Sunday, 27 November 2011

Coast to coast

Saturday 26th November, 2011, 10:35pm; Lovina Beach Bungalows, Lovina, Bali
Total km: 139.6

Mount Batur
Today has been an absolute beauty.

Although we felt reasonable when we woke, it did feel as though we had pushed ourselves too much the day before. Muscles ached, and getting ready in the morning felt like more of an effort than it should be. With the dawn though, came splendid views of the summit of Mount Batur, that rose up out of the mighty 7km crater that enclosed it – Mt Batur sits in and rises up out of a much larger volcanic crater. Old lava 
Robin in a mirror with a dog by Mount Agung, near Mt Batur
flows were evident on the south side, and the fact that it sat in this enormous bowl shaped crater gave away the fact that there had been a whopping eruption here several tens of thousands of years ago. Wikipedia tells me that the last time Batur erupted was 2000, but when I asked the guy who brought our breakfast he said it was 60 years ago (the one in 2000 cant have been that big, since a bloke living on the lip of the crater failed to notice it) and back then it had resulted in the entire town of Batur upping and moving from the bottom of the large crater, to the lip where it now lies.

We took a short diversion to take a look at some of the views from the top, which were nice despite being accosted by a bloke intent on getting us to reserve a seat at a restaurant we didn't have any intention of going to. But then, we had the joy of riding all the way down the other side of the volcano. Or at least, that's what we had assumed, but discovered that we still had another few hundred metres to climb until the road began to descend into the north coast of the island. Compared to yesterday though, it was nothing, and after only an hour or so the road flattened out, and then curved down towards great hills of cultivated land, with volcanic peaks swelling up in the distance, clogged with cloud.

Liv cruising past Mr Batur.
Besides regularly pumping the brakes and leaning into corners, we spent about two hours doing nothing except sit there as our bikes and the weight of our bags carried us down the long winding road to the coast. It was fantastic, and gave our legs still longer to recover from the hammering they'd taken yesterday. The places we passed through were lovely too, and almost all of them seemed to be full of smiling children who waved us hello as we hurtled by. After the hostility of the animals the night before, such things really do make an enormous difference to your mood.

Gradually the air grew hotter as we came lower; the sea appeared between the trees, and the road began to flatten out. We had hit the bottom, but the road along the coast was flat, and we made good time pedalling our way along.
The view on the way down

Everyone was having a cracking day!
We spent a long time eating lunch at a very pleasant warung in Singaraja – the old political centre of the island. We jumped on the free wifi, and after a little research decided to point ourselves to Lovina, which is on the way to the port on the western edge of the island where we can catch a ferry to Java. We wouldn't make the ferry today though, it was more than 70km away, but Lovina looked like a very nice place to spend a night or two.

Lihat Peta Lebih Besar

As we rode towards it, under a heavily overcast afternoon sky, a car honked at us, and we realised it was a Dutch couple we had met briefly on the way up the hill out of Batur earlier in the day. They were renting a villa, and offered to let us use the swimming pool and share a coffee with them. Yes please! Their names were Nelly and Hank, and they were a few days into a two week stay on the island. The villa they had was lovely, and was tucked away down a dusty side road.

Ganesh contemplating things on
a Singaraja crossroads.
We spent a little over an hour there, cooling off in the luke warm pool, drinking coffee and trying out the bright purple delights of dragon fruit. We pushed off at around 4.30pm, in search of accommodation of our own in town. We found some without incident, but I left my passport at Hank and Nelly's villa so poor Hank had to ride his bike into town to find me. He found us before I had even noticed it was gone. Whoops! Thank you Frank!

The accommodation we got ourselves is pretty dam nice for a bunch of young adventurers armed with tents. It's a complex of beach bungalows, with two single beds, a fan, and a shower. There's a swimming pool, and the complex leads right onto the beach. It's off peak, so it's quiet, and we got the room for 90'000INDR a night – that's about $10, or 6 or 7 quid. We both decided it would be nice to take a rest day here, and go snorkelling the next day, or hop on the boats that go out each morning to spot the local dolphins. Everything looked lined up for a really nice relaxing day.

Before we went to bed though we needed to eat something, and there seemed to be a selection of nice restaurants along the main road. After walking to a restaurant we'd seen earlier, only to find it was in fact a furniture shop, we found a small warung tucked away up the dusty lane that led to Nelly and Hanks villa. We had a beer, and ordered several dishes only to discover that the portions were massive, so we spent an hour shoving great quantities of chicken satay, rice and vegetables down our throats, until we were both fit to burst.
The view from the beach 100m from our bungalow.
It was hard to tell where the clouds ended and the land began.

We staggered home like marshmellow men, and collapsed into bed, looking forward to early morning snorkelling the next day.

I woke soon after falling asleep with the sense that something was wrong. Something unpleasant was making itself known amongst the pile of food inside me, and I had premonitions of a grim night ahead.

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