We arrived in Bali late at night- via Malaysia Airlines no less! We booked the tickets long before any of the accidents occurred. This leg of the journey was causing me some serious anxiety but it ended up being a very enjoyable flight. Sure, I had to take a xanax and have two glasses of chardonnay to calm my nerves but we landed safely! The first stop on our Bali tour was three nights in Ubud. We arranged for a pick up at the airport through our villa. Our driver, Nyomen (who happened to be the sweetest man on the planet) greeted us with a big smile and a sign that read “Glodney” – I was still having a hard time remembering that I was now officially a Glodney!
After an hour’s drive we arrived at Rivermoon Villa, our home for the next three nights. The villa is part of a seven home compound called, Desa Bulan located in the village of Lodtunduh- just outside the center of Ubud. I found the it on a fellow blogger’s site, Hither & Thither, when researching places to stay in Bali. Brian and I both wanted to stay somewhere intimate rather than a large hotel. We certainly chose right because this place knocked our socks off the minute we walked in- even in the dark of the night. The villa is owned by an Australian couple (she has a cool interior design blog) who split their time between Bali & Australia. Not a bad life, eh? You can tell how much they love the villa because every detail is perfection, from the jaw dropping outdoor bathrooms to the romantic canopy beds. After oohing and ahhing over the place for a bit, we ordered a pizza to be delivered (I was shocked that this was an option!) and crawled into bed.
When I awoke in the morning, I popped out of bed like a kid on Christmas to see the villa in the light of day. Hands down…one of the most gorgeous homes I have ever stayed in. In the morning light I could now see what surrounded us-vibrant green rice paddies as far as the eye could see. It was the most peaceful place I have ever been. Bali had stolen my heart and I had been there for less than 24 hours.
One of the many perks of the villa (other than the view!) was a staff of three that came into our place each morning and prepared us breakfast. They were such a lovely group. I couldn’t get over how warm the Balinese people were. After a delicious breakfast (eggs & fruit for me and banana pancakes for Brian) we decided to take a bike ride into town and explore. The staff generously offered us motorbikes but we kindly declined and instead opted for the bicycles- they seemed much more our speed.
And off we went to explore central Ubud! We peddled through the narrow and windy roads as cars and motorbikes zipped by us…it was a tad terrifying especially when we had to go down steep hills and I discovered my brakes were useless. What was supposed to be quick 10 minute trip somehow turned into an hour. Clearly, we were lost. We even found ourselves stuck in a rice paddy. Oh the looks we got from the local farmers as we made our way through! They were rather confused. By the time we made it to the heart of town we were both covered in dirt and sweat. But that didn’t stop us from exploring. Ubud is known as the cultural center of Bali because it is home to many artisans. The stores are filled with beautiful wood & stone carvings, paintings and crafts. In addition to art the town is filled with cafes, temples, clothing stores and yoga studios. I fell hard and fast for Ubud- it offered all my favorite things! I could honestly see myself living there.
We stopped for lunch at a little Balinese cafe and ordered two spicy fish dishes with rice and vegetables. We decided to go as light possible because we had big plans for dinner at Naughty Nuri’s that evening, a favorite of Anthony Bourdain when in town and famous for its ribs and martini’s, something Brian had been looking forward to for weeks.
After a lazy lunch we braved the roads once again and peddled back to our villa for an afternoon swim in the gorgeous salt water pool. It was during this swim I made Brian promise we would come back to Bali and stay at this villa again. If only I could figure out how to split my time between Los Angeles and Bali.
After a few hours by the pool we cleaned up and headed out to dinner at Naughty Nuri’s. Anthony Bourdain was right…this place kicks ass. The dirty martini was the best I have ever had, which surprised me considering I don’t equate Bali with a killer dirty martini. Oh, and the ribs…to die for!
Bali driving tour / water temple / Balinese cuisine up next!