Quite regularly, we get asked how detailed we planned our trip before leaving. The answer is: Not very detailed at all. We chose the destinations and booked the flights – that’s about it. The rest we are organising en route, and even that quite rudimentary. We normally pick certain things that we would like to do or see in certain areas… all the rest spontaneously falls into place – and usually adds a big bonus to our journey, as seen on our detour to the North of Bali. We chose three different spots for three different reasons: Sumberkima for relaxation, Lovina for the dolphins and Gitgit for the waterfalls. All three places delivered, not least because of all the “little” things we experienced unintentionally:
Excited locals lining the main road in expectation of the Tour de Indonesia going past. A talkative – and knowledgeable – mini supermarket owner. Paddling away in a glass bottom boat. A sprint race in the sand. Learning about pearl farming. A painful healing massage. Being piggybacked through the river. A funny shop assistant convincing us to buy the double soft bread. Locals distributing their catch of the day. Troops of concrete carriers on a building site. An unnecessary wake-up call at 5.30 in the morning – and a necessary wake-up call at 5.30 in the morning (that was never made). Incredibly steep roads. A house in the middle of the rice fields. A deserted glass house. Police check on the road. An oversize swing in the sea. Playing badminton with the kids of the neighbourhood. Goldfish on the back of a scooter. A lunatic sliding down a waterfall – head first! Giant leaves. Fried bananas, Balinese pancakes and dragon fruit juices. Frogs in the bathroom. Getting lost in the stunning, lush green rice fields. Guys stopping the traffic in order for you to enter the road…
Often it’s the little things that make the difference.
Some of our highlights:
- Relaxing at Sumberkima Hill Resort. We stayed in a comfortable, tastefully furnished family room that comes with a wonderful view over a plain, overgrown with palm trees, and a shared pool. Big bonus: There was nobody around to share the pool with.
- Watching the Australian Open final on a ancient TV with distorted image. But even though the quality of the picture was awful, it was better than not watching Roger Federer win his 20th title at all.
- Hiking (in parts adventurously through rivers) to the imposing waterfalls of Sekumpul and Aling-Aling. In rainy season, they are abounding in water and make you look even more insignificant. They also provide a free, natural shower. If you want it or not.
- Playing hide and seek with the dolphins, watching them jump and pirouetting. What a graceful animal!
- Living in a secluded, eco-friendly cottage in the rice fields, experiencing everything that comes with it: Peaceful days and rather loud nights – thanks to the cacophony of frogs, geckos, crickets and Co.
The learning curve:
- Who would have thought: Riding in a glass bottom boat makes me feel really sick. Because we don’t really snorkel, we thought it would be a good idea to head out in a Plexiglas basin, but no, not for me. I had to disembark before rental time was up.