Ubud definitely out perfomred the Canggu and Seminyak areas for us. We out performed as well. Feels like we did so much in the four days we had there. Here’s a glimpse in photos.
Day 1: I was riding solo as my diseased friend stayed back at Origin to sleep and take a bath. My day was quite the opposite. I sweated my arse off, walked in and out of shops, had a few Bitang, visited the palace, and accidentally broke into someone’s villa.
The palace was a dream come true. Can I grow water lilies in my apartment?
There’s a cute cafe just in front of the palace, brilliantly named Water Lily Cafe. You get to sit cross-legged on the floor and drink gin and tonics surround by orchids and lilies.
Everywhere you turned in Ubud was some very old-looking structure, statue, or dance center.
Very cool to explore. Skip the shopping and the market. A honeymooning couple we spoke with assured us you can buy 12 packs of dick shaped bottle openers at the ‘art’ market. The things dreams are made of…
The next morning we woke up early and were greeted by Ring of Ringa Bike Tours. We had one of my favorite days of the entire trip hanging out with the charming Ring. We saw and learned SO much about Bali and the warm, Balinese people. Our first stop was the Tellegong Rice Paddy which is just shockingly vast in person.
Then, we stopped by the Bali coffee and spice farm. We saw tons of fruit and foliage, met the ‘coffee cats,’ and sampled coffee and teas for days.
Roasting those coffee beans with someone else’s grandma.
Next up, it was lunch by the volcano that we were set to climb the following day.
Freshly squeezed orange juice and Mount Batur.
Check out the size of these oranges!!
Here is a nice lady’s head for perspective.
After lunch we set out on our downhill bike ride which wasn’t entirely downhill, but it was really fun. The scooters and trucks were friendly to our tourist arses and the tour was an awesome way to enjoy some of the country side. I remember thinking that this is something I will remember forever. So much lush, green beauty I’ve yet to see anywhere else.
We did detour to a temple that was readying for celebration.
Then, we stopped by a traditional Balinese family compound which was most interesting. We met the family even though we couldn’t communicate. They were gracious hosts and let us try to make their baby giggle. Here is a shot of the family mausoleum, which resides in the Eastern corner of every compound.
These rocks are actually markers for three generations of placenta buried beneath them.
Julie test drove the family swing in full side pony game.
We convened with their sweet calves and even an aggressive pig or two.
Back on the bikes, we spent the rest of time meandering through gorgeous rice fields.
We decided we had to see a waterfall and made this last, extra stop. The entrance couldn’t have been cuter with its umbrella-clad staircase.
The stream was murky and full of hidden, tricky rocks. We weren’t at all prepared for this, having no swim attire in our bags. So, I did what anyone would do, rolled up my yoga pants for the ultimate sausage leg effect and waded around the water so I could climb up the slippery rocks barefoot while Julie kindly waited for me. What broken toe?
Least flattering outfit of all time? Probably. Don’t care; it was such a wonderful day.
The next morning, we met up with Ring again. This time at 3AM so that we could drive an hour in the dark and hike Mount Batur. The plan was, hike to the top which takes a couple of hours so that we could hard boil eggs in the volcanic steam and then see the sunrise.
The plan failed. Big time. First of all, this “all fitness level” activity was rather advanced. I enjoyed flare ups of childhood asthma, coupled with extreme frustration (a few tears), and on no coffee and hardly any breakfast. The recipe for disaster? Nearly. I made it 2.5 miles and ninety floors of insanely steep climbing. I cannot tell you how challenging this was. Physically, it was just beyond which of course really got me mentally. Julie is in better shape and went all the way to the top with our guide who stopped for smoke breaks while I cry-wheezed. That’s a thing.
So, at my 2.5 miles and about an hour, I called it. I decided to wait for them at a stopping point while they carried on through the madness. It was pitch black, freezing, windy. I thought this is the last time I see Julie. This is how I die. Alone on the side of a volcano in Indonesia. I thought this is a metaphor for my life. I did what anyone would do and started journaling and felt much better about everything and decided I didn’t have to be good or even like everything. And more, but we shall leave it at that.
What I wish I’d known was that everyone was struggling with this climb. All the tourists behind me would come to my landing, panting, some heavy set German ladies were literally screaming. A group of Chinese tourists showed up and hilariously decided that no one at home would know this wasn’t the top of the climb and took many photos. They had eggs to cook to and did so on the stove of the warung that was giving me some shelter from the wind. I spent the rest of my lone time watching the sun (sort of) peek its head through the clouds. Chatting with an Indian man also resigned to ditching his group for the side of the mountain, I had a lovely time waiting for Julie and our guide to return for me.
Turns out, the egg cooking worked and that they saw even less of a sunrise than I did.
Filthy and sore, we headed to the Mount Batur hot springs. We’d planned for this and brought swim wear. Leisurely enjoying the pools, looking out across the volcanic lake, and chatting with Ring while he played Future of all things over the loud system was a much needed end to the world’s longest morning. The cloud game was real.
We headed back to the hotel for some pool time and then visited the John Hardy boutique and factory. I needed something really girly after such a taxing morning.
We had dinner at the Four Seasons afterward which was perfect. The hotel was so beautiful – infinity lily ponds – that I could definitely see why the Obama’s chose to stay there over the summer and why Julie now wants to get engaged here.