Monday, January 16, 2017

Day 55 - Ubud, Canggu and Mount Bromo

My mother asked me when my next blog post was due. So, it is a little after 9am, it is our first morning in Yogyakarta (Central Java, Indonesia) and I figure, now is as good a time as any. In truth, we've been pretty busy. In the two weeks or so since my last post we have said goodbye to Gemma, travelled to Ubud and Canggu in Bali and learnt why people love Bali. Seminyak did not show us all the highlights of Bali, though it did give us a good holiday, Ubud showed us the culture and Canggu showed us some of its nicer beaches and laid back way of life.

As I mentioned before, we said goodbye to Gemma at the airport on the 3rd January and Ben and I drove an hour North-East ways to Ubud where we checked into an awesome little homestay, and Ben promptly got ill with bad stomach cramps for essentially the whole time we were there.



We stayed in the room a couple days, with my disappearing briefly to a yoga class at Yoga Barn (which was good but busy), and on the third day, Ben decided to test his limits with a little trip out, so we went to the water temple (Pura Taman Saraswati).





On the way back we were disappointed by the alleged 'rabbit cafe', one sole rabbit does not make it a feature, and then we walked past the famous monkey forest, which I didn't really fancy going in after reading about how often the monkeys bite...



It turned out there were plenty of monkeys hanging about on the street outside the forest in any case, and that was enough for me.


After that we hung out on our balcony and had a chilled evening and went out for dinner.



Since that day had gone ok for Ben, the next day we took the Campuhan ridge walk which was absolutely beautiful. You walk along a small path with two valleys either side with a gorgeous green view. We stopped at the top of the walk for lunch in a gorgeous café (Karsa café) before we walked back. We'd read a lot about how long the walk takes... People said allow a couple of hours with a pause for a drink at the top... We accidentally smashed the walk back in under 30 minutes... The London commuting pace is really hard to shake, though it does helps us cross the roads here!








The next day we headed to a vegan cinema, that's a thing apparently, to enjoy a free screening of Planet Earth II: Grasslands.



A nice day start to the day, and then we enjoyed a traditional Balinese dance performance after dinner in the evening. Which is the stuff of nightmares. Genuinely.


And sadly our time in Ubud was up. Overall, Ubud is a really great place to visit, there's a lot to see and if you enjoy Yoga, there's lots of places to go and loads of workshops happening all the time. The traffic is a real shame, and a relatively new development I'm told. It does ruin it somewhat.




Anyway, before we set off on our travels, Ben mentioned he wanted to try surfing at some point so we pre-booked a pretty amazing looking surf camp in Canggu. This is why I've been a bit too busy/exhausted to write a blog post lately. Our days here were early morning risings for yoga (well, for me, not for Ben), then breakfast with everyone else staying on the camp (we were 8 people for the majority of our six day stay), and then off at 09.45 for surfing. After surfing, we would have varying amounts of time back at the camp before heading out for dinner with the others.



So, the camp was beautiful. We were genuinely there less than half an hour before Ben was on the inflatable unicorn.


That night we joined the people staying there for dinner, which was a bit of a let down but, you can't get good food everywhere. The next day was our first day surfing, we drove quite a way to...A beach I don't remember. But it was reef bottom which meant we wore little booties to protect our feet and weren't really able to stand often, so, two hours of mainly paddling on the board definitely took a toll on the shoulders that would linger for the rest of our stay. The first day was really good though and I managed to stand a couple of times on the wave, though briefly. Food out in the evening with Brenden and Mel.



The second day we went to Seminyak, where Ben and I learnt that if we had come out of our hotel where we had stayed over Christmas and turned right to walk up the beach, we would have found rubbish free sand with beach loungers for hire... Never mind! Anyway, sand bottom sea meant an easier surf day, and a good day for Ben and me regarding surfing progress. Though I'm still annoyed that my best moment was not seen by ANYONE. But I swear it happened! It was just successful wave riding but, that's what I was there for.



Anyway, that night, Wednesday night, was happy hour at Old Man's, which seemed to be EVERYONE'S favourite spot in Canggu. We all went, the surf instructors came out too, and it was a really fun night!



The next day, Ben and I skipped the surfing and took a muay Thai class instead. It was really fun, but oh my goodness, over two hours of punching, kicking and the random 'drop and give me twenty' that the instructor threw in. We were exhausted, our clothes were drenched, and our shoulders/arms, already put through their paces from surfing, were asking what they did to deserve it.




The rest of the day we rested, and we ordered in that night with Jamie, a lovely Australian girl who fancied chilling on her last night.


The next day, we didn't want to journey too far to a beach so the instructors took us to the beach in front of old man's. This was not a good idea. The waves down there are not beginner suitable and we failed to get up on the board at all. We got to practice our 'tuck and roll'. Essentially, if you're swimming out and a giant wave is heading for you and crashing, you have to, facing into the wave, roll under your board, holding the board flipped over. Not my cup of tea since water would rush up your nose and down your throat. Bleurgh. So our last day surfing was regrettably a wash out. But never mind, we're hoping to try it again in the future. Closer to home.

Our last night we visited Therapy, a massage/spa where I enjoyed an amazing massage and Ben had a 'cool as a cucumber' wrap, and then we had dinner at Echo Beach Club with Brenden. We had BBQ which was just so good, amazing ribs, and we watched the waves crashing over the ambitious fisherman on the rocks just in front of the restaurant. We decided to go after the waves started crashing over the side towards our table and the waitress suggested we move.



The next day I was up early to get in one more yoga class and Ben and I packed and checked out, grabbing a flight to Surabaya.

We didn't want to stay long here, we only wanted to see Mount Bromo so we stayed at a place called Krowi Inn which I found on TripAdvisor being specifically rated for it's Bromo tours. We got there about 2pm and, after a couple hours mulling our options, we decided to eschew the overnight stays closer to the mountain base and booked a private tour which was essentially a round trip to the volcano. The main upside of this plan was that it saved us time; we had already booked and paid for two nights at Krowi Inn and we wanted to head to Yogyakarta afterwards which is a direct train ride from Surabaya.

The downside of this plan was, well, it was already 5pm and now we were going to be picked up at 11pm to drive about 3 hours to Cemoro Lawang before hopping in a jeep to go up to the viewpoint in time for sunrise, and then jeeping it down to the volcano itself to walk across the 'sea of sand' and climb to the crater edge to look into the volcano. Breakfast at 9am and then getting back to Surabaya about 2pm.

So, to anyone planning this in the future, do not go in the rainy season, or if you do, don't go for sunrise. All you'll see is the gradual lightening of clouds. Add rain to this and, despite the ponchos, Ben and I were reminded what it feels like to be in England. So, having waited in the rain to see nothing, we got back in the jeep and headed to the volcano. This section of our tour made it all worth it. The rain lightened and stopped and it got warm enough that we dried off. The views from the bottom of the volcano were spectacular and, because we'd opted for a private tour, we had ample time to take countless pictures. And to pose for pictures with some lovely people who asked, haha!





At the top of the volcano we looked into a lot of steam. What I didn't expect is that you can hear the roaring of, whatever it is active volcanoes churn about when they're not erupting.



 Finding it pretty scary, we headed on back down the volcano and back to our jeep.

Our driver took us to a café for breakfast, which had a GORGEOUS view, and then we promptly fell asleep in the car on the way back.


Upon actually arriving back, we fell asleep again, went out for an AMAZING steak dinner, then slept some more before our early train to Yogyakarta.



5 and a half hours later, we checked in here. We dragged ourselves out for lunch and then essentially called it. That's a whole lot of activity and disrupted sleep. Anyway, that brings me to here, where I am presently writing on my tablet on the little patio of our 'hotel'. It is nearing 10.30am so I've been writing for an hour an a half and Ben, true to form, is still in bed.

Today is Tuesday and, on Sunday, we fly to Singapore and then to Malaysia which means there is some planning to do...