North America, Asia · 25 Days · 79 Moments · December 2017

Gabriella's voyage in Indonesia

31 December 2017


31 December 2017

Mattia went to sleep like a champ and then a food cart knocked him and bam! Because he has had so little sleep for so long he is overtired and can’t regulate and literally screamed for one straight hour! Chris and I had to take turns locked in the bathroom until he screamed and cried so much he made himself gag and threw up. I’m not kidding. Then he fell asleep in chris’ arms transferred to the “family couch” eventually and slept for three or four hours. G slept for 5 or six. Chris and I are running on 2 or 3. About to land in sf.
Last shots of the beach and a few shots of the “journi” home. Epic. 4 hours in the car to airport. We stopped and had a great final lunch at a highway stop that I found- as quality as the Italian “autostops!” Then Denpasar to Taipei. Three hours in that airport where we got a healthy dose of westernization- duty free, longchamp, Marc Jacobs, Rolex, buy buy buy buy.

30 December 2017

And the grand finale- a last trip to the local grocery store to stock up on snacks and milk for the plane. I’m Getting to be a pro at this scooter thing! I’ll miss it. We had someone from the hotel be with the sleeping boys while we got double massages... perfect way to end our trip. Tomorrow we leave here at 9 am. It’s three hours to the airport from here. I’ll try to post our journi home. Goodnight!
Bali is definitely saying goodbye. After plans thwarted by rain yesterday we decided to stay local and snorkel today. We got our masks on and found a spot and as soon as we got comfy and ready- bam... pouring cats and dogs and elephants. Ha! Ok we get it! It’s time to go home. We tried to make the most of it. Giacomo and I ran in the rain and swam in the ocean which felt amazingly warm. He said it was better then snorkeling (after of course telling us that he hates the rain and Bali and why would anyone want to live here etc).

29 December 2017

Last two days in Amed. More relaxing. We tried to go to this popular tree house climbing structure that is popular with the kids and to the last Temple that I’m interested in - tirta ganga- but it started to rain... like a lot. So we turned around back to amed which is dryer , and stopped to meet some fighting chickens which are everywhere and mattia was in heaven. Of course he still calls them dogs. Ha! No luck getting fish for the fisherman here. every morning they go out- nothing. I hope things start turning around for everyone here.

28 December 2017

We aren’t doing much in Amed but relaxing. We rented scooters again. I’m getting pretty good. Kind of. I do yoga every morning. Chris has also taken two private lessons. I think he’s hooked. The teacher is amazing. A woman named Tiffany from Ohio. I’d love to come back for her retreat in March :). Ive included some photos of the yoga shala here. And guess who else did yoga?? Giacomo! Two days. Right next to me. I think we will all be spending some time doing this back in SF. Giacomo is also really getting the hang of the pool. Older girls from Belgium help ;).

27 December 2017

We arrived in Amed on the east coast of Bali about 12 km from mount Agung. It was an arduous trip. Windy roads and just feeling off in general. Mattia got sick once on me and then on Chris when we were about 5 Mins away. Uhg. Poor kid. Poor us. Poor Putu the driver. Thank goodness the Balinese are so Ok with everything. We are staying at a place that Giacomo and mattia’s nursery school teacher, Tarusha, told us about. It’s called Life in Amed and is a lovely resort right on the beach where the fishing boats are kept. The first afternoon there was an hour long “yoga for the village children” session that g watched (didn’t participated). Essentially it was a drawing session. They never get things like coloring books. Very sweet. Giacomo then watched the village children play a game with a flip flop. Very involved. He made friends. This place is extremely hit by the lack of tourists due to the volcano. It already feels like a pretty poor place. Now it feels desperate. It’s sad:(

26 December 2017

The end of the hike. The “health app” on iPhone said we climbed 68 floors! That’s right. Giacomo meditated by our Temple for 30 plus minutes. It was glorious. We got the kids to bed and both had Ayurvedic massages. That’s my noir relaxed look- last photo.
Today’s hike was epic. We did 7 miles up and down up and down. It Was awesome. Giacomo decided that he wanted to be a scientist of jungles and Mattia slept like a champ in the pack even in the pouring pouring rain (did I say pouring? ). The crumbling cement steps were covered in moss in a lot places and were like ice slicks. Thank goodness we had gentle Putu guiding the way. It was a gorgeous trek and we made it back in about four hours... four waterfalls in four hours. Perfect bliss. Then we ate at our favorite warung, Made (second born in Balinese culture) oka. Chris had the best grilled Chicken. Giacomo is now in a steamed veggies and steamed rice with hot chili kick.
Day two in Munduk!!! Jungle trekking waterfall extravaganza!!! Munduk is visited mostly by Europeans for the great trekking. In Fact there is a friendship between a Swiss hotel and the hotel that we are staying in- an exchange of sorts. Here we are at the beginning of our 7 mike loop deep into the jungles of Bali island! After a very steep ascent for the first hour and a half we ate at an eco restaurant with a view of the first waterfall of the day. We tried the Luwak coffee for the first time- coffee made from beans that have been eaten by civet cats and then pooped out. Supposedly this mellows the acidity of the bean and makes it more smooth. It was pretty good. We also had Balinese crepes which are green from a special plant leaf and stuffed with palm sugar and coconut. They gave us pure cacao beans to try as well,. Mixed with more palm sugar. Now we were super fueled for the rest of our trip!

25 December 2017

Another market... this area, near a volcano, is extremely fertile and famous for its production of fruits, vegetables, cacao, coffee, cloves and other spices. Here is a photo of Mattias old world crib as well. It just fit him! And the view.
Christmas Day was a bit of a tour day. Putu (name for the first born up in northern Bali) drove us to Lake ? And up through the mountains to the Bali botanical gardens where we found the Bali Tree top adventure park.... that’s right, a ropes course!!! What??!! Yes I did the ropes course. As Giacomo says, it was terrifying. Totally terrifying. He actually had to come down once and then was so disappointed in himself that we went back up together and he completed the whole thing! Complete with two zip lines. It was a Christmas miracle. And definitely not something the Usa would sanction! And then we went to, drum Roll, a Temple!!! It was our least favorite one though without the tourists it was probably quite beautiful, Right on the lake. But this one was packed with people, being one of the most important temples in Bali it was filled With foreigners and Indonesians!

24 December 2017

It’s Christmas in Munduk! We stayed at puri Lumburg to celebrate. We had a set menu for dinner- nothing spectacular, but the soup was amazing , with this great green they call spinach but it isn’t what we call spinach.... so good! There was a lovely traditional dance performance that was down in celebration. It was all preformed by the villagers of munduk and was actually so intimate and well conceived- a real treat. Giacomo stayed up to 10 pm to watch the whole thing. Then it was time for sleep and waiting for santa! And.... he came to Bali!!!! Giacomo received his coveted magic wand and mattia felt special with his little colorful stacking toy- all made by the elves. Good job santa.
Ok!!! So here we are in Munduk. Munduk is a village up in the mountains, inland about an hour and half from Pemuteran. In the end we think we could have stayed one more day in our place there. Just to relax and soak in the beach life. But Munduk is wonderful. The views are spectacular, the light, the sunsets and sunrises. Just gorgeous. Reminds me of where my grandfathers family is from inland from Chiavari in Italy. We stayed at Puri Lumburg cottages which is the first hotel (an eco hotel) in Munduk. They specialize in cultural activities and really keep the town employed... we had a wonderful family compound, modeled after rice granaries of yore. Giacomo was exhausted when we arrived so he and Chris took a nap while Mattia and I explored.

23 December 2017

Other pemuteran activities 1) an amazing turtle hatchery which helps turtles hatch and get released back into ocean and has raised local awareness of how fragile they are and has helped keep them from becoming extinct in the area 2 ) a great local Temple (mantaning) in the mountains that we scootered to at sunset 3) really amazing watermelon juice.
I couldn’t figure out how to get my phone to take photos under water - bummer. Here are a few surface shots. And one of Ria- the babysitter.
Today we chartered a trip to menganjan island, the island that is part of Bali’s only national park. This island attracts snorkelers and divers from all over the world. It definitely lived up to its reputation. It was so spectacular that it motivated Giacomo to actually snorkel! The gear was the biggest hurdle- the mask and mouth breathing and the annoying g fins ... but he did it! After several frustrating starts and stops he got he hang of it over the few days we were in Pemuteran and he mastered it in Menganjan. Menganjan means deer- FYI.

22 December 2017

More Villa coral. Don’t we look at home?!
Getting used to our new place in pemuteran. We have an amazing view of the mountains. Since we are outside of the main town and the area is very flat we decided to rent scooters. Omg!!! What fun. There was definitely a learning curve for me though. Here are a few pix of chris with the kids. Don’t play this at home!! Ha!

21 December 2017

We drove four hours to Pemuteran today. We are now on the north shore, quite far west. We arrived at 2 pm and immediately hit the local fish restaurant where Giacomo helped pick the fish to grill (for me). Yum! So good. Our new place is called Villa Coral. So far so good. It’s a bit outside of the main resort part of the bay. We walked down an awesome jungle path to the beach and did a little beach combing there for a few minutes before dinner. Giacomo surveyed the surf... contemplating a snorkel Tomorrow. !!
Bye bye Komang and Villa Cahaya. I never thought we’d actually come back to Bali... but this place and our new friend really make a return more likely. It really was heaven. Thank you.

19 December 2017

It’s been pouring rain for the past two days. Yup! No doubt that is the “rainy season” here. We’ve spent the time woodcarving (g took two lessons!) going to the spa (me!) shopping a smidge (not much) and swimming. We leave Tomorrow! I’m actually a bit sad to leave this magical magical place. Onwards to pemuteran in the north for beach and hopefully a break in the rain!

18 December 2017

Love these
Goa Gajah. More Tomrrow when I’m not half asleep. Giacomo went to every spring and said a prayer for everyone he knows who has passed away. He doesn’t like 20 minutes doing this... methodically. These is a photo of wayan with Mattia in here. This Temple was Burde in the jungle for years and discovered i believe during World War Two? I could be wrong about that though. The cave is for meditation.
We hiked to one of Bali’s most popular waterfalls. Due to all the rain it was super full and dangerous as it rushed by. Giacomo wanted to get up close to it but chris has stayed behind and I had mattia on my back so we skipped it... dad, you know how hard that was for me! There is a pic here of g contemplating crossing the planks.
Big Tree Chocolate company (one of Bali’s first large scale sustainable food companies) wasn’t Doing tours due to renovations but we were able to sample their wares and check out the awesome building where production happens. This is the biggest building completely constructed of bamboo in the world. !
Across the way from the bird park was a reptile park. It was obvious that NO resources are being put into this park :(. But Giacomo said it was his favorite because it had all his favorite animals, down to the mudskippers in the iquana area!!!
Today our fabulous tour guide wayan picked us up again (what a saint he is...!! Mattia has pretty much had it with us and our walking naps... he is grumpy but hanging in there). The Bali Bird Park was one of the nicest animal parks I’ve been to. You click tell a ton of resources is being pooled towards making this a world class exhibit of hundreds of birds. There were some great shows to watch as well as a Komodo dragon!

17 December 2017

All in all we walked about 9 miles today... ending our day at the Neka art museum after meeting a young Basquiat-type Indonesian artist from whom we bought some graphic pins. Giacomo was enamored with his style and his down pass his rump dread-locks. Have you noticed that Chris likes taking photos of cars scooters motorcycles and gas stations?
After lunch we headed deeper into the remote countryside where we passed several villages. It was a lovely walk where we stumbled upon temples and wildlife and villagers in their routines.
We stopped for an early lunch at Karsa cafe. G had the best banana pancake ever! Mattia fed the fish. C and I tried our best to keep him out of the lily pond. It never ends!
The beginning of our walk up campuan ridge. We met many Indonesians on this walk up from the bridge that connects Penestenan (where we are staying) to Ubud proper. The young kids were out getting exercise! It was great to see.

16 December 2017

Yesterday around Ubud, staying in town after a leisurely A.M. at the villa. We walked through Penestenan and at ate at an amazing vegan restaurant called Alchemy. Adriana, when you come you must Visit!!! Then we went through the center of ubud and saw its famous temple, Pura Taman Saraswati. Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom, and learning worshipped throughout Nepal and India. She surely has blessed Ubud! Komang fed us again at the end of the day and forgot to take a photo but did snap the dessert, called Balinese cake. We looked it up and it also called Laklak cake. To make it it a light green color, Pandan leaves are added to the dough, the Pandan leaf also gives great aroma to the cake. Rice flour is steamed for one hour, when it is done, the flour is mixed with maize, coconut milk, sugar and boiling water. A traditional pan from clay is used to bake the Laklak cake, which take about 10 Mins. It was so good and quite addictive!!!!
Mattia and his spirit animal.
Once again, Agung. I get to see this beauty every morning when I take my yoga class at intuitive yoga right near where we are staying at villa Cahaya. Pretty powerful stuff.

15 December 2017

Lunch! Ever on the move mattia is winning hearts everywhere in Bali. Everywhere. People love children here. The curls, his smile... it’s totally rediculous. Good thing they are so child loving because the kid leaves quite a mess in his wake everywhere he goes. He managed to behave himself somewhat in Mas, where we learned about the craft of woodworking. Giacomo and Chris plan to take a class now!
This is Gunung Kawi. Complete and total Indiana Jones. Yes! We descended more then 350 steps to get into the valley where this Temple was found. Gunung Kawi is an 11th-century temple and funerary complex north east of Ubud that is spread across either side of the Pakerisan river. It comprises 10 rock-cut candi (shrines) that are carved into sheltered niches of the sheer cliff face. These funeral monuments are thought to be dedicated to King Anak Wungsu of the Udayana dynasty and his favourite queens. There was also a meditation cave that we thought would be perfect for us. It was pouring rain. Mattia slept in the van at the top of the steps. We love wayan!
We went on a tour today with wayan, a tour guide that Deborah recommended. He was amazing. We will hire him again for sure. Added bonus mattia loved him And actually let him carry him around and we felt fine leaving little man in the car with him while he slept and we went hiking around temples. Today we saw Tirta Empul and Gunung Kawi as well as toured Mas, a town famous for its woodcarving. The temple compound of tirta empul (build 1000 AD) consists of a bathing structure, famous for its holy spring water, where Balinese Hindus go to for ritual purification. The temple pond has a spring which gives out fresh water regularly, which Balinese Hindus consider to be holy or amritha. Tirta Empul means Holy Spring in Balinese. Giacomo just loved this one and wants to go back and get purified.
Hey there!
Agung. The volcano the almost stopped us.

14 December 2017

Our first day together in ubud. Didn’t do too Much. Orientated ourselves with chris and mattia. Pool time. Massage. Fresh coconut. Not bad.

13 December 2017

And they are here!! The archini Fracchia family is back in action- and of course.... eating !!! Komang made an amazing dinner. Chicken wrapped in banana leaf, Corn fritters, fried rice with veggies for g, an amazing salad with bean sprouts and green beans, curried tempeh with potato and tofu. Yes yes yes yes
The little lady was in training so we were asked to help her with tricks. Much like dogs, they like jobs and they love pleasing people.
End of the wash... doesn’t she look beautiful! ?
We got to wash the baby elephant!! The youngest on the preserve. She was 4.5 years old and had such a great temperament. She and her trainer actually had similar spirits. It was cool to watch.
Getting up close! Giacomo got so wet on the safari that he changed into my sarong, which he loved!
Elephants!! At elephant safari in taro, outside of ubud, a rescue for Sumatran elephants. The trainers are with their elephants for many many years and have very very deep relationships with them. Many of them are from Sumatra and came with the elephants when the place was established 20 Years ago!! This was a little show they did and the elephant ride we went on. Boris was our elephant and we had one of the best trainers there explain the area.
Our walk to the grocery store this AM to get provisions for weary travelers. Wildlife everywhere!!!
Breakfast at our villa. Komang is the housekeeper here. She is sweeter then all the Balinese combined (which is really really sweet). The Balinese are so comfortable with themselves and their beliefs. It’s very refreshing. We feel worlds away. We are such a small small part of this world and that makes me feel better. I’ll get a photo of komang later. Waiting for my other boys!
They are in their way! Just heard they landed in Taiwan!
Meanwhile... back in San Francisco. My other boys are living it up! Can’t wait to see them today!!!!

12 December 2017

We went to a vegan warung for nasi campur after unpacking and relaxing in our villa. It was suggested by three different friends! For $4 total we got the full month. Red rice, curry, corn fritters, various veggie dishes, fake chicken which Giacomo still didn’t like!, eggplant, tempeh. Amazing! So good. It’s run by an older sweet as pie couple. They totally deserve the notoriety! It was great. Photos show skeptical g, but he enjoyed and tried most everything! This was our walk through the rice paddies. I can’t explain how magical this place is. The “streets” are built up walls that you stand on top of and navigate/wind through. It’s incredible. I’ll try to take more photos of this. We have to walk over them every day to get to our villa. Last night it was dark on the way home and g and I totally got lost , which is super rare, if you know me. It was an adventure! We whatsapped our driver and he helped. I knew kind of where we were.. not really. And it’s so loud! Frogs, crickets, birds
Yes yes. We could stay. Our new home in penestenan, a lovely town outside of busy, touristy Ubud , is incredible. Giacomo fell in love instantly. Mom, they have three bathrooms and the showers are outside and it’s huge and clean! This is a great house! And we have a pool. He is in heaven. Giacomo Swam for about an hour and I joined him for a bit. He is swimming so well!
Hello Indiana Jones!! What a great sanctuary. We can’t wait to show Mattia and Chris. Note the monkey convention in one photo. They were planning something. These guys are cheeky! At one point one just jumped on me and my backpack and tried to get my water bottle. Omg! I had to get a care taker to help shoo the guy away. Giacomo was a bit freaked out. I tried to play it cool but was like.. umm... sir, can you help get this monkey off my back!! We sat to rest for a minutes one point to rest and one stole my sunscreen. A caretaker tried to get it back with a Banana. No go! They are so over Bananas!!
Instead of going straight to the villa we stopped for lunch and then went to visit the Sacred monkey Forest in ubud. This was incredible for g and I. The complex was built in the 14th century and it truly is in the jungle!! There are 600 monkeys that live there today. They truly rule the place!
Today we left Canggu. We loved it there but are ready to leave. We were driven by the new villa driver from ubud. Unfortunately it was his brother that came to pick us up and he has a small car... Giacomo got very sick on the ride. This this him on the grounds of a Temple, trying to get come air.
The volcano, Agung, from yellow flower cafe in penestenan, ubud. Sent to me by Sam Blattner, who lives here and is helping with details. Unfortunately he is headed back to SF!

11 December 2017

Dinner time! Back to sprout. I had a healthy boho salad and g had a hotdog (made from chicken but he didn’t know that!) and juice. We are pretty spent. Listening to harry potter. It was a good day and we are ready to head to ubud tomorrow where we will spend 11 days!
Giacomo wanted me to take these photos.
We took a lovely stroll to the beach today. There are so many carved alters and temples make from lava stone all over the place. Just so much fun to discover. Chris has learned something about the architecture here so looking forward to getting the background. It started to pour as per usual around 10am and we kept walking down the beach for about an hour. We were called over but a surf shop warung so that we could take cover. I bought a coke but after chatting with them for several minutes it was obvious that I didn’t need to and they were soliciting business- just wanted to help us dry off! I met a few other travelers while waiting for the sun to come back out. It’s always a good to Talk people from elsewhere- it reminds me about how little we Americans travel and how important this is in other parts of the world. When the sun came out again Giacomo loved playing In the waves and I let him go pretty far out there. He loved the independence but we both got kind of burnt!
Good morning! Yes, hungry bird cafe lived up to its reputation. Great banana pancakes and amazing latte. We will come back Tomorrow. Note how well rested we look!

10 December 2017

At Uluwatu Temple, during sunset everyday, there is a traditional performance called a Kecak fire dance. The music and storytelling is done by a group of men using only their vocals- strong rhythms and beats with overlying singing. The story is of course of the Ramayana, the most epic Hindu story of Rama and Sita and ravana and hanuman. Giacomo loved it. At one point a Ring of Fire was lit around Hanuman and he put it out with his feet by kicking it around! Incredible. Giacomo had his photo taken with Hanuman, the heroic funny man, at the end. We were exhausted but it was a good way to stay up and get on track with sleep times. Wonderful.
This is our driver,Jun! He is lovely. He has a four year old. Kids here go to school 6 days a week. Here he is with Giacomo at Uluwatu Temple
We went in the evening to see the sunset at a Temple called Uluwatu (or stone at the end), a Temple perched on the very tip of a cliff in the most eastern part of southern Bali. We aren’t spending time in southern Bail (very touristy and built up) but i had heard this place was worth going. I had to sport my first sarong and we met our first cheeky Monkeys.
Durian!?? Jack fruit??!
Giacomo loves Indonesian food. Who knew! He wants to come here every day. Ha!
Nothing better then coconut juice after walking in the heat! Off to take a quick nap.
Wood carving of Giacomos favorite animal the Komodo dragon!
Tanah lot was our first major temple. Temples are called Pura here. This one was right on the ocean. Giacomo practiced his panorama shots. There is a lot of trash/plastic on the shores here. It’s sad. There are many movements in place to try and teach Balinese to keep oceans clean. I guess some good comes of western norms.
Jun picked us up so we could get some errands done. He originally took us to the more westernized pharmacy and grocery store but then I wanted to know where the locals shopped so we ended up here! I loved it. G thought it was dirty but he got into it. The people were so nice and they love Giacomo. I haven’t figured out the exchange rate yet but I think we spent like $2 on more pineapple, banana, dragon fruit (our favorite) snake fruit.
We woke up at 3:30 am! Good morning! we watched a the sun come up and Giacomo practiced his tung soo. We also spoke with gramma and Chris which was lovely. Chris , as you know, didn’t make it to Bali! Long story and not important.. we are on the the next chapter. He’ll be here Wednesday with Mattia. We miss them both terribly. We made our way to Sprout cafe where Giacomo enjoyed a smoothie bowl with mango, apple, cashew, granola and coconut. I had a chia seed fruit bowl and a latte. So you get the idea... this is Canggu. The storm started and several expats made their way in to Find refuge from the rain. All were on their way to the beach (which we still haven’t seen!) for morning surfing.

9 December 2017

Went for a walk to orient ourselves and look what Giacomo ended up with! Seriously we have no idea how this happened. I freaked out a bit but tried to play it cool. Giacomo and I decided it was a welcome gift from the gods and it must have happened when we went by some offerings. Giacomo was somewhat terrified but I said it was a special thing. The gods! We are loving this magical place
Arriving in Denpasar. We got our luggage, made it through customs, exchanged money.... so far so good! Jun, our driver picked us up. We are staying in Canggu, pronounces Chan-goo. This is a recently “discovered” beach town north of Seminyak, a little more sleepy then the other tourist areas that the Aussies have infiltrated since Eat Pray Love. Steven, our villa host, greeted us with traditional Indonesian/Balinese food in paper to go containers as well as Dragonfruit, rambutan (I think it’s called) pineapple etc. Giacomo loved everything from the spicy noodles to the sticky rice but didn’t touch the vegetables. Topped off with some fruit and we were good to go.
Somewhere over the Philippine sea.
That the seat that was meant for Chris! Off to Bali!
No idea what this was but it was awesome! Food in airport like in Italy was amazing. Taiwan is supposed to be culinarily exceptional. Next time!
Starting to get a little whacked out waiting to transfer terminals in Taipei.

8 December 2017

Leaving Los Angeles.