Sun 25 Sep 2016 08:13
Lovina Bay was ‘yachtie heaven’. It had a large well protected (reefs on both sides) anchorage with good sand holding and surprisingly clean, clear water. On shore there was a nice grey sand beach and just enough bars, restaurants and shops that you could get more or less everything. Combined with a perfect climate, local wine and the most friendly, helpful people, there was a not a lot that could be better.
We arrived just in time for the start of the Lovina Festival an annual event which draws more and more visitors each year. The Festival opened with a magnificent parade of dancers in traditional costume and the Sail Indonesia Rally were treated to VIP seats followed by an excellent Gala Dinner. The next four days were packed with events – one of the highlights was bull racing. For this we were taken to a field outside the town where teams consisting of 2 beautifully decorated bulls and their driver who steered the bulls via ropes through the bull’s nostrils. The teams had to run from one end of the field to the other and were judged on performance, decoration, grace and technique. For horsey minded people this was a bit like ‘bull dressage’! For bulls these animals were amazingly docile and very beautiful creatures who did not seem at all fazed by the amount of times they had to run up and down the field in the searing heat. Judges awarded points and eventually the teams were narrowed down to an ultimate champion and large ornate trophies were presented. Before the bulls raced we had a performance of Balinese dance and music all of which was performed with the grace and beauty these people possess. The Festival culminated with another dance performance by the high school children and yet another Gala Dinner. All in all we were treated to a wonderful 4 days.
We also did a day trip to Ubud via the rice paddy terraces and some temples. Ubud was made famous as the venue where Mick Jagger married Jerry Hall back in 1990 and one of the settings used in the film Eat, Pray, Love. Ubud now is a tourist magnet and we were told by people who had visited 20+ years ago ‘definitely NOT the place it was’. Aside from the hordes of tourists and tourist shops it did have a nice feel to it and was an ideal place to catch up with Syd’s friends from UK Paul and Janet who were visiting Bali en route to Komodo for some diving. Paul spotted a lovely little courtyard off the main road which was total peace and tranquillity and we spent a few hours there over lunch.
Lovina was definitely a place to rest and relax and we really enjoyed eating out at the amazingly cheap Warongs which lined the streets. Our favourite Warong Ayu where a wonderful Indonesian platter came to the grand total of £4 for both of us!