Saturday, 22 October 2016

our honeymoon, part three. Ubud

Ok, so I'm continuing with these very diary-like posts from Bali. I totally understand this isn't very interesting but I like to document this trip for my own sake so you just have to come along or skip it. I'm sure my mom and dad enjoys reading it! 

On the fifth day we left the lively area of Seminyak for the calmer town Ubud. Here we checked in to Alaya Resort, a quite big hotel by a busy, narrow street lined with souvenir and handcraft shops. Alaya had an amazing spa, Dala Spa, that I used twice during our stay. I love massages and other spa treatments and even though this place was a bit pricy for Bali, it doesn't compare with what I'm used to in Norway so I decided to splurge. 

We took it a lot more easy these days in Ubud, not having too much planned and just lounging in the pool area and doing a little bit of shopping. One day we took a short walk to the Monkey Forest in the middle of Ubud, to have a look at the wild macaques living there. Andreas really likes monkeys. I think they are a bit too... Human looking. 

We had one thing pre-booked during our time in Ubud: A full day including river rafting and a visit to the elephant safari. The rafting was fun, although less exciting than I had hoped for, since the water was really low - not so much white water. It was beautiful just gliding through the rainforest, though. We spotted some monkeys, a few iguanas and some pretty amazing huge trees. Unfortunately I don't have any photos from this on my phone... 

The elephant safari was nice too, but I had hoped for more "free ranging" elephants. These were 30 something Asian elephants rescued from Sumatra (Bali doesn't have elephants naturally) and a few babies born in captivity. I'm not sure how I feel about these things. I mean, it's obvious that the caretakers and park owners love these animals and they are very well looked after and taken care of. I'm just not sure about the entertainment part of it. We got to feed, pet and take a ride on an elephant in the moonlight, very beautiful, but it kind of makes me sad that they can't just be free. But what do I know. 

Friday, 14 October 2016

our honeymoon, part one

Hey peeps! So, with a risk of making y'all totally jealous... guess where I am? Well, me and Andreas are on our honeymoon in Bali! 

We'll be here for two weeks and I will try to post every now and then, using iPhone photos, just to keep you updated,  but then maybe summarize with the best photos from our proper camera when we get back.

This post is just from the first day, when we stayed at this really cool hotel called Villa Seminyak Estate & Spa, in Seminyak. We had booked just one night here and only for the reason we had seen really cool photos on Pinterest... And this place was totally cool! We had our own little "villa" with a sleeping loft, and the communal pool just outside the balcony door. Close enough for me to get a bit wet when we arrived in the nighttime and I couldn't really see where the water started. 

We had a midnight swim. And then another one about an hour after breakfast the next day just soaking in the warm water. Totally great place.

This was also the day when I had the first blue cocktail of the week. A few days in and I can promise that it will not be the only one. 

our honeymoon, part two. Seminyak

So i'm dividing these posts after the hotels we were staying at. This was the second, and it was... Beyond words. Basically we had our own completely separate villa, on one floor we had the bedroom and bathroom and on the second the living room. And private pool. With a waterfall running down to the first floor, creating almost like wall in the bedroom. Oh, and we had a butler service accessible 24 hours a day. Damn... 

We spent some time lounging by the communal pool, drinking cocktails in both sun and moonshine, but mostly we hung out in our own private space. 

When we didn't hang out at the villa we walked around exploring the neighborhood. We also spent a day at Waterbom Waterpark, because we are not proper grown ups. It was so much fun, the park is really clean and the rides exciting. 

The last full day in Seminyak we had arranged to have a driver driving us around. Well. Mostly this guy that drove us from our first hotel in Seminyak to the second had offered services for a day with suggestions of where we could go, and we took him up on his offer. And, we had fun! We did water sports (jet ski and paragliding) in Nusa Dua, visited the small secluded (but crowded) beach Padang Padang beach, ate a great lunch with awesome banana-peanut butter milkshakes, had a few drinks at the super popular surfer bar Single Fin and visited the Uluwatur temple in the sunset. Busy day!

After four days in Seminyak we continued to Ubud, the same guy, Made, driving us. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

dancing in a castle

My reason for going on another trip back to Europe so close to the one I did in July was that I had another dance camp I wanted to take part in. Originally I had planned to go on only one, but ended up thinking, well,  more is more. And it was! Damn, dancing is pretty awesome. Anywaaaay, this time I went to to Germany with three of my besties to enjoy a week at Swing Castle Camp, at Schloss Beesenstedt in the small town of, just, Beesenstedt. This "castle" or mansion, has among other things been used by Freemasons and the communist party back in the day, the latter being very obvious all over this old and sort of run down place. It was wonderful, though. Me and my roomie for the week, Alison, didn't actually stay at the castel but in a guestroom hundred meters away, but we still got plenty of time in it. I had three danceclasses a day, this time I took classes in solo jazz, with two swedish teachers. One of these guys, Daniel, I've had in both tap and Lindy hop before, but I've never had the other one, Rikard. The classes was extremely useful, tiring and fun, and I'm so glad I ended up doing solo jazz instead of Lindy, my original plan.

This camp was "all inclusive" and we had breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared for us at the castle. And it was so tasty! The weather also happened to be pretty lovely so we had many of our meals outside on the lawn or on the big balcony over the entrance. Oh, and one evening we had a three course gala dinner. Awesome.

The nights were spent partying and dancing until early morning. A typical evening in the castle would be dinner at eight, go back to the room and shower and get dressed, meet up with the other guys, Rich and Steve, for a drink and some relaxing. The actual dancing would start at about eleven, the (bloody amazing) live band would start playing at around midnight and then the dance floor would be active until four or five in the morning when the band moved into the bar for their third set and some more crowded dancing.

There was one big thing that put a damper on this whole experience. The airline lost my luggage on the way from Sweden to Germany, and for the whole week I didn't know if it would show up. I'd had some time to do some shopping for basic stuff like a few t-shirts, one dress, some underwear, deodorant and mascara, but that was it. And for 5 days with three workout-sessions plus a party every night it wasn't nearly enough. One of the things I love about dancing and social dances is that people dress up and I couldn't really. Plus I didn't have my adorable dance shoes or my tap shoes. Luckily I could borrow a lot from Alison, and I am so grateful for that. But still! When I finally was reunited with my bag, back in Brunei mind you, I realized some stuff had been stolen from it... I'm now in the middle of an e-mail conversation trying to argue that the airline should pay me for the things I lost. We'll see...

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

autumn in Sweden

A week ago I came home from a two week trip to Europe. Wow, it's been a week already! Well, the first part of my trip I spent in Sweden, hanging out with family. I was ridiculously lucky with the weather and got to experience some of those cool, clear days when the air is really crisp and the sky really blue, something that never happens here in Brunei, obviously. I went on a few short excursions with my mom but never brought my camera, so I just have a few photos from my phone. But they make nice memories too.

I helped my mom with some garden projects, here using a branch-cutting-tool that used to me my grandpas'. 

And one day me and my dad went to visit my other granddad (and grandma) on his 91st birthday. We could still sit outside in their garden and it was nice and warm.

When a rainforest suddenly is your home, going on "holiday" to a crisp autumn in Sweden feels really odd. But surprisingly relaxing. And it's always nice to get spoiled by the parents for a little while. After a week in the mother country I met up some of my best friends in Berlin for a crazy week of dancing, but that will be in the next post.