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April 29th 2011
Published: May 8th 2011
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The VillaThe VillaThe Villa

This gorgeous villa was home for a week.
After a particularly busy time at work, and the weather in Auckland starting to cool down, I was very excited about my trip to Bali. A group of eight of us had booked a luxury villa in Canggu. It promised a pool, four large double bedrooms, a chef and a pool boy. It did not disappoint - heaven! It soon became very hard to leave Baraka Villa .

Our flights were delayed two hours, and then arrived without my luggage, so we spent a further hour at the airport while I filled in forms and tried to get some sensible information. We bumped our way through the narrow lanes, navigating around the potholes on the truly dreadful road, and had countless calls to the villa trying to find the house, so when we finally arrived at the villa at 2.00 am it felt fantastic. The holiday could finally begin!

The villa was gorgeous. We had a chef at our beck and call, and another couple of staff members to assist with any queries. Anything that we wanted could be arranged. Could he recommend somewhere to go to a yoga class? Yes, actually the yoga teacher could come to us. Some Bintang and snacks to go with our strenuous afternoon by the pool? Yes, he would go to the grocery store and get anything we would like. Where could we go for a massage? Oh, they can come to us? Perfect. It soon became apparent that leaving the villa was optional only. Dinner in? Yes, whatever we wanted, and the chef would prepare it for us.

However we did tear ourselves away from the villa. A minute's walk down the lane way we came to the beach. There was a restaurant at the beach in case we felt like having lunch somewhere different, and then a bridge over to the surf beach. Made of bamboo that was rotting away in several places, and swinging somewhat precariously, we christened it "the bridge of terror". I made sure that I was not the first one to cross it! The bridge turned out to be well names, as on the final night some of our group were at the beach having just crossed 'the bridge of teror' when it collapsed with a mighty bang. Luckily the two local boys on the bridge at the time were all fine.

We also left the villa
Massage at homeMassage at homeMassage at home

We didn't need to leave....
on a couple of occasions to go shopping in Seminyak. I could not believe the changes since my last visit in 2004. At one point we passed a popular restaurant that I had visited seven years earlier, which then, was in the middle of rice paddies and surrounded by fairy lights. Now, still surrounded by fairy lights, it is surrounded by high-end restaurants, upmarket resort wear boutiques, hotels and villas. In fact the Seminyak in my memory used to be a quieter part of town, with some lovely restaurants, while now it is a buzzing, vibrant hive of activity. We experienced this for ourselves and visited some of the exceptional restaurants - Chandi , Sardine and La Lucciola and also had some pre-dinner drinks at one of the lastest clubs, called Potato Head . It is an incredible space, overlooking the beach. Apparently the architecture includes 3,000 shutters which they sourced from around the world. That gives you an idea of the scale of it!

It was a very relaxing week. There was no stress to be anywhere you didn't want to be. Some of us went to a cooking class one day - Sate Bali - and learnt how to make
The "Bridge of Terror"The "Bridge of Terror"The "Bridge of Terror"

A minute or so down the road was the beach, but to get there we had to cross a rickety bamboo bridge, we dubbed it the "Bridge of Terror". It collapsed on our last day - so well named!
Indonesian food. It finished with a feast of the many courses that we had made. Scrumptious! Although there were yoga teachers who could come to the villa, I discovered a nearby yoga resort which I enjoyed going to, Desa Seni, so it wasn't an entirely sedentary holiday. And of course, it is Bali after all, so I took as many opportunities to enjoy the beautiful beach as possible.

I had never been on a luxury holiday quite like this, and it was fantastic to be with good friends, enjoying fantastic food and sipping delicious cocktails. However as I drove through the pulsating streets I felt a little nostalgic for the Bali that I had first visited nearly 13 years ago. I wonder what it will look like next time I go back?

It was a blissful week. However all good things must come to and end, and soon, it was time to board the plane.

Additional photos below
Photos: 24, Displayed: 24



We were spoiled with the gorgeous food on offer at Chandi.
Dinner at homeDinner at home
Dinner at home

The chef at the villa was fantastic, so we did not go hungry!
Fresh and flavoursomeFresh and flavoursome
Fresh and flavoursome

Lots of different ingredients added to the fantastic flavours.
Cooking school chefsCooking school chefs
Cooking school chefs

They did all the hard work!
Gado GadoGado Gado
Gado Gado

We made a number of different dishes, this is Gado Gado, fresh vegetables, eggs, tofu with peanut sauce. Delivious!
On the beachOn the beach
On the beach

Walking home after lunch at Echo Beach.
Fishing villageFishing village
Fishing village

Somewhere between Canggu and Echo Beach.

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