“Here’s the plan,” I say to Lady Tezza as we gaze across the gorgeous rice terrace landscape from our panoramic balcony at Lihat Sawah Homestay just south of Sideman town in east Bali. “It’s about 90 minutes ‘til sunset - I reckon I have just enough daylight to climb up to Tegah Temple across on the western ridge there and get back down the steep bits before it gets too dark”.
“Sounds good, I’ll come too,” she replies.
“Um, I dunno. Lihat’s map says that track up the mountainside is mega-steep. We don’t have time to stop every 5 minutes for you to catch your breath”.
The Lady gives me the look: “Listen buddy, I work 20 minutes on the stair-master at the gym every day. Followed by the cross-trainer. You don’t have to worry about me keeping up”.
I’m not too reassured. Every time I stick my head in the gym to get shopping instructions The Lady and her friends are leaning against the equipment shooting the bull. Well at least they aren’t checking the hunks out.
We take off across the valley. Unlike our earlier circuit where we spent 3 hours idling along checking the fabulous scenery and neat little roadside villages, I’m into power-walk mode, really motoring along. The Lady keeps up, even when we hit some of the short slopes on the main valley road.
But when we turn up the very steep path which leads to the valley top things change. I run or cycle in a town with very steep hills every day I’m not swimming laps and consequently I’m so fit I’ve got toned toe-nails - but even so the steepness of the path slows me a bit. Not so The Lady who powers on. I lose sight of her when the path bends around a small temple half way up the slope. Past here it narrows into a real rough mountainside climb. I find The Lady sitting on a rock at the top of the ridge.
She smiles at me: “What happened? You kind of got left behind”.
“Um, I stopped to take a few pix”.
“Great, let me see”.
Jeez!! ….. “Well it was a bit too smoky from the rice stubble burn-off so I ended up giving them a miss”.
The steady gaze says: Sure you did.
We take off again to the left climbing to the highest part of the ridge on a laneway which is not too vertical. After 10 minutes we see super-steep steps leading up to the left - there’s about 3000 of them with the temple roof peeking above the trees at the top.
I’m determined to keep up even though my heart rate must be on 190. I’m doing okay but I swear The Lady accelerates the last 100m. Show off!! When we hit the top I slump onto a low wall and grab more than a few deep breaths while The Lady channels Rocky.
We spend 15 minutes drinking in the views and getting a few snaps. The Lady has class enough to mention the mysterious disappearance of the stubble-burning haze only twice.
“Here’s the plan,” she says as we are about to leave. “I reckon we have 25 minutes of light left to get back to the valley bottom No problem for me, but I know you’re not real good going down hill. But we don’t have time to stop every 5 minutes for you to rest those dicky knees you wrecked with all that triathlon over-training”.
Indeed Sideman is great -- got some on the blog here about it: A weekend in Sideman
Tezza, you're not trying to visit Bali without letting me buy you a beer are you?
Already home Stewart - unfortunately on-going family commitments for both Julie and me meant we only had 18 days, and cramming everything into that left no spare time. But you and I will share a beer or 5 someday.
Nice pix on your blog - we were real lucky in that Agung was visible most times - got about 30 pix including some on my blog's Sideman page - which does not include the above report but has some shots OF the temple and FROM the temple.
On Agung visibility - I must have done at least 50 days at Agung viewing possibilities like Sanur, Lembongan, Amed, Candidasa, Gili Trawangan - and only sited it previously once or twice due to the cloud.
We really liked Lihat Sawah - our 2 storey bungalow was great - perhaps dry season means no mould problem although it did rain each night and one late afternoon. Ditto the dinners, great selection and good portions - and I didn't mind the brekkas - after the mega buffets in Kuta and on the Bukit it was time to get sensible quantity wise.
Another plus was we arrived at ploughing time and next day they transplanted the rice seedlings. Got some nice pix on my page. Your comment on peppers is intriguing - you would think there is enough water and high temps to multi-crop rice all year. Maybe peppers grow real quick in a window of opportunity.
Anyway for people wanting to see traditional Bali, I reckon they could do a lot worse than Sideman.
awesome stuff guys, and i have to admit that i'm eating my heart out reading all your great reports of recent trips tezza. i'd like to get in on the Bali beerfest too, but it may have to wait until next year as we've got plans to visit Mexico this year. cheers.