Another return location!  We first visited Lombok on our Bali trip last year, also with Grandma Linda, and with a 6-week-old Hazel.  At that time, our return ferry to Bali stopped off at the Gili Islands to drop some folks off and the location exuded charm.  It stuck there in the back of our travel-minds, and when Tim had the idea to organize a climb to the top of Lombok, the Volcano Rinjani, we turned it into a family trip with some good friends, the women and children setting up camp for a few days on Gili Air.

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Women and Children = one grandma, two mommas and FOUR children under four, aged 3, 2, 1, and 0 (9 mo).  The volcano the boys were to climb was 12,000ft tall.  Who do you think faced greater challenges those first three days?  Actually, things went great for both parties.  Tim and Arves climbed the volcano, matching hiking kits and all, and came home with some gorgeous photos (here, here, here).

Our flights were good and we had a somewhat confusing entrance into the country and shuttle to our accommodations, but everything ran smoothly and on time.  We woke up to a black sand beach and a fun morning in Sengigi (near where we stayed last time).  The kids were playing in the sand and I was asked by some locals the ages of my three blond charges.  Answering 1, 2 & 3, I received thumbs up as a good producer.  They wouldn’t believe the middle child belonged to the dark curly haired momma I pointed out so I just smiled and enjoyed it.  We had time for a quick naked run through a shallow pool before another on time and smooth transfer to Gili Air.

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The only motors on Gili Air run the boats to and from the island and the pumps to bring tanks of fresh water to the hotel.  There are no cars, motor bikes or scooters zipping along the two-track dirt path circling the island, only bicycles and horse-drawn carriages.  On the crystal clear water, smooth sand beach side of the road there are small open air eateries, most often with tatami elevated platforms for relaxing and eating near the water.  The other side of the road has the accommodations, and ours was fantastic.  I have nothing but good things to report from Manta Dive Resort and the Waterfront rooms where we stayed.

Four days and nights passed quickly with not much to do besides beach, pool, meals and horse cart rides.  The strong winds kept off the heat and we welcomed some clouds and even light rain during our beach time.  For the kids, there was sand, steak-on-a-stick, all the fresh fruit juice they could drink, ice cream, and boats, boats, boats.  From our breakfast table we had a great view of Rinjani and watched Tim and Arves summit (I can see his blue shirt, but not his face, said Miles from 50 miles away).  The sun rose and set early, 6am-6pm, which is a welcome shift for a momma of early risers.

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I can understand why Gilis are a location people stay for a while, it’s slow pace of life and idyllic surroundings suck you in and made us think about a return visit.  Just maybe…

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