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  • Writer's pictureChiara

Two Italians, two Swedes and a Balinese climb a volcano

Bali, Indonesia - September 2023


It all starts with a late driver, two Swedes in short-sleeved shirts and the slopes of a volcano. 

I look at my watch, it's one o'clock in the morning, we have just finished watching the film 'Try and catch me' and we officially realise that we haven't slept and that it's pointless to do so since half an hour later the alarm clock would remind us of our night appointment. I had agreed with the driver that at 2:00 he would pick us up to take us to the agreed meeting point, but at 2:30 still no sign. 2:40 Rudi calls me in a still sleepy voice saying that he is late. After a thousand excuses, we discover that we will have two companions, two Swedish girls who welcome us with an outfit consisting of a short-sleeved shirt and long 'Afghan' cotton trousers, I was already cold. Once we were fully booked, we set off at a speed of 90km/h towards Mount Batur, the second still active volcano on the island of Bali which, 'with its height of more than 1700m, is the least strenuous to reach' or so we had read in the guidebooks. 

After an hour and a half's drive (for our driver 45 minutes), we begin to see our target, small lights can be seen on the side of the volcano. Our guide is waiting for us with 4 sticks, 4 torches in his hand and a toothy smile, at least one of us is wide awake at 3am. We begin the ascent of the mountain that last erupted 23 years ago, our guide chants the words 'slowly' in Indonesian like a mantra, he does this because the climb is particularly steep, he explains that there will be a flatter section and then the last stretch for a total of 700m of altitude difference with 80% gradient. It is dark, the terrain is steep and yielding being lava stone, every two steps you slip one, the 4 a.m. wind blows violently making you feel cold. After two hours of walking, I turn around and the first lights of dawn are replacing the thousands of stars that we could see, just a little further. At 5:00 a.m. we arrive at the top, the spectacle before us is shared with everyone else there and it is the most beautiful thing we could imagine, the only words that come out are: Bali, you are beautiful.


Chiara


Bali Vulcano
Climbing in the dark
Alba sul vulcano a Bali
The first light of day
Bali vulcano
Almost on top
Bali vulcano
"Bali, you are stunning"


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