The monastery and the cocoa plantation
Trip Start Oct 03, 2012
211Trip End Nov 28, 2013
We chose mopeds today because our epically long hike up and down Kelimutu had taken its toll on our bodies and we also wanted to make our own way back up to Kelimutu in the early hours of tomorrow morning for sunrise. So during the day we could tour the countryside and also get to see Kelimutu at sunrise.
On the list was the Cocoa plantation and the Catholic monastery. The cocoa plantation sat at the top of a windy road through the hills of Flores - the drive was scenic and well worth the trouble. Sadly the same couldn't be said for the Cocoa plantation (it wasn't exactly the Boh Tea Plantation in the Cameron Highlands). What we did see however were small villages and communities who lived off the land sustainably. The crops that they grew were a mixture of absolutely everything from rice, coffee, cocoa, cabbages, garlic, chillin peppers - much like the communities at the foot of Kelimutu. Religion in this area of Flores is like the crops - varied. There are beautifully simply churches set in to the hillside and Mosques in the main towns.
The Catholic monastery was a great find and we had to travel quite a few miles in the other direction to the 'Cocao plantation' from the Kelimutu side of Moni. Again the scenery along this stretch was absolutely stunning. We were really lucky that the locals in the area of the monastery were so friendly as we would have driven past it at a rate of knots without realising. A friendly old man got on his moped and travelled out of his way to make sure that he took us right to the monastery door. Here we were met by a nun dressed in white who showed us around. The Catholic monastery is open to visitors who can stay in the rooms for a small donation. Had we not had such a nice bed back in Moni the Monastery may well have been an option on the way to Ende.
At the entrance to the monastery we met a large group of kids playing football. These guys were from the local village and attended the school close-by to the monastery. Kirst, Hannah and I took them on at a game of football and had a great time. The kids were great fun and loved it that we were not from their part of the world. We lost the game but won some friends!