INDONESIA PT. 3: Ubud
It has taken me some time to collect my thoughts on Ubud. most of these overwhelm me, so I try my hardest to ignore them in order to be able to write down my feelings, emotions and adventures in this place.
I had heard a lot about Ubud before going there – the scenic rice field views, abundance of organic & vegan cafes & humble hospitality by the locals. It was all true, and much much more.
the first few days went by quickly, mostly by eating the best vegan food that we have ever tasted. and just lounging, as we always do. our favourite place without a doubt was Clear Cafe. OOOh lawd, I would go back there in a second. absolutely ever drink, dish, appetizer & dessert we tasted was amazing.
our evenings went by at the local night market at Gianyar, about 20 minutes from Ubud. It was similar to the night market in Gili Trawangan, except that this one was local oriented and not at all touristy. and thus, nearly no one could speak English, so the best way to order was just to point at something and hope that it was good (and it was always good). we ate ourselves to the fullest and then rolled back to Ubud, grabbing some glutinous rice sweets for the way back.
during the day we drove to nearby towns and villages, wandering around and finding stuff that seems interesting. at one point we were heading in an unknown direction on our scooter (like we were quite often), when a guy drove next to us and mid-driving yelled out “Do you want to go to a coffee plantation? free of charge “. I have never been to coffee plantation, and if an opportunity like this throws itself at you when you are looking for something to do – why not?
when we got there, the young tour guide of the place began to show us around. not only are they an organic coffee plantation, which produce even the weirdest (and surprisingly yummy) coffees like Luwak coffee (Google it), but they also grow vanilla, cinnamon, turmeric, pineapples, mandarins, bananas, passion fruits, etc etc. the list was endless and we were just amazed that we got to see, smell and try all of it. it was eyeopening the least and thrilling to our senses.
our visit ended with a degustation of their teas and coffees (served with local ground soya beans), absolutely all of them were amazing. and as you might have guessed, we could not leave without buying some to bring with us. (and as I am writing this I am enjoying their delectable vanilla coffee. I wish I had brought more).
but our adventure that day did not end there. after being fined by the police for not having an international driver’s licence, we drove to Mt. Batur and the scenic villages surrounding it. one of the most memorable meals of our entire trip was at this little village warung, where a young woman was cooking the most amazing food. the nasi campur for that day consisted of steamed rice, fried tempeh & tofu, homemade sambal and spicy coconuty greens. on the side we had turmeric vegetable soup and a bowl of crispy krupuk. and it all cost less than a 1€.
this was also the place where we discovered what would be the greatest dessert ever made (in our humble opinion) – kolak pisang. basically, you boil coconut milk with palm sugar and a pandan leaf until it gets gooey and caramelized, then slice in some bananas and top with more fresh coconut milk. it is so amazingly simple and good that it seems almost impossible. as we were sitting there, little kids from the village would come by just to buy this.
that day was an emotional roller coaster, with ups and downs like the mountains that we were driving on. but our Ubud adventure was far from over. the day before leaving we signed up for a cooking class at Ubad Ubud Bali. we would have never ever guessed we would have an experience like this, that is both warming, humbling and spiritual.
the cooking class is run by Puspa and Made, two cousins and very lovely people. they picked us up in the morning (we were the only people attending the class that day) and then we went to the local market. this was followed by a stop at their rice fields and then we headed to Made’s traditional Balinese home, where the cooking class took place. this was quite an experience on it’s own. we were dressed in sarongs and started to cook under the lovely guidance of Puspa. we made all our favourites – gado gado, tofu & tempeh curry, black rice pudding just to name a few. and best of all – we got to eat everything.
as we were finishing our meals, Made, who is also the village spiritual leader and local healer, came to have a talk to us. he spoke about the importance on meditation and finding balance. and most surprisingly, he talked to us about our energies and our problems (he named a few which no one could have guessed) and told us that there’s no need to worry, these problems will go away. he reminded us of how good we are together, that there is a balance between us and we must cherish it.
I have never felt this feeling before, nor would I have ever believed it, that there are actually people who can read you spiritually. Made was one of these. as he was speaking to us, there was no seed of doubt, like he was guessing something. he was just stating things – “Don’t worry, it will go away.” . We left in awe, holding each other even more tightly than before.
Made told us that we now have a family in Ubud, a place to always come back to. there is no doubt about it. they are wonderful people, and if you are ever in Ubud please visit! and say hi from us, and that we send our greetings and hugs.
leaving Ubud was difficult because of everything we had experienced. but it was an enlightening part of our trip, and we left on a high. these memories will without a doubt be with us forever.
next up – the Bukit peninsula.