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Published: January 4th 2019
We arrived in Bali a day before Jack, Ella and Anna & after a busy few weeks we were looking forward to a bit of a holiday with the kids.
We greeted them after their long flight wearing local(ish) gear as a bit of a joke.
Our first few nights were in Sanur, right on the beach with pools, tennis & bikes. It was very quiet as their peak is July.
Day 4 and we had a car booked for Ubud for the morning. While waiting in the lobby Sue talked with a driver who then brought the car round. It was immediately obvious however that there was no way we were going to get 5 people plus luggage in - about 10 minutes later we worked out it wasn’t the wrong car he had brought just that he wasn’t our driver - oops
Once we found the right driver (June) we were off and spent most of the day travelling to Ubud via various places including the Water Palace at Karangasem, paddling and having lunch on Virgin beach which was idyllic and finally a visit to a preserved village at Tenganan.
Eventually we arrived in
Ubud and settled in to our rooms at the hotel (where the kids had a much better room than us)
Next day we ventured out to the Monkey forest - Interesting place where you had to watch your glasses, phones etc while watching the Balinese long tail monkey or Macaques. In the forest there were approximately 860 monkeys. I even managed to find one of them on my arm trying to take my wedding ring off ( not my type though).
Next day we headed to the Ridge walk which was much shorter than we expected & on to the UNESCO rice fields followed by 8 games of pool with Jack. For the first time in years I actually won ( and my winning streak continued for the next few nights).
Another day another activity. This time it was white water rafting. Great fun, over 14km in a couple of hours.
Good to get back for a beer and a collapse in the pool which we pretty much had to ourselves the whole time we were there.
The next day we set out on a 6 hour cycle tour. However as it was 90% downhill we
got absolutely no exercise but a great view of the countryside and a very informative guide.
On the way we visited a Coffee plantation for breakfast & sampled 9 different coffees and teas and drank the Kobe Luwak (cat poo coffee). We visited the Itso temple (oldest in the area - 11th century) and were welcomed into a Balinese compound where 3 generations of a local family live.
Around Bali we found that most families had a family temple built in NE corner of the compound with many shrines inside. Normally the highest building in the compound, the Gadon where the oldest folk in family slept and other buildings for the other families.
While there our guide showed us a Balinese calendar which has a 420 day year split into 2x6 months.
In the afternoon Sue and I visited a few art places recommended by Claudia and Heinz, friends we met in Brazil - Pandi, Elden Sri Sedana and the Blanco Museum. All interesting places with the building at Blanco being particularly impressive. Our preference for the art was at Elden Sri Sedana, more contemporary than the others.
That evening was our final night in Ubud so
of course Anna, Jack and Sue decided they wanted to climb a volcano Mount Batur, to watch the sunset in the morning! Not me nor Ella.
The three of them were picked up at 2.00am then sat in a minibus waiting for some others who had slept over for 35 minutes. By the time they got there, (all 20 something’s plus Sue) they had time to make up & were frog marched straight up the black lava path to the top. It nearly killed Sue but they made it & got there just in time & before the clouds came in. They felt the steam coming from the volcano & watched monkeys play around near the top. It was well worth the effort!
I met Ella for breakfast after her yoga before setting off for our final Bali destination, Uluwatu.
By mid afternoon we had arrived at the villa and met a local manager called Made ( pronounced mahday) who looked after us for 5 days.
The Villa had plenty of space and a 20m pool - not new but had everything we needed. After settling in and grabbing dinner locally we got back, played games and
went to bed.
Next day we booked 5 scooters so we could get around easily. One by one we had a quick overview of how to ride it and were then sent off individually along the hilly windey road to test drive it, not ideal conditions for a test drive. All went fine until when waiting for my go it was started to appear obvious Sue had either gone on a super long test drive or something had happened.
The guys who were bringing the last bike came up and told Made that she had fallen so he shot off to collect her.
Fortunately although shaken and slightly grazed leg and elbow, no major damage only her pride! She had found the scooter much heavier to turn than mopeds & was not getting on a bike again this holiday!
Jack wanted to go surfing so he, Anna and I booked a surfing lesson at Padang Padang beach and went down on our scooters. Sue and Ella went by taxi.
Jack managed to get up and spend time surfing and Anna got up before me. In fact in 2 hours although I managed to get some
long rides on the waves I was kneeling rather than standing. I did managed to get up twice though - once for 3 seconds and again for early 4! Not sure it’s my sport.
Christmas Eve, the weather was grey & windy. Anna wasn’t feeling great after the meal last night so Anna & I watched films. Sue & Ella went to our nearest beach, Suluban, to watch Jack surf. They sat high up the cliff in a cafe to watch. It was a very narrow beach with rocks on either side. The sea was quite rough & one minute there were 15 surfers out there the next minute there was one & Jack & one other trying to get back into shore but the current had already taken them along, Jack was lying on his board swimming frantically against the current. It was very tough & tough for Ella & Sue watching! Sue ran down to the beach & Ella could see the lifeguard shouting, directing Jack around a rock. When the life guard stopped shouting she knew he had made it onto the beach!
The next day Christmas was upon us and having opened our presents
( we did a secret Santa which had to be bought in Bali), we headed off to breakfast in our Santa hats.
Previously Ella & Sue had spotted a place with an infinity pool called Blue Heaven, so we booked it for Christmas lunch and with that came all day access to the pool and a towel.
We got there early enough to get the best loungers on the edge of the pool and spent the whole day there.
It was weird spending Christmas Day in hot temperatures with Chinese tourists spending all day taking pictures of each other in model poses and of course getting sunburnt. Followed by a quiz by Ella the quiz master back at the villa won by team Jack & Richard!
Certainly a Christmas to remember.
Boxing Day was a much slower pace and we didn’t really move out of the villa until late afternoon when we went to see the Kecak and fire dance at Uluwatu Temple - interesting spectacle with over 70 guys chanting and singing as background to a story/legend being enacted by the main characters.
For a fire dance however it didn’t have a lot of
fire! It did get more entertaining towards the end when it felt more like a pantomime.
Next morning Jack went back to the beach for an hour or so’s surfing before he, Ella and Anna went off to the airport to head home. It had been a fantastic couple of weeks and a real holiday amongst our travels.
Sue was quite relieved that we all left Bali in one piece, it had been a bit too adventurous in parts!
We stayed an extra night then flew to Perth where the next leg of our adventure starts.
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