Where did the year go? The blog has been deserted, lonely and empty and hasn’t received any love whatsoever. That’s about to change. I’m here aren’t I, typing away, trying to remember what I have been doing the past months.
To be honest, I’ve mostly been working. I have certainly not been baking! There have been quite a few trips, as usual, but the one I’m about to tell you about is the most exciting – Bali. Because in the midst of working, working, working, I got a moment of zen in my life. And that was much needed.
I didn’t have any expectations of Bali when the Italian and I booked our tickets. I wanted to go somewhere warm, the Italian confirmed this would be the case with Bali and so off we went in September. My first trip to Asia.
Our first stop was actually Singapore, but more about that in another post. You see, it’s raining outside. I can hear the raindrops on the windowpane. And although the windows are closed I know it’s pitch black out there. So I need to transport myself to those sunny days in Bali, when the Italian and I whizzed around on a scooter among rice fields and temples.
Canggu. The Italian stayed there last year and was enamoured with the laid-back lifestyle. He learnt how to surf, he ate good food and he experienced some pretty amazing Balinese massage. He wanted me to experience it too and so Canggu (and Echo Beach) was our first point of call.
I have to say I was sceptical at first. What would you say if you someone told you that your bathroom was outdoors and that you would have cows as neighbours? If you are as highly strung as I am, you would surely raise an eyebrow. But the cows and the outdoor shower proved to be part of the adventure. Initially, I was quite scared of snakes lurking in the toilet, but they never appeared and so instead, I started to enjoy taking a shower underneath the stars or underneath a clear-blue sky.
We quickly established a routine in our little villa. We had breakfast at an Australian café, lunch at Betelnut Café and dinner on the beach, at Deus Ex Machina or at Betelnut again. Once in a while, the Italian managed to coax me into going to the French patisserie for coffee and croissants. We ate like kings for only a few dollars each. With such an inexpensive dinner we could easily afford ordering that extra slice of Oreo cheesecake. The picture above is from a restaurant that served roti, one of the best lunch places on our favourite “food strip”.
In between meals, we explored the area. We went to the beach to check out the surf, stayed by our pool, got a Balinese massage, indulged in a pedicure, tried reflexology, went to a few shops and generally enjoyed doing whatever we wanted. I generally wanted to buy everything in all the shops, but it was the Italian who found the gems. As always when we travel together.
When we ventured into Seminyak one day and spent the day at a beach club, we both longed to go back to our villa. Seminyak was all about the hustle and bustle of a hot tourist spot, whereas Canggu, which certainly wasn’t tourist-free, offered a quieter way of life. The only disturbance were the cows outside our house, who were occasionally moo-ing and blocking the road. They were nothing like the Hitchcock-like pigeons that you can encounter on Trafalgar Square, however, so I was positively pleased.
After 5 days in Canggu, we had to leave our zen-patch to go and explore Ubud. By then, we had finished watching almost an entire season of Homeland, I had finished reading a book, we had explored the surrounding areas including Tanah Lot, one of the holiest temple sites on Bali, had seen numerous sunsets and we had become locals at the cafés and restaurants. Although we had ‘been there, done that’, both the Italian and I felt sad to leave. Not least, because the people in the area were so incredibly friendly and welcoming. And it goes without saying that we were already wondering how the food in Ubud would compare to Canggu…
When people tell you that Bali is dirty, touristy and soulless, you point them to Canggu and tell them to order a yamu and garden wrap from Betelnut and while they munch through the goodness, they should listen to this tune. They will instantly fall in love with the place, just like we did.