All the others were up and away at 3am. Yep, 3am. They were off to climb the Batur volcano, and watch the sunrise. Not for me on this occasion. I've climbed volcanoes, watched sunrises, and I love doing both, but unfortunately, at $US95 it's a bit out of my budget. Instead, I got up at 6.30am, took some lovely photos of the volcano and Lake, had a scrummy breakfast, skyped Ju, and took my life in my hands.......
I was to meet everyone at Toya Bunka, where we were going for a dip in the local thermal Springs, and then having a genuine Balanese massage. Being all from Hanmer Springs, we were a little under impressed by the pools, but the others, after there hard morning on the volcano, all enjoyed their massage, even though it involved a few unexpected slaps and prods. Rest easy Mr Abbot. The Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa far out shine the Bali equivalent, although we did enjoy the complimentary, "welcome drink" (a cold tamarillo juice.....an OJ, kiwifruit, wine or beer would be the Go at the Hanmer Pools entrance I reckon....)
My trip down yesterday's big climb was a little dicey. The trucks carrying sand up out of the volcanic crater had been driving up the road all night, but there were still loads still on the road. It seems that most of them are really stretching their capabilities, climbing up such a steep climb with such massive loads. As you spin round a hair pin bend at speed, you never know when you will meet a "resting" truck. And to get as much speed up as dc possible, those that were still going, take the corners very wide indeed......enough to push a mere Surly well off the road. But I was careful, didn't go too fast, and reached the bottom without incident.
Our guides decided there were too many trucks for a safe climb back to the summit on our bikes.....the volcano climbers did not dispute this decision.... We headed south from the Lakeview Hotel, which started with a slight climb up onto the ridge, and then for 20km enjoyed a fantastic, smooth downhill ride, through rainforest and rural villages, to an amazing buffet meal at an open side restaurant, over looking rice paddys. Yummy. Unfortunately, Brendan, normally a very keen buffet guy, has a dose of Bali belly.....so we ate his share....
Just outside the restaurant door, at head height is a bat. I'm sure it must be tame, and placed there for all us tourists. So it hangs head down, fluffs it's wings, cleans itself, and then turns upright to pee. I just learnt something.
We only have a short way to go to our accommodation. The others are a little weary, but the offer is made of an alternate route, mainly downhill, but with some off road, some single track, and some bamboo forest. We're all Hanmer folk. It's onto the single track and into bamboo forest. Fantastic. And the back roads and lanes to get there and back were amazing as well. We saw local washing, clothes and themselves, in fresh water streams, whole villages all dressed in brilliantly clean and starched white clothes, taking part in religious ceremonies, women carrying amazing displays of fresh fruit and meat on their heads to the ceremonies, and experienced some amazing trails through dense bamboo forests. And as promised, mostly downhill. The volcano climbers were, however, glad to finally reach our hotel. I was sad that the day was over. Give me more.
If anyone sees Mr Kevin Quinn about, please tell him that the lovely Surly Ogre, Princess Fiona, is a gem. I love riding her. Only 820 days left.