Last day in Bali

This amazing vacation has unfortunately come to an end. We are back home, all unpacked, the cats are home and the thick fall jackets already feel normal compared to shorts and t-shirts and flip-flops. It’s sad how fast Bali and Gili became memories as soon as we landed in Copenhagen and drove home to Gothenburg.

28 hours of flight travel (including all the waiting and two layovers) and 3,5 hours in the car wasn’t so bad this time. I don’t know if it is the cold that I currently got or if I was just exhausted after these two weeks, but I slept through most of it. I stayed awake enough to manage two movies on the last flight, but other than that, I think I slept all the time. Which was great, because driving home wasn’t so bad.

We went to mom’s place directly to pick up the cats. We were not greeted the way we were hoping to be. They ran away from us and didn’t recognize us at all. Getting them in the cages was hard and they even hissed at us. We felt bad, because they probably felt abandoned and had started to accept living with mom and her 3-year old Stella. And then two strangers who smelled weird came and put them in cages. But as soon as we came home and let them out, they were back to their normal selves. Phew! But I’m so glad that they enjoyed staying with mom. We have both loved the updates and Mikael kept asking everyday if there were news since last. Cute.

Our last day on Bali lasted until 3pm when we were picked up from the hotel. We didn’t do more than sleep a little longer than usual, eat breakfast, pack, check out, and hang out by the pool. But it was still more than just leaving for the airport right after breakfast. It was a beautiful day, clear blue sky with a breeze so it wasn’t too hot. A really nice last half day.

To quickly sum this whole trip up: best vacation ever and the first with Mikael. if our first trip together was this amazing, how will the rest be?

I am very satisfied with Flamingo Tours with which we booked the whole thing. They were very helpful before we left and it was a great trip planned. I would say that 14 days (including travel time) was not enough though. And I would dare say that I could have skipped Sanur and Swiss Belresort and added a day or two extra in Ubud and/or maybe on another Gili island than Trawangan? Although, I really loved Gili T and Blue Marlin Dive Resort. I also wish that we both would have had Advanced Open Water instead of just Open Water. The deep dives would have been amazing! I have to say that I was surprised to find out that we had an agent that would help us throughout the entire trip. Maybe i didn’t quite understand what it meant in the description on their website, but I thought we would have a driver, not a full on agent to help us plan everything we wanted help with. She arranged for us to stay on Gili T for 2 extra days instead of Sanur within half a day. With no extra charge.

What an incredible trip! I so look forward to many more in the future ❤️.

Sanur day 1: Uluwatu

A new episode of Rings of Power was released today, so post will be uploaded tomorrow morning by the pool instead :).

2022-10-11, 11:00 by the pool

Since we weren’t too impressed with Sanur, we texted a tour guide we got to know in Ubud that we really liked and asked at breakfast if he was available. He was in fact by Sanur Harbor dropping off another guest so we got lucky! He picked us up at 9:30 and we drove down to Uluwatu by the floating highway which was cool.

The first stop was at a very local beach called Pantai Pandawa. Only Indonesian tourist were there and it was a very clean beach. Only debris from the ocean was there. Local shops along the boardwalk and no English. The weather hadn’t quite matured yet so it was a bit cloudy still when we were there but still warm as always here. Before we reached the beach, Putta, our guide warned us that we would be stared at and even asked to take pictures. Not two minutes later, two young boys came up to us and asked to take pictures with Mikael and I. Hahaha! Western tourist are very uncommon there and being so tall and pale males us exotic. Haha! I think we were asked to take pictures with strangers four times and I’m sure there was at least the same amount who tools sneak pictures of us. So funny!

We also got a lesson in Hindu about one god who got 5 children and they all had a different weapon and we’re portrayed in many movies. I can’t remember the details now unfortunately, but Outta knew his things and explained everything. While standing there by the statues, the sun came out and it got real sweaty.

Our next stop for the day was at a really beautiful beach called Pantai Melasti. Pantai means beach and Melasti means purification. It was such a beautiful beach, the sand was fine, the water blue and the waves were big. These beaches are down south in Bali, surfers’ paradise. We went in the water, we needed it. But it was tiresome with the waves and current so we didn’t stay in for too long.

The third stop was lunch at a very local restaurant that you barely saw from the outside. Iiga Warung it was called and they had amazing ribs. Lots of tourists there, so I guess that’s a local place which cooperates with tour guides. Lots of Japanese and Chinese tourists.

Fourth stop was GWK where we stayed for almost two hours. It is a cultural park designated to the world’s third largest statue of Vishnu riding Garuk and is 121m tall. There we learned about the big ceremony in March where they build several massive demons and burn. They day after is the day of silence and nothing is open that day. Not even the airport. If you are visiting as a tourist, you are not allowed to leave the hotel room that day. The day after that is Melasti day (purification) and it is for healing. I think that was the way it was. We also saw a Barong dance at the small amphitheatre inside.

To the left: The good king. The middle: his wife. To the right: the king’s brother.

To the right: The demon king. The middle: His younger and evil brother. The left: the youngest brother who was good.

Squirrel. They are rare apparently.

The Ogoh-ogoh.

At 4pm, we headed for Uluwatu Temple to watch the Kecek and Fire Dance at sunset. We got there on time, got our tickets and walked around on the temple grounds for almost an hour. Uluwatu means “On the edge of the rock” which is where the temple is located, right on the side of the rock. Uluwatu was really beautiful with its 90 degrees cliffs. And finally, after almost 2 weeks on Bali (okay, 7 days on Gili T which don’t even have monkeys), we saw the monkeys! There were a few by the parking space and then we saw some running around on the walls surrounding the temple grounds, but not too many. But we were careful and held all of our possessions inside the backpack. So sparsely with photos from when walking around there.

The view was incredible. I was hoping to see whales breaching in the distance like I could in California, but there aren’t any whales here. And the surfers were unlucky with bad waves so we didn’t really see any of them riding a wave.

In the big amphitheatre facing the sunset, we got amazing seats at the top! We sat there for almost 30 minutes but it filled up so fast. The sunset was very far away for some reason but it still gave a colorful background picture to the dance which was about the good king and the bad king fighting over the good king’s wife who was kidnapped by the bad demon king. To his help, the good king vad Hanoman, the white monkey king who fought by his side. The dresses and costumes were so intricate and colorful and the music was not music but the choir of 70 men singing or making beats. It must have been exhausting making that noise for so long! During the performance, we saw a monkey climbing the rail on the other side of the theatre and stealing something from a tourist, glasses or something. Then we had one, right behind us but it didn’t get anything. I thought the monkey went to bed at 6pm, when the sun det, but I guess they knew that there would be a ton of people leaving the theatre one hour later because oh my so many monkeys were out!! They were climbing the cables, lurking in the trees and tried to get over to the stadium. They were everywhere! But nothing happened to us, nothing was stolen, no one was bitten.

Also, a while ago, Putra didn’t say when, they found a white monkey, not an albino, but a white monkey. And apparently when they brought him to the temple, all the monkeys in the forest cheered and roared when the king arrived. There was a huge ceremony and the prime minister was there as well. They put him in a cage for his own safety since he will most likely be hunted which I definitely understand. So putting him in a cage was hopefully the lesser evil.

The very last stop of the day was seafood dinner by the ocean but the restaurants were closed because of the ceremony today so we got dinner at a restaurant close by the temple. Mie Goreng and Nasi Goreng for the last time this trip. It was really good. Up until that point, my stomach had been perfectly fine. But I had to leave Mikael alone for a bit to try out yet another restroom. Much improvement though! Or maybe it’s just the Immodium pills, I don’t know. It did hurt a bit in the evening again while we were watching episode 7 of Rings of Power. But the night was fine.

Since I’m writing this by the poolside, the sun is annoying and I can’t really see which pictures are good or not, I will upload pictures when we are at the airport later and have some time to kill.

Hello Bali

31 hours, door to door, but now we are finally here: Bali, Indonesia!

This is a very special trip in many ways. First of all, it’s mine and Mikael’s first trip outside of Sweden together. We started dating in January 2020 and have lived in this pandemic during our whole relationship. It is also the first trip abroad since the pandemic (I know it has been possible to travel, but it just hasn’t felt right). It is the furthest away both of us have ever been away from home (for me Oahu is 400km closer than Bali and it’s almost 5000km further than Goa, India for Mikael). It is also the first time either of us are below the equator.

It’s been a really long day. Or two. Landvetter Airport is tiny and we saved a bunch of money on taking a flight from Copenhagen instead of Gothenburg. So our day started very early Thursday driving down to Copenhagen. First time driving over Öresundsbron which was pretty cool.

We had four hours to kill at the airport after Emirates recommendations. And the problem we had with our pre-purchased seats magically solved itself somehow. So the twin seats we paid extra for three weeks ago, were no longer available when I tried checking in two nights before. We’ve been on the phone with Emirates about this issue with extra legroom three times and they couldn’t fix it. And without us even having to say anyting to the woman at the check-in counter about this, we got twin seats anyway. What a relief. Even if the first flight to Dubai was only six hours, it wouldn’t have been fun to not even have seats next to each other but 12 rows apart.

Six hours was over pretty smoothly but when we landed in Dubai around midnight, it hit us that that was the short flight today. Dubai to Bali was another nine hours. We hoped we would be tired enough to fall asleep quickly, but no. I ended up watching two movies and slept fitfully for maybe 30 min. Mikael managed to get at least 2 hours. Lucky him.

At the airport, it took us almost three hours to finish everything. Queues to everything. First covid-19 vaccination checkpoint, then Visa on Arrival, then passport control, then custom declaration, currency exchange and simcard with extra data. I feel bad for our drive who had to wait for two hours at the airport for us.

He drove us to Ubud, more inland on the island, where we will spend the next couple of days. The road there was very special. I had imagined a smaller road going through landscape and nature, but the WHOLE way had structures and buildings and stores and garden statues lined up and small and super simple restaurants. It was kinda weird. I wonder how it will look in the daylight. Also, they drive on the left and there are scooters everywhere. I’ve never experienced this kind of trafic before and it was cool! Everyone flowed together and I’m impressed that they all seemed to know exactly where everyone was.

Tomorrow after breakfast, we will have a travel guide tell us how to make the most out of these days. It seems like there are a lot of things to do in Ubud.

Now, at 11pm local time, staying awake 35 hours, I’m ready to go to bed. It’s been a long day or week or whenever it was that we left Gothenburg to drive to Copenhagen, haha!

It was dark when we arrived, but it looks really nice, this place. We are staying at Taman Harum Cottages.

The hotel pool.

We have a suite on the upper level.

The windows in the bathroom are open into the wild. Let’s hope those disgusting mosquitoes stays away!

Up in the ceiling outside of our room were three lizarads situated. A fourth on the opposite side. Really cool