Friday, 20 July 2012

Eco Cycling Tour, Ubud

Once fitted with our bicycles (including a very safe child seat on the back of Dad's bike) the van took us for breakfast overlooking a volcano. Our Bali Eco Cycling guide, Winn explained about Mt Batur's last eruption (1963) and the sacred crater lake which formed.

Next stop was morning tea at a tropical plantation (above) - Winn pointed out how they grow traditional medicinal  herbs, tea, different types of coffee, and exotic fruits, such as snakefruit, dragonfruit, passionfruit, tamarillo and mangosteen. The kids eyes widened upon seeing the civet cat and learning how it eats the coffee beans, which come out the other end whole and are roasted to make gourmet coffee, called Luwak. Yes, we all sampled cat poo coffee, but I preferred the hot chocolate myself.

The van pulled into a school yard where our bikes were patiently awaiting their riders and off we rolled through the rice paddies.  The guides were super attentive with the kids (mine had only just learnt to ride) - making a human buffer every time a car or bike came the other way.

Along the way, we were welcomed into a traditional family compound. They were farming Bali's three sacred crops - rice, bananas and coconuts - a great combination. The sow had just birthed 12 piglets, so they were quite a hit. We westerners were humbled by the sight of the tiny shared kitchen with its open fire and poor ventilation. We stopped at a Sacred Banyan Tree at the village temple for bananas and a short rest.

After all that riding, we were more than ready for the lunch banquet - oodles of smoked duck, vegetable noodles, rice, gado gado, sate chicken, and tropical fruit salad. It was a fun day and a unique way to experience rural Bali.

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