This weekend, Scoopy and I got to roadtrip with some friends to a beach town in Eastern Java called Pacitan. It has been our most vigorous endeavor as driving partners and I am glad to say that we still make a great pair.
We got off to a rough start when about 30 minutes in, a woman decided it would be a good idea to try to cut across the highway without being able to see. Without any warning, there was suddenly a bike in front of me. Without all of the gory details, I had to replace my front tire (thanks to bad driver's headlight) and my ankle is currently the size of a grapefruit and the color of a plum (four days later). Luckily, I was able to hop back on the bike after a short delay and we continued to Pacitan.
After about 7 hours, several volcanoes and too many rice fields to count, we arrived in Pacitan. By this time, it was raining. We made our way to our beach-front bungalows only to be greeted with a sign that said tutup or closed. This was particularly humorous, given the events of the day and that Christine had already called to make a reservation. Luckily, there was a home stay nearby that hooked us up.
Saturday, we hit the beach. There is one beach in the actual town of Pacitan but thanks to the strong current of this part of the coast, you can't really swim in it which means that in order to get to the good beaches, you get to drive a couple hours in the most gorgeous mountains. The first beach we arrived at was Pantai Srau. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:
From there, we wandered through the mountains to some little beach that I can't remember the name of. There was a photo shoot going on and we found several needles. That was about it. After sketchy little beach, we decided to see where the mountain road would take us. That's where the pavement ended and the gravel began. After about 30 minutes of painstakingly slow driving, we were told by a nice field worker that there was in fact a beach, just ahead. Finally back on pavement, we continued to wind through the mountains on the steepest roads you could possibly imagine. When I say steep, I mean Texas Giant steep. Sometimes, while driving in Indonesia, you get the feeling that the laws of gravity don't apply and this was one of those situations. When we crested the hill to see Pantai Klayar, we were practically jumping for joy!
Unfortunately, it started to rain soon after we got there so we didn't get to see much the first day. We headed back to our town and ate at a restaurant called "Jet Sky" (which I believe was aiming for jet ski). While we were wandering around that evening looking for an internet cafe, we stumbled upon a Christian church, which we were able to attend an Easter service at the next day. We got there at 5:30 am and although I had practically no idea what the pastor was saying, it was nice being in a real church for a change, especially on Easter. They also gave us each a hard boiled egg. With a bible verse. After church and some coffee on the beach, we headed back to the mountains to check out a couple of caves.
The first cave, Goa Tabuhan, was pretty cool because some of the stalactites were hollow and when you knocked on them with a gong, would make a noise similar to the Indonesian instrument gamelan. This cave was also nice because it was nestled in a small town and we were practically the only people there.
The second cave, Goa Gong, was quite different. As I was hobbling my way up the steep steps to the caves enterance, tour buses were dropping tourists off in hoardes. We decided to enjoy an es kalapa muda or coconut and wait for the crowd to die down a bit because personal space isn't as prevalent here. When we did make our way inside, it was huge. We walked hundreds of steps to descend into the cavern. There was a lot of exploring that could be done, assuming you had the full use of both legs and a flashlight. After we left the cave, we saw signs that pointed back to Pantai Klayar and decided to see it in the sunlight. The beach was lovely but that wasn't the exciting part of this excursion. We ate lunch on the top of a cliff overlooking the beach. Christine and I saw a shack in the middle of the next cliff over and decided to go exploring. After crouching through spiky bushes, traipsing through paddy fields and scaling the edge of a cliff, we arrived in the coolest place I have ever laid eyes on. Period.
Photographs cannot do this place justice. Check it out, see if you can find me:
Look at the arch, then up at the grass line and to the right just a bit. Yep, I'm that tiny dot. This trip definitely takes the prize for the most awe-inspiring Easter break.