18.08.2009 - 25.08.2009 35 °C
Lombok is quite a small island just to the east of Bali which is dominated by a (currently erupting!) volcano called Gunung Rinjani. Getting here involved a tortuous 32 hour journey which involved 4 different buses, a taxi, 2 ferries and a jeep, and almost a trip to the police station when there was an argument between the guy who ran the hotel we were staying at and the motorbike drivers who wanted to take us there, but it was worth it!
We are currently in the city area of Lombok, called Mataram, having just returned from 4 nights in an idyllic campsite / hotel called Rinjani Mountain Gardens, in the foothills of the volcano. The place was really amazing, in a beautiful setting with incredible views, great food, a really nice atmosphere and lovely accommodation . We stayed in a bungalow with a view of the mountain behind us and in front we had a lovely view over the terraced rice fields all the way to the ocean.
We spent our days walking through the rice fields and jungle, playing badminton, reading, playing chess, cards and Yhatze and went on a trek to some fantastic waterfalls in the heart of the Jungle; both were beautiful, huge and quite awe inspiring. I (Phil) swam in the second one and climbed into a cave behind the waterfall where you could sit and watch (and drink) the water falling, it was a great experience.
The mountain gardens are run by a likeable German couple, Toni and Roland, who really look after you and make excellent home cooked food, which made quite a nice change and our bellies certainly appreciated it as they had been feeling a bit challenged by some of the food we had been eating. The accommodation is mainly in tents but we stayed in a lovely bungalow overlooking the peasants below in their tents, it was pretty quiet with only about 9 or 10 other, mainly German, guests who were friendly but a bit too good at chess for my liking!
Tomorrow we travel to Bali and then we go to Malaysia on the 28th where we staying in the Sheraton as a treat (please note, however, that we have not won the lottery, our accommodation for tonight is costing 8 pounds!)