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Eat Pray Love

The day before we left Bali we decided to make a trip to Ubud, which is about an hour north of Kuta. It’s the city of the Monkey Forest and picturesque rice terraces – unfortunately none of the above was “cooperating” that day!
When we walked towards the area of the Monkey Forest one monkey had nothing better to do than jumping on my shoulders and starting to bite me – luckily Bernd was right next to me and gave that monkey a nice flight back to the ground. After that I was wishing for nothing more than a shotgun…
Anyway, we went into the Monkey Forest (without the shotgun ;-) ) and tried to take good pictures of the monkeys and the temple – only one part turned out successfull as you might see. For the part concerning the temple there were just too many people and too many monkeys, aswell. Since Bernd was trying to take a picture with long-time exposure these were the least components he needed (he started to wish for a shotgun as well…) – I really felt sorry for him after half an hour of desperate camera clicking!
The second theme for the day were the rice terraces outside Ubud! It might sound easy to take pictures of them, even a panorama is doable – but not if it’s raining cats and dogs!
But hey, I’m not complaining! We saw a monkey fly, the hawkers nearly left us alone because it was raining – that’s something new on Bali!

- Isabell -

P.S. In case you’re wondering about the title of this article: parts of the movie “Eat Pray Love” were casted in the Monkey Forest of Ubud. Julia Roberts takes a bike ride around the temple shown on the first picture…

“Eat Pray Love” film location in the Monkey Forest, Ubud (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
“Eat Pray Love” film location in the Monkey Forest, Ubud (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell with two Komodo dragon sculptures (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell with two Komodo dragon sculptures (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Bridge over a gully in the Monkey Forest (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Bridge over a gully in the Monkey Forest (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Sculptures from the film location, but I`m not sure if you can actually see them in the movie (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Sculptures from the film location, but I`m not sure if you can actually see them in the movie (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Monkey familiy after watching all three parts of “The Lord of the Rings” ;) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Monkey familiy after watching all three parts of “The Lord of the Rings” ;) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Rice terraces around Ubud (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Rice terraces around Ubud (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Water lilies – a beautiful, romantic…Bali kitsch picture ;) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Water lilies – a beautiful, romantic…Bali kitsch picture ;) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)


Bali – island of temples

Due to the continuing erruption of the volcano Merapi the airspace of Indonesia was partly restricted for some days. But Singapore Airlines already started to approach Jakarta again, so we decided that it was save to travel from Sydney to Denpasar with a stop-over in Singapore. From Sydney to Singapore we were flying with the new Airbus A380-800, a huge aircraft that normally dims minor turbulences – unfortunately a thunderstorm above northern Australia wasn’t a minor turbulence and therefore the airplane shook quite well ( and fell a few meters).
Compared to the first flight the connecting flight from Singapore to Denpasar wasn’t that bad. The only thing that made me nervous was that you could not see anything besides thick white “fog” that surrounded the plane the entire flight – I don’t know what kind of “fog” it was and I sure will never find out (I will not even ask)…  :-?

Anyway, the last three days we spent relaxing and sightseeing in Kuta and the
surrounding area: We hung around the pool in our hotel, enjoyed the sunshine and drank as many fresh fruit juices as we want – keeping in mind that a glass of freshly squeezed pineapple juice costs about 10.000 Indonesian Rupiah ( approx. 0,80 Euro cents)!
Yesterday we hired two motorbikes to visit a temple on the peninsula south of Kuta. Now it’s not difficult to drive a motorbike, but it is challenging to drive a motorbike on the left in a crowded city where there are no road traffic regulations – some of us didn’t like that at all! ;-)
After we left the crazy streets of Kuta it took us about an hour to get to the sea temple Pura Luhur Ulu Watu. The temple itself is forbidden for non-hindu worshippers and as it is perched atop sheer cliffs that drop straigt into the ocean you really can’t see a lot. Nevertheless we still had fun as there are plenty of monkeys living in the fields of the temple who are trying to steal everything from a to z that looks edible  – from aluminum foil to zippers!

- Isabell -

Isabell on her motorbike (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell on her motorbike (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
View from the cliffs Pura Ulu Watu is built on (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
View from the cliffs Pura Ulu Watu is built on (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
A little monkey (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
A little monkey (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Pura Ulu Watu – the sea temple (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Pura Ulu Watu – the sea temple (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
This guy had fun making faces in front of the camera (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
This guy had fun making faces in front of the camera (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
A noisy monkey…he jumped on my backpack during the photo session (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
A noisy monkey…he jumped on my backpack during the photo session (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
 


A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…

… or in our case: with a single click!

After the decision was made thoughts were going crazy: HOW are we travelling? WHERE do we want to go?  WHEN are we going? HOW LONG are we going to travell? WHAT about the costs? …

So, one thing at the time:

HOW to travel: Okay, let’s face it – anything else than plane didn’t come to our mind. But instead of booking every single flight there is a great way to get around the world: Round-the-world tickets ! ;-) There are several united airlines like Star Alliance, OneWorld Alliance and SkyTeam that provide different around-the-world programs: Whereas SkyTeam only offers booking via telephone, OneWorld does have difficulties with crossing the Pacific. Star Alliance seemed to have it all:  Great deals, easy booking, friendly support – need I say more?!

WHERE to go: The world, of course! Ahw well, some countries have been on our list for a long time: Australia, USA (continent), USA (Hawaii), Thailand and the Fiji Islands – we have to visit these countries! And then one thing led to another: hey, if we’re on the Fiji Islands we could also go to New Zealand. And before we go to the States we could make a stop in Mexico. And why not go to Bali right before Thailand?! Can we do this within 29.000 miles – YES, we can!

So this is the actual route:  Frankfurt/Germany – Mexico City/Mexico – Los Angeles/USA – San Francisco/USA – Honolulu/USA -  Nadi/Fiji – Auckland/New Zealand – Sydney/Australia – Denpasar/Bali - Bangkok/Thailand – Frankfurt/Germany

WHEN to go: Due to a little trip with friends end of August we set the date of departure on September 10, 2010.

Travel planning with Poker chips (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)

HOW LONG are we travelling: According to the novel of Jules Verne our trip will take 80 days. (There is no bet going on, we know that it’s possible!). As easy as it was to set the 80 days the harder it was to choose how many days to spend in each country: First put a minimum of days on each destination, then spread the remaining ones and finally flipping one or two. (Hint: Poker chips are perfect for that!)

WHAT about the costs: Well, nothing’s for free. There are two aspects: The ticket and the trip itself.  As I said before, the ticket price depends on the miles, the stops and the countries you travel to – 29.000 miles are cheaper than 35.000 miles, the entrance fee for one country is more expensive than for another country…. I think we’ll have an extra post for this topic!

Okay, these were the first steps we took on our journey around the world… but be sure, there’ll be A LOT more! ;-)

- Isabell -

Backpacking tour & day trips

Some of the pictures below were taken on a daytrip to Ubud, a city right in the middle of Bali that is always worth a trip. You can visit the monkey forrest, a lot of small shops and the rice terraces around the city are beautiful, too.

The rest of the pictures are from our second week on Bali. We did a backpacking trip starting from Padang Bai to the Bratan temple - Lovina (no, we didn`t swim with the world famous and mentally disordered dolphins but we enjoyed watching the rats running around on the roof of our restaurant) - Gilimanuk (we took the ferry to Java and bought some Java coffee over there) – Kuta.

Kuta is perfect for shopping and surfing – if you`re talented! I watched a few dozend of those guys for almost an hour and only one of them was able to stand on his board for more than 5 seconds. But hey, isn`t it cool to walk around with your board on the beach? Probably I am just jealous because they are so much cooler than me ;-)

Be careful when you change money in Kuta on the street, most of the guys are cheaters. After the third try we finally found one guy who would not work with faked numbers, a manipulated calculator or something like that. If you want to buy something fancy, look for Balibong clothes (sometimes it`s BaLLibong) – the style is very close to Billabong but the name will remind you of your Bali vacation every time you wear it!

- Bernd -

Pura Ulun Danu, temple at lake Bratan (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Pura Ulun Danu, temple at lake Bratan (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
The Monkey Forest south of Ubud (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
The Monkey Forest south of Ubud (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
This little thief tried to steal Isabells bracelet (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
This little thief tried to steal Isabells bracelet (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
At first he seemed to be interested in the camera... (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
At first he seemed to be interested in the camera… (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
...but then he felt asleep during our photo session ;-) (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
…but then he felt asleep during our photo session ;-) (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Bernds personal vacation experiment: A bald head (© 2009 Isabell Gernert)
Bernds personal vacation experiment: A bald head (© 2009 Isabell Gernert)
Rice terraces around Ubud (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Rice terraces around Ubud (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Pura Goa Lawah, the "bat temple" (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Pura Goa Lawah, the "bat temple" (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Celebration, Pura Goa Lawah (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Celebration, Pura Goa Lawah (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Portrait of a god, Pura Goa Lawah (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Portrait of a god, Pura Goa Lawah (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Celebration, Pura Goa Lawah (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Celebration, Pura Goa Lawah (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Celebration, Pura Goa Lawah (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Celebration, Pura Goa Lawah (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Statue of god, Pura Goa Lawah (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Statue of god, Pura Goa Lawah (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Waterfall in the jungle with a happy Isabell (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Waterfall in the jungle with a happy Isabell (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Coffee we brought from Java island (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Coffee we brought from Java island (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
White Sand Beach nearby Padang Bai (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
White Sand Beach nearby Padang Bai (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
White Sand Beach (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
White Sand Beach (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell playing with Sina (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell playing with Sina (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell at Padang Bai beach (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell at Padang Bai beach (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)


Scuba diving at Nusa Penida, Tulamben and around Padang Bai

So here are the scuba diving pictures from our trip to Bali in 2009. Fortunately, our dive guide and friend Christian likes underwater photography as much as I do so it was fun shooting together with him and watch each others pictures after diving.

We spent our first week in Padang Bai and did most of the dives right there. In the Ferry channel (just a few meteres off shore) we had the sea turtle and the spiny lobster you can see on the pictures below and we also had whitetip reef sharks several times. There are a few good spots for macro diving as well where I took the picture of the frogfish.

We also went to Tulamben (which is just a short car ride away) and Nusa Penida island on two daytrips. Tulamben turned out to be awesome: At just one dive we saw the wreck of WWII transport ship USAT Liberty, our first real clown fish and a big and scary barracuda which didn’t move even when I came very close with the camera. Nusa Penida island was perfect to see the big stuff: At the Manta Point we had – guess what – several MANTA RAYS and on the second dive a big sunfish! I`m sorry for the bad quality of the two sunfish pictures, they were taken without a flash so I had to brighten them up a lot. However, I didn`t want to hold them back – enjoy!

- Bernd -

Manta ray (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Manta ray (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Our first real clown fish - they look much prettier than the anemone fish in the Red Sea (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Our first real clown fish – they look much prettier than the anemone fish in the Red Sea (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Shoal of fish (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Shoal of fish (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Relaxing sea turtle (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Relaxing sea turtle (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
We found the Mola-Mola! (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
We found the Mola-Mola! (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Spiny lobster (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Spiny lobster (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Portrait of a Barracuda - although I had to come very close to this 5 - 6 feet tall guy, it didn`t move (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Portrait of a Barracuda – although I had to come very close to this 5 – 6 feet tall guy, it didn`t move (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Mola-Mola (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Mola-Mola (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Nurse shark (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Nurse shark (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Flying Manta (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Flying Manta (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Frogfish - find the eye! (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
Frogfish – find the eye! (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
The Barracuda again (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)
The Barracuda again (© 2009 Bernd Neeser)