Saturday, November 14, 2009

To Minahasa with my Hasa

I made several trips with my folding bike already.
But some of those were turned to be not too much bike trip.
Often they were just going to the bus station or airport,
fold the bike, get into the vehicle,
arrive at the destination, unfold the bike and go.

But this time, I have long enough holiday,
so I take the opportunity for a special bike trip around Manado.

Flight from Balikpapan arrived in Manado at 20:50 local time,
I recovered my Hasa folding bike, my only luggage,
unfolded the bike and heading to town.
The good thing is, Manado airport located at higher plateau,
about 80m above sea level, so I just needed a minimum pedaling
to go to town and find my hotel.

I have stayed several nights there,
but the best bike trip I did was on the last day,
where I biked from Manado, going uphill to Tomohon and Tondano,
and back to Manado via Airmadidi.

I started early in the morning, checking out from Bersehati Hotel at 08:00.
The hotel let me left my belonging with them,
so I can climb uphill to Tomohon with no backpack .

Tomohon is just 25km from Manado, but it took me 3 hours
to climb 700meter, using the grainy gear of my 16" Hasa.
My speed while climbing were merely 7-8 km/hr,
and I had to stop to take a breath for several times.

Luckily the scenery was superb,
green hills and big trees with a view to the sea below,
going uphill at Tinoor was something that
will stay long in my memory.

At my stop points I bought local fruits, manggis,
which were very sweet, that cost me merely Rp1000 a piece.
Few kilometers before Tomohon the road get flatter,
and I gained some speed.
In Tomohon I took a coffe stop at small warung,
and heading to Tondano.

Arriving in Tondano just slightly before 13:00,
Tondano was located at high plateau, surrounded by mountains,
with a big lake next to it.
Just before the town, beautiful rice field welcoming me.
The town was almost flat, the mountains around look so close,
and the big trees on its ridge were so clear, as if we can touch them.
The weather was nice, and the temperature was around 25C.
Car traffic was rare, but lot of horse cart were around,
just too bad I did not have enough time to take a tour on it.

I took my lunch there, again in another small warung,
the menu was yellow rice with dried fish and big cup of coffe.

Here I got 2 options, go back to Manado via Tomohon,
just like my way in, or continue to take a route via Airmadidi.
A local shop owner told me that the road to Manado via Airmadidi
is decending all the way down,
so it did not take me too long to decide.

Yes the road was decending, but not all the way.
The first 4kms from Tondano to Tonsea Lama was climbing,
and then it went down sharply,
with lot of sharp turns around the cliffs.
I was just coasting down for almost 40minutes,
hoping that my brake pads last.
Just before Airmadidi, the road was climbing again,
and I was just pedaling patiently,
and at 14:30 I arrived in Airmadidi.

From Airmadidi, joining the main road from Bitung to Manado,
I took a short cut to airport via Dimembe village,
and I arrived at Vina Hotel, next to airport at 16:00.

I was tired after biking for 80 kms in the mountainous route,
so I hired a car to go to town to recover my bagpack
that I left on Bersehati Hotel.

I considered that taking Vina hotel in the last day was a good decision,
since the hotel was so close to the airport,
and my flight back to Balikpapan was so early next morning.

I am happy with this trip,
The green hills and mountains around Manado are still full of big trees,
People are so friendly, they smiles alot,
especially while looking at my 16" Hasa bike.
Foods and hotels are not expensive neither,

Definitely I will come back to this area someday.

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