journey to Bali started with a bit of a sleep in. We enjoyed breakfast
and then took the shuttle bus to the airport. We checked in, strolled a
bit around by the tax-free shops after which we boarded our flight to
Bali. Three hours after take-off we landed in Denpasar. Although there
was a long queue before customs it did not take long. Once luggage was
picked up Paul headed off to a shop to buy our first Djarum Black whilst
I arranged a taxi.
way to Ubud was something we really had been looking forward to. Whilst
we enjoyed our kretek (clove cigarette) we watched the landscape
passing by, a landscape that was so familiar to us. Finally we arrived
in Ubud and we could not wait to get our luggage out of the booth and
rush down the small path that lead to Guci Guesthouses.
had already heard us coming and was waiting for us. We dropped all our
luggage for this long awaited hug. Not much later both Nyoman and Daniel
showed up. It was a warm welcome and we had a lot to tell. Not only
about our travel adventures but more important the progress on Villa
Unggul, Daniels project to start a new business for his own, a wonderful
villa to rent out. The stories we heard made us feel to go there
straight away but unfortunately we had to wait until the morning.
arranged two motorbikes for us for the next day and time passed by far
to quick whilst we’re happily were exchanging the latest news. We
decided to have dinner in Warung Enak and both Ulli and Daniel joined
us. Nyoman had to stay at the house in to be there in case the other
guests had any needs.
first blue mountain (Cocktail) tasted fantastic, we had been waiting
for this so long. The Nasi Campur was in one word fantastic. It was
amazing we even had time to eat as we were almost talking non-stop;
there was so much to tell. What a fantastic evening. Before we realized
it was time to go home again. We made a reservation for our final night
at Warung Enak so our traditional farewell dinner was already taken care
off. Back at our house we had a quick shower after which we went to bed
an enjoyed the sound of the gecko’s and the frogs. They sang us into a
deep and happy sleep. Finally we were back at our second home… It was
going to be a fantastic week and a half, we could not have wished for a
better final of our holiday.
the geckos and frogs had sung us to sleep it was the cockerels that
woke us up again. A day in Bali would not be the same without the
traditional Guci Guesthouse breakfast. Our motorbikes had been delivered
although Paul was not too happy with his pink helmet so that had to be
that it was time for what we had anticipated for a long, long time, the
first sight of Villa Unggul. The ride itself was already worth it. As
soon as we left the hustle and bustle of Ubud we found ourselves
surrounded by rice fields. We passed a small typical Balinese village
where it seemed nothing had changed over the years. And then, only
10-15 minutes after we left we saw the villa Ulli, Nyoman and Daniel had
been talking about for the very first time…
were blown away by it! A beautiful 2 story building, which blended in
perfectly into the surroundings because of the soft earthy tones that
were used in the design. It was still a building site but as we had gone
through the process ourselves when our house was built, we could see
its beauty. The main villa was finished from the outside and many
workers were busy with the reception area, office and utility rooms that
were built in front of the villa and sheltered it from the quiet
village lane. At both sides of the villa there was a view over rice
fields, which seemed to have come just out of a picture book. From it’s
elevated position the villa was in the middle of a dreamscape. Wow!
soon as we entered the spacious living room we were overwhelmed by its
design, but more even so the view. Through the large French sliding
doors we enjoyed an amazing view over the rice fields. A private pool is
planned in the garden. On the ground floor there was an open design
kitchen and also a large bathroom with both bathtub and shower. Of
course a small garden was part of the bathroom to enhance the Balinese
feeling. Upstairs there were three spacious bedrooms and another
bathroom. From the balcony we had a birds eye view over the rice fields
and further away we could even see Sanur and the Street of Badung. What a
place to build a villa! We walked a bit further over the property that
has space for two more villas, something which will be realized in the
future once the first villa is up and running.
we still had a long way ahead of us we left Villa Unggul and returned
to Guci Guesthouses, there we said goodbye to Ulli, Nyoman and Daniel
and we were once again on the road to Pemuteran in the North West of
Bali. As we were not used to driving a motorbike it did not take us long
before we could feel every part of our bumps. The beautiful landscape
made us forget that though and soon we started to go up into the
mountains. From there it started raining like there was no tomorrow.
Within minutes the both of us were soaking wet, in spite of our
raincoats. As there was no escaping the rain we went on and on until we
finally reached Git Git, a small place close to Singaraja. By now I was
shivering and cold to the bone. We had lunch in a restaurant and
recovered a bit..
rain did not stop, instead it became even heavier. Still we were
enjoying the experience. During all our previous trips to Bali we had
rented a car and exactly now, when we opted for a different type of
transport it was raining. How hilarious! From Singaraja we had still 60
kilometers to go. The water was pouring down from the nearby mountains
and more than once we had water up to our ankles whilst we were
maneuvering our motorbikes through the flooded streets. Finally, 5 ½
hours after we left Ubud we arrived at Addi Assri, what a ride it had
been. We signed in at the reception ‘complaining’ in a joking way that
this kind of weather was not advertised in their brochure after which we
were brought to our room. A warm shower and dry clothes made us feel
much better so we headed for the bar to have our first cocktail.
weather did not improve we spent the rest of the day in the bar. We
received a message from Yus and Sri, our driver and guide two years ago
when I visited Java and Bali with my father, and who were coming to
visit us. They got stuck in Java, also due to the bad weather
conditions, to let us know they would be arriving much later as planned.
The evening was lovely and we ended up with the barmen who played
guitar and sang for us. Time passed by quickly and just after one the
bar was closed. We walked back to the bungalow, intending to go to sleep
but just when we came there Yus and Sri arrived. It was fantastic to
see them again, after two years during the trip with my father, and
Paul, Yus and Sri were very happy to finally meet after their numerous
facebook chats. Some more drinks and even more talking. Yus and Sri had
brought us two beautiful presents, a reproduction of carvings on the
Borobudur and a hand made cigar box with Javanese cigars. It was really
nice to be together again. Finally, it had been three o’clock already a
while ago, we decided to go to sleep.
next day I felt I had caught a cold but the weather was much better;
the sun was shining so after breakfast we headed to the pool for a lazy
day. Yus and Sri had been working almost non-stop lately so it was good
for them to have a little mini-holiday.
of us were enjoying the good weather and each other’s company. We had
so many stories to exchange and time flew by. In the afternoon there was
a wedding ceremony in the garden of the hotel after which we had lunch.
Back at the pool we had our first cocktails of the day and by the end
of the afternoon we returned to our bungalow to refresh.
had arranged a table for four on the beach so we had an al fresco
dinner. The atmosphere was absolutely brilliant, especially as we were
spending our evening with two good friends. Yus and Sri had to go all
the way back to Solo the day after and also Paul and I were a bit tired
so we did not make it very late this night.
last shared breakfast after which it was unfortunately time to say
goodbye to Yus and Sri. They had a 700 km drive ahead of them and we
were returning to Ubud. Of course it started raining again not long
after we left so we had to unpack our raincoats once again.
was enjoyed at the same restaurant we stayed on the way up to Adi Assri
and then we had to go up again in the cold, rainy mountains. The roads
were meandering through the landscape and we needed all our skills to
drive safely and avoid the other traffic. Fortunately, as soon as we
left the mountains behind us, it became dry and we could get rid of our
raincoats. The way back took us an hour less than the way up so mid
afternoon we returned to Guci Guesthouses. We did not make it far as we
got stuck in the reception area, chatting with Ulli, Nyoman and Daniel.
Of course it started to rain again, weather had been really strange in
Bali this year, it rained much more than usual and the rainy season was
officially still a month away…
the night we were woken up several times by torrential rainfall, it was
as if the skies had opened. I woke up with some idea’s for the website
of Villa Unggul in my mind, got out of bed and started working on them.
My cold had not improved; I had a sour throat and was coughing a lot. Oh
joy. It kept on raining the whole day, the perfect excuse to work
together with Ulli and Daniel on a concept for the website.
afternoon Paul and I went for a short stroll through Ubud (It had
finally stopped raining) and we bought two runners for our new
furniture, which arrives two days after our homecoming, and had a
cocktail accompanied by canapés in Ary’s Warung. Heaven still existed
😉 Slowly we headed back to Guci Guesthouses where we went to bed
next morning I did not feel well at all, I had been woken up several
times by the rain, and when I wanted to say good morning to Paul my
voice had completely gone. After breakfast we decided to take it easy
and have a stroll into Ubud. Two more table runners and some anti flu
medicine were bought and we even made it to Ubud Main Street. The goal
was to go to the market but as I did not feel well we stopped at Nomad’s
where we had lunch and some healthy ginger, lemon and honey drinks.
that I had a wonderful hot stone massage that made me feel a bit
better. After a stop in Warung Enak for the mandatory ‘Blue Mountain’ we
returned to Guci Guesthouses for some more chatting with Uli and
Nyoman. Even though we’re here now for a couple of days the chatting
seems to find no end 😉 I put some tiger balm on my chest, which burned
like hell. My voice was an absolute disaster; some high pitch squeaking
was the only thing I managed to get out and as I was exhausted I went
to bed early. I did not even notice it when Paul came to bed later.
waking up again I felt much better, my voice had returned more or less
and my chest didn’t hurt that much. We enjoyed breakfast after we and
Daniel went back to Villa Unggul for some photo sessions. Although it
was dry the sky was a bit dull, at least now we have some material to
work with for the website and we can always go back in case the weather
is better the next couple of days.
Ulli arrived at Villa Unggul we continued our trip a bit further north
through what must be easily one of the most sensational areas of Bali.
Little villages, schoolchildren coming out of school and
enthusiastically waving at us, it was phenomenal. We visited another
plot of land that had been considered for Villa Unggul. It was indeed
spectacular, overlooking a valley but on the flat area there was only
place for one villa and not for three. The piece of land where the villa
is build now is of the same beauty and far more suitable for Daniel’s
drove on through extremely beautiful landscape and returned to the main
road coming from Ubud. Still a bit further north we visited a
restaurant overlooking the rice paddies, it was the same place I visited
with my father and Ulli 2 years ago and I was pleased that now Paul
could also see this spectacular place. Whilst enjoying lunch we looked
out over the rice terraces that Bali is so famous for. At the other side
of the valley a small temple ceremony took place; it was a total out of
this world experience.
course it started raining again and as it looked like this was going to
last a while we decided to return to Guci Guesthouses where we took a
warm shower and changed into dry clothes once again. In the afternoon
Paul relaxed and read a book whilst Ulli and I did some more work for
the website. In the evening we invited Nyoman for an evening out with
the boyz. This time it was Ulli’s turn to take care of the guesthouse.
We choose Nuriani, a brand new restaurant for our dinner and spent a
couple of hours enjoying dinner and each other’s company.
By now you might already
have noticed that this time our trip to Bali has a total different
character than the previous trips but the both of us are enjoying it a
lot and are having a great relaxing times with our friends, just as we
had hoped it to be.
Next morning we visited
Ubud market in order to stock up on vanilla and spices again. We
strolled around Ubud Center in order to see whether we could find
something else to buy but were not very successful in that. It was nice
though to see that business was flourishing and a lot of people were
around. This time the sun was shining and immediately the temperature
had risen. We spend a couple of hours in Ubud after which we had a
lovely lunch. Back at Guci Guesthouses I slept the rest of the
afternoon, still catching up from my cold and tiredness. Late afternoon
we once more spent time chatting with Ulli, Nyoman and some other
guests. We did not even bother to go out for dinner, as it was such a
cozy time. Later in the evening two Egyptian girls joined, we opened a
bottle of wine and had a wonderful evening.
Our last full day in Bali,
unbelievable that time flies by so quickly. We woke up early and the
sun was shining. It was going to be a nice day. After breakfast I one
more time went back to Villa Unggul, this time to make some pictures of
the scenic road which leads there. On my way back I spotted two
beautiful sandstone statues and I decided to come back with Paul later
to see whether he liked them to. Back at Guci Guesthouse we enjoyed
breakfast after which we did a photo session with the staff and a family
photo of Ulli, Nyoman and Daniel. We just finished in time before it
started raining again. We chatted a while after which Paul and I went to
pick up the table runners we had ordered and to check out the statues I
had seen earlier. Oh well I guess there’s no need to explain that they
will be in our luggage home, as well as another statue we liked.
The next stop was another
shop that sold traditional Balinese umbrellas and banners that we wanted
for our garden. More luggage 😉 The afternoon we spent at Guci
Guesthouses chatting with Ulli and time went by far to quick.
Before we realized we had
to get changed for our traditional farewell dinner at Warung Enak with
Ulli and Nyoman. We were warmly welcomed over there and started off the
evening with mega Blue Mountains… Rai, the cook we knew from our cookery
lessons during our last visits had prepared a special starter for us,
snail sate which was absolutely yummie! I think it goes without saying
we had a fabulous evening, the food was perfect and all four of us
enjoyed the atmosphere and chatting with each other. At the end of the
evening Rai joined us for a drink but we could not make it two late as
we had another party to go to….
The two Egyptian girls at
Guci had invited the four of us for a glass of wine and some nibbles, as
it was also their last evening at Guci Guesthouses. When we arrived at
their bungalow they had already prepared everything including soft music
in the background. We spent some wonderful couple of hours with them
and felt guilty we stayed that long as they had to be ready by 06.30 in
the morning for their trip to the Gilli islands.
Not long after Paul and I
returned to our house we were vast asleep, the last time for this trip
to Bali. Next morning we had a bit of a sleep in, after which it was
time to get sorted and pack luggage for the way home and enjoy our last
breakfast. Yes, we felt a bit sad but are also looking forward going
Our last Guci Guesthouse
breakfast and then it was time to pack. Surprisingly id did not take us
that long. We properly wrapped the gift of Yus and Sri so we could take
it along as hand luggage and the last couple of hours we hang around
with Ulli, Nyoman and Daniel. It were our last hours together and
memories came back from previous occasions waiting for the taxi to pick
us up… Time was up, it had been a nice time as we both agreed.
In less than 24 hours we
would be back home and we can start looking forward to our new
furniture, which will arrive on Tuesday. Als0 we need to get our heads
around to our normal, day-to-day life. But first, 15 hours of flying lay
ahead of us so it was time to say good-bye.
Fly fly fly, bye bye, until our next adventure!
Note: the pictures on this page are unedited RAW material, Due to a system crash I lost all edited work on this trip. Time permitting I will rework those pictures and present them in the brilliance they deserve, for right now I decided to temporary publish the unedited material.