2 Wheel Vagabond

2 Wheel Vagabond


Saturday 13 December 2014

South to Mt Ramelau

I was more than happy to venture back out into the country side so a 2 night stopover in Dili was more than enough, I was keen to explore the south and get to the summit of mount Ramelau. My spirits were dampened as I prepared to leave Dili when I realized that the spotlights on my bike had been stolen while it was parked in the “secure” area of the backpacker hostel. Luckily nothing else was stolen and apart from being a little less visible on the road, the bike wasn’t really affected, I taped up the wires where they had been cut to prevent the rain causing an electrical short and did my best to not dwell on it as I headed into the hills once more. Once again the road wound up and out of Dili providing some photo worthy views of the city. My mood improved immediately, I was now back on the winding, pot holed mountain roads that I enjoyed riding so much. I passed through many quaint villages and towns on my way to the small village of Hatubilico at the base of mount Ramelau. The sky opened up again and after the town of Maubisse the rains caused huge puddles that spanned the road, they were a little precarious but great fun to cross nonetheless. A detour off the main road meant an 18km ride to Hatubilico over a very loosely cobbled track, the pace slowed to a crawl and this stretch of road alone took 1 hour. I booked into a guesthouse that was run by the village chief and as with most villages I have visited throughout Timor Leste I was warmly welcomed. It was already 4 pm but a local offered to guide me to the top of Mount Ramelau, assuring me that we would be back before dark. We set off and hiked at a very quick pace, my guide was obviously not in the best shape and required frequent rest stops, as the clouds started rolling in I thought it wise to push on ahead to ensure we’d get back before dark. I made the summit with time to spare and headed back, I bumped into my guide at the ¾ mark having a smoke, he seemed more than happy to be able to turn around and head downhill. I returned to the guesthouse and was met by my motorcycle travel buddies Ankita and John from Tutuala who had arrived late due to some bike problems.

We hiked the mountain together the next morning, this time without a guide to slow us down, I was hoping that the clouds would had cleared to offer some views of the countryside but by the time we reached the top the clouds and rain had once again set in. The power to the town was down due to the rains so although Hatubilico was a lovely place we decided to travel a few hours to the larger town of Maubisse for a little extra comfort. The highlight of Maubisse is an old Portuguese pousada that sits atop one of the larger hills in the area and has sweeping views of the surrounding countryside, a great spot to relax with a beer. We met some friendly locals who kindly took us to a local restaurant for dinner, it was a simple, local place to eat, the food was good and the atmosphere was jovial but I did count at least 3 mice scuttling across the floor. The next morning we headed back to Dili to refuel, from there I parted ways with my travel companions and headed West, it was now time to make my way toward the Indonesian border.


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