Indonesia Day 3-4: A wonder of the world? Ascending Gunung (Mt.) Rinjani

Barujari, the mini volcano.  Lily named it 'Sheldon'.I had never heard of Gunung (Mt.) Rinjani before opening the Lonely Planet Guidebook.  I’d seen dozens of the ‘Top 100′ travel lists sent around Facebook, and they are very Euro-centric.  There’s no harm in that.  I expect them not to be very far-reaching.  But even better guides like Lonely Planet and adventure travel lists fail to mention Rinjani or hide it’s glory.

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Indonesia Day 1-2: Return to China – our overnight in Hong Kong

First family photo of the trip!This is the first epic vacation since 2012’s Africa expidition and I’m doubting my plan already. I traded in frequent flyer tickets for puchased ones because I found an ultra cheap fare – less than $950 each from the US to Bali, Indonesia. There are better ways to use the miles, I reasoned.

But the paid itinerary has a monster 16.5 segment from Dallas to Hong Kong, and then a 12 hour layover in one of the worlds busiest and most expensive cities: Hong Kong. As I get on the plane in Dallas, I wonder if I made the right choice. It’s much too late to second guess though, and we all settle in for the longest single flight we’ve ever taken.

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Indonesia Itinerary 2015 and a new tagline

RinjaniHere it is!  After postponing this trip last year, we are finally going to Indonesia and it will be epic.  Our last huge adventure was Africa in 2012, and though we’ve been to some cool places since then (Turkey, Iceland, Spain, Japan and Brazil) none since then have pushed our limits.

To celebrate, we’re donning a new tagline.  Our first was “Sampling noodles all over the planet” and the second was “Making Cancer fun since 2004.”.  Our new tagline, authored by Amanda is “Going all of the places!”   Indeed we are.

Indonesia is a 20 day journey – shorter than our longest trip but what promises to be our hardest adventure.  Here it is…

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Turkey Day Eight: Greatest travel day ever? Cappadocia above and below ground.

Balloon-13:45am: Beeep Beeeep Beeeep.  We get up earlier on vacation than we do at home.  I throw my pants on and hope the front office is open with some coffee, and it isn’t.  I can’t blame them (although I wish they put electric kettles in the room.)  I knock on the kids door in the dark and wake my daughters from their teen cave.  (Literally.)

The driver hurries us along, and we seem to be the last to arrive.  The balloon operation “butterfly’ is pretty big.  There are at least 100 people here eating cake (at 4:30am, blech) and coffee.  We sit next to a sweet Australian mom who is visiting her daughter doing her year of travel abroad after University.

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Turkey Day Seven: A sickening flight and our first cave hotel in Cappadocia

TurkeyDaySeven-1The hotel keeper drives us to the airport, I think in part because of the mix-up we had on the way in with his absent-minded driver. Today we backtrack to Izmir and then Istanbul again before arriving at our final destination of the trip: Cappadocia.

The Izmir airport is again empty, and with no trouble at all, we find our plane. For once we’re happy that the plane is late because it give us a chance to buy food. The early morning departures often have no opportunity for coffee or food, which eventually makes us grumpy. But we refuel.

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