Mountaintop lunch

Aileu Travel Blog

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Looking back to Straights of Wettar

I packed a few things after breakfast then popped into work to print off a handful of maps of the districts I intend to visit this week.  My intention was to go down the road to Liquicia but because I was over the other side of town, when I came out of the office I headed south up the hill toward Aileu.

 

I think I've said it before, I'm more atuned to the mountains than I am the beaches.  I like beaches but there's just something about the cool fresh air of a tree-clad mountain that makes me feel at home.

 

I scooted easily up the typical TL road.  Potholes, microlets, trucks, other bikes, pigs, children, water, rocks and cows entered my little world every few minutes, exiting just as swiftly.  Bugs of various shapes and sizes also made a showing but some weren't so lucky to leave as they smacked against my helmet or glasses or my face.

Lunch stop at the top

 

It takes about an hour to reach the top of the mountain but I had stopped to take photos and stretch my legs a few times so it took me about 90 minutes.  I stopped for lunch a kilometer or so on the south, downhill side and looked across to an imposing Mt Ramalau in the distance.

 

Mt Ramalau is Timor Leste's highest peak (2900m odd) and is regularly climbed by visitors to the country.  4 of our ladies went up it last week and camped overnight so they could see the sun rise.

 

All the way from Dili to Aileu I waved and greeted the local villagers or roading gangs.  Once again I was reminded how delightful these people are.  Children made a game of "high fiving" me as I rode past and were delighted if our hands should connect.

 

By the time I got to Aileu township I was feeling the effects of the sun.

Friendly greeting?
  I had used sunblock but the combination of wind and sweat had probably reducedc it's effect.  My thighs were glowing a pretty pink and my hips were stiff from being crouched on the little bike.  Timorese people are small so the motorcycles are smaller than I am used to.  At 6'2" I was pining for my old 900cc Yamaha (and a softer seat for my boney arse!).

 

I stopped at the statue marking the entrance to Aileu.  I wanted some shots of the monument and the square.  I greeted a few curious locals that had wandered by to see what this strange "Malae" was doing then I was approached by Christina who wished to practise her english and have her photo taken.

 

Christina's english was great.  She told me she had been to a catholic school and had learned english from an American sister.  I complimented her on her ability and we passed the time of day for a few minutes before I folded myself back on the bike and slowly circumnavigated the town to see what points of interest I could find.

 

One such point was a memorial to those who were massacred in 1942.

Aileu town square
  The language was not english so I assume it was carried out by the Japanese forces during the second world war.

 

After I'd had a good look around I turned tail and headed by towards Dili.  I tried to relieve some of the pain in my hips and butt by sitting on the back of the motor bike's double seat.  The ride was much improved but it took me a little while to adjust to the new position as far as balance and control were concerned.  After that I was zipping past the afternoon commuters climbing the mountain towards Dili with gay abandon. 

 

I paused at the point I had stopped for lunch.  It was only 2 hours on (3pm) but the cloud had closed in around the summit and it was grey and cold.  I had considered the possibility that it would be raining up here (as it often looked that way from the city below) but I managed to stay dry and was soaking in the pool at the Esplanada by 4.30pm.

 

That night we all went down to Dili Beach Hotel for pizza and beer.  It wasn't a late one as we were up before dawn to remember the fallen ANZAC soldiers defeated at Gallipoli in WWI.

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Looking back to Straights of Wettar
Looking back to Straights of Wettar
Out of Dili and up the mountain ro…
Out of Dili and up the mountain r…
Lunch stop at the top
Lunch stop at the top
Friendly greeting?
Friendly greeting?
Aileu town square
Aileu town square
Aileu main street
Aileu main street
Monument to those killed in 1942
Monument to those killed in 1942
Aileu governmental building
Aileu governmental building
Christina
Christina
Lazy Aileu local
Lazy Aileu local
3pm in the clouds
3pm in the clouds
Lucky escape for this house
Lucky escape for this house
Looking back down to Dili
Looking back down to Dili
Aileu
photo by: jose28