The tea plantation was a delightful retreat from the congested city of Bandung, with acres and acres of land lush with the green of tea leaves. Hiking through the plantation, we made headway towards this miniature waterfall. It was not particularly spectacular, but the slight splash of the water against my face on such a hot day was particularly refreshing. There were also some locals, clearly a close group of young friends, whiling away their day with laughter around the falls and it was with a little envy that I watched them. What a carefree way to spend a day!
We broke for an Indonesian lunch at a little eating spot on Situ Ciburial (Lake Ciburial) run by a mother and daughter team, and ate on the balcony which looked out onto a lake that rippled beautifully from the reflection of the sunshine. It was a buffet style meal with about 14 different choices on offer. I tried a little of each, and all the food was delicious and fresh. There were a number of deep fried dishes, which on my travels so far had appeared to be quite commonplace; two different types of fish, one chicken, battered mash potato, and one of shredded pork. There was also a beef curry and a variety of stir-fried vegetables mixed with tofu, pork or mushrooms. My favourite though was the chicken steamed in banana leaf with lemongrass and spring onions, for in the cooking process the banana leaf had ensured that the fragrance of the lemongrass was deeply infused in the chicken.
Next we headed to Gunung Papandayan (Volcano Papandayan). I had seen other volcanoes before – Cotopaxi in Ecuador, Arenal in Costa Rica – but nothing prepared me for the spectacle that was Papandayan. We spent some three hours exploring its crevices, and at every turn there was a new wonderment to gaze upon. For all its destructive force (it last erupted in 2002), it had also left a legacy of extreme barren beauty; mud pools bubbling away, rocks swollen yellow with sulphur deposits, cracks in the earth steaming with gas, a crater filled with cobalt blue water. It was truly a spectacle to behold.