When he was the last time I felt like this? I do not remember.
We arrived in Lombok from Bali, after two and a half hours on a tiny ferry. The majority of the people on our boat staid onboard at our stop: a rickety wooden pier, where our balance proved to be not excellent as we got wet up to our knees.
From the tiny pier, in just fifteen minutes, we reached out destination: the Tugu Hotel, which lays on the beach of Sire , a white sandy string of land on the North East side of the island. The hotel is situated among six hectares of palm trees overlooking the sunrise of Mount Rinjani, the second highest mountain in Indonesia and then, of course : the blue blue transparent sea.
The reception is a thousand years old building. It was last used by the Dutch settlers for receptions, in the old capital Ampenan , before the war of 1894.
The old capital Ampenan was a village where natives and immigrants lived together, at the beginning in harmony. After the attack of the Dutch against the Balinese towards the end of the 19th century , immigrants were transferred on the basis of provenance, and therefor: the Arab village , the Malay , Chinatown and the European area were born.
Before the Dutch, this house belonged to a Malay gentleman: Tuan Haji Abdul Kadir of Sumatra, who then rented it to a Chinese. This maybe the reason for this architecture which appears extraordinary and a charming mix of styles.
We began to wonder around the restaurant, the SPA, our room (a little red house with the most wonderful pool) and we soon found out that everything in this place has a story. Most objects have been elsewhere, they traveled like us. The first night we slept immersed in a surreal silence, interrupted by seldom and delicate waves.
The second day we decided to rent a beautiful wooden boat: to go swimming with the turtles around Gili Islands , which are just ten minutes away from Tugu Lombok. I saw Nemo , turtles, starfish… It was extraordinary.
We always ate at the wonderful restaurant: a huge wooden structure without walls, overlooking the swimming pool, two small ponds and of course the sea, which in Lombok seems quiet and calm – no waves but only blue, blue and still amazing blue.
Lombok in my opinion is more beautiful than Bali, quieter, no nightlife or tshirts made in China. Perhaps it holds a less romantic past, yet here, while biking around we discover faces and huts and greetings that are still far away from commerce, far from American surfers, far from beer bottles lined along sidewalks.
We stayed at the Tugu Hotel in Lombok three days, on the occasion of my birthday. The last night we had dinner with your feet in the sand, under the stars , with no artificial lights , no noise, just us and Lombok.