Sanur: soul sisters and cooking up a storm

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November 12th 2015
Published: November 18th 2015
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How fortunate are we in so many aspects of our lives, not least of which that we get to spend some more time in this beautiful place. Apparently the #stuckinBali hashtag has gone viral as travellers stuck on the island share snippets of their tropical ordeals.

The first couple of days after our flight was cancelled we didn’t really do too much as we kept expecting a notification from the airline, asking us to go to the airport. Once we had got our head around the situation and there was continued absence of flights to Australia, I realised this was the time to do the things I didn’t want to leave Bali without having done. So I signed up for a cooking class! Whilst classes are widely offered in Ubud, they are a little rarer in Sanur but Manik Organik, by now one of our favourite cafes offers the most beautiful culinary experience.

When I arrived for the class, a large square table in the front courtyard had been prepared with our tools and ingredients. There was woody galangal, aromatic ginger, earthy turmeric, spicy chili, sweet shallots, zesty limes, fragrant basil, pungent garlic, subtle bay leaf and citric kefir lime leaf. After three weeks without a kitchen, I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on this fresh produce and create something beautiful and delicious for my body and senses to soak up and enjoy. Our delicious menu included gado-gado as the starter, spice-encrusted barramundi steamed in banana leaves with sauteed vegetables as the main, and coconut-stuffed Balinese crepes for dessert. Our gorgeous chef Neeta shared her journey and experience with us, and educated us in Indonesian cuisine. She specialises in creating healthful and nutritious versions of Indonesian classics. The three of us – the lovely Caoimhe from Ireland/Singapore, the lovely Pauline from the Czech Republic/Germany and myself – gelled as though we were old friends. It was wonderful to connect with fellow nutritionist Caoimhe, and to chat in German with Pauline. Such a special experience.

We all tried our hand at grinding spices in stone mortars, chopping our veggies, marinating our fish fillets and flipping the odd pancake. Hilariously, not all flipped pancakes made it back into the pan! The result was a fresh, scrumptious and filling meal. Big thanks to the lovely staff at Manik Organik for this lovely treat. Dean and I shared my creations on the beach, and there was even enough left over for my dinner! Of course we all caught up again for dinner at the beach. Soul sisters who met in Bali :-)

We also connected with our beautiful yoga buddies: Anna from Rome and Eva from Barcelona, both of whom live in London. I just relish the mix of different nationalities and cultures when you travel, and it was great to revisit London memories and chat about the city that will always be home for me.

After the experience of staying at the hotel Griya, I decided it was time to enjoy some luxury, especially as our new flight was confirmed. So for our last night in Sanur we booked ourselves in at the stunning Sudamala, a serene resort near the beach at the southern end of town (our favourite part of Sanur!).

Sudamala means purification, and it really is an experience to be savoured. The room was spacious, the semi outdoor bathroom a pleasure and even the toiletries contained organic essential oils. The grounds were immaculately kept and not unlike the kind of place you would go for a mind & body retreat. We didn’t visit the hideously priced spa, but we very much enjoyed the lovely Monday morning yoga class. Sudamala is all about fine art: there are volumes of sketches and paintings, photographs of the local area over the years, eye catching pieces of art scattered around the complex, and a gallery with contemporary pieces. Even the carved wooden doors to the rooms were beautifully decorated in typical Indonesian style. I am crazy in love with these doors, which you get to see every few paces in Bali. If only I could transport one home with me to Melbourne! There was also a large pool, long enough for swimming laps. Of course our flight was cancelled again and we ended up staying here for two more nights.

Never before Sudamala had I come across a place that had a pillow menu. This is literally a menu of different styles of pillows which you can request as required. This actually came in very handy as that fall in Ubud still seems to be lingering in my body. I woke up one morning with a completely seized-up neck, which unfortunately meant that I couldn’t join the rafting trip that we had booked. Dean had an amazing time though and came back with plenty of photos for inspiration. I will definitely go this on our next trip to Bali. The rafting trip started at the top of the Sungai (river) Telagawaja and continued 16km downstream. It was a sedate picturesque paddle through the tropical bush with views of waterfalls.

Whilst in Sanur, we experienced the first rain of the wet season. It felt like the world was being cleansed and was a wonderful relief after the scorching heat.

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