...and the end (thankfully, I hear the collective sigh) of Lucy's Slide Night. Yes, holidays are great, but you know how it is - you get home and life just keeps on keeping on, throwing things your way. If anyone's really, really keen, I've created a set of the photos on flickr which is best viewed on black. When you get there click on the first image in the set, press the L key on your keyboard et, voila. Noice.
The north is beautiful - gorgeous sunrises, glorious sunsets and gardens that made the heart sing. It gets bonus points from me for being much, much quieter than Ubud and having unspoilt beaches. First stop was Pemaron, right on the ocean front, part of the area known collectively as Lovina.
Our hotel had THE best shower. Ever.
I miss the bird.
One of the most exciting things we did was visit the market in Singaraja, stage one of the cooking class we stumbled across. Going with a local - Putu was elegant, funny and thrilled about the blueberries I grow at home - allowed us to dive in deep, ask questions and stop to take photos that, ordinarily, I might not feel entirely comfortable taking.
My favourite photos of the trip.
(Does anyone know who that long-tailed fellow is?)
And then we spent the morning cooking rather wonderful vegetarian food. The food in Bali was outstanding. Breakfasts of nasi goreng, mee goreng and banana pancakes (not all at once, phew) were followed by plates of fruit, none cut so prettily as the plate served in Serririt.
Serririt, where we stayed put for a week or so (me by the pool), was true tranquility. The gardeners introduced themselves to me and we would chat about their ongoing work each morning. I think that they sensed a fellow gardener. Gardens are incredibly important to the Balinese. I love them completely for that. You can use Serririt (in the north west) as a base for treks into the magic - seriously transforming - steep hills of rural Munduk. If you really want to get away from the tourists, where it's cool and misty up high, where things are achingly beautiful, then Munduk is THE place to be. We wound our way to Ubud over those hills having climbed some of them a few days earlier and watched it all unfold...just beautiful.
Gill's written up Ubud and my feelings about the place are very much in line with hers. Ubud is all about the shopping these days...and shopping is not my favourite pastime, I can tell you, though the eating was excellent.
That said, I did come away with three noteworthy items. The shirt below, which I am head over heels for, came from Threads of Life, a fairtrade collective that you must visit
and a shirt for Peter and a handbag (below) for me from a tailor called Manik Bali.
(The camellia is just a bit of frou frou)
Manik Bali do not have a website - too busy weaving and making exquisite clothing, I imagine - so here are their details:
Jl. Raya Ubud (in front of - practically opposite - Ubud Market)
Ph: +62 361 972 992
Go early, I say. We discovered them right at the very end...and I am still dreaming about their fabrics.