Today I didn’t have a strict agenda and that turned out to be the best plan yet. After an early breakfast on my patio I asked if I could rent a scooter. They set me up and off I went to a temple nearby called Goa Gajah (Elephant Temple). By now I’m a pro on the streets with a scooter. I heavily relied on Google Maps and wondered how this would have worked without it. I would have been lost without it so made sure to keep a cell phone charge.
At the temple I borrowed a sarong and went in. I was approached by a man who offered to tell me about the temple. I figured this would end in me paying him, but it made sense to actually learn the history rather than just look and guess. Turns out this temple was a mix of buddhist and hindu regions, which is pretty cool. It had separate holy water sides for each religion. It was buried at one point by a volcano but archeologists dug it out. On the hindu side there was an elephant cave for yoga, meditation and prayer. On the buddhist side there was a big tree, pond, waterfall and statue (that was broken due to an earthquake), again for prayer, meditation and yoga.
As I left, I typed in another temple (Tirta Empul) into my google maps. After a 15 minute scooter ride I arrived. Again, someone approached me and offered to give me a tour. After a positive experience with the last one, I agreed. They also kind of double as your personal photographer 😉 I learned how their god created this temple and a holy water god to look after it, then, he showed me the area where the water originates. It bubbled up out of the ground and was super clean. The water ran into the pool area where there were 13 fountains to bathe and pray in. There are more than 13, but some can’t be used until certain life moments such as buying a house or death (on the same level of course ;p). I was able to enter the pool and follow the ritual steps. Beginning with washing away bad karma and making a wish for the future. My “guide” walked me through each step and meaning before hand. I felt a little awkward doing it at first, but then I tried to focus on it and the intensity and healing of the process was energizing.
In the parking lot I heard about a coffee plantation nearby that I should check out. I tried to find it on google maps but it wouldn’t pull up. Luckily, my guide (Cadek) offered to take me there! After a short 5 minute ride we arrived. I knew upon arrival that this was going to be cool. It started with a quick walk through part of the plantation. They grew coffee trees, tropical fruits, herbs and spices. They also had animals that eat coffee living there in order to use their “coffee poop” as fertilizer.… They showed me how they crack open the beans by hand, roast them on the fire, and smash them into grounds. Then, Ludi (my guide) walked me out onto a terrace with a view of the jungle. He brought over a tray with 14 different coffee and teas to sample! I enjoyed talking with him. He was great and English and said he loved the excuse to practice it. His coworkers practice it together to be better at the tourism industry, as it’s too expensive to take classes in school. He had never been to the US, but dreams of it and said that anything you dream of can come true 🙂 He told me that he goes to Tirta every day for the bathing ritual. I ended up buying some because the coffee was some of the best I’ve ever had.
I was extremely caffeinated and was on a mission to find lunch. I drove back towards my lodging and found the perfect place to eat, overlooking rice fields. It also happened to be on this amazing stretch of shops. It was about a mile long of quality craftsmanship from wood carving, bone carving, macrame, clothing, paintings, sculptures and of course trinkets. I guarantee this is the place that furniture and decor stores source product. After a few wrong turns, I made my way back home and was excited to be back in this oasis where I could relax and write what you just read 😉