Well technically just Canggu and Seminyak. But it's been a fun adventure so far.
I arrived in Bali a week ago. I've been staying in a cute little villa that I found on AirBnb just up from Echo Beach. It's a three bedroom and the lady Eva who owns it is lovely. The three rooms surround the pool and there's a kitchen and lounge room completely open to the outside. It's really cool.
The morning after I arrived I met up with my friend Dave Driskell who owns a gym in Canggu. He picked me up on his motor bike and took me all over. My first day in Bali was epic. I ate a ton of good food, got in some solid training, enjoyed an hour long massage for 75,000 Rupiah (which is $5.55 US!) and then I laid out at the beach and ate more food.
Our first stop was breakfast at Crate Cafe. Its a cute little place. A very hipster/surfer vibe with things written all over the walls. The coffee is delicious and I had this amazing plate with poached eggs, gluten free bread, spinach, bacon, tomatoes and avocado. I could literally eat here every day.
After our massive training sesh and our killer massage we went out for lunch at Canteen, which is literally next door to my villa so I've eaten there a few times already. For lunch I had the roasted vegetable salad with chicken and avocado. I've also had the roasted pumpkin salad with chicken and cashews. Both so delicious!
Friday night I went to Echo Beach House with a group from the gym. Dave's got some friends he trains with every day and it was really nice to meet them all. They're awesome. Megan picked me up on her scooter and brought me down to the beach. It's only about 800m from my villa, but it was dark and she was sweet enough to come grab me. The restaurant was awesome. Right on the water. You pick your meat or fish and they grill if fresh for you. And then you fill your place with rice and salad and potatoes. It's really good. And unfortunately I didn't get a good photo of my food so I suppose I'm going to have to go back again.
Just as I was flying to Bali I was browsing Facebook and was surprised to find out that my good friend Natasha from London was flying to Bali for the week. I met Natasha while studying abroad and we had a fun and crazy semester together. She now lives in Australia and her boyfriend had surprised her with a trip for her birthday. What a crazy coincidence. It had been 9 years since we'd last seen each other! So we made plans to have a late lunch at Sardine in Seminyak. A beautiful open air restaurant serving incredible seafood. Seminyak is a bit upscale. I imagine it's a bit different from the rest of the island. It's full of world class restaurants and clubs and hotels. And a lot of high priced fashion boutiques. I wouldn't say that it's my ideal place to hang out during my trip, but certainly a place worth seeing and exploring for some fine dining. Oh and the beach is beautiful. I had the sautéed wild snapper with an arugula, mountain potato, garden vegetable and prawn salad. We also split a bottle of Splash merlot. It was delicious and so much fun to catch up after so many years.
From there we decided to explore the town. Little did I know how big our night was about to become. It was like old times though. Natasha and I used to spend late nights out on the town in London trying out every hot spot and posh club that existed. Those were some good times with many memories. Our next stop was La Favela. It's a very trendy and unique bar. And also very popular. It has a funky and eclectic vibe with unique decor everywhere. It's definitely a place worth visiting. We went early in the afternoon and it was pretty quite. I hear it gets pretty crowded in the evenings. We had one drink there. I can't remember which it was, but it was a tropical vodka drink and it was delicious and refreshing. I drank it much too quickly.
Next we went to Potato Head Beach Club. When you enter there's a large grass area with day beds leading to the infinity pool which has a swim up bar and overlooks the ocean. It's definitely a cool spot. Especially in the heat. You can tan, and drink, and swim all while enjoying the views of the ocean. We put on our suits and sat at the swim up bar. I enjoyed a few mojitos.
At this point the sun was setting and we were hungry. We ended up at Motel Mexicola for snacks and more drinks, The bar and restaurant is quite large and has a 60's vibe. It's a lot of fun. We ordered a bunch of tostaditas. Chicken and pork and prawns. And also some ceviche. Somewhere in the mix someone started ordering tequila shots as well. That was a bad idea. Needless to say it felt like Natasha and I were reliving being twenty again. After all the drinks and food we were drunk and happy and took to the dance floor. We danced until the late hours of the night (or early hours of the morning I should say) and at some point we managed to make our way home.
I didn't get any great photos at Mexicola, but just picture us sitting around the table chasing each shot of tequila with one of these tostaditas. Okay, that's not really what we were doing! But that's about what our food to alcohol ratio felt like to me at this point of the night.
The next morning I wasn't feeling so hot. I went for an iced coffee at Milk the Goat which is also quite close to my villa. The store is really cool. They sell espresso and bikinis. The prices are a little high so it tends to be pretty empty inside. But it't totally worth it to me for the peace and quite and free wifi so I can blog.
Another place I've spent a good amount of time is the Warung on my way home from the gym. A warung is a locally owned restaurant and the one Dave introduced me to is amazing. Warung Banyuwangi Echo is the name of the place we go. You get a large amount of rice and then they load it up with any vegetables and meat that you choose and its about 40,000 Rupiah ($2.96 US). We've gone several times after training. We get takeaway and lay out by the pool while we devour it.
On Monday November 9th I went to Ku De Ta in Seminyak to celebrate Tove's birthday. Tove's from Finland and she's been in Bali for 2 months now. When she arrived she started training with Dave and the crew at Canggu Fitness. She'd never done CrossFit before but she's caught on very quickly. She's strong and I can tell she'll be a beast if she decides to stick with it. It was her 20th birthday on Monday so a group of us went out for a few drinks and then dinner. Ku De Ta is another bar on the ocean similar to Potato Head Beach Club but a bit more low key. Quite fancy, a little quieter than Potato Head, older crowd, gorgeous views of the ocean. We stayed there to watch sunset which was stunning.
Matt took me home on his motor bike and stopped at the market so I could get some groceries. I should probably just get my own scooter while I'm here but I'm a bit nervous. I'd say there's about 80% motor bikes and 20% cars on the roads here and everyone's weaving in and out and cutting each other off. I don't know if I'd be aggressive enough. Luckily everyone's been so nice to take me about and I can get an uber to the gym from my villa for 18,500 Rupiah ($1.37 US). Anyway, back to my story about groceries. Matt helped me with my shopping and showed me what was best to buy and what wasn't. You just want to be sure to get local meat and vegetables and be careful to avoid anything that must be imported because it can be very expensive. Now I've been able to cook meals in my adorable kitchen every day.
Mid week we all went out for dinner at Deus Ex Machina. Another really cool place local to my villa. They have a custom bike shop, restaurant, bar, and skate ramp. They have big parties on Sunday nights and they play movies as well. I ordered the beef kebabs there. It's definitely been nice eating out here. It's affordable and you can pretty much get healthy meat and vegetables everywhere you go. It's awesome.
After Deus we were all craving ice cream so we hit up The Creamery. I splurged and had the Nutty Professor. It was cashew ice cream blended with mixed nuts and topped with chocolate chips, caramelized almonds and peanut butter. It was large and rich. I probably should have shared it with someone. It was too much. But so good.
I also love to walk down the beach and I've done it almost every day since I've been here. If I head down to Echo Beach I like to stop at Nalu Bowls for a blended treat of fruit, coconut milk and coconut water topped with more fruit and coconut. They're so delicious and refreshing. Especially as hot and humid as it's been here. I also like to walk down to Old Mans Beach and I'll just grab a coconut when I get down there. They're $1 and I've been obsessed with them. So refreshing. And you can eat the coconut meat out of them when you're finished drinking them. At Old Mans there's also some booths grilling meat sticks and corn on the cob which is delicious.
The last place we all went out to eat this week was called Dandelion. Rob and Megan stumbled upon it and its a little hidden paradise. A small open air restaurant with very inexpensive food and a fancy appeal. We sat outside looking out at the rice fields and playing with a couple of bunnies that hop around in the yard. I enjoyed some chicken and veggies with potato wedges. I would highly recommend this spot to anyone and everyone.
Week one in Bali has been awesome and I'm excited to explore more of the island next week.