Climbing Mt. Batur
During our first stay in Bali in 1977 my friend Uwe and I stayed at Kuta Beach, which those days was a charming place with a lot of homestays. We spent our days at the beach, and had Nasi Padang, Rijstafel, steamboat and whatever the ‘Yellow Bible’ recommended for dinner. And, of course, special omelette at the famous Garden Restaurant for a late lunch and a rather entertaining afternoon and night. We did the usual day trips to Lake Bratan, Mengwi, Sangeh, Tanah Lot, Ulu Watu etc.
After some time we felt adventurous and decided to climb Mt. Batur. We took the bus to Penelokan and stayed in a losmen called Lakeview Homestay which was rather reasonably priced. Even though we knew that it we’d arrive at an altitude of around 1.300 m we didn’t bring warm clothing. Only T-shirt and blue jeans and a light sleeping bag. After all, we were in the tropics! After sunset it started to get cool and while we had a glass of hot milk with honey on the terrace the mists were swirling around us and it seemed to get colder by the minute. The owner of the losmen tried to talk us into taking a guide but we told him that we would rather do it on our own. It was the chilliest night of my life and never have I longed more for the sunrise than on that morning.
We were lucky, it was the beginning of a perfect sunny day. Just right for climbing Mt. Batur. The village of Penelokan is located at the rim of the caldera. So we had to walk down 300 m to the lake first before climbing up another 700 m to the top of the mountain. On the lakeshore there was a little village with some romantic scenes. We met a little boy who carried a long and heavy bamboo pole. Until this very day I wonder how children in Asia manage to carry around their siblings that have at least half of their weight for the entire day. When I’m holding a child of 15 kg my arms hurt after ten
minutes. It was an easy climb but of course the heat was taking its toll. Fortunately, we had brought some water along. There were locals selling soft drinks along the way. Strangely, the price increased the higher we got. On the way we saw some signs of volcanic activity. We reached the top four hours after we had left our losmen. After enjoying the view for a while we walked back to Penelokan and caught a bus to Kuta and were glad to be back in the warm coastal climate. When we came back to Bali in 1979 we climbed Mt. Batur again – but then we were better prepared than on our first trip …