any place or condition that fulfils all one’s desires or aspirations
The Dictionary definition of what paradise is, is pretty open to interpretation and let’s be real: it gets
overused an awful lot in my opinion. Song lyrics, film & tv, magazine, even frigging chocolate bars use this word to conjure up your own personal version of paradise to sell you crap (although I bloody love a Bounty).
When it comes to travel, and travel writing specifically — using ‘paradise’ as a way of defining a place is at best lazy, and at worst presumptuous. Why does this get my goat so much I hear you cry? Well, do not fear for I am eloquently about to explain all. Put the kettle on……
Paradise is subjective.
That’s all, nothing groundbreaking here folks. The term describes your own view of what you think is divine, dreamy and desirable, be it a destination, a plate of food or even a bar (Paradise by Way of Kensal Green is a shithole for some people…….) . What I rate as an amazing place may not be on your destination richter scale and vice versa.
In my experience, this is never more true than when you visit an island.
Blame it on pop culture I guess, but for most people I will be bold and hazard a guess that paradise could be described with a few words…..turquoise sea, white sand, hot sun and maybe it even includes cold beer. Ring a bell? Yeah, me too (swap the beer for a coconut). I am definitely not a contrarian when it comes to this notion.
Having been to more tropical islands than I can count on both hands (wow, brag much) I know that the above description of my perfect paradise is a lot more complex than a few choice words usually found in a Sandals brochure. For example, both Oli and I agree that for us….less people is better, but not in the extreme. We don’t crave a castaway situation, cut off from the rest of the world with no WiFi access. For us, the word isn’t confined to the beach. There have been places that, whilst warm and with cold beers, have not been on the coast.
Another factor playing a leading role the ‘Paradise Play’? Expectation.
Far too often, Oli and I have found ourselves scratching our heads and vowing to hunt down the Lonely Planet writer who sold us stupid pipe dreams telling us that our current holiday destination was a ‘Faeces lovers paradise.” Sarcasm truly is the lowest form of wit…..What your well thumbed copy of Southeast Asia on a shoestring may not be able to tell you, is who else has read the same book and where they are heading to next. Chances are, you’re both on a collision course to Koh Wha-What and are due to crash land at the same ‘No it isn’t a pound a night you Stupid foreigner’ bungalow on ‘Paradise it Ain’t beach’ anytime soon. Maybe not. But it’s worth bearing in mind.
Having huge expectations for somewhere without reading between the lines can leave you disappointed. On the flip side you can clearly be over whelmed…..or even just whelmed. That’s fine too.
Your mood and where your head is at (emotionally speaking, naturally we all aim for our head to be attached to our bodies). You know what people say about relationships? Timing is everything! If you get to a place high as a kite with expectations and filled with regret for leaving the last place you were at ‘too soon’ then chances are, this new place is gonna have a tricky old time winning you over. In a sense, you have set it up for failure. Rude.
So, what is my paradise?
The place that Oli and I love above all places wasn’t somewhere we expected at all. Yes it’s an island and sure, the sand is powder soft, the sea azure and the sunsets INSANE but the reason we adore it is a lot more intuitive than that.
We just loved it. It just felt right and we felt happy there. That is about all I can say on the matter really because I don’t know how else to explain why we think it’s paradise. It just is paradise, for us.
I won’t tell you where…..see if you can guess? Answers on a postcard please! Or in the comments below….far easier. Please also share where your version of paradise is!
Whilst our time in Indonesia was spent mostly on Bali, we hopped over to another of the 17,000 islands in the giant archipelago too, Nusa Lembongan.
There was so much we adored about Indonesia. The people who always smiled at us and forgave our crappy attempts at Indonesian, the intensely lush landscape and….the food. Ah the food. I’m not gonna lie, my stomach was in a pretty poor state after Nusa Lembongan which seriously let the side down on the food front, but more of that another day. Maybe. However on the whole, we took to Indonesian food like savages at a free wine tasting.
As a bit of a coffee lover and coffee fiend, wherever Lucy and I go, I often find myself searching out where to get a decent cup of coffee. In India, this obsession was reduced by the delicious masala chai available for pennies on every street corner, but throughout South East Asia, where Lipton is considered the connoisseur’s tea, coffee becomes an important necessity!
Luckily, when we were in Ubud, the Seniman Coffee Studio stepped up to the saucer and offered up some delicious and incredible experimental coffees.
Seniman was founded by David and Rodney in 2012, and their passion for coffee is clear. As well as coffee, they serve up some delicious meals (more on that later) in their coffee studio, while across the road, they roast all their own beans, and delve into the wonderful world of cold brew coffee.
Seniman roast all of their own coffee. When we asked David why, he simply said that “Roasting is cooking the seed of a fruit. It’s so important to understand and to control. We wouldn’t really want anyone else to do it for us… It’s like a chef just plating someone else’s food.” It’s strange to think that fewer people don’t think this way!
When we went to visit, we were shown round by the knowledgeable and friendly Leo. As a native Indonesian, it was clear that he wanted us to try some of the amazing Indonesian dishes that Seniman have on their menu, and to experience the offers available from their cold brew bar.
I tried the “Nitro Bali Kintamani Cold Brew”…quite the mouthful! It’s coffee, brewed for 12 hours, infused with nitrogen. And it’s delicious! It’s served with this bowl of fruit and veg you see below.
As Lucy isn’t into coffee as much as me, she opted for the “Sumatra Lampung Smoked Cacao Nitro with Palm Sugar”. Again, quite a mouthful I think you’ll agree! This one is basically chocolate mousse in a glass.
After this delicious introduction to the wonderful world of coffee, it was time to get involved in the food menu. Seniman actually means artist, so Leo promised that we’d have some delicious looking food heading our way.
We definitely over-ordered! All the food was absolutely delicious, and the portions are pretty huge!
The best Gado Gado!
The Gado Gado, was simply epic. I would definitely recommend this as the best dish we tried. It’s completely different to any Gado Gado you’ll try anywhere else, and looks as good as it tastes. As with all the other dishes, everything is great quality and sourced ethically.
The team at Seniman take great pride in their work. They treat every cup of coffee as if they are scientists. Everything is measured to within 0.1 grams. As Lucy pointed out while we were in the Coffee Studio, “These guys are like the Heston Blumenthal of coffee”!
Finally, as if we hadn’t eaten or drunk enough yet, we got another couple of drinks, including this amazing matcha latte for Lucy, while asking David and Rodney some questions. The local community is obviously important to them, “We feel its important to be involved and active. We develop talent from within our staff team, and invest in training and qualifications for our team to have skills for lifelong careers not just a job. We work with our local banjar village leaders to ensure we support the local community around our business.”
Seniman is based at 5, Jl. Sriwedari, Ubud. Go and say hi from us!
Massive thanks to the whole team at Seniman; Rodney and David for answering our questions and giving us their time, Leo for giving us such a great amount of time and info and generally being great at life, and all the baristas, chefs and other staff who made our visit hugely enjoyable.
A Dreamy Hike in Ubud, Indonesia >> https://lucylucraft.com | travel, beauty, lifestyle blog
By the time this post is published we will be spending our last few days in Bali on the little island of Nusa Lembongan, however as I’m writing this we have just got back from another dreamy hike in the gorgeous mountain town of Ubud.
This beautiful little place stole my heart pretty quickly upon arrival and it’s easy to see why it’s so popular with tourists who travel in for the day to check out the legendary monkeys, temples and generally enjoy the (ever so slightly) cooler climes.
We, however, decided to stay a few days. Before we embarked on this trip we did a lot of debriefing and analysis of our last trip and both of us realised we were not keen on travelling as fast as we did. Exploring places slowly, with little planning was our motto and thus far we are so much happier travelling this way.
The first thing that grabs you about Ubud is the frankly hippy vibe the place has. It’s wholly unpretentious though in my opinion otherwise I would hate it…..there aren’t really any travel wankers! If you want some dreamy, chilled out clean living, with happy hours for those who want to keep up their daily Bintang addiction — this place is nirvana.
We will go into a lot more detail on the various things we have enjoyed here including a fantastic spa day, cinema trip, lots of fantastic food and an introduction to Bali’s famous coffee but for now we just wanted to share our favourite hike in Ubud: the Campuhan Ridge Hike (pronounced Ch-ampuhan).
This is gonna be a pretty picture heavy post….hope you enjoy it!
Once you get to the end of the hike……or in actual fact, the mid-way point, a few traditional painting shops pop up. This one, offering egg painting caught my eye — fun!
Then you get to the Karsa Kafe where you can rest your weary limbs whilst sipping on a smoothie. You can even feed the fish if you want (at a price, natch). It really is an amazing place to end up and given the monopoly they have, the prices are super reasonable and the service is excellent.
Karsa Kafe View
Oli found this great post explaining the best route to take, so instead of a loop that would see us walking back a few kilometres on the road we just followed the trail we took back again and enjoyed the stunning scenery all over again. Bliss.
Looking for places to stay in Ubud?
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Also try AirBnB…..
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If you’re of a genteel disposition you may want to stop reading and move along now. If not, and you want to know how to avoid the dreaded, sometimes joked about and often discussed Delhi Belly on your trip to India — then read on!
Last year we spent two months in India and the first question almost everyone asks us is “Did you get sick?” to which we can wholeheartedly reply “No.”
Oli had an episode which we can only describe as the “don’t chase TEN pints of IPA with a Domino’s incident” but on the whole, he was fine and I never got sick.
Jetlag. What a bastard.
Jetlag. Seriously. What a bastard.
As you may have guessed, I will be discussing how I am a huge fan of jetlag, and it’s affect on the human body. To be fair, travelling nearly 8000 miles across multiple timezones and multiple flights is never going to end easily. However, I thought that it wouldn’t have been as bad as it was.
There we were, 2am wide awake, having slept for about 4 hours. There was literally no way I either of us were going to sleep any more. It was not ideal at all.
Our error, I’m sure was sleeping too much on the plane on the way over to Singapore from London. That flight is about 13 hours, and I think I slept for about 8, and Lucy for about 10 hours. Then, we had another sleep on the flight from Singapore to Bali, before arriving at midnight at our guesthouse in Bali. Obviously 8+2+another 6 or so is quite a lot of sleep!
And we found out to our detriment the next night as you have heard. Anyway, we just had to embrace it and we read, researched, chatted, and finally watched the sunrise before having a cup of tea and then heading out for a walk along the beach at about 7am.
Bali Beach Sunrise. The upside to jetlag….
It was just us and the Balinese families who had come to frolic in the sea before all the tourists steal it away from them. So overall, it could have been much worse, but I think I have a plan of action for next time it happens;
1. Locate a decent bar close to your room
2. Prop up the bar until as late as you can go
3. Sleep peacefully until the next morning
4. Awake with splitting hangover and ask which is worse – Jetlag or Hangover?