Rest for weary adventure seekers

We put off repacking for as long as we responsibly could. There’s an unimproved nearly vertical ramp not six feet from our bungalow door where Yours Truly was soon dragging our recalcitrant rolling duffle up to Tuktuk’s ring road. Eventually we realized there are very few cars on this island so we took to the street for smoother rolling. Why is it always uphill? I was assured that our new place couldn’t be much further. We stopped for a breather and asked a local who told us we were standing right in front of the Romlan Guesthouse.

There was no sign. All I could see was a rough patchwork of concrete haphazardly plopped down on an impossibly steep slope. Even being charitable you couldn’t call it a driveway. We began to cautiously edge our way down the slippery gravel surface as our wheeled duffle threatened to run me over. When we reached the bottom it was hard to believe we were in the right place until we noticed a high stone wall up another steep slope with block letters spelling ROMLAN.

I dragged the duffle up the uneven path that lead us behind a busy kitchen and around the corner towards the water.

Suddenly we were at a lakeside paradise and we collapsed at Romlan’s lovely guesthouse restaurant where we would spend almost every mealtime for the next 2-1/2 weeks.

The grounds are a garden oasis and our traditional Batak bungalow was the last on the lakefront with a magnificent view from the balcony.

Virtually everyone arrives via ferry at Romlan’s private pier which explains the rather uninviting landside entrance. We had arrived at the municipal pier down the road because we weren’t booked into Romlan until today.

When I say traditional bungalow I mean this is how you enter. Even getting into our bathroom required the same maneuver. We both had multiple lumps on our heads that first week from nighttime trips to the loo.

Every morning we woke up to this man fishing with a small net.

At our first dinner we met a tiny kitten I called Spanky who we learned was dumped at Romlan just a few days ago, motherless, and had already charmed everyone. Add me to the list.

Nearly every day we took long hikes along the serpentine roads of the peninsula, marveling at the unique Batak architecture and distinctive intricate designs.

Sometimes we walked over the rough mountain roads where we discovered cacao orchards and elaborate tombs.

Cacao pod.
Cacao beans drying in the sun.
Tomb complex nearly hidden in the forest.

We were often approached by groups of schoolchildren wanting to practice English or who have an assignment to speak to tourists. We were even serenaded by one group.

A few days into our weeklong booking we decided to stay longer but our charming traditional bungalow was already booked. The manager did her best to accommodate us but every few days we had to change rooms. We didn’t mind and she told us we’re now the Romlan nomads. Spanky usually found us regardless of where we were.

The guesthouse definitely has the look of old returnees coming back year after year.

We spent most of our days enjoying the lake, reading, napping, trading travel tales and tips with the other guests.

When it was time to go Spanky helped us pack. I’m going to miss that little kitty.

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One Response to Rest for weary adventure seekers

  1. Ed Kelly

    You guys know how to squeeze sweet joy from life that others reluctantly see as an old lemon!

    Stay well

    Ed & Sue Kelly

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