We are now back in 'cultural hub' Ubud and have had a brilliant few days. I might sound a bit traveller in this post as we've seen a lot of the country and I was genuinely amazed at how beautiful it all is. So apologies in advance.
Our driver, Adi, took us to some hot springs, Bali's best waterfall (tm), a floating temple (culture tick), the twin lakes (which were very pretty volcanic lakes), lunch with the most amazing rice field view ever and then to jatiluwih. Now, about 2 weeks ago I wittered on about ubud being pretty and green. It now looks like West Byfleet park in comparison. Jatiluwih was amazing - I can see why it would be a unesco heritage site. We oohed and ahhed appropriately until I brought things back to our level by falling in an irrigation system (it had grassed over so totally wasn't my fault). We passed through lots of non tourist towns that were holding festivals and they were pretty cool, too. By the time we arrived in Ubud we felt like we had 'seen' Bali and booked ourselves on a cycling tour for the next day...
...which was an excellent plan! Another early start and we were whisked to mount Kintamani where we had breakfast overlooking mount Batur (Bali's highest volcano). We then went to a local coffee place where we saw and were told all about local spices and coffee (I don't want to brag but my coffee roasting technique was highly praised). We had a tasting tray with 7 different types of local coffee, including poo coffee, made from coffee beans which have been eaten by a luwak (ferrity cat type creature) and pooed out. Apparently its the most expensive coffee in the world. Yes, me, drinking sort of poo. It was actually really nice and I didn't add milk or sugar to any of them! Our guide kept making a 'it good sheet' joke. Poor jokes aside he was very sweet and very insightful plus an inbetweenera fan to boot. Tour friend! We were also given lots of local fruits to try which we're all lovely apart from one. Durian. Sophie had told me about these in Singapore so I didn't go in quite as open minded as I might have been but I still tried it. It smelled like rotting chicken, it tasted like rotting chicken and it had the texture of curdled milk. Luckily I hid the dislike well*
On we went on our bicycles to a typical Bali house and saw how families live. It felt a bit awkward, partly due to the fact that I had shorts and trainers on which screamed TOURIST but they carried on weaving and chopping and farming and cooking and singing and defaecating like we weren't there. Next up was a very large 500 year old tree, followed by cycling through a ceremony (where we were told lots of very interesting facts about local traditions including the fact they file your teeth at your wedding...) and then another rice paddy. But this time I shed my tourist trainers and helped with the weeding. It was really fun and worth the fact my feet may never be clean again. A bit more cycling and one last uphill slog the tour was over. The last two days have felt very travelly and touristy indeed, but I have loved them!
I'm hoping to hit an Internet cafe soon and will try to include some photos as I know picture books are far more entertaining. All I can give you now is our breakfast view!
*i did not hide the dislike well