Ubud, Bali, Indonesia


I’ve never seen so many sunrises as I have in this country.  I used to stay up partying in Kuta until 5am, now I wake at the time because my jetlagged babies are raring to go at dawn. It’s fair to say traveling with our 2.5yr and 7 month girls has been a beautiful yet exhausting week so far.

7 years ago fell in love with Ubud after a daytrip here. I’ve always hankered to come back to do a silversmith workshop, check out vegan cafes, browse for Balinese cushions, be almost be convinced I don’t hate yoga….

Obviously this is all still on the wish list as my babies allowed me to do non of this.

Instead we experienced travel from a toddlers agenda; lots of time in the pool and eating our own weight in tropical fruit. They have life sussed. Every other picture in my camera roll is us posing with coconut juice or smoothies. We also discovered the joy of acai bowls, which we ate Udud style in a plush cushioned swing.

My top tips for Ubud with kids under two…..

1) Avoid the famous monkey forest, and 1/2 km radius of monkey forest Rd. Wild monkey vs wild toddler….i’m not sure who my money would be on.

2) Scooter traffic and South East Asian pavements (or lack of.) Negotiating the manic roads with my two little ones scared the s#!t out of me. The only time we actually got to use our double pram was for our 5am walks to the local fruit market when the streets were less crowded. During the daytime our baby hiking carriers were a travel essential. It felt much safer and more nimble negotiating the narrow streets. Plus they slept happily cocooned on us as we browsed the busy flee markets and snuck in cheeky Bintangs.

3) Discover all of the tiny ramshackle warongs and the more quiet places to grab an evening meal where kids will be welcomed with open arms. Literally, a team of nice Indonesian women were happy to grab our baby from my lap and entertain her in a rice field whilst I ate. You know what they say; It takes a village.

 

4) I’m going to pretend I loved adopting a “if you can’t beat them join” attitude of being woken by babies louder than roosters for a three hour walk before breakfast. We experiencing the beauty of silent rice fields at sunrise, the traditionalists of the fruit market, and saw Ubud from a rarer perceptive….Who am I kidding, I value sleep! Although one of the nicest benefits of such an early start was being in bed by 7pm which i secretly loved. What a difference 7 years makes :)

Where we ate….
http://theseedsoflifecafe.com/

http://cafepomegranate.org/

https://acaiqueenbar.com/welcome

Where we stayed….

http://bucuviewubudbali.com/

 

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New Year’s Eve, Phillip Island…

After a sorcher of a Christmas Day in Melbourne (36c!) we took off in search of sea-breeze for a mini-break on Phillip Island. Here are our top 5 discoveries… (without even a mention of its famous tourist hotspot; the Penguin Parade)

1) Orange, almond & ricotta gelato from Pino’s Trattoria, Cowes
2) Old fashioned milkshakes in the retro Silverleaves General Store & Cafe
3) Cape Woolamai Pinnacles walk
4) Tasty Greek food at The Goat in the Boat 
5) Discovering how relaxing life is when you holiday with extended family. Namely having grandma, aunties, uncles & cousins on tap to entertain your toddler! It was one of our tamer New Year’s Eves (in bed by the stroke of midnight) but just as well with baby #2 due any day now…

 

Tolmie and Mansfield, Victorian High Country

For xmas 2015 the husband rather mysteriously presented me with a USB drive featuring the film;’The Man From Snowy River.’ For the unacquainted, it’s an Australian 1982 classic set in the Victorian High Country around Mansfield (3 hours drive from Melbourne.) Flash-forward to the Easter long weekend and we booked a quiet AirBnB hidden way off the grid, 15 mins down a dirt road, near to the tiny town of Tolmie. Think birdsong, log fires & scrabble. Bliss.

For those fitter than I (or for those without a cheeky 11 month baby glued to their hip) you can do 7 day rides deep into the bush, taking in Craig’s Hut & many of the film’s locations. I was happy with an energetic 2 hour trail ride run by the fantastic company Hidden Trails. For those really keen, there’s an 1988 sequel; The Man From Snowy River 2. Yes, we watched both.

Caye Caulker, Belize

Our 7 days in Caye Caulker (“Key corker.” It sounds way better in a Caribbean accent) was the honeymoon before the wedding. I just love it where, within 10 seconds of arriving somewhere you just think; this is definitely our vibe.

The island reminds us of Rashdoo in the Maldives (but thankfully with alcohol) in that it’s a 3 street town where the only traffic is a golf cart for hire, or a propeller plane from Belize City buzzing down on the jungle fringed landing strip. After the Everest Lukla plane experience however, I’ll forever opt for arrival by speedboat.

Luckily, it’s a lot less Americanized than we expected. The houses are pained in typical Caribbean postcard pink and pastel blue, and a lot of the cheaper local restaurants are in people’s front yards where they sell homemade banana bread & quesadillas.  For the ‘upmarket’ the much-famed local lobster really is as good as the guidebooks say. We ate a $200 grilled mango lobster dinner with a couple of rums each for $35 USD – total for 3 people!

The nightlife is low-key, with most of the backpackers sticking largely to ‘The Split;’ a swim up bar near a shallow channel of sea. We snuck there during daylight hours with our 8 month old, just to prove we still could. :) For us oldies in our 30’s though a couple of the ocean front bars further south were much nicer, with hammocks and swing chairs to sip cocktails from.

The rest of our days were spent relaxing by Wheezie’s Cottages pool and private pier, all very idyllic, except for Caye Caulker’s dreaded downfall… an abundance of sandflies, even inland. Grr.

Getting there: Melbourne to LA with Qantas then an direct American Airlines flight to Belize City (Only available once a week. The alternative is an epic detour via El Salvaor or Dallas/Miami.) Then a 45 min speedboat from Belize City to Caye Caulker.  Boat schedule here.

Where we stayed: Wheezies Purple Bungalow

 

 

 

 

Healesville, Yarra Valley, Victoria

A great escape from Melbourne during Grand Final weekend & the September heatwave. We checked out Healesville Community Market, TarraWarra Winery and a view of the vineyard from our balcony at Outlook Hill Cottages. It had all the makings of a perfectly relaxing break, except for our companions; a 6 month old baby & my first encounter with an Australian huntsman spider!

 

Previous Older Entries

An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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