Not as many photos today but a great last day in Yogyakarta. Bram, Bambang, Annette and I headed out at 7am for Mount Merapi, an active volcano about 30min by car from the guest house. After winding our way up the base of the mountain we parked and arranged for an off road jeep ride further up the mountain for views of the mountain itself, but also to see the destruction of the last two eruptions in 2006 and 2010.
A bit of info about Mount Merapi(with help from Wikipedia for helping to summarize what we learned today):
Typically, small eruptions occur every two to three years, and larger ones every 10–15 years or so. Notable eruptions, often causing many deaths, have occurred in 1006, 1786, 1822, 1872, and 1930. Thirteen villages were destroyed in the later one, and 1400 people killed by pyroclastic flows. The last major eruptions were in 2006 and 2010.
In May of 2006 active lava flows began and once it became constant some 17,000 people were ordered to be evacuated from the area. Many villagers defied the dangers posed by the volcano and returned to their villages, fearing that their livestock and crops would be vulnerable to theft. Later that month, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck roughly 50 km (31 mi) southwest of Merapi, killing at least 5,000 and leaving at least 200,000 people homeless in the Yogyakarta region, heightening fears that Merapi would “blow”. Despite lava pouring out down the slopes no one was killed.
In 2010 the people of the mountain were not so lucky. A series of earthquakes hit and despite evacuation orders, many people were still living on the mountain when the volcano erupted. Between the lava, ash and intense heat over 350 people had died, while 320,000 were displaced.
Over the course of a 90 minute off road (and I mean the bumpiest ride I’ve ever experienced) we saw a makeshift museum in a house that had been burned to the ground by lava, a bunker which saved many people in 2006 but where two rescue workers perished from the heat, and spectacular views of the mountain itself.
Many of the photos you see from the museum are of objects that had been damaged or destroyed by the lava – most interesting was the glassware that had completely melted.
We then headed to a nearby museum, Ullen Sentalu Museum, where Annette and I had a private English-speaking tour of the history of Java, their Royal families and the Javanese culture, including its history with Dutch rule. There was so much information to take in, it’s nearly impossible to relate even a little. The biggest disappointment here was that because it’s a private museum no photos were allowed at all! Oh well, a great experience nonetheless and some photos of the exterior to share.
The last stop of our morning tour was for food and drink. We headed to a local restaurant which served local tempeh, coconut mixed rice and a sweet rice patty as a little dessert. It doesn’t look nearly as appetizing as it was – the perfect way to end our half day together.
On the way home we dropped Annette off at a spa for a massage (they could only fit one person in otherwise I would have been up for it too) and I came home to update the blog, book my flight for tomorrow, shower and relax.
Annette and I headed to a local street restaurant for our last meal together and a promise to keep in touch. Back to Bali tomorrow and the anticipation of a slower pace to the rest of my journey here.