The Long and Winding Road to Labuanbajo

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August 9th 2008
Published: September 5th 2008
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Moni is near the centre of Flores and we needed to get to Labuanbajo over 400 km on the west coast.

The Island of Flores is one huge range of mountains and volcanoes with just one major road crossing the island which, in parts, is in a terrible condition as it constantly twists and turns up and down and around hairpin bends. The complete journey is estimated to take 19 hours if driven non-stop. We had planned to break it up over 2 or 3 days.

For much of the time the road is lined with houses precariously built out on stilts over the slopes. There is virtually no flat land anywhere. As we drove along we got a complete insight into the way of life out here, women washing in the river (clothes and themselves), little children were playing in the dirt and older ones helping to carry water or bundles of wood. Men working at the side of the road chipping away at the rock in an effort to be able to make the road wider and at the same time providing hardcore. People working in the rice paddies that cascaded down the mountainside at every turn.

We stayed overnight at Bajawa and again the following night at Ruteng. Due to the altitude of these towns the temperature was quite low by the time we arrived each evening, this was not helped by the fact that we only had cold-water showers. Needless to say we covered the whole 3-day journey without taking a shower at all! Each leg of the journey took about 7 hours due to the many stops to take photographs. Despite the arduous travel conditions I found myself not wanting the journey to end as we approached Labuanbajo. The experience and the views had been truly amazing.

We’d completed the whole journey with Tomaz and Simona as their itinerary had been identical to ours and it made sense to share taxis and work out the local buses etc together. Flores is not an easy place to travel and unlike Bali is not yet geared up to tourism.

Now it’s time to relax and grab some more island time together on Suraya, located off the west coast of Flores.

Additional photos below
Photos: 27, Displayed: 23


Live Duck and Hen Being Transported on a MotorbikeLive Duck and Hen Being Transported on a Motorbike
Live Duck and Hen Being Transported on a Motorbike

There's no refridgeration so this was the only way to keep the food fresh!
Schoolboys in BajawaSchoolboys in Bajawa
Schoolboys in Bajawa

After practicing their English on us they obliged with a photo shoot.
Children in a Mountain Village Clambering for 'bon bons' Children in a Mountain Village Clambering for 'bon bons'
Children in a Mountain Village Clambering for 'bon bons'

We stopped to take a photo and got mobbed! I guess they're used to tourists stopping by.

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