After leaving beautiful Bukit Lawang next destination planned is Lake Toba. But on our way we get in contact with the co driver of the van, we got in by accident, who is reading the actual newspaper. On the front page there is an article about an eruption at Mount Sinabung, a volcano quite close to Medan. Of course, we don’t wanna miss this, so we jump off the car spontaneously and take a mini van to the city of Berastagi, located close to Mount Sinabung and Mount Sibayak, another active volcano.
The town itself seems quite busy in comparison to its size. Located on an altitude of 1.300 m temperature is quite low and it doesn’t take long until I start freezing. First we check in a guesthouse close to the center and go for a walk around the market area, where locals follow their daily business. Some wearing special clothes and as we find out these people belong to the Batak Karo, a traditional local community. The way the women put scarfs on their heads differs a lot from what we saw so far.
While walking the streets a teenage boy stops us and asks us where we come from and what we plan to do around. Foreign tourists seem to be quite rare in this area and it doesn’t take long until there is a group of school kids around staring and giggling.
We stop at a small coffee place with only man sitting inside watching a daily soap on TV. As we always Seven gets a super strong and super sweet coffee and we take a seat outside. As long as the sun is shining temperatures are quite comfortable. But in the afternoon the sky gets cloudy again and after arriving at the top of a nearby viewing point it starts raining heavily. There is no way to take a look on Mount Sinabung. Everything is hidden within mist and dust and we take shelter under a roof for some minutes. Heavy rain stops soon but there are still clouds. We decide to go back to the guesthouse. Back in our room strange sounds coming from the roof cause some worries. I am sure it’s rats right above our heads and I am pretty sure about not having a relaxed night in this conditions. Our host tells us that after the eruption of Mount Sinabung animals left their places and searched for shelter closer to the city. That’s why they got problems with rats now. They offer us to change the room and we move into the stone house, which makes us feel better. In the evening it’s getting significantly cold and I need to fill my bottle with hot water to stay warm at night.
The next morning we start early to get the chance for a clear sky and good view on Mount Sinabung. There has been an eruption again and the view is just stunning. After enjoying this scenario we take a local minivan to the starting point for a three hours trek to the summit of Mount Sibayak, the other active volcano. The first part of the trek is an easy to walk street and it’s just a few people we meet here. After passing the last car stop it gets more and more people, some have been camping here for getting a chance to be on the top at sunrise. The last 45 minutes are along a steep muddy path and the smell of sulfuric acid is more and more intense. Unfortunately it starts raining and some mist is coming up again, but we are lucky to reach the crater edge before it gets to bad. That close to an active volcano is an amazing experience and we leave the place excited but also quite wet and freezing. To make us feel a bit warmer after returning from the summit we order hot coffee and fried eggs at one of the small street stalls. To reduce the time for the way back we take a local pick up from the last car stop and spend the rest of the day working on our blog.
Neither Berastagi nor our accommodation is so much inviting for us so we leave the next day after self made breakfast.
Now we are really on our way to Lake Toba!