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Parabens bo’ot! Big congratulations! You have walked 100 kms (or more) and reached your destination, the very top of Mt Ramelau.
You stand next to a statue of the virgin Mary looking out across Timor. With 360 degree views you can see from coast to coast of the small island, across the West Timor on one side and Mt Matebian on the other. It is indeed magnificent and worth every step of the 3 hour climb from the village of Hatobuilico at the base.
You might be alone but more likely you are joined by Timorese pilgrims who have come to pray at the foot of the 3 metre high Virgin Mary. Catholicism is the dominant religion in Timor (93% of the population are Catholic). Everyone is thrilled to have made it to the top! Candles are being lit and placed at the Virgin’s feet, flowers laced around her neck, prayers quietly said and many photos taken.
What an achievement! Along with other hardy walkers, you might have arrived before dawn so that you could watch the extraordinary sunrise. But likely then you are freezing and desperately waiting for the first warming rays of sun.
Mt Ramelau, previously known as Foho Tatamailau, is the highest mountain in Timor. Standing at 2986 metres, Mt Ramelau is climbed by thousands of pilgrims and tourists each year. Between the 1600s and 1975, Timor was a Portuguese colony and Mt Ramelau was famously celebrated as the highest peak in the empire.
Elsa and Joachim walk Mt Ramelau
See this video produced by Joachim and Elsa from COVID lockdown in Melbourne in September 2020.
Elsa and Joachim have walked Mt Ramelau twice in the company of Blue Mountains people. Previously a scholarship student of the Blue Mountains, Elsa has recently achieved her dream of studying a masters degree in Australia. She was awarded a DFAT scholarship for two years of study. Elsa has just completed her studies and is now in transit back to Timor and home. Elsa’s husband Joachim is a film maker and he has made this video for the Trek specifically. Thank you to Elsa and Joachim.
Obrigada barak no sorti diak bainhiri imi fila fali ba Timor!
Trekker arrives again at top of Mt Ramelau
It’s been a superb experience to be able to continue supporting the initiatives for East Timor by walking in Trek for Timor 2020, albeit in a different format. I’m glad to have arrived at the top of Mount Ramelau all the same!
The virtual trek has been a great option for me because I now live quite a few hour’s drive from the Blue Mountains and I was able to make the most of walking on beaches instead of the Blue Mountains National Park.
I have completed the challenging greatly undulating 50 km trek in and out of the Jamison Valley before with various friends over several years. Every time was a huge physical feat but also a satisfying achievement to fundraise for the cause.
I have had two opportunities to visit East Timor and see the need but also the impact that the programs supported by the BM fundraising community including that directly from BM Trek For Timor. It really was to my fortune to see the direct impact and appreciation from the remote villages under the towering peak of Mount Ramelau. They are special communities in a very spectacular but challenging environment and it was very inspirational to do more.
This year, with my family in tow (small son and with my partner with second baby due in few months), I have greatly enjoyed contributing to fundraising efforts, making strides along my local bush tracks and beach and remembering the long, windy and beaten track from Dili to Hatu Builico and even higher to about the clouds on the top of Mount Ramelau!
Alice, Charlie and unborn babe.