It was still dark when we were wakened by the sounds of someone knocking on our bedroom door, and glancing at the time, wondered whatever it could be. My son went to open the door and was handed a morning newspaper. Apparently as IHG members we were entitled to a complimentary daily newspaper and the porter was apologising that at the weekend it is only printed in Indonesian! Goodness me, woken early to receive a paper we could only look at the photos in! I hope he just pushes it under the door on future mornings or leaves it outside on the doormat. Disturbance over, we returned to sleep until 8.30 a,m.
Breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express Baruna Bali is served on the ground floor with additional tables out on the terrace. It appeared busy when we arrived but fortunately the perfect table soon became available on the edge of the outdoor section. There were the usual selection of items on offer plus several local dishes and to our surprise an outdoor egg station.
This was extremely well organised with picture menus displaying numerous egg options, fillings for omelettes etc, and guests just needed to add their table number and tick their preferred option. So far this holiday I’d eaten omelettes and Egg Benedict so, just for a change, I opted for eggs on toast which were brought to the table and cooked to perfection. I also helped myself to some fresh guava juice, yoghurt with papaya and last but not least my beloved cappuccinos.
Whilst we were tucking into our breakfast, the hotel manager came over and introduced himself apologising for the hotel shuttle bus not coming to collect us from the airport the previous evening. We hadn’t mentioned it at check-in as we had found our own way there, but the hotel must have realised the mistake themselves and insisted on giving us a voucher for IDR 300,000 (£16.94) to spend on food and drink in the hotel bar which was very generous of them.
Ready to start exploring, we popped on our sun hats and set off for a stroll along the beachfront just around the corner from the hotel. It was very quiet and peaceful along this stretch of the promenade but as we approached Kuta it became more active. The beach near the hotel seemed clean but this wasn’t the case in Kuta as it was littered with discarded food and drink containers along with other debris.
We turned inland at the Board Walk shopping centre so that we could visit the Ground Zero Memorial in memory of the 2002 Bali bomb victims who were killed in October 2002. The memorial was dedicated on the second anniversary of the attack on the site of the destroyed Paddy’s Bar on Legian Street and is made of intricately carved stone bearing the names and nationalities of those killed.
After viewing the sombre memorial we continued in a northerly direction to the centre of Legian although each place seemed to run into the next and with tightly packed shops, cafes and bars there was little or no difference.
We then followed what appeared to be a short cut to Legian Beach down some narrow roads which were barely wide enough for pedestrians let alone the numerous scooters which were doing their best to run us over. Eventually, we just about made it in one piece to the stone archway entrance to the beach.
The fine sand here was much cleaner and it was less busy than in Kuta so we removed our shoes and walked all the way back to the hotel along the water’s edge, our feet lapping the incoming waves.
The sea was lovely and warm and the lengthy walk seemed to take hardly any time at all as we paddled our way back. As it was exceedingly hot, we stopped part way for some refreshing cool drinks, finally arriving back at the hotel at around 4.00 p.m having walked 10.5 km in temperatures of over 30°.
After resting in our room awhile we popped up to the rooftop bar for cocktails and relaxed on sun loungers watching the beautiful sunset.
After darkness fell we wandered out to find somewhere to eat and for once couldn’t resist Western food so we ordered large portions of roast chicken and chips along with glasses of local beer. Live music was playing and as the temperature had dropped significantly it was a pleasant way to end our first full day on the island of Bali.
It was around 10.30 p.m. when we left the restaurant and on our way back to the hotel we stopped at an ATM for some more cash as there had been few opportunities to pay by card either in Jakarta or here in Bali. We’d arranged a private car and driver through the hotel for the following day and had been advised that we needed to pay the driver in cash. Would you believe it that we had to try five different ATM’s before we managed to get one to work! One had a broken button which we we needed to press, two others cited ‘technical error’ and the other one wouldn’t work at all! Having finally succeeded we returned to the hotel rather later than expected!
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