Weeks of uncertainty and worry over a rather active volcano on the main island, we decided that it is probably a media beat up like it usually is…….and it was. We never saw any smoke, heard any noise or felt any tremors, but the locals were making extra sacrifices and offerings at their temples just in case.
A really early rise of 4am, after little sleep the night before, stressing over stuff (as I usually do), we drove out to the airport and dropped off the car, then checked in our luggage. We had lots of time to kill (we like to get there a bit early so it’s not a rushed panic), so we had a leisurely breakfast followed by a small wait to board our plane, as it was delayed. Even so, our 6-hour trip was only 5 hours due to good winds and weather, still, 5 hours in a plane goes slowly. We both made sure we had plenty to keep ourselves busy; books, movies, and music.
We arrived without any fuss and managed to get through customs very quickly, and met our guide G’day (I’m not sure how to spell if exactly, but it turns out to be a fairly common name in Bali). He pointed out various locations and points of interest on the long drive to Ubud (1.5hours). We stopped partway and visited a coffee plantation and tried various coffees; but not the Lowak Coffee! A/ very expensive & B/ such a disgusting thought. Lowak coffee is made from pre-digested and fermented coffee beans which have been eaten by a type of civet cat, the beans are then collected from the poo of this animal and processed into coffee!!!!!! Ewwwwwwwwwwwwww………also it is apparently very strong and bitter.
Anyway, we tried various coffee and teas while watching people plant in the neighboring rice paddies. we both really enjoyed the vanilla coffee and lemongrass, we even bought some.
Finally arrived at our hotel, a magnificent 1960s bungalow, we were greeted with a cold towel and sweet (alcoholic) drink on arrival. Our rooms or Villa or Bungalow was two-story, but I never ventured upstairs, as it was a tight and steep climb, but roomy and gorgeous, it was named after the famous artist for the area, Walter Spies, and had many photos of him and his island getaway around the room and some of his paintings. Outside our rooms was a wonderful patio area overlooking a glorious water lotus pond.
We unpacked and had a coffee and then went for a look around the quite expansive grounds of Hotel TJampuhan Resort & Spa, exotic and lush, with tropical flowers everywhere.
Eventually, we showered and dressed for dinner and went to Bridges for a lovely dinner by the river and a wonderful view of the old bridge, we had a lovely walk back to our rooms in the balmy tropical breeze and had an early night….it had been a very long day.
As I drifted off to sleep in our extremely comfy king size bed, lulled by the frogs and cicadas outside, I noticed that everything smelled of vanilla and frangipani……I remarked on that several times during our week in Ubud, best smells in the world!
I will leave this here and continue with Day 2 in my next post
p.s. people in Ubud are ever so slightly obsessed with penises or is that peni? anyway, we saw them everywhere, even hanging from our patio…I never did get around to asking why?