First meal togetherMonday 21st June 2010
Lunch on the first day at the Lakes.
We were the last to be picked up, the others being met either at the airport or from their hotels south of us. Three vehicles were used, a 4wd and a small mini bus for some of us, the others ahead in another very new one.
Our first stop on the way to Lovina Beach was at the top of a range overlooking two lakes way below us just outside of the town of Tamblingan. Here we had lunch in the nearby cafe, this being the only meal we would have to buy during the tour.
The Aditya Hotel was to be our home for the next 4 days and our first impression was very favourable with big, clean rooms in a garden setting.
The rest of the day was spent in the pool and looking around the hotel which adjoins the beach. Just like the rest of Bali there were people trying to sell T shirts or watches or other souvenirs as soon as they saw us. The hotel rules prevent them from entering the hotel grounds so escaping is not too difficult.
Dinner was a buffet in the hotel dining room,
an open undercover area overlooking the garden and beach. With the lights and balmy temperature and good Indonesian food it was the ideal introduction to our adventure. Tuesday 22nd June 2010
Breakfast in the same setting was the prelude for the day, Rags quickly being reminded of the 'mud' coffees he had on earlier visits.
At 0800 we met in the carpark where we were allocated our bikes. All were pleased with them, the quality being similar to what we had in Vietnam.
By 8.30 we were off, leaving Judy to take photos of us as we rode away. She intends doing some Online University of Australia work as well as a little exploring herself.
It was quite warm as we rode off alongside the rice fields, the traffic being heavy as we followed the main route. Even so, we soon gained our confidence amongst all the trucks and motorbikes, they being aware of everything on the road and very tolerant of those around them. Vehicles, including us, merge together with the slowest overtaken without any aggression shown, the toot of a horn indicating they were there or coming past, not a signal of anger.
Peaceful Beach at the front of our hotel.
Eventually we left the main road and headed north through the village of Tempekan. The road then became quite steep and Rags, in about the middle of the group, got to the stage where he had to get off and walk the last section. A couple of hundred metres later he rounded a corner to see the vans and 3 of the group at a carpark. We were in Desa Banjar which has the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bali. To the surprise of all of us this was our first stop and the rest of the trip was downhill!
After an interesting tour of the Buddhist temple there we set off downhill to the Brahma Arama Vihara Hot Springs. About half of the group enjoyed the hot water there, Rags joining the rest, who felt hot enough as it was, for a Bintang before lunch. Another tasty local meal was had before setting off back to the hotel.
The total distance ridden today was only just over 20kms, we all feeling this was a little too short but probably chosen to give Wayan, our guide, an indication of what we could do.
Rags found Judy
sitting outside our room. She'd only been back long enough to have a shower after a morning exploring the area, buying a top, having her nails painted and a massage. She'd enjoyed a lovely lunch of squid at a beachside restaurant chatting to a couple of Queenslanders.
We were all to meet in the carpark at 1900 to be taken out to another restaurant to sample the seafood. Wayan has chosen different places to go so that we may experience a wide variety of local food. Two of the group didn't appear and after several searches we gave up and worriedly went on our way.
The restaurant was some distance away, we all squeezing into one van so that Wayan could wait for the missing members.
Just as we were about to eat they turned up, having been shopping for SIM cards. The meal consisted of chilli crab, chilli fish, veges and rice. It was not as good as the previous meals, the main courses being overcooked and dry. A dessert of bananas and icecream was ordered as people were still a little peckish. A good night none-the -less with some local musicians providing some well known
These take tourists out to chase little dolphins.
songs as a background . Wednesday23rd June 2010
Some of the group went out at 0600 to see small dolphins feeding offshore but Judy never made it to the beach on time, Rags stayed in bed and never even trying to make it.
After breakfast we set off at about 8.30pm, this time in the opposite direction to yesterday, leaving Judy on the wrong side of the hotel and only enabling her to photograph our rears!
We rode through Singaraja, to a temple dating back to the 1800s. This temple is one of the best temples in north Bali. It has several sculptures carved in the side of it, the one we were interested in most was of a Dutchman on his bicycle with the wheels made of flower petals. It is believed to be a WOJ Nieuwenkamp, a Dutch artist who brought the first bike into Bali in 1904. Some time was spent here, all of us with our sarongs on even though we were not allowed to enter the temple itself.
Another 8kms or so on, the road having become emptier and winding alongside the beach, we came to a halt. Here we
rested and given cans of Pocari Sweat to replenish lost fluids.
This was the turning point, we riding back about 10kms to a restaurant over the water where we enjoyed a “duck” meal - duck satay, duck soup, duck and palm hearts, duck and coconut. Very tasty and had with lime juice and coconut milk.
It seemed a long haul back to the hotel after that, this was probably as it was hot and we were keen to get into the pool. The total distance today was over 60kms, satisfying us all and impressing the guide who didn't think we would do it so quickly.
The pool was bliss, Judy, not in the room when he returned but after an SMS and a shower she appeared with a big grin on her face after catching up with her Queenslander friends for lunch at another beachside cafe. She'd caught up with all her uni work before setting out out today. A shower followed, then a 'nanny nap' was the order of the day.
The late afternoon was spent reading or the typing up the blog before we all met promptly at 7pm in the carpark before being
taken to the same restaurant where Judy had her lunch today.
Dinner consisted of many plates firstly of mixed meat sate sticks, followed with chicken sate sticks and rice with bowls of gado-gado salad. There was much too much of similar food for it to be a memorable meal except that there was far too much. The usual dessert of fruit and icecream followed.
We returned to our rooms just after 9pm, everyone happy to retire early in anticipation, or trepidation, of the 60km ride planned for tomorrow which includes 35 kms rising from just on sea level to 1600m. The consensus at then that we only ride 25kms and then get taken to our lunch destination at the top by the bus. Thursday 24th June 2010
It was nicely overcast when we left the hotel at about 8.30am making it seem a little cooler. Judy had decided to join us as part of the support crew and as photographer.
It took no time at all to warm up and by the time we reached the bottom of the mountains we were all quite warm.
The first 10kms weren't too bad with gentle
slopes opening onto short stretches of flat road where we could get our breath back. Then the road became steeper, winding up into the mountain. The road kept disappearing around the next corner just ahead, promising a flat section next. When you got around the corner all you could see was another corner further up the hill. Rags teamed up with Dunno, expecting to lag behind as he is a very keen competitive rider who trains most days of the week. As it was we matched well and spurred each other on, proud that we the two eldest guys on the trip and only two of them were ahead of us.
After 50kms Rags was surprised to have Dunno pull out at a drink stop, Rags continuing on. Five kms later Rags met up with the truck to find Mark, one of the cyclists ahead, had pulled the pin earlier, and he decided that another 15kms of almost total steep inclines was not on the agenda. Only 5kms further the truck met up with Kev, the first rider, who had also called it a day.
All of us were then taken by vehicle to our final destination which
was the same place we had lunch on the first day. A fairly subdued group of cyclists enjoyed a local buffet meal washed down this time with fruit juices. The stalls there managed to make several sales of local wares, maybe the fact that we were all exhausted made us vulnerable to the sales speil!
It took an hour to return via a steep, twisting road, we understanding Wayan's reluctance to let us ride the bikes due to the heavy traffic and the fact that we would burn out the brakes before reaching the bottom 40kms later.
Massages for all in the hotel grounds was the order of the day, the ladies providing these on contract with the hotel and having to give half their fee to it to be allowed there. A bit steep, they then earning only about A$4.50/hour for their efforts. Mind you, the massage was great and we certainly felt better for it.
Dinner was a special surprise, the tour having organised it to be a BBQ on the grass in front of the hotel. A stage with decorations and the trees around decorated with lights and flowers made for a lovely setting,
Dressed for the monastery
Banjar is one of the oldest and biggest Buddhist Monasteries in Bali.
this then followed by three ladies giving us a performance of traditional Balinese dancing. Our final day in Lovina certainly was a memorable one.
For more photos see http://balicycling.com/9-days-cycling-in-bali-island.html
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