(Part of a series of articles by Fi trawling the archives for photos taken on the tiny compact camera way back when).
We arrived in Bali just in time to catch the back end of a tropical storm, a foiled terrorist attack and Nyepi – Balinese New Year. In contrast to many other cultures, Balinese New Year is a time for reflection and quiet. The whole country shuts down for 24 hours – no traffic, cars, flights, no-one allowed outside. We decided that Ubud would be the best place to experience this from and booked into a lovely guesthouse within rice terraces with access to a pool. Mmm! With thanks to Facebook we realised that Katie & Anthony – friends we had met in Vietnam – were also in Bali and managed to arrange a few days together in Ubud. Yey!
Feeling fully cultured up we headed off in search of the beach, settling on a little port town called Padangbai where we met two travelling Scots, Becca & Laura. The local beach – Blas Tugel – was only accessed via a rubbly steep hill and a windy downhill worn path past grazing cows. We enjoyed a few lazy days on the almost deserted beach and a few drunken nights with the girls before heading onto Sanur. We knew that our coming trip to Australia was going to be devastating on our bank balance so decided to treat ourselves to a ‘holiday’ while we could afford it. After checking out some of the amazing beach front hotels we decided that £200 a night was a bit of stretch and settled on the bizarrely named ‘Swastica Bungalows’. Private rooms, hot water, breakfast included and 3 pools for less than £20 a night. Here we met Tom & Erin a lovely couple who we would see again in Australia and also a strangely familiar couple of Brits, Rob & Gilly. Aside from the brief distraction of a trip north to dive the Liberty wreck, the rest of our time was spent sunbathing and messing around in the pool. Holidays from travelling are always a treat!