Yogyakarta, or short Yogya is one of the two still excisting traditional royal cities of Central Jawa; the other is Solo. The city is in the centre of a wide belt of fertile ricefields, which are dominated in the north by the smouldering Gunung Merapi ('Mount Merapi'), and in the south is limited because of the rough Indian Ocean.
An ideal place to escape the tremendous heat of the plateau, is the mountain village of Kaliurang, located higher in the mountains, 24 kilometers north of the city of Yogyakarta, or about half an hour by car. At an altitude of about 900 metres on the southern side of the Merapi, it's remarkably cool. When the weather is clear, hard to predict any way, the view is astonishing and the area is good for walking too.
Kaliurang has two swimming pools, Tlogo Putri and Tlogo Nirmolo. Tlogo Putri is at the destination of the mini-vans from Yogya, besides a number of warungs. From here, a nice path leads to a park with a fall, and three walking routes. The first, short route, leads to the Pronojiwo hill. The second ends after 2.5 kilometres at the seismologic station of Plawangan, which precisely looks at the activity of Merapi. The third route is the most serious one, it will take you to the crater of the vulcano, whenever it's safe enough to go there.
Busses as well as minivans drive from Yogya to Kaliurang. Shelter is easy to find. Budget travellers usually sleep at Vogel's Homestay. Every night Christiaan, the owner, guides you to the top of the Merapi. Travelling by motorbike is a perfect way too, the roads are wide and in good condition until and beyong Kaliurang. Halfway 2006 many of the smaller roads have been repaved for the sake of evacuation routes in case the Merapi volcano becomes active again. New signs are posted to mark evacuation routes as well as areas in the danger zone of hot clouds in case of an eruption.
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