Happy New Year everyone! Hope that your 2015 is off to a wonderful start. Last Saturday we got back to Sydney after an amazing Christmas and New Year’s break in Bali with family and friends, and I am now adjusting to being back at work… TK is also adjusting to his first of full time work at his new job and sounds like he is off to a great start. Sadly, Keiren and Will couldn’t join us in Bali, but we still had an amazing group, with Jacs’ brother Louis/Bub and his wife Christy joining us, as well as our friends Jess and Mike from San Diego. TK then had 3 friends come along, and was surprised there by his girlfriend Charlie who has been in Rotterdam for the year. Leonora loved hanging out with everyone, and particularly enjoyed lots of time better getting to know her Oma and Granddad who have been traveling lots.!
We had a great end to 2014 since our last post, with the BCG Christmas party as an amazing final evening out on the Harbour at The Island, a floating bar that was a wonderful venue for our Christmas party. The party was nautical themed so Jacs and I were all dressed up TK was brave enough to look after Leo for the evening which was much appreciated!
The following morning, TK, Jacs, Leo and I headed off to Bali bright and early (I could have used some more sleep) to meet mum and dad and head out to Nusa Lembongan. Nusa Lembongan is a little island 30 minutes boat ride from Bali, and is slower paced. We had 2 nights there staying at the Nusa Bay, where we each had our own bungalow, and there was a pool and the beach so it was a great chance to decompress and relax. The first day, Dad, Jacs and I headed off for some beautiful diving (although unfortunately no mantas :-() while mum, TK and Leo hung out by the pool. The next day TK and I rented a scooter and he dropped me off for a surf at ‘Shipwrecks’ (aptly named for the shallow reef) before we did an island explore.
The next day it was back to Bali and up to see mum and dad’s new house on the Sayan ridge in Ubud called ‘Living Light’. Mum has done an amazing job and it really is a beautiful place! It is also part of a development with 15 other houses, and all share a lovely pool and community kitchen/restaurant area. Unfortunately the pool was having some teething issues with the rain, but we did get to enjoy it one day while we were there
We were based in Ubud at Living Light for the remainder of the trip and had an amazing time as our various friends and family arrived and left. We had some days surfing in Kuta and shopping in Seminyak, both of which are extremely busy and overwhelming these days, but do have little oases like Sardine where we had a lovely lunch one day.
We also had days exploring Ubud and shopping on Monkey Forest Rd (Leo was amazing in the monkey forest – she thought she was one of them and was making all kinds of noises!), doing some yoga at the yoga barn (Jacs even did a workshop with an internationally renowned teacher), and relaxing and surfing at the Komune Resort at an East Bali beach called Keramas with an excellent right break. It was a great combination because everyone could relax, eat, drink and swim in the pool, all while overlooking the surf so I could pop out for a paddle.
We also had some fun taking Christmas photos of the boys in some speedos that TK specially supplied!
For Christmas Eve, we had a lovely evening with a gathering at Living Light in the common area with friends and guests and a feast of food and drinks, as well as some time hanging out in our house with our family and friends over a few Bintangs and G&Ts (We went through quite a lot of Bintang and Bombay Sapphire on the trip!).
Christmas morning, we then had a lovely breakfast at the house, before doing our ‘white elephant’ gifts. Lucky Leonora (for her Christmas) was spoiled by everyone however and ended up with a huge pile of pressies
On the 29th, we had an amazing family evening that mum had organised with a few of their closest friends at a venue (Anneke’s) where we had a delicious privately catered meal in a fancy tent overlooking the valley, rice paddies and river. For New Year’s Eve, we started the day bike riding down the Volcano from Kintamani (an amazing ride through the villages with Bali Eco Cycling – thanks Christy for organising), and then after regaining our energy in the afternoon, headed out for the most amazing dinner (lucky mum booked 6 months in advance!) at a restaurant called Locavore in Ubud. It was a delicious modern degustation menu, with lots of cocktails being ordered to accompany it. It really was world class, and a great way to celebrate being in a special place! After dinner, ‘the kids’ headed out for some drinks around Ubud to usher in the new year, while mum and dad headed home with Leo to celebrate in a more low key way there. The soccer field in Ubud turned in to an amazing display of unregulated fireworks (I was amazed no one was hurt!) as the new year arrived – it was quite the sight, and TK (of course!) even bought a few of the biggest fireworks to contribute to the display.
New Years Day, we headed down to Keramas for one more relaxing beach day, and at some point we somehow (I’m looking at Bubba) decided that every hour we should have a drink to wish a new timezone a happy new year which turned in to a great fun game! That evening was the last dinner for many of the group, but we had organised quite the farewell with an entire suckling pig (Babi Guling) for the group at a restaurant in Ubud where the manager specially arranged it for us, Kafe Batan Waru. Bubba certainly seemed to enjoy the feast!
The next morning we sadly had to farewell Mike and Jess and then Bubba and Christy, but it was so wonderful that they were able to come and visit. The rest of us headed down to the beach in Seminyak for one last cocktail and meal at one of our favourite restaurants, La Lucciola, right on the beach by Peti Tenget, where we were joined by Nix and her Fiance (!!) Chris who had just arrived in Bali.
Sadly that brought the trip to an end, but what a great holiday it was!
Hope that all of the rest of you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!
Ben and Jacs