Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day 12, Bali: To the volcano

We again enjoyed breakfast at the open-air table overlooking the rice fields—and no monkeys. 

I'm going to miss the banana juice when we have to leave
After a day in town yesterday, we wanted to get out and see some more of Bali—and our primary destination was the Batur caldera. We requested a driver for a four to five-hour round trip and set out promptly at 10 am.

Our driver, Dewa (the same as two days prior from the airport), took us out the north side of Ubud and up past the very scenic rice fields and terraces of Sebatu.

Views of the rice terraces
From there, we climbed up toward the Batur caldera, stopping first for some expansive views of Lake Batur and the cluster of cones surrounding it from Penelokan village.

Based on our interests (mostly good scenery and photos), Dewa then dropped us for a short walk on along a small road and trail in the lava fields (also through the yard of someone’s home with naked children on the porch) and then down at the harbor for a look at the lake. Afterward, we climbed back up out of the caldera for a quick lunch—food okay, view fabulous. Dewa had warned us of the aggressive locals hawking fruit, scarves, woodcarvings and other items. Aside from that, it was a very enjoyable experience. While it wasn’t a completely clear day, it was sunny, and we very much enjoyed this excursion. We’ll let the photos do the talking from here:

View from Penelokan village 

Down at the lake 
Yes, this is a poinsettia June! 
Another view from our lunch stop
A little light hiking in the lava field
Our last stop on the drive was at the Tirta Empul (holy water spring) temple at Tampaksiring. The temple was fairly crowded, with a few visitors like us, and many others who had come to bathe in the holy waters, including numerous groups of school kids. Some of the kids looked to be treating this more like a trip to the local swimming pool, with much splashing and laughing. Away from the central attraction of the springs, it is a very quiet and picturesque site set in a green valley.

At the temple 
Kids watching other kids splashing in the holy water springs 

By this point, we had our first potential bout of stomach trouble on the trip (Allie), so we headed back to our villa to take it easy by our pool (nothing wrong with that). At one point, we walked over to the grocery store on Hanoman St. for a couple of bottles of wine—and quickly learned that one does not want to walk back along the side of the Monkey Forest holding grocery bags. They apparently can distinguish the grocery bags from other sorts of bags, and on a couple of occasions, aggressive monkeys charged toward us. Fortunately, the continual motorbike traffic through the path interrupted their attacks, and we made it out of there with our bags intact. But that is something we will not repeat!

Wise words!
Dinner was a low-key and quick one down the road at Laka Leke.

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