Thursday, February 24, 2011

Relaxing, Sightseeing and Adventure!!!

Last Friday we joined a full moon celebration at Desa Seni, a wonderful village resort where Iris has started doing Yoga classes. We had no expectations regarding the event, so we came there with an open mind. We only knew it was a celebration with meditation. Well, it was one of the strongest spiritual experiences for us so far on Bali. It entailed dancing, special breathing techniques, unique feelings in our bodies and special kind of ‘couple meditation technique’. For both of us it was a unique experience in different ways, but we both really felt the energy from such an experience shared with so many people. We are definitely going also the next time.

Gunung Kawi, Tirta Empul & Goa Gajah
Saturday morning we packed our bags and drove to Ubud area. There are still a lot of sights in the Ubud area, which we would like to explore and besides we just love Ubud. First stop was Gunung Kawi, age-old stone carvings graved into mountainsides. There were many stairs down to the sights passing 100 stands with sarongs, woodcarving and drinks. Down in the valley it was beautiful, rice fields surrounding the area and the stone carvings, well worth the visit.
We continued to Pura Tirta Empul, which is close to Gunung Kawi. Iris had recently been at Tirta Empul with the kids from Sjaki (see blog), but Rino had to see the place too and off course take a bath in the holy water and by the holy springs. It’s such an impressive place somehow, with the springs and continuingly people coming for the holy water.
After this Rino still had the energy for a 3rd tourist site, it was a beautiful but also a very hot and sweaty day. But on the way back to Ubud we stopped at Goa Gajah, where Iris also was before with the family visits while Rino had to work. Instead of hiring a guide, this time Iris could do the guiding.

In the evening we eat at Nomad, which is one of Ubud’s most famous restaurants. They have a great organic concept and we enjoyed 12 delicious Balinese tapas (Rino’s review). The evening continued with some Arak and beers with Iris’ former colleagues from Sjaki.

Wild Adventure
In our Lonely Planet there are a few walking tracks in the surroundings of Ubud and Sunday morning we headed up to one of them. We heard about one place called Sari Organic, which we wanted to pass for lunch on our track. The beginning of the track was really easy and nice, but at a certain point we couldn’t find the path, which we should take. We asked a local who explained us we had to go through the rice paddies, follow a small road which could be a bit slippery and than we would come to a bamboo bridge…
So, there we went. The rice paddies were easy, but after that there was only an almost invisible tiny path through the jungle. We heard the river flowing around 100 meters beneath us. Our flip-flops were maybe not the best tracking shoes for this path, but we wanted to have our lunch at Sari Organic and this seemed to be the only route we could take. While climbing down we asked ourselves continuously if we should go back. Iris tried to explain the Fjellvettreglene (Norwegian mountain safety rules) to Rino (from the flat country) and reminded about rule number 8: ‘it’s no shame to turn around’…. But we continued down the crazy path.
Certain parts of the path were quite dangerous and steep and at some point we had the feeling we even would not be able to climb back up if we had wanted to.

Finally we arrived at the bamboo bridge, which was 5 pieces of bamboo over the river. We looked at each other and going back up seemed impossible, so “yes we are going to balance over!” Luckily bamboo is really strong and therefore crossing over the bridge was easier than it looked like. Climbing up the mountain was almost as dangerous as going down, but finally we saw some agriculture and it really felt like coming back to civilization :-) We had to go through some great rice paddies, high on adrenaline and proud, before we finally reached our goal: Sari Organic :-)

Sari Organic
Sari Organic (review) is an organic farm with restaurant in the middle of the rice paddies. If you would take the simple route it would only take 20 minutes to come there, but our more dangerous route took us about 2½ hours. We were exhausted and still shaking from the adrenaline, but still very impressed by the beautiful surroundings and the lovely organic farm with its restaurant. This is definitely our new number one restaurant of Bali. It serves great food directly out of their garden, with reasonable prices and great drinks as well, perfect for breakfast or lunch.

After our relaxing lunch at Sari Organic we walked the easy route back to Ubud and didn’t have any energy left to do something else than driving back home. Rino’s hotel now also manages another property, which is close to our home and we are allowed to use their pool :-) We relaxed the rest of the afternoon at the pool and took a well deserved foot massage :-)

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