The first spot was a big temple area by the lake Beratan, up the mountain from Ubud, and almost halfway to our destination. The area is very pretty, with a couple of temples located on their mini islands only a few meters away from the side of the lake. These are dedicated to the dead and have usually 7 roofs to symbolize the 7 steps the dead have to go through before being completely let go. The process is supposed to take 5 years. As you'll notice, one of those even has 11 roofs. I asked if it took longer to go through that many steps, but it seems like it's 5 years all the same.
Funnily enough, we ran into a couple Japanese or Korean couples who were taking photos in wedding attire. It seems to be a popular destination for wedding photos!
After that stop we went even further up the mountai until we reached a beautiful lookout not too far from Munduk. We had a very peaceful lunch there and got the opportunity to see big bats from very close. I was particularly impressed by the texture of their wings and the look of their claws, which almost feel like carved stone.
Our last stop allowed us to visit some waterfalls. The place was pretty empty of tourists but not of kids trying to sell bracelets, necklaces or other cheap jewelry. Funnily, once they stopped asking us if we wanted to buy their wares, 2 of them kept walking with us all around the waterfall. They were probably secretly hoping we would change our minds, but they nonetheless never raised the subject again and just hung out, running down steps we were very carefully managing.
After this lovely drive, the arrival in Lovina was actually quite disappointing. For some reason we were picturing a place with an average beach but with a quiet vibe that would make you want to just hang out, a quiet retreat of some sort. What we found was a very average beach that nobody used, lined with stalls and people trying to sell us stuff every few meters ("transport!", "bracelet, want one more?", "snorkeling tomorrow", "come see the dolphins" ...). It got old really fast, especially since the whole place is nearby a very big city. Walking away inland brings you straight into the busling traffic.
Thankfully we found a little reprieve at the pool of the hotel or at sunset when hanging out at a bar/restaurant on the beach, checking out the dusk sky lined by lightnings in the distance.
We were supposed to spend three full days in Lovina, but after our first contact we quickly decided to stay there only a day and leave earlier than planned for the Gili islands off of Lombok. It proved to be an excellent decision since it allowed us to make our stay there a little longer in exchange.
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