This was Robin and Peter’s last day in Ubud. We will miss them. We have had much fun together, and Ray and I have learned a lot through them about Bali’s culture, sites, and people. We took full advantage of the day and had some more delightful experiences together.
We arranged with Made to take us to Mount Batur, and in his usual quiet leadership style, he threw in a few more treats as well!! Unfortunately, Ray was suffering from the sudden onslaught of a cold, and didn’t come on the journey with us.
Gunung Kawi is an 11th century temple and funeral complex located on the sides of a mountain at the bottom of the valley of the Pakerisan river in Tampaksiring. There are 10 large shrines thought to be dedicated to King Anak Wungsu of the Udayana Dynasty carved into the sheer cliff face and on the other side there are 5 temples, again thought to be, dedicated to the King Udayana, his Queen and sons. Views from the top of the valley over the rice fields are stunning and set the tone for the temple. Passing over one of the irrigation canals and a weir we could see the shrines peeping through the vegetation and shortly after that we arrived in the temple complex. The whole site was set in the lush green forested valley with beautifully coloured leaves, and trees with a hundred trunks!! It was all quite majestic. We slowly climbed the 270 steps back up to the car park and bid Gunung Kawi “farewell”.
We had a short drive to Tirta Empul, another beautiful temple which is dedicated to Vishnu (a Hindu god name for the supreme consciousness Narayana) this time a water temple built around some active springs and two pools of holy water that people go into and duck their heads under the taps surrounding the pools for ritual purification. The springs in the temple pond are very active, and of course are considered very holy.
There is a surprisingly modern structure located above the temple. This was apparently built for a visit by President Sukarno in 1954. It is currently a guest house for important guests.
As we climbed up a narrow mountain road with very sharp bends, we discussed where we would eat lunch. When we emerged at the top of the mountain with a beautiful lake lying in the volcano valley below us, Made announced that he was taking us to the restaurant with the best view of Mount Batur. And he did!
Mount Batur is an active volcano. It last erupted in 2000 and you can see the black markings of the lava that flowed out of it during previous serious eruptions. You can also see two or three small “holes” which often “smoke”! Mount Batur is actually a secondary volcano forming in the caldera created after the volcanic eruption and destruction of the original volcano. The restaurant we were sitting in was on the outer rim of the caldera and we could look over to Mount Batur, and see Lake Batur, which has also formed in the caldera, lying at the bottom of Mount Batur many feet below us. The scary part is all the little villages that have developed at the edge of the lake and in the valley of the caldera. The caldera is an amazing feat of nature, but you will have to look elsewhere for the technical explanation of what exactly happened!! Needless to say it was quite a spectacular view.
After lunch we had a quick drive back to the Ubud, down the mountain road, through many tiny villages each represented by some art form. We stopped on the way to buy some small umbrellas for Robin and Peter’s latest stone carving of some protector whose name I am afraid I can’t remember!!
Back at the villa, Robin and I sat back and chatted while Peter did the packing!! All of it!! Robin’s as well!!! Robin….you are a lucky woman!!! Well, Peter is a lucky man too!!
Dinner was a lovely treat for us. We all walked into Ubud, slung our leg over the seat of motor scooters, and were whisked through the rice fields by the light of the moon to the Luxe Grill and Barbeque. There we were treated like kings and queens, and had an absolutely delicious meal, complete with desert and wine!! Then we reconnected with our trusty scooter drivers and headed back into an Ubud quietened by the late hour, and made our way back to the villa along the now almost deserted streets. What a beautiful evening for Robin and Peter’s last evening in Bali for this trip.