Never stayed in a convent before!

Trip Start Jul 22, 2012
Trip End May 08, 2014

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Where I stayed
Kongregasi Santa Maria Berdukacita Ruteng
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Monday, October 28, 2013

Was told by various travel agent shops that i would have to get a bemo to the bus terminal about 15mins outside of town and then a public bus from there to get to Ruteng located high in the hills of west Flores my next destination on Flores and so it would be easier to take a shuttle minibus instead for 150,000INR. As it was i just waited on the side of the main street in town for about 20mins and then flagged down a small bus with Ruteng written on the windscreen. It only cost 70,000INR although it did take 5 hours as it kept stopping to pick up locals etc as well as a half hour lunch stop en-route. The scenery was great though with countless rice fields on the flatter plains surrounded by lush volcanic hills all around. Upon arriving in Ruteng got an ojek (motorbike taxi) to the Rima Hotel for only 5000INR. Listed in the Lonely Planet as "one of the two best options in town" and with the cheapest prices it failed on both counts! It's located on a busy main road and is nothing special to look at; the staff were unhelpful; and they told me that they had no economy rooms left but i could have a standard room for 200,000INR!! Just for a laugh i had a look at the room and it was just a basic bedroom with two single beds and attached shower/toilet room worth less than half that price. I thus wandered 5mins further up the road to the Kongregasi Santa Maria Berdukacita convent set in its own landscaped grounds with good views over the valley and where they have ten spacious guestrooms available to tourists. It cost 140,000INR for my room which is the most i’ve paid anywhere on my travels so far but the novelty value of staying in a convent (something i’ve never done before) swayed my decision to splash out! Met Don a Scottish guy at the convent who had already booked an afternoon shuttle minibus to Bajawa (my next port of call) for 80,000INR so decided to do likewise rather than taking the public buses again. This meant i had all morning free to 'explore’ Ruteng. Walked up to Golo Curu a hill to the north of the town with great views of the town and mountain valleys surrounding it, then up to the pasar (market) a hive of activity for the local traders.
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