Saturday, 5 December 2015

South-East Asian Adventures: Samosir Island, Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia

We left Berastagi bright and early and set off for a nine-hour travel day to our next destination: Samosir Island on Lake Toba.

But less than an hour after setting off, we'd reached the lake! "Awesome," I thought, we must be nearly there.

Yeah. Not quite.

It turns out Lake Toba is blimmin' huge. And Samosir Island is pretty sizeable too.

We still had a long way to go, so after a perusal of a pretty waterfall and a tea with condensed milk, it was back in the bus.

(As an aside, I really love tea with condensed milk now. Yes my teeth will probably fall out before the end of this trip but it's so delish and comforting. "Hot and sweet, just like I like my men.")

We wound our way around and down through the mountains, enjoying spectacular views of the lake as we went.

Some hours later (I lose track of time when listening to 1D's new album on repeat), we made it to our ferry crossing and hopped aboard.

The views of the lake were gorgeous!

The sun was shining, the water was sparkling and I was loving soaking up some rays and breathing in the fresh air.

Samosir Island is pretty big. And I have no shame in saying we saw very little of it.

We stayed by our hotel on the edge of the lake and sunbathed under the palm trees.

I love lakes and I love mountains - remember Lake Annecy? - but never before have I been to one in such an exotic location. It was wonderful.

As when the sun was shining brightly, it was HOT!

Unsurprisingly, I was first in the water. It was so blissful! The water wasn't cold but it was just cool enough to be refreshing.

And when the clouds gathered, we decamped to a restaurant round the corner, Rumba, and settled in for an evening of good cocktails, great food and questionable singing.

Well, what else is there to do when the sun goes in?

The Long Island Ice Teas were the strongest I've ever tasted so thought it best to stick to one. What I moved on to, however, was a delicious new discovery: Bacardi and mango smoothie. I think it was literally just mango, ice and rum blended up, but it was scrumptious!

But fear not, concerned friends, we soaked up the alcohol with a hella lotta stodge. Delicious stodge, but stodge all the same.

Rumba is a (somewhat randomly) Swiss-Indonesian restaurant, but I was more than happy to take a break from rice and noodles with a spot of western fare.

There were potatoes in multiple different guises (croquettes, mash, Bratkartoffeln, chips and more), Schnitzel (although it was more like a giant chicken nugget), pizza and various other unhealthy but delicious offerings.

We feasted.

And when a local guy came in with his guitar and songbook, we really got the party started. It's possible that the whole island could hear our quite frankly awful singing, but it was jolly good fun.

It was one of those completely unplanned, spontaneous, hilarious nights where everyone gets merry and just relaxes. It didn't matter that I'd only known my friends a couple of weeks, we had a great time. And you definitely bond quickly with people while travelling.

We sunbathed and swam the next morning before hopping back on board and setting sail for the mainland once again.

The Sumatran journey continues...

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