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Amed is officially the name of only one village on the eastern coast of Bali , but often groups the 4 other small villages there under the same name. The beaches here are black (lava sand), the sea is full of underwater life, evenings are quiet and the skies at night are full of stars… a perfect place for a holiday.

DSC_0270As we planned to stay a week (which turned into 10 days), the first thing to do was to find a good home. No huge demands, we just wanted it to be a freestanding cabin, on the beach, clean, close to restaurants and dive schools, with wifi and cheap :-). We saw about 7 places that could only fulfill one or two of these criteria at the same time. When we were getting to the end of one of the villages (Jemeluk) we started to worry we would be walking with our backpacks in the heat for quite a while longer unless we were willing to Covertome down our wishes. ‘Are you looking for a place to stay?’ we heard for the 20th time. ‘I have a nice place only 200m from here, only opened a week ago’. Now generally we found in Asia that distances and travel times are measured slightly differently from …. well…. the actual distances and travel times, so 200m is more likely to be 2km. We decided to give it a chance anyway, Mark stayed with the bags and Lucia jumped on the back of the motorbike. 10 min later (it was indeed a bit further than 200m) she came back with a big smile: we had found the place. New, spacious, secluded, clean and all the stuff we wanted for a very decent price. One of the nicer places we stayed in so far. The only thing the BBQ Guesthouse didn’t have was a BBQ.

DSC_0374DSC_0391As you would expect most of our days were filled with swimming, reading, sleeping and eating out. Our sunbeds were perfect for afternoon Balinese massages performed by old ladies, we’d sip on coconuts from our terrace while enjoying beautiful sunrises and sunsets and would sometimes feed the tiny chicks that were roaming our garden  with their mum.

Mount Agung, a massive volcano overlooked our daily activities and at some point we thought even DSC_0412rumbled slightly when the ground shook for a second (we were later told it was just a tiny earthquake that happens frequently, nothing to worry about). You can climb this (active) volcano, by starting at 2am from ‘base camp’ and getting to the top for sunrise. We didn’t do this however as we were lazy (however you’ll find in one of our next blogs we more than made up for this!) Good food is easy to find, especially if you like grilledDSC_0359 DSC_0365 fish, satay and curries. Lots of nice local restaurants everywhere, we especially liked Warung Ole (very friendly lady) and Warung Enak (good food overall).  Also there was some nice Western food. and we even ended up having Czech ‘bramboraky’ in a restaurant co-owned by a ‘Jirka’ (Czech name).

Besides the obvious holidaying activities we also booked a few scuba dives again, Lucia even got her Advanced Open Water Padi. There’s lots of coral and a large diversity of large and small fish all easily accessed from the shore, so no need for boats. You just walk into the water. The most memorable dives were around the USS Liberty wreck, near Tulamben. With a length of 125m and many holes and open areas to swim through it’s a great dive to both enjoy the wreck itself and all the marine life that lives in, on or around the wreck. One of the dives Lucia did for her certificate was a photography dive, so here are some of the pics (more pics here):

However, one of the main reasons we went to Amed was something we were a bit nervous about. We signed up for a 2-day freediving course at Apneista free diving & yoga. Apart from being a great school for IMG_2694freediving, they have really good organic lunch-dishes which you won’t find elsewhere in Amed. Freediving means going under water without any external air, so purely by holding your breath. Through a mix of theory, (yoga) exercises and practice in the water you learn how to extend your time under water and go to depths that you wouldn’t have imagined you could reach. You realise you have a lot more air (read: oxygen) in your lungs than you think and that the reflex you get under water is not caused by lack of oxygen, but by the build-up of carbon dioxide (CO2). Under close supervision both of us managed to go down 15 meters, stay there for a few seconds and comfortably resurface again! It’s not something we would do now on our own as there obviously are some risks involved, but it will come in very handy when for example you’re snorkelling and would like to have a closer look at something.

DSC_0250The last ingredient of a successful beach holiday is of course to do a day or two of exploring the island by scooter. We made a round from Amed to Culik to Karangasem and then back up via the coast. On the way we visited one of the water palaces in the area, the Tirta Gangga. A beautiful garden with lots of (obviously) water and great views. You can even go for a swim (for a fee). AlsoDSC_0306 we stopped at the Pura Lempuyang, the temple of 1000 steps. It actually consists of 7 temples that you can walk to via various stairs and paths, but prepare for it being hot! The main temple at the bottom of the hill was just being prepared for a hindu festival coming up.

On the way back we were getting hungry and as true adventurers we stopped on the road at a lady who was manning a small foodstall. After we had sat down with our bowls of noodles and ‘doughed egg’, we had a nice chat with a guy that sat down with us. Meanwhile the group of kids around us was growing which of course meant ‘Picture time’! Let’s just assume that the kid in the grey shirt had an itch on his finger…. :-)

We extended our stay mainly because we wanted to be in Bali during the Galungan holiday , which is a big Hindu festival celebrated on Bali. Streets were full with nicely dressed people and decorations, mainly tall bamboo stick along the side of the roads, decorated with all kinds of small artefacts. We stopped at an open-air temple, put on our sarongs and had a look what was happening. We were told that throughout the day various food offerings are made, people get blessed in ‘public’ temples and then retreat to their homes with their families to do more offerings at their ‘private’ temples. All in all, it was a colourful day with many smiling people and kids, so we enjoyed looking around. These pics should give you an idea:

After 10 days of holidaying, we were ready to pack our backpacks again and got on a boat to Gili Air, which is one of the small island on the northwestern side of Lombok

For more pics on our relaxing time in Amed, have a look here

:::

Amed je oficialne meno jednej z mnohych dediniek na vychodnom pobrezi Bali, ale v praxi tento nazov zahrna aj 4 okoloite dedinky. Plaze su v tejto oblasti cierne (vulkanicky piesok), more plne farebneho zivota, vecery pokojne a nebo je v noci plne milionom hviezd… Idealne miesto na dovolenku.

Kedze sme mali v plane ostat cely tyzden (co sa nakoniec predlzilo na 10 dni), prvou nasou ulohou bolo najst ubytovanie. Ziadne velke naroky. Medzi nasimi poziadavkami bola cista chatka na plazi za dobru cenu s restauraciami a potapacskymi skolami v blizkosti a samozrejme wifi. Navstivili sme asi 7 miest, ktore povacsine splnovali tak dve kriteria zaroven, ked sme upoteni s tazkymi batohmi stracali nadej a znizovali naroky. Uz sme boli nakonci dedinky Jemeluk, ked na nas po dvadsiaty krat zavolal pan pri ceste: ‘Hladate ubytovanie? Ja mam izbu 200 metrov odtialto, ktoru som otvoril len pred tyzdnom.’ Tak aby bolo jasne, v Azii sa vzdialenosti odhaduju tak trochu inak, povedzme nespravne, a tak sme uz predpokladali, ze 200 metrov je v skutocnosti 2 km. Napriektomu, bola to nasa sanca najst to, co hladame a tak Mark zostal s batohmi a Lucia naskocila na motorku. O 10 minut (skutocne to nebolo 200 metrov) sa vratila naspat s usmevom na tvari: nasli sme! Nas domcek bol uplne novy, prestranny, dalej od rusnych ulic a so vsetkym, co sme potrebovali. Jedine, co BBQ hostelu chybalo bolo ‘bbq’ – barbecue.

Ako by sa cakalo, nase dni vacsinou pozostavali z kupania sa v mori, citania, pospavania a kulinarskych vyletov do okolitych restauracii. Lehatka na plazi boli ako stvorene na obcasnu poobednu balinezsku masaz. Na terase sme si srkali z kokosovych orechov, pozorovali vychody a zapady slnka a sem-tam hodili kus ryze malym kuriatkam, ktore s ich maminou navstevovali pravidelne nasu zahradku. Nad nasimi aktivitami drzala straz sopka Agung, ktora na nas skoro i prehovorila, ked sme v jeden den zacitili kratky otras (neskor sme sa dozvedeli, ze skutocne islo o male zemetrasenie, ktore sa ale vyskytuju celkom pravidelne). Na sopku sa da vyliezt. Vystup sa zacina o druhej rano a na vrchol sa zaujemci dostanu akurat na vychod slnka. My sme si to nechali ujst, kedze sme mali lenivy tyzden, no ako sa dozviete v dalsom blogu, vynahradili sme si vylet na sopku aj s urokami neskor. Najst na Bali dobre jedlo je velmi jednoduche, specialne ak mate radi grilovane ryby a plody mora, satay (spizky) alebo kari. Vsade je plno prijemnych restauracii. My sme si oblubili Warung Ole (s jej zhovorcivou majitelkou) a Warung Enak. Zapadne jedlo tiez nie je problem. No a dokonca sme si raz dali aj cesky bramborak v restauracii spoluvlastnenou ceskym Jirkom.

Okrem cisto dovolenkoveho lenosenia sme sa objednali i na par potapacskych vyletov a Lucia si tu urobila aj pokrocilu certifikaciu ‘Advanced Open Water PADI’. Pod vodou tu najdete rozmanite koraly a rybicky male i velke. Na potapanie sa tu ide priamo z plaze, kedze zaujimave miesta su velmi blizko pobrezia. Najzaujimavejsi bol vylet k vraku americkeho vojnoveho parnika Liberty v blizkosti dedinky Tulamben. Vrak je 125 metrov dlhy a vdaka svojmu veku ma niekolko dier, ktorymi sa da krasne preplavat a obdivovat zivot, ktory sa v utrobach lode usadil. Jeden s Luciinych ponorov, ktory potrebovala urobit, aby ziskala certifikaciu, bol tzv. ‘fotograficky’ ponor, a tak mozete obdivovat tento podmorsky svet na obrazkoch i vy.

Nasim hlavnym dovodom navstevy Amedu bolo nieco ine, nieco, z coho sme obaja boli mierne nervozni. Zapisali sme sa totiz na dvojdnovy kurz freedivingu v miestnej skole Apneista Freediving & Yoga. Okrem skoly tu ponukaju jedni z najlepsich organickych jedal v okoli. Freediving je potapanie, pri ktorom sa nepouziva ziadny zdroj kysliku a tak sa ide dole len so zadrzanym dychom. Kombinaciou teoretickych znalosti, joginskych cviceni a trenovanim pod vodou je mozne si podstatne predlzit cas straveny pod vodou a tak sa dostat do pomerne slusnych hlbok. Pocas kurzu sme sa naucili, ze pri spravnom nadychu nam i po dlhsom case ostava dost velka zasoba kysliku a potreba sa nadychnut znova je vyvolana hlavne zvysenym mnozstvom CO2, ktore sa pri zadrzani dychu hromadi. Pod dohladom trenera sa nam obidvom podarilo ponorit sa az do hlbky 15 metrov, par sekund tam ostat a pohodlne sa vratit na hladinu! Samozrejme to nie je hobby, ktoremu sa teaz budeme sami venovat, kedze tu su nejake rizika, ale urcite sa nam tento trening zide, ked budeme snorchlovat a chciet sa pozriet na nieco zblizka.

Poslednym kuskom do skladacky idealnej dovolenky je pre nas den ci dva stravene vyletovanim do okolia na skutri a tak sme si urobili kolecko z Amedu smerom k mestu Culik, na juh k mestu Karangasam a potom naspat po vychodnom pobrezi. Cestou sme sa zastavili vo vodnom palaci Tirta Gangga, ktory je vlastne zahradou s mnozstvom soch a vodnych nadrzi. Za poplatok sa tu mozte aj vykupat. Vysli sme na kopec k chramu Lempuyang, ktory je komplexom 7 chramov a tisickou schodov medzi nimi. Ak sa rozhodnete komplex prejst, pripravte sa na slapanie hore a horucavu. Hlavny chram, ktory je nastastie najnizsie polozeny, sa zrovna pripravoval na nadchadzajuci hinduisticky festival.

Cestou naspat sme dostali hlad a tak, ako spravni dobrodruhovia, sme sa zastavili u stanku pri ceste, v ktorom mlada pani cosi pripravovala. Usadili sme sa pri jedinom stole, dostali akusi rezancovu polievku s vajickom v cesticku a dali sa do reci s mladikom, ktory si k nam prisadol na obed. Deti z dediny sa coskoro zacali schadzat okolo zaujimavych turistov, a tak sme si nenechali ujst prilezitost na fotku. Ako vidite na obrazku v anglickom texte, zapadne zvyky miestnym detom nie su cudzie :)

Pobyt v Amede sme si predlzili hlavne pretoze sme sa chceli zucastnit velkych hinduistickych oslav na Bali – Galungan. Ulice sa zaplnili slavnostne oblecenymi ludmi, ktori pred svoje domy vztycili dlhe bambusove tycky ozdobene roznymi dekoraciami a oltarikmi plnymi ovocia a inych darov. Navstivili sme jeden z mnohych otvorenych chramov pod holym nebom, aby sme sa pozreli, ako prebiehaju oslavy. Bolo nam vysvetlene, ze pocas celeho dna ludia ponukaju dary bohom najprv pospolu v chrame a potom na oltaroch doma. Na vymenu dostavaju pozehnanie svatenou vodou. Cely den sme stretavali vysmiatych ludi, deti na mas mavali a slavnostne ozdoby sfarbili ulice. Pozrite sa na par obrazkov.

Po desiatich dnoch dovolenky sme boli dost odpocinuti na to, aby sme si zas zbalili batohy a vydali sa znova na cesty. Prvou zastavkou bude Gili Air, jeden z mini ostrovov severozapadne od indonezskeho ostrova Lombok.

Veget v Amede na fotkach najdete tu.

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2 thoughts on “Relaxing Amed

  1. Pingback: Lombok’s top | Take it and go

  2. Pingback: KWEG’s ladies | Take it and go

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