From East to West.

Saturday, March 19, 2016
Canggu, Bali, Indonesia
From Amed we decided on the very lengthy ride from the sleepy East coast across the island towards Canggu and the more cosmopolitan West coast. Canggu sits at the very top of the massively long tourist strip that starts out at Kuta. Not our usual cup of tea but we did have an ulterior motive....the Sunderland/Newcastle match the following day. We were never going to find anywhere in Amed to watch the match and the internet there at times is about as fast as a carrier pigeon so we needed to head back towards civilization if we were going to watch it.

The ride across the Island from East to West was quite the day out . Not ones for following the easiest or quickest route we decided to avoid the busier main roads and cut through the heart of the island. Out of Amed we crawled back up the mountain road again behind Mt Agung before taking a right and avoiding the descent back through Karangasm towards the bypass on the East coast. Instead we continued to climb into the lush green heartland of Bali. Just as we started to get our bearings and were climbing nicely away from the coast the back end of the bike started sliding and squirming around, it was puncture time again. The usual friendly locals at the roadside pointed us in the right direction and sure enough as is always the case we were only a short distance from the nearest bike mechanic who could sort us out. A few minutes later and £3 lighter we had a brand new tube in and were on our way again.

I can't even really tell you where we went through either on the next stretch of riding. It was past midday now and I decided to navigate pretty much by following where the sun was in the sky towards the West coast where it sets . A little more fun that way and the decision paid off as the roads were beautifully quiet. The scenery as well didn't disappoint either. This area of the island is a row of valleys all running North-South down from the highlands where Mt Batur sits at the top. Impossibly steep winding descents were quickly followed by slow snail like climbs back up the opposite side. A beautiful part of Bali that we've never experienced yet and perhaps somewhere to come back to at another time and explore in some more detail. The valleys seemed never ending and it felt like some time before we came across the next small town called Bangli. The burning heat of the sun was now starting to take it's toll on us so we had to pull over and take another break. Checking the map and the time we decided it was probably best to head back towards Ubud from here and then pick up some other roads once past Ubud to take us across and down to Canggu. The narrow bumpy roads we were on were good fun but at this rate we would not make it until well after sunset so we bit the bullet and made towards Ubud on nice smooth tarmac . However his proved to be a mistake.

It's quiet season here with not many tourists about but grief the locals don't half like to get out and about on a Saturday afternoon! As we approached Ubud the traffic grew from nowhere and bottle necked into the small town. Crawling along for half an hour we couldn't take anymore of the fumes and heat so swung back out of the busy streets and picked up another quieter road just to the South of the town where we found more freedom and snaked our way further West towards our destination. After around 7 hours of riding, covered in dust and grime and pouring with sweat we arrived at our digs on the outskirts of Canggu. A rewarding days riding but exhausted it was time for a quick bite to eat and some well earned sleep.

The next day was less about culture and scenery and all about trying to find somewhere that would be showing the match! It would kick off at 9:30pm Bali time so we had plenty of time to sort somewhere out . After checking online there were plenty of options further South in the likes of Seminyak and Kuta but it would put the cost of the night up with a half hour taxi ride each way. We headed out to Echo beach a quick ride away to look for a couple of sports bars we had read about and some relaxing time on the beach. Sure enough we managed to find an Aussie sports bar that said they could get the match on so we we grabbed a bottle of local whiskey (again whiskey flavoured meths....we really do never learn!) and headed back to our digs for a shower and to get sorted for the game. Thankfully the bar came good and the match was on. I was a bit worried the place would be full Aussies watching Aussie rules football and Rugby and that they wouldn't put our match on but the place was pretty empty apart from 3 other Sunderland lads and 1 Mag fan. There was no hassle to be had and the stream was good. I'm sure most of you watched the game so need to delve any further on that subject.

The next morning with most of the whiskey gone was a tender affair . A dip in the pool and some cheap breakfast eased us back into reality and we sorted out the day pack and decided to head out on a ride up the quiet West coast to see what we could find. Again we avoided the one major road opting for quiet farm land routes so I guess progress North was slow. The sun was fierce that day as well with temperatures touching 35 degrees and after around an hour and a half Dani started to feel faint. Not good. I got her sat down and got as much liquid into her as I could then made the decision to hit the main road and head back to our digs. She may have managed the rest of the day out but the last thing I wanted was her passing out while on the back of a speeding scooter, that could have got very messy and ended horribly. A lazy afternoon in the pool was a good way to recuperate and get her back on her feet properly.

And that was pretty much the end of our stay in Canggu. Not a massive amount to report in with. I like it round that way though . It's very sedate and not massively built up around that area yet despite it being the up market Northern tip of the tourist strip, I would certainly suggest it as a good location if you want to be able to mix your partying with some quiet time and Ubud and Tanah Lot are both fairly short rides away if you want to get a bit more culture under your belt. Another interesting thing about the area is that it is a strange mix of Balinese Hindu and Christianity which you don't see anywhere else on the island. There are beautiful churches nestled among the usual Hindu temples which is nice to see. On a night as we sat around you could hear hymns being sung by the local Balinese Christian community from a church round the corner. I'm not a religious man but it did sound quite beautiful. Next stop is back to Sanur where we started out and some decisions to be made around islands and our next move.

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