We returned to Bali. This time, we directed out trusty and not so trusty motorbikes inland and headed for the peaks. Actually, it was already quite dark, so we did not see the peak of Mount Agung volcano, but we were surely heading uphill. The shortcut we took got steeper and steeper at an alarming pace. Even at a more alarming pace the ratio of pavement to pothole was decreasing as well. Eventually we were slowly maneuvering our motorbikes up a pot holed gravel road as the rear wheels struggled for grip. We did finally arrive in the small village of Duda and found the sole Great Mountain View Hotel in town.
The hotel was recommended to us by Weronika’s friend who spent some time here earlier in the year. When we arrived, we were greatful to have a clean room, tasty food, a fantastically kind and pleasant host Nyoman, and… wait for it… a bath tub! It’s as if we’ve hit a jackpot.
The next morning, when we awoke, we saw the real appeal of this place. Through my squinting eyes I looked out from the porch, past the beautifully manicured garden, over the gorgeous two-person dining gazebos, across the stretches of rice paddies, over the trees, and onto a magnificently huge Gunung Agung. This is the sacred volcano of Bali, and its tallest peak. At over three thousand meters, it is visible from many eastern parts of the island, and the view is quite stunning. Our only wish was that it does not blow its top like it did in 1967. It did not.
We’ve spent the nice day visiting the quiet but gorgeous Agung Pasar Temple. We drove our bikes on improbable road and paths admiring the landscape and the ubiquitous rice paddies.
After our brief but very relaxing two nights here, we said our goodbyes to Nyoman and took the scenic route to Ubud. Along the way, we passed Lake Batur near the northern part of the island. I admired the views and ate the most delicious mangosteens. On the way back to Ubud we stopped at a coffee plantation and finally savored the Kopi Luwak, or luwak poop coffee.
In the early afternoon we met up with Tomek and Iza and ate a nice lunch. Afterwards, we headed out to do some more art shopping. Our carvings we have bought two weeks prior were ready for shipping and we had room to spare, so we’ve spent the evening looking at paintings, deciding which one to buy, and haggling like never before. After we said our goodbyes to Nyoman (the carving guy) and Tomek and Iza, we hopped on our bikes and made a beeline for Kuta, where we had a flight to catch the following morning.