After I had got back from Island hopping on Day 5, I managed to find reliable enough internet to check my emails. Earlier on that week I had emailed the dive company to check how my visa extension process was going (I had left them my passport and the completed forms to manage on my behalf). They replied saying there was one more form that I needed to sign. I didn’t see the email until 5 pm on Friday. But of course by then there was nothing I can do. The offices were closed and everyone was gone for the weekend. It was Friday, it was too late to do anything, and my Visa expired on Sunday.
I originally wanted to get as close to Labuanbajo as possible, but with impending Visa issues I would try and cover all 330km in one day. Having managed to get rest the day before and getting some good sleep the night before I was up for the challenge.
I was warned that the road between Riung and Bajawa would be bad. Automatically I was expecting the worst – something similar to what I had driven through in the north. But I was reassured when somebody had told me only about 10km of it are bad. The rest of it was fine. I was told it should take about 2.5-3 hours to do that journey.
Riung to Bajawa
I managed to leave by 8 am. The start was quite easy going. There were the odd places where the road became bumpy or there were rocky bits but on the whole it was fine. I kept expecting the road to become worse. Fortunately, it never did. After everything I had been through to get to Riung it was a piece of cake.
I managed to fly through the roads in two hours. I went back to the really good restaurant in Bajawa – Lucas Restaurant. I strongly recommend eating there should you ever end up in Bajawa.
Within half an hour, I was back on the road. There was no time to waste.
Spiderweb Rice-field Pictures
A picture from the motorway
Back in Labuan Bajo
Once back I did what anyone would do after a long journey – I went to one of Labuanbajo’s many (and excellent) Italian Restaurants, La Cocina and stuffed my face with pizza.
Some after thoughts
Firstly spending time in Flores, driving around, was definitely worth it. There were of course ups and downs, there are with most things – but overall it was fantastic. More than most of my travels, I genuinely felt like I was off the beaten track. Most the time driving between Moni and Riung through the north road I was the only tourist any of the locals had seen in a while. That feeling was priceless.