•Eat, Pray, Love•

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After 7 hours of squeezing our knees in this narrow Virgin Australia plane we finally arrived on Bali, Indonesia! Pure sunshine and tropical temperatures welcomed us – just as we know it from “good ol’ Southeast Asia”! :-) Our first destination was Sanur that has a nice sand beach and a lively tourist strip with restaurants and cafes. The place we were staying at was super comfy and so we had a great start on the “Island of the Gods”. On Bali the majority is Hindu (different to the rest of Indonesia) and this you can tell from all the shrines, temples and contributions which the smiling, friendly Balinese people put everywhere.

 

From Sanur we went south to Jimbaran where we watched the sun drop into the sea while enjoying delicious fish right on the beach. On a scooter we discovered the southern peninsula and Kuta… oh my god! We were so glad that we didn’t sleep in this horrible area. Seriously: the worst form of mass tourism ever! At the beach you find hawkers every 3 meters trying to sell you drinks, souvenirs and stuff and the beach front is clustered with ugly high-rises. We escaped minutes after arrival and checked out the surf outlets nearby… but left them on the spot as well cos they only had overpriced crap for sale. Seriously, we’ve got no clue why so many people are coming to Kuta – this place is just spoiled!

 

Deep down in the south we visited the cliff of Uluwatu. It’s another tourist hotspot because of the Hindu temple Pura Luhur which was built right on the cliff. Tourists and buses as far as the eyes can see. And then these nasty monkeys which had a great time stealing sun glasses, snacks and bottles from the tourists. They are pros on their field: they sneak up from the rear, jump on your back fast as a lightning, grab whatever they fancy and off they go. When a “monkey victim” combatively tries to defend his belongings, one or two monkeys have replied with biting and clawing!

 

But nevertheless it’s worth going there because of this impressive temple right at the edge of this massive cliff. The view from there is simply amazing.

 

 

For sunset we drove around the corner to get to THE surf spot of Bali: Uluwatu. At the top of the cliff there is a lively bar and restaurant scene where youngsters were watching the “white giants” roll in, those who just got ready to rip the perfect waves and those unlucky ones who had their broken boards under their arms. The atmosphere was just mesmerizing: The sky was turning blue, purple, orange and red at the same time and we’ve never seen such an impressive sunset before!

 

The hard-to-reach Dreamland Beach with its turquoise water is nice to look at but swimming with the powerful surf is extremely dangerous and made even a short dip impossible. One bay further down the Padang Padang beach however was perfect for swimming, surfing and tanning. A really nice small bay with fine sand and clean water.

 

On the trail of „Eat, Pray, Love“ we went to Ubud – the cultural centre of Bali. We’ve heard many good things about it and besides the traffic and the “taxi-taxi guys” Ubud was really nice. Cozy cafes and restaurants invite the tourists from all over the world to feast and relax. We visited the “Monkey Forest” which was full of tricky monkeys and strolled along the crammed tourist markets. Unfortunately the markets were rather boring so we spend some rainy days in cafes before we took off to discover Ubuds surrounding.

 

 

It was beautiful: we walked through rice paddies, drove through little streets and watched kids playing with their kites. Besides this amazing scenery the area is also famous for its artwork – which you can see along the roads, in galleries and shops. Even the architecture is very much influenced by the art and decorated with fancy carvings.

 

We had a glance at a workshop and were amazed about the great wood sculptures and furniture they did. Too bad that these marvelous antique wardrobes and these huge wooden table tops don’t fit in our backpacks! But containers would do a perfect job to get these things home… but then there is the next problem: we don’t own the appropriate mansion in Hamburg YET! ;-) So, let’s wait for our next visit to Ubud!

 

Although we really love travelling, sometimes also we get tired from being on the road and then it’s time for a break! After some research, Sonja found the “Prana Veda Sanctuary Bali” on the internet, which is located in the northeast of Bali and offers relaxation next to the sea and yoga lessons. Perfect! So we booked 3 days and went to Bondalem. On the way there the scenery was super nice and at the Prana Veda the owner Renate welcomed us personally with a fresh coconut.

 

 

It’s like heaven: the house is located right on the beach, in midst coconut trees and everything is beautifully decorated in a very authentic Balinese style. Cell phone and laptop got banned the moment we arrived! Silence, breath, recharge! The days started with meditation and yoga at 7:30am with sea view and a smooth breeze. Renate introduced us the art of body control and there is really no other place that we can think off that would have been better than this.

 

On a culinary basis we were treated like kings and queens: For breakfast we’ve got home-made multigrain (!) bread and müsli with yoghurt. For lunch we had fresh salads and for dinner we had different Indonesian dishes! All the food was super delicious and fresh from their garden and the local market. :-)

 

The sun was shining most of the time and we finally had the chance to really calm down. We did some snorkeling and even had the chance to read a proper book!

 

During these three days we really relaxed and to our surprise Renate invited us to stay longer. How can we say no to such an invitation? We rebooked our flight and stayed in paradise for some more days. What was planned to be a “3-day holiday from travelling” became an unforgettable 2-weeks vacation with yoga and great food. We had a look at the local environmental issues, visited a school and helped Renate to create a brochure.

 

We really cherish this time with all its nice talks, food and energy which we’ll never forget! Renate, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your generous hospitality and wish you all the best for you and your paradise! :-)

 

On June 14 it was time to leave Bondalem and together with Renate and Jule (intern at the Prana Veda) we went to Ubud where we watched a traditional sarong dance. The next day we were dropped at the airport in Denpasar and off we went to Malang on Java.

 

And what are the “green” news?

Those of you who have followed our blog a bit will know what the typical “island problem” is: Trash! And Bali has a serious trash problem mainly because of a lacking environmental education system and an insufficient trash management. Most of the trash is burned or simply thrown at the roadside – from where it will go into the rivers and the sea with the next rain shower. Some NGOs like Eco-Bali are eager to change this and so they initiated a bunch of environmental campaigns. Together with the local artist Monez another NGO called GUS-Bali created a flyer which deals with environmental education just like our PASO flyers (see right image).

 

Some international companies like Coka-Cola and Quicksilver are sponsoring trash bins in Kuta and other tourist hot spot in the south of Bali – what for sure is a good thing but we’ve got the feeling that this action is mainly done to advertise for their own businesses rather than to the benefit of the Balinese people.

 

 

Another problem is the pollution from the motorized vehicles. As gasoline is so cheap (regulated by the government: 1 liter = 0,38 €) and human kind is generally lazy, everybody is riding a motorbike /car – even for ridiculous distances like 300 meters.

 

We really hope that something will change about the environmental education and the pollution soon – otherwise we are not so optimistic about the future of the “island of gods”.

 

Here you can have a look at the pictures from Bali!

 

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