Luckily we gradually found our travel vibe again and started to see the beauty as well. The food is still the same with the nasi goreng, mie goreng, noodle soup, cap cay and satay. Besides that Flores has its own character, with its own unique atmosphere, its own friendly people, its own unspoiled nature.
We would tour Flores for about 3 weeks with a scooter and left from Labuan Bajo. The first few days we spend in the cool climate of the mountains with beautiful panorama's and magnificent volcano peaks. Here we witnessed the traditional way of life on Flores. Around Bajawa you can visit a few villages that still follow the traditions. What you can find here is peace and quiet. Then it was time to face the heat, but it was our pleasure to do so as we got a beautiful day in return. We went on a snorkeling trip around the pristine marine park “17 islands”. After this we ventured on our longest drive: 217 km in 1 day. In Belgium this is a piece of cake, but on Flores Bumpy Island this is something else. Six and a half hour later we finally arrived at our destination, Maumere. Not so much to write about, just another city on Flores.
On our snorkeling trip from a few days ago, we got to know a nice couple from the Basque country, Naia and Roge. They were already in Paga and this would be a pleasant layover for us as well. We got along very well so it seemed a good idea to hit the road together for a couple of days. The four of us drove from Paga to Moni, known as the starting point to visit the three colorful lakes of the volcano Kelimutu. We still had doubts whether to pay the high entrance fee or not. The entrance fee is a sloppy 150.000 ruphia for foreigners and only 5.000 ruphia for locals. Plus you have to be lucky with the weather as well because it is foggy a lot of times. We eventually decided to go for it and at the end of the day we didn't regret this decision. The weather gods were on our side which resulted in magnificent views on the lakes. The hike down was also worthwhile.
After all this, the four of us had to start making our way back to Labuan Bajo to return the bikes. Unfortunately Naia and Roge had to be there a few days before us. On our second visit to Bajawa it was time for the inevitable goodbye. With tears in our eyes we wished them a safe journey. In the few days we traveled together they lifted our moral up to a higher level. Both the happy, silly moments as the interesting conversations made us feel good again. We will definitely meet again. What an amazing couple!
The road from here on was known terrain. We only took an exit to a nice guesthouse managed by a Dutch lady. We missed this one the first time around, but we did find it now. It was a relaxing and interesting stop. About 1200 km later we stood face to face again with the motor bike owner. All these kilometers had made us fond of Flores and with regret we left this authentic piece of Indonesia behind.
To prevent getting travel sick and getting the blues again, we're going to rest for a while. We will stay on Bali for a month in our own bungalow, with kitchen at hand. It will be a virtue to not live out of our backpack but to take our clothes out of a wardrobe.