When it comes to travelling to new places, I am content to take my time relaxing, sleeping in, and generally living the Sloth life. BUT I married a man who can’t sit still so, this post is a bit of a beast because it was a mammoth of a day. Driving around Bali from 8am and returning at 9pm, taking in all the major sites and temples- it was daunting the night before, but it turned out to be a really fun way to experience everything. We found an itinerary that allowed us to see the main temples, some local craft work, a coffee plantation, have lunch in the mountains, finished off with sunset over Uluwatu and dinner on the beach (and I need to split this all into two posts)
Our day began at 8am, where we were picked up by our guide, who I shall call Bali Dad, because he took such good care of us.
The first stop was to watch a play of a traditional Balinese legend- to be honest, it was super touristy but we went with it and just enjoyed it for what it was.
Afterwards, we stopped to watch batiks being made and woven, to a silver jewellery workshop and then onwards to a painting and wooden carvings shop.
At the Batik place, the smell of the hot wax reminded me strongly of the time I made my own piece of batik at school- and how blobby it turned out. The ladies in the shop made it look easy and effortless.
After they were painted, they were laid outside to dry in the sun before eventually being sold in the shop.
After the arts and craft visits, we made our way to the first of many temple stops- Goa Gajah.
At all temples in Bali, you have to wear a sarong before you enter. There are kiosks at every entrance, and they are free. Just pick one up, tie it around your waist and you’re good to go.
An sweet old man helped me wrap up in my sarong- carefully tying it around my waist- I could have done a little cry (old men, they pull at my heartstrings!)
Goa Gajah means Elephant Cave, because apparently one of the stone carvings once upon a time looked like an elephant. Down the windy stone steps we went, and into a courtyard.
The intricately carved cave mouth was the entrance to a meditation cave. It’s not one for the claustrophobic- it was small, dark and smoky with incense.
Back outside, were three stone statues spouting water. People walked down to either splash their hands and faces with the cool water, or to take little sips.
I could hear the sound of rushing water, and following yet more steps, walked down into another shaded courtyard overlooked by a small waterfall.
From Goa Gajah, the plan was to drive up the mountain that overlooked a volvano and the valley below.
Mother Nature had other plans for us though, and it poured with tropical rain the entire hour long drive and throughout our lunch. Cloud and mist obscured the volcano from view, so it was a basically a long, wet detour and I got completely soaked in the rain.
After that failed mission, we drove back towards town via a coffee plantation. Indonesia is known for it’s Kopi Luwak and as well as a tasting, I saw how the famous coffee is made
(Poop. It’s made from poop.)
I shit you not. No pun intended. (maybe a little)
Luwak- or civets- eat the coffee beans, which then go through a fermentation process in their digestive systems. When they poop these out, it’s collected, washed and processed.
See that’s me up there grinding down some washed and ready coffee beans.
Then it was tasting time.
Eleven little cups of coffee and tea, plus an extra cup of Kopi Luwak.
There was coconut coffee, ginseng coffee, Bali coffee (really, really strong stuff) vanilla coffee and an assortment of herbal teas that were just okay.
The Kopi Luwak was rich and strong, but honestly, too strong for me.
It was actually the Ginseng Coffee that we ended up buying a bag to bring home with us.
The plantation was actually a nice pitstop in the day. The plantation was shaded and cool, chickens roamed freely, and it overlooked the jungle. It was quite peaceful actually, considering caffeine is the product here!
Aside from coffee, they also grew cocoa beans and I spotted a fair few pineapple plants too.
Fully hyped up on coffee, the day wasn’t over yet (which is probably why the coffee tasting was timed for the middle of the day)
The drive to the next temple (And certainly one of the most beautiful ones I got to see) was a couple hours drive away.
Next up was the Holy Water Temple, and the amazing Uluwatu Monkey temple on the coast, before dinner on the beach in the evening. Back shortly!