It's been three months since we went on our honeymoon to Bali but I think about it most days. Mostly because I follow our hotels instagram and it reminds me but also because it was just breathtaking.
I have been fortunate enough to travel to some pretty awesome places and have been blown away by the beauty of the Venice canals, the majesty of giraffes in Africa and the deep snow of Canada but Bali was by far the most beautiful place with its stretches of rice fields, lush greenery and friendly people.
I was devastated that we were only able to stay for a week. I feel there was so much more we could have seen as we spent the majority of the time relaxing and not thinking about anything wedding. As much as I loved the whole wedding process it was a nice to not have to make a decision other than which natural water pool I wanted to lie beside.
We stayed at a boutique hotel that I found on i-escape. I wanted our honeymoon to feel exclusive and it really was that. From the moment we were picked up from the airport to the moment we left we felt special.
Bambu Indah was a place of dreams and our small house was just perfect. Surrounded by a moat and enclosed in a walled garden we could have been on our own desert island. The outdoor shower was wonderfully novel, the draped bed romantic and the creaky floor was charming. With a hop, skip and jump across the moat stepping stones we took tea in our own raised platform, leaning amongst the cushions like sultans licking syrup off our fingers from the delicious traditional cakes.
Stepping outside and walking through the pathways lined with fresh produce that was used in all the food, smelling the herbs and heat, listening to the crickets and small creatures chatting away you could be forgiven for not wanting to leave. The sound of bubbling water lead down to the first natural pool which was gloriously cool in the heat of the day and furnished with a rope swing if you felt like challenging Tarzan for his role of King of the Jungle.
Before us lay a jungle landscape, dotted with rice fields and people working. There was a glorious calm, coconut water was provided, served by discreet staff, fresh towels appeared by the pool side. Sitting on the veranda and watching the sun set on another day in Eden it was impossible not to feel the stress melt away and feel like a dream. Once the sky turned orange and red, fading to blues, purples and the inky night, the stars led the way back to the house where the room was turned down for the evening, shutters closed to keep out the biting insects.
The food was provided on platters and served in bamboo leaf boats, rich in flavour, spicy rice porridge, citrus fish, succulent strips of beef, smooth coconut icecream. All washed down with cool beers and sweet cocktails, and served by attentive, impeccable staff. Taking a beer back to the house, we seated ourselves on the chairs outside, surrounded by clouds of incense and listening to the night frogs crock before sliding into blissfully cool sheets and a fort of drapes and air-conditioning.
Despite our paradise I couldn't bear to leave without seeing at least some of Bali and so we ventured out into the crazy traffic with our driver for the day who took us to the Monkey Temple. Of course the bananas I had bought with me were whipped up in seconds by tiny hands clamouring at my legs and bag, all wanting more. They scurried about their day, the babies clinging upside down to the mother's belly, the adults swinging from the trees ahead.
When there were no more bananas we headed back to the car upon where our driver took us to a roaring waterfall reached by a long windy path with hundreds of steps. The relief then of stepping into the pool to cool down. We inched as close as we dared with the thundering, powerful water just over us, and allowed ourselves to drift down the river in the natural current.
Like a mystery that could not be solved, there was a path that could not be accessed. After much digging we asked at Reception who told us the secret way. Down stairs, across a strong river via a bamboo bridge, along the edge of the river, up a valley, down a spiral staircase and then before us lay heaven. Natural pools with slippery rocks and tadpoles around our feet, canoe boats, stepping stones, hanging chairs, plunge pools, bamboo stages, rushing rapids and not a soul in sight. We pretended we were adventurers and wood nymphs, exploring in the jungle. The night drove us back to the land of the living.
We stained our fingers with turmeric and ignited our tastebuds with a cooking class for two, sizzling onions, chopping meats, crushing spices. We made a veritable feast, all wrapped in leaves and full of flavour, and stuffed our faces with the food we had prepared. The staff spoke beautiful English and seemed pleased with our efforts, allowing us to eat the leftover palm sugar and coconut mix that had become my favourite.
How quickly time goes when you are in wonderland. Within no time at all our visit was over and we had to face the idea of going back to normality and a distinct lack of Balinese beauty. We packed our bags and stood on the porch listening to the sounds of the night around us trying to remember and let it all sink in. We vowed to return even if it was in 10, 20, 30 years. If we could have stayed we would have, such was the beauty and the majesty, Bali cast a spell over us, and we are powerless to resist.