We left the beautiful Manulalu hotel, Bajwa, feeling truly relaxed. A scooter ride the day before had provided a bit of excitement when we stopped for fuel and the whole village came out to say hello. People came running just to stroke Jess' blonde hair, pinch Otto's pink cheeks and say hello to us all. Luckily, both kids are by now (7months on the road in Asia) fairly used to the attention and coped well with what must be quite daunting when you are two and three years old - namely a crowd of people wanting to touch you.
Manulalu is quite certainly up there with the nicest places we've stayed on our trip so far and if anyone goes to Bajawa please stay there - you'd be missing out if you don't.
Jimmy and the team at Manulalu saw us in to a shared taxi to Mbalata (or at least we hoped that was where we were headed). Our driver spoke no English and we spoke no Bahasa. So when we were dropped off by the side of the road 2 hours later with all our bags we couldn't be sure just how close to the beach cottages we were. Plus we didn't know whether they were open as there was still no answer when calling.
Mikey left me roadside with the bags and the kids and he set off walking in what he hoped was the right direction. I was just setting up the movie to distract the kids when two motorbike taxis pulled up. After a swift negotiation we agreed on 5,000 rupiah each ( 50p for two) to collect Mikey and take the whole family plus bags to the huts.
Mbalata was clean, beautiful, remote and rustic. No plastic or rubbish on the beach and an impressive view of Guning Inerie (the same volcano we'd eaten breakfast next to at Manulalu's). We spent two nights and one day there, playing in the sand, capsizing sea kayaks and eating ridiculous amounts of food.
From there we spent a night in Ruteng, where once again the hospitality of Flores people was in abundance. The restaurant owner gave us a lift to our home stay, the home stay staff went out that same evening on motorbike in the pouring rain to collect a take out for us and everyone we saw had a smile on their faces - even the teenage passenger on a motorbike getting drenched in his shorts and t-shirt was smiling as he splashed down the hill.
One night in Ruteng, and off to the harbour town of Labuan Bajo. Where we were to meet the tourist trail again. Cue posh hotels, restaurants with not only menus but real Italian Stone baked pizza and cold white wine. There was nothing for it but to relax and watch the sunsets over Komodo National Park. Sometimes this travel lark really feels like a darn good idea!
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Kelly and Mikey (but mostly Kelly). We sold up in the UK to travel with our two littluns for a year or so. If you want to know more click the about us!