Another early start sees us leaving the £7 a night By Moritz in central Bandung and traversing the back streets and alleys in time for the 0800 “Lodaya Pagi” train to Jogjakarta.
Although it is a Sunday and the sun is still low in the sky, the diffused light of the morning has already brought numerous locals out into the alleys and byways where they are setting up their stalls in preparation for a day of vending wicker baskets, vegetables, freshly chopped chicken, or deep fried fast food.
Wisely, upon seeing the scale of our baggage, the cycle rickshaws choose not to tout for our business as we make our way through the uneven lanes to the train station.
Today’s journey is scheduled to take the best part of eight hours and after chugging our way through the urban sprawl of West Bandung, we eventually enter the plains of central Java where we are greeted by the sight of paddy fields stretching as far as the eye can see.
Workers busy themselves in the fields and I note how much more lush and fertile the landscape seems than the drought hit land which stretched on the plans out of Jakarta.
As we travel through the Javanese countryside the only initial respite from the endless view of rice growing comes in the form of the occasional cluster of volcanoes that rise pimple like from the face of the plains.
Every thirty minutes or so we pass through volcanic foothills where, hugging the steep contoured hillsides, colourful terracotta roofed villages seem to almost encroach upon the rail tracks. Life is seemingly placed on pause, as en mass, the rural communities watch our train crawl through their worlds.
The sky clouds over as the air is forced to rise over such hilly terrain. The landscape is lusher and the air now cooler than out on the smooth plains.
Sometimes the train stops (at what we assume is a signal) for an extended period and hopeful vendors approach the carriages to sell their wares. “The Boy” draws the attention of a few families who come to the window with their children to wave and interact.
Three hours into the journey, the scenery has become monotonous and the Boy, restless when suddenly we pass over a gaping gorge flanked with thatched dwellings.
It was at this point that I fell asleep having relinquished baby duties.
Appreciating what the 0.5 feels like to wake in a different place, upon coming round, we are travelling through a flat dry landscape once more.
The hills of this morning have thankfully given way to the plains of Central Java as we home in on Yogyakarta.
Our longest overland journey yet is almost complete.
Let’s hope Yogya is worth it.