We decide on Flores for the last 2 and a half weeks in Indonesia, the last 17 days in Southeast Asia before flying on to China. And a great decision it turns out to be. Flores is green….so unbelievably green! From Labuan Bajo we follow a winding road hugging the lush hills through dense forests, along tiny rivers, passing small villages. Pretty much all roads on Flores are like this. Twisting and turning and green! And somehow we feel like we are back in Africa at times. Village women wearing wrap around ikat sarongs carry big baskets of cabbage or piles of firewood skillfully on their heads. The condition of the busses, which are without exception minibusses, is almost as bad as in Madagascar, the unpleasant phenomenon of BO passing in waves from your neighbor is suddenly a travel companion again and you find yourself squeezed between heavy set ladies without a trace of the typical Asian features. Africa all over again!

Bus Flores

Bus Flores Indonesia

On most bus rides I wonder if the many poor women around us, puking into plastic bags handed to them by the driver’s sidekick, would get less sick on the winding roads with the huge potholes, if men wouldn’t be smoking one cigarette after the other on the stuffy busses. I in the meantime, stick my head as far out of the window as possible, as I have so gotten accustomed to people not smoking around me anymore. At times a foot dangles down from the top of the bus where other passengers and sometimes Mr. Sidekick are seated between or on top of the luggage tied to the roof and I have to pull my head back inside the window fast enough to avoid being kicked in the face by accident. What really gets to us though is the music, or better said the volume of the music. I’m not sure, but I would say it’s even worse than Madagascar….and I had thougt that that’s not possible. I sometimes ask myself the hen or egg question here: what was first? Indonesians not hearing well and them switching the music higher to be able enjoy it or the music blearing to a level that is physically painful, making the Indonesians deaf which in turn makes them increase the volume….in any case I decide I do not want to join this vicious cycle and use earplugs to at least lessen the pain. One day a guy next to us asks if we don’t like music when he sees our safety measures…

Smoking Busdriver Indonesia

00 Bus journey to Bajawa

04 Bemo and loud music

Most things to do on Flores involve sea, volcanoes or village visits. Having done a fair amount of home stays by now, we focus on the two other activities and make our first stop in Bajawa, a little town whose only attraction is its stunning setting between rolling mountains and volcanoes. We stay at Happy Happy hotel, which really does its best to make the guests just that. One day we accept  the challenge of volcano Inerie and start climbing it at 4:30 in the morning….or shall I say at night? It is pitch dark and our local guide, clad in an ikat “skirt” and flip flops sprints through the wet, knee high bushes as if it were nothing. By the time we start the actual ascent on a kind of gravel path, our pants are wet and I am ready to turn back already. I am tired, hungry….and grouchy. We continue for another strenuous three hour steep uphill hike, our guide running ahead like a young goat, waiting every few hundred meters until we catch up with him. Sunrise is hidden behind clouds and we can already tell that we won’t have a view from the summit. It’s just too overcast. We take a break and Franziskus gets to try “cheese” slices in these plastic wraps for the first time..”It’s to eat”, we explain in our few words of bahasa Indonesia when we hand it to him with some bread and see his questioning face.

Bajawa Warung

Trekking Mt. Inerie in the dark

Mount Inerie

01 Trekking Mt Iniere 2

Trekking Mount Inerie

Trekking Mount Inerie

When the way turns into pure gravel, making us slip and fall every few meters and Franziskus tells us it’s another three hours and then it starts drizzling, we decide to turn back. Just the thought of having to crawl down the slippery gravel path in the rain scares us enough to be sensible despite the goals felt closeness. When we get back to the hotel, exhausted with a feeling of jet lag and the drizzle turns into a pour, we congratulate ourselves on the right decision. For the next attempt of climbing a volcano of this grandeur, I vow to train before.

Our next stop is Riung, a tiny and cute fishing village in the north of Flores. We stay at Nirvana bungalows, where we enjoy chats with the smart owner and meet two friendly Dutch girls that we have our dinners and some laughs with. At night we are kept awake by our colorful subtentants, the lizards and during the day, we chill in the relaxed garden of Nirvana. One day we head out for a snorkeling trip where we get to see the flying foxes, giant fruit bats with fox-like faces, together with a German-Kiwi couple, living in Australia.

Riung Harbour

Riung Harbour

Nirvana Guesthouse Riung

Colorful Lizards Indonesia

Flying Foxes Riung

Flying Foxes Riung

Flying Foxes Riung

Snorkeling 17 Islands Marine Park Riung

03 Snorkeling 17 Islands Marine Park Riung

03 Snorkeling Fish BBQ

We met Richard and Angie already at Happy Happy hotel in Bajawa and took the bus together to Riung. When we leave for the small village of Moni, we again travel together. We change busses in Ende where we are suddenly surrounded by a bunch of kids trying their English on us and squealing with joy at our hand full of Indonesian words. Their faces light up when they ask V to lift her sunglasses and she reveals her blue eyes. When they ask me to do the same I only get bored nods in response….

04 Bus journey to Moni

Bus Journey Flores

Children Ende Indonesia

In Moni we have another fabulous encounter. We meet Jean-Pierre and his wife Anne shortly after we arrive and agree to make the tour to view the sunrise over mount Kelimutu and it’s three colored volcanic crater lakes together the next morning. Again we rise very early and head up the volcano. Only this time we are driven to a parking space and only need to walk up stairs for 20 minutes. Up on the mountain villagers have already set up their “shops”. In comparison to us, they walked all the way up, carrying their wares on their heads. We grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the wonderful view, waiting for the sun to reveal the true ever changing colors of the three lakes.

Mount Kelimutu coffee vendors

Mount Kelimutu coffee vendors

02 Mt Kelimutu Crater Lakes 4

02 Mt Kelimutu Crater Lakes 2

Mount Kelimutu Crater Lakes

Mount Kelimutu Crater Lakes

Mount Kelimutu Crater Lakes

Mount Kelimutu Crater Lakes

Mount Kelimutu Crater Lakes

We head back down together with our new found French friends and some people they had met before. We walk about two and a half hours and take a short cut to get to Agnes’ place for an early lunch. We met energetic Agnes in Riung through the Dutch girls and she had been the one also to organize our ride up Kelimutu. We enjoy lunch at her little restaurant, set beautifully in the jungle, around the corner of a little waterfall, reachable only by shaky bamboo bridges. After a relaxed siesta at our accommodation, we go for an early dinner at a wonderful little Warung named “Moni Smille” (sic) where we have a really tasty meal and inspiring conversation with our charming companions.

Mount Kelimutu Walk

Mount Kelimutu Walk

Mount Kelimutu Walk

Agnes Restaurant Moni

Agnes Restaurant Moni

Bridge to Agnes Restaurant Moni

Our last stop in Flores is supposed to give us some idle time before our final destination and ultimate challenge: China! We head for Lena house, basic sea side bungalows close to the beach town of Maumere. We take a bus to town and attempt to change into a so-called bemo, the local means of transport. At Maumere terminal it’s pure Africa once again. Touts circle us, trying to kidnapp our luggage to make us ride with them. We’ve been there, guys! We know your tricks! We manage to stand our grounds and fend them off. No one is willing to be honest with us, they give us ridiculous prices for the last kilometers of the journey and we are not sure what should be our next move. When another bemo stops in front of us and the driver honks, I wander over reluctantly expecting another brazen try at ripping us off, when someone in the back of the bemo calls out to me. I look and do a double take until my mind realizes that it’s Agnes sitting before me. I laugh incredulously. With Agnes’ help and no-nonsense attitude towards the drivers, we finally manage to get on our way to Lena house without shelling out a fortune.

03 Agnes from Agnes Restaurant Moni

We spend our final days in Indonesia relaxing on the porch of our quaint bungalow with splendid sea views, backed by green mountains, reading and snorkeling at close by islands. We reflect on our time on Flores and wonder at the many interesting people we have met and shared time with. We really like this laid back green island!

Lena House Maumere

Lena House Maumere

Snorkeling around Maumere Babi Beach

Snorkeling around Maumere Babi Beach

Babi Beach snorkeling blue star fish

Babi Beach village

Snorkeling around Maumere Babi Beach

Snorkeling around Maumere Babi Beach

Snorkeling around Maumere Babi Beach

Babi Beach village people

02 Snorkeling Babi Beach

 

 

Und des Beste an der ganzen G’schicht: Bayern is imma dabei!

01 Encounter with kids in Ende 2

 

6 Comments

 

  1. 08/05/2014  05:44 by R Reply

    'Vow to train'
    I've read that. And for a split second even thought about sending it to Roberto. :)

  2. 09/05/2014  21:56 by Jay Pee Reply

    Wie schön! Bilder, einmalig! Ganz toll geschrieben, wie immer!! D A N K E an Euch!

  3. 10/05/2014  17:40 by Alex Reply

    Ganz wunderbar! Ihr habt mir den ganzen April versüßt, den ich hauptsächlich krank daheim verbracht habe ... Ich wünsche euch noch einen wunderbar abwechslungsreichen letzten Reiseabschnitt mit weiteren tollen Begegnungen! Bleibt gesund! :-*

    • 29/05/2014  14:20 by V Reply

      DAAAANK DIR!!! <3 ;-*

  4. 31/05/2014  11:31 by Antonella Reply

    Atmen :) schön :) 26, 30, 33, 41

    • 07/06/2014  14:04 by V Reply

      Nächstes Mal Flores!!! Diese Insel musst du einfach erleben. Bewegend!

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