|View of Lake Tamblingan from Mt Bratan’s crater rim|
CYCLING BALI DAY 10: Retracing Bali’s central North coast
Today I had 2 alternatives:
option 1– Go back up into Bali’s rugged mountains, enjoy splendid views of Lake Tamblingan, nestled down in the crater of volcanic Mt Bratan for a few hours, whiz back down to Bali’s north coast on a scenic winding road, then head east to seaside Air Sanih.
option 2– Skip the mountains and retrace my path along Bali’s stunning north coast eastwards (I’d just cycled this road a week earlier) through Singaraja City to seaside Air Sanih, then spend all afternoon relaxing and gazing at a glass-like Bali Sea.
Secretly, I had my fingers crossed for the mountain route, anticipating beautiful lake views from the crater rim, followed by an exciting downhill glide. That way I could also avoid cycling the same 36 km coastal stretch again. That would be sweet!
But it was all up to the weather. My daydream of a Lake Tamblingan ‘retreat’ consisted of bright sunny skies and warm air. Hold up. Reality check: what if it was raining? Daydream would quickly turn to nightmare. Mt. Bratan is cold and miserable in rain, reaching merely 17C midday. The sting of yesterday’s hideous mountain ride in monsoonal rains was fresh on my mind. I would only risk venturing back into Bali’s mountains if I saw perfectly clear skies this morning.
My weather check had to be conducted at the crack of dawn. If the mountains looked cloudy, I’d have to hit the coastal road by 7 am. I would only have until 9 or 10am to reach Yeh Sanih. By 10 am Bali’s north coast would be sweltering, much too hot to cycle without seriously risking heat stroke.
At 6 am I was already out wandering the city streets of Serirt, gazing up at the sky, especially towards Mt. Bratan… cloudy. I couldn’t even see the mountain peaks. In fact, Bali’s entire coast looked cloudy as well, with big stormy clouds out at sea.
Right. Coastal ride it was. I quickly packed up, ate breakfast, visited the hotel’s bakery kitchen for some tasty ‘kue’ (Balinese sweets), and hit the road.
Since I’d already cycled this road, in reverse, a week earlier from Seririt through Singaraja and beyond to the turn off to Kintamani/ Mt Batur, the only new section today consisted of 8 km east of the Kintamani turn off to Air Sanih. Ho hum. (see DAY 3: Coasting Down Volcanic Ridge Lines)
Never the less, I set out. Once again I pedaled past gorgeous rice fields backed by the Bali Barat Mountain Range all the way to Lovina. I stopped briefly to check out Lovina’s beach. 10 years earlier I’d stayed in Lovina, also on a cycling trip, and got entangled with a couple of beach boys.
Today, as I pedaled into Lovina’s main hub, a flood of memories came rushing in as I recognized this place and that place, triggering memories of various incidents, particularly a mushroom high, which brought a smile to my face. But a momentary stop was all I wanted today, thank you. A point driven home by the fact that during my brief 5 minute stop, I’d already been swarmed by touts selling flutes and chatted up by a beefy local guy on a bicycle. Yikes! Outta there!
|Entry and exit arches to Lovina Beach area…bye!!|
Today’s cloudy weather afforded me time to stop here and there. I needed a few supplies in Singaraja, the last city I’d pass through for another week or so. I also jumped on the internet briefly. Unfortunately for me, while sitting online, the clouds suddenly disappeared and Bali was instantly roasting hot. oops! I had to finish cycling in the burning heat. Luckily, the road was flat and Air Sanih not much further.
By 11 am, after a quick break to eat, I was already checked into a lovely seaside resort at Air Sanih. After washing my incredibly stinky cycling clothes, I proceeded to relax all day. I’d actually stayed at Air Sanih 10 years ago, too, on that same cycling trip through Lovina.
‘Air’ means water in Indonesian so places with ‘air’ in the name usually have a natural spring. As I’d arrived today, I’d glimpsed the large stone spring pool that Air Sanih is famous for. Surprisingly, I had forgotten that public pool. Once I saw it though, I remembered that I’d swam there. The only thing that I remembered about Air Sanih before today’s arrival was a mighty big pest who had attempted to ‘escort’ me around all day- at the beach, the pool, my room. I trusted that I would not see him again!
Today I wandered over to the pool with my bathing suit, thinking I might go for a cool swim. The lovely large stone-lined pool did look very inviting. But as soon as I saw the local guys sitting around I nixed that idea. Instead I ‘hid’ all day at my great solitary seaside cottage. Ahhh, solitude! The quiet sounds of nature: the crashing sea and wind blowing in the bushes. Loved it! I only ventured out to eat and fetch my dried laundry. Otherwise it was just me, the sea and the trees until my early bedtime at 9pm, under a wonderfully bright full moon.
|View of the sea from my bungalow|
If you’re inspired to cycle around Bali, check out my guidebook-
You might also like: