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Published: September 5th 2008
The 56 seater turbo propelled aircraft bumped down onto the runway at Ende airport.
The two hour flight had been amazing. We had never reached an altitude above 17,000 feet so we had been able to see down to the ground the whole time. Hundreds of tiny islands fringed with white sand beaches and as we flew over Flores a multitude of volcanoes, one which was smoking from it's flanks.
After collecting our luggage from the completely chaotic system we emerged from the tiny airport to be met by the taxi touts quoting us rediculous prices to get to Moni, a tiny village high in the mountains which was to be our starting point next day the the summit of Kelimutu volcano. We joined up with a young couple from Slovenia, Tomaz and Simona, plus an Italian.We tried to get the touts down to a reasonable price but no joy so we started walking away. They followed us, as we knew they would , shouting that the last bus had gone so we'd have to go with them.
A bemo ( tiny run around town bus) pulled up. We looked into the crowded interior and said "no room!".
The driver proceeded to kick all the poor locals out and herded us in. After collecting a spare wheel, cigarettes and water plus 2 friends we were off to Moni, a tiny village 2 hours drive away. We were all in high spirits to be finally on our way and joined in with UB 40's Red Red Wine as the driver cranked up the volume. The journey soon became tedious as we were thrown around in the back by the constant twists and turns in the road made worse by the fact that we couldn't see out through the windows which were covered with stickers including the windscreen!
Finally after dark we arrived at Moni. The accommodation was very basic but at least it was a bed for the night. As basic as it was, it was still better than where the owner and his family lived - we had the luxury of lino on the floor whereas they had dried mud!
At 3.30am the alarm went off. We emerged into the clod morning air to wait for the bemo to take us to the start of the climb to the summit of Kelimutu to see the three coloured
lakes at sunrise.
The weather conditions appeared good as the dark sky was a mass of twinkling stars. 40 minutes later after another bumpy ride we arrived at the car park and set off walking up to the summit with the aid of torchlight. A broad band of red sky widened on the horizon as the sun rose. In the dim light we could just about make out the three crater lakes. We stood on the summit shivering in the cold mountain air patiently waiting for daylight and the spectacular views to come. Then out of nowhere the clouds came rolling in, within ten minutes we were completely surrounded as daylight came we could see nothing! What a disappointment!
Fortunately, after an hour of standing around, the sun won and burnt off the cloud rewarding us with the views we’d anticipated. One lake was brown, one turquoise and one black. Local legend says that when people die the spirits of the young go to the turquoise lake, the old go to the brown lake and those of the wicked go to the black lake.
After numerous photo shoots we returned to our guest house and negotiated a car
Arriving at Moni
We were greeted by locals wrapped in blankets against the cold night air as we were so high up in the mountains
and driver to begin the difficult journey to Labuanbajo.
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