I have arrived. At the end of a long and unforgettable journey, I am standing here in “Ende”, the same wonderful place that has once already marked the turning point of one of my most memorable and epic adventures. Eight years ago we tried to travel from Germany to Australia without a plane. We didn`t quite make it but in the end we could not have asked for a better and more worthy place to finish this trip, other than here in the heart of Flores – the flower of Indonesia – here in Ende.
Ende, is the name of one of 13 districts in the East Nusa Tenggara province of Indonesia. The pride of the whole region is the legendary Kelimutu volcano. At its foot lies the small and sleepy mountain village Moni, and this is where I am returning now, after so many years. I can’t wait to finally meet again the family, that has so warm-heartedly welcomed us back in 2006. Thanks to Facebook, I was able to reconnect to Tobias, the father of the family a few years ago. Ever since we exchange e-mails every once in a while and we try to keep in touch. Tobias fell over himself in enthusiasm when I told him shortly before I took off on my travels this year, that I would come back for a visit soo
And it is the same enthusiasm and sincere heartiness that I am welcomed with, when I finally arrive. Big hugs, big smiles and a lot of shiny happy people. A very special moment is when I meet Putri the oldest daughter of the family. 8 years ago I held her in my arms. She still keeps a printed picture of us that I sent her once. It is wonderful to be back in Moni. Here I spend the final days of my trip and I enjoy every single moment of it. In the end, what remains is a deep and profound connection to this place and its people and the certainty that sooner or later I will come back here again.
The final highlight though, I have saved up for my very last day: Sunrise over Kelimutu! In the middle of the night, I walk up to the majestic volcano and as if mother nature wants to send me a personal farewell gift, the entire sky lights up in indescribable and most splendid colors. Clouds smoothly roll over the surrounding mountain peaks and the sun slowly rises up in flames, illuminating the three Kelimutu crater lakes directly below me. This truly is a magical moment. I sit and contemplate for hours while looking at the western horizon. Somewhere there, a few months ago and more than 5000 distant kilometers away, I started this great adventure. Now I go home.
Thank you Indonesia! Thank you fellow backpackers, thank you friends and family and thank you followers at home. Thank you all for being a part of this! You made this a very special and unforgettable experience of a lifetime for me. Thank you.