lunedì 9 aprile 2018

Ternate: a pearl of beauty

It was long time since I had planned to visit this island but when I read an article about the ancient dutch colonization of these wonderful archipelago of Moluccas and the trade of cloves which was such a worth item in Europe.
As I landed in Ternate city I immediately felt a humid warm and scented hug which made me so excited to be there.
Maluku has a huge array of islands, even from Ternate it's possible to see the huge Halmahera but also the small Moti, Maitara, Makian and the twin island, almost the same sze, of Tidore that I visited in a day with its wonderful Fort Tahula with its steep ladderswhich lead you to a majestic view overlooking all the island, not to mention the lovely, well mantained garden and colourful flowers all around the old stone walls. Just great!
Muara Hotel is nothing special, apart for its strategic position near the nice Benteng Oranye (Dutch Fortress) and the city center of Ternate city center, but there I had the chance to meet Didi, the restaurant manager who was so nice, friendly and helpful to take me around the many island highlights by his motorbike as well as to give me plenty of tips about a possible island hopping future plan, considering that this is definitively not a touristic place thus islands connections are not easy nor frequent.
Ternate highliths, all visited in a daily motorbike tour, are: Sulamadaha beach, very popular among the locals who come here to enjoy the weekend, to eat something in the food stalls and swim in cristal water where most of corals are sadly dead or broke,  Jiko Malamo beach which is maybe less scenic, less crowded but even nicer since it's a small sandy beach and possible to see many corals and colourful fish with a very easy snorkeling, Danau Tolire Besar is a huge spectacular volcanic lake emerging from a green tropical forest, it's funny because little boys sell you small rock to throw there for a few rupias, Kastela Benteng is a fortress built in the 1950 by the Portugueses and then destroyed by the Spanish(the spices market was aspired by many) and discovered in the 1920, despite its mostly collapsed walls it retains a kind of ancient charm, Danau Ngade is another lake with a terrific view, from there Didi pushed his motorbike to a steep ascend and from there a 16min walk to a wonderful spot overlooking Ternate city. Finally we visited Benteng Kalamata anothe nice fortress next to the sea with a rusty shipwreck around which many lovely kids were jumping, swimming and enjoying a marvellous sunset.
In general I loved the friendly mood of locals so friendly and keen to meet this Italian guy able to communicate with a basic and primitive bahasa but also a local english teacher who asked me to chat with some of his pupils at the entrance of the mall.
Last but not least, around the fruit and fish market, in the bus station, in the night time there are a couple of big stalls who prepare the most delicious grilled fish so fresh and good, here too around these long tables it's possible to meet new friends from other Indonesian tourists or from locals who offer you to take a tour of the city.
I really loved Ternate.

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