The view from the top was amazing. We could see the foothills of the Pamir mountains in the distance, and all of the ancient buildings of Samarkand as well. We took pictures for a while, but I definitely put down my camera for a while to take in the view. It was the highlight of the trip.
One of the biggest highlights was when John and I rented a tandem sea kayak and paddled to an island just north of Koh Lipe, called Koh Adang. Koh Adang is a nature preserve, and no one but the park rangers are allowed to live on the island. When we found the deserted beach on its western shore, John described it very accurately by saying it was "like walking into a stock photograph in your computer's screensaver."
The time I spent in East Java was undoubtedly incredible because of the friendly people, wonderful food, and being able to see where one of my best friends has been living for almost two years now. But to be able to climb Lawu and see such an incredible sunrise next to a great friend transformed the experience into something like that first trip to Cologne n 2005; it was a trip that increased my passion for both international travel and my love of mountains further than ever before.