at that!!”, I said.

It was the only sentence I used during the way. After about 15 minutes, we finally reach the cool spot. Once I opened the car door, the breeze got into my knit sweater. With all those green trees, I can even smell the fresh green leaves there. Feelin’ inspired to be honest. It’s been the longest time having that much space in my life. Japan made me feel small and confined.

I started to span my arms to the blue sky, and let all the negativity banish itself. We sat there for quite a while, looking to the far-mountain talking about life and be inspired. Also, there’s a lake just in front of the mountain. Too good!

Just a day after that, Diogo brought be to Victor’s Beach to have a chill walk in the afternoon. Just a 5-minute ride from school! Hearing the splashing waves and shrieking birds made me feel like home–as you guys know I’m from Indonesia, beach are everywhere! I wish I can bath myself with the salty water, but it’s still too cold. Let’s wait until it gets warmer! I’ll keep you guys posted for that;)

“We should run along this beach other times!”, said Diogo.

We passed through some ports there, along with fancy restaurants and bars. Such a great place to unwind stress… Especially with Marbella’s majestic sunset just above the horizon. We stayed for quite a while, just enjoying a typical Sunday afternoon. Also, it was so funny that we play tickle-each-other just by the coast and I just throw myself to the grey-brown sand. I just can’t stop laughing!!

 

Testing My Bravery to The Highest Volcano in Indonesia, Mt. Kerinci

The weather was great that day. I landed in Minangkabau Airport which is located in Padang, West Sumatra. And thankfully all (me and my friends) of our baggages were safe and sound. Like any other road trips, I spent my whole day in the car to go to Kersik Tuo (it’s the last village before hiking Mt. Kerinci. 7 and a half hours passed, I had a lot of fun chatting with my long lost friend (it’s been a year though), Prema.

Arriving at that homestay was very joyful ‘cause I’m extremely hungry (food please!). And guess what? They got the most delicious foods ever. I ate a lot of spicy foods like fried mackerels, fried eggplants, plus fried crackers. Well, after dinner we should repack our hiking gears and all the stuffs we wanted to bring tomorrow. One day was completely over.

I woke up at 5 in the morning, not feeling that fresh. I went out of room, the weather was awesome. The wind breezed softly, the sunshine started to come out, I loved it. Our carriers were all inside the bus now. So it’s time to stretch that body before the long and challenging hike.

“Okay students, we’re now leaving to Pintu Rimba (Kerinci’s entrance gate)” said Mr. Jemy.

We finally arrived at Pintu Rimba after 15 minutes drive, I can still picture the tea plantations along the way to get there. It was breathtaking. Here’s a photo of me and my friends before the hike– we looked so excited.

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Look at our happy faces!

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Walking to Pintu Rimba

The tough hike then start. We prayed. We believed in ourselves. We were split into some groups though, creating gaps between them because we got different level of speed. Along the way, we usually shouted a code “woo”–like a wolf to make sure the groups behind us are following the same way as the leading group. Oh, that “woo” signal echoes in the forest.

We spent 45 minutes to reach station 1, 45 minutes to station 2, 1.5 hours to station 3, 2 hours to shelter 1, 4 hours to shelter 2, and 1.2 hours to shelter 3. The tracks were getting harder and harder since shelter 1. The worst part was the hike between shelter 2 to shelter 3. It was frinkin’ steep and slippery. Some of the tracks were more than 1 meter high that I should pull my body up with my walking stick (plus my hand).

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Arriving at Shelter 3 with a big smile

Sleeping in my not-so-thick sleeping bag was comfortable enough. It was 3.30 a.m the first time I woke up. This part is always the hardest point when hiking a mountain, the summit attack. We need to be full of energy in the early morning. I opened my tent zipper, the cold wind started to enter in. I put on my damp Columbia shoes on and lift up my body. I think the temperature was about 7-10℃ that time.

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Tents with sprinkle of stars

I chose to hike with the first group which were all boys because I wanted to spend more time on the summit. The hike was really tough, the track in the beginning were moldy and slippery. Thankfully, I don’t slip at all. Phew!

“Hey! Beware guys, the route here is very narrow”, said David.

It was extremely narrow to be honest, I can only fit in both of my feet horizontally. Walking between gorges was quite scary. Just imagine what will happen if the rocks and ground chip or something. But anyway, we finally made it through the summit. We were so happy and full of joy that day. Reaching a 3805 AMSL volcano was a thing, really. I’m so proud for every one in this trip.

The peak time for staying on the summit is coming to an end. The sulfur smoke started to blow up. We decided to hike back to our camp. It was so bright when we hike down. I can’t even imagine how can I hike this type of track, rocky and steep. I mean, just look! During the hike back, I got lost on the track that I had to climbed up (again) and move to the right route. It was really terrifying to be honest.

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The rocks are loose, dangerous to walk on

Some of the times, the fog came that we can’t really see who’s in front of us. It took 2 and a half hours to go back to our camp in Shelter 3. Right after brunch, we hiked to Pintu Rimba for 6 and a half hours, right before the sun sets.