Friday, 16 September 2016

HELLO BALMY BALI

Hi everyone,

At long last I am back behind my computer to tell you all about our recent trip to Bali.  I have to apologise for being out of touch but despite the fact that we landed at Sydney airport a week ago, I was so busy sorting things out that I couldn’t spare a moment to get back to my beloved blog let alone check what you are up to.
About to join my husband for a cocktail to enjoy beautiful Bali's sunset

Both my husband and I absolutely love Bali.  We worked out that it was our seventh trip to the so called “Island of Gods”.  We fell in love with it on our first trip in 2005.  Back then the place looked totally different, peaceful and quiet with not much going on after dark, with the exception of the town of Kuta with its loud night clubs and drinking holes which we always avoided.  Over the years the island has undergone a dramatic transformation:  in came the big shopping malls, supermarkets, five-star hotels, private villas, boutique shops and art galleries, cafes and restaurants that not only lifted the profile of the island, but created thousands of jobs for the locals which consequently led to a rapid increase of cars and motor bikes that in turn added more traffic jams and road gridlocks.

Afternoon rush-hour
But don’t be put off by this because it is easy to find an escape from the bedlam behind the walls of luxury hotels and private villas and although the island boasts myriads of five star hotels, we prefer to stay at a villa.  Apart from the fact that you have absolute privacy and sole use of the pool and all the other facilities, the majority of them offer you more personalised services such as having your own butler, a cook and a driver with further services of the masseur, yoga instructor and so on, subject to the your budget.  Luckily for us, due to the very favourable exchange rate, we could afford to live surrounded by such luxuries which back in Australia are totally beyond our reach.
Pool area of  our villa

On the veranda
We were staying in Seminyak, the hip resort area at the end of Bali’s main beach strip where chaos of Kuta gives way to a more sophisticated, laid-back vibe, in one of the myriads of private villas called Villa Hermosa, situated in one of the tiny gangs (laneways) not far from the main strip but hidden behind tall walls and dense fauna providing us with complete privacy and noise isolation.

The house itself was absolutely beautiful.  Painted in white inside and out, it was sparkling under the hot sun and its white walls were reflected in the bright blue pool situated in the middle of the front lawn surrounded by sunbeds on one corner and a cabana on the other. The interiors were kept in the light neutral palette and reminded me of the Hampton’s style, casual and relaxed but done in classic and sophisticated way.  The villa also provided a private chef, a driver and two lovely local young women who were there to cater to our every whim and make sure that our stay was the most enjoyable.  As we did a lot of sightseeing and driving up and down the island in the past, we decided that it was high time for us to do virtually nothing but relax and have some care-free moments.

Chill out corner

A bedroom

Stand alone bathtub is part of the on-suite
We started the days by swimming in the pool and sunbathing followed by a lazy lunch at the local coffee shop and a dinner at the villa prepared by the chef-in-residence or at one of the restaurants that we carefully selected and booked beforehand.  This was another advantage that we didn’t want to miss, having a magnificent dinner in an opulently furnished restaurant, eating the most delicious meals and drinking numerous signature cocktails all for the fraction of the price it would’ve cost us in Sydney.  
Dinner prepared and served for us at the villa
Both of us love to wine and dine at good places and so we invested some of our time to research where is good to eat while in Bali and came up with the list of places that we liked.  I then proceeded to make on-line reservations so that when we arrived in Bali, we didn’t need to worry where or what we are going to have for dinner or lunch.  Of course, some provision was made for spontaneity but believe it or not most places that we went were fully booked and so our prudence paid off more than once.
Art work in the gardens of Metis restaurant

My Steak Tartare at Metis
On one rare occasion that we went shopping, I bought myself a pair of cute sandals which I will model later on a blog.
Interior of Merah Putih

A collection of local dishes at Merah Putih

Desserts, same place

Cocktail hour at Ku De Ta Beach Club

In front of Ke De Ta restaurant
After six blissful days of doing absolutely nothing, it was time for us to pack our bags and go home but not before we made a detour to Melbourne to attend a very traditional family wedding that lasted over three days and included multiple lunches, dinner, religious ceremonies and the like. 

Miraculously, there happened to be one evening free of any parties and we took this opportunity to go to the one and only dessert restaurant in the world, called Om Nam, where we sampled the most delicious cocktails and ate desserts that looked like pieces of art and tasted delicious.
"Secret Garden" cocktail at Om Num, Melbourne

Chocaquarium, 28 dessert, same place

Linking up with Shellbee on Edge