County Donegal

After a very comfortable night and hearty breakfast at the Ramada Hotel in Portrush, we took an early morning stroll to admire the scenery before continuing on our circuitous journey of Ireland. The small seaside resort town was quiet this time of year, the snow-capped mountains confirming the advent of winter.

1.Portrush2.Portrush

A panoramic ten minute drive

3.drive

delivered us to Portstewart. Founded in 1792, this fishing village became a popular holiday destination for middle-class Victorian families. The two miles of golden sandy beach are still popular

4.Portstewart

and waterside homes have a stunning backdrop.

5.Portstewart

The spectacular Derryveagh Mountains accompanied us on our route through County Donegal,

6.Derryveagh Mountains7.Derryveagh Mountains

until we met the coast again at Ardara. The beautiful beaches, perfect for swimming, were serenely deserted.

8.Ardara9.Ardara10.Ardara

To the east, the Blue Stack Mountains loomed out of the mist.

11.Blue Stack Mountains

We stayed the night at the Holyrood Hotel in Bundoran, the tourist season was obviously, well and truly over.

Seseh village

Our villa accommodation on the west coast of Bali was nestled adjacent to the tiny fishing village of Seseh. One morning, we walked the short distance to have a closer look at our neighbours. The main street was quiet at that hour of the morning,

1.main road

the children heading off to school.

2.off to school

We passed colourful shrines

3.shrine

and regal roosters

4.rooster

on our way to the centre of the village. Like most villages in Bali, Seseh practices the daily rituals of the Hindu faith. We awoke each morning at 6am to the pre-recorded call to prayer, repeated again at 6pm. There appeared to be so many beautiful temples in the village, it was hard to discern if it was one very large temple or numerous smaller ones.

The detailed carvings and decorations were magnificent.

At the edge of the village, we reached the beach.

18.Seseh Beach

Revered by the Balinese as a sacred beach, Seseh had a relaxing sense of tranquility.

22.Seseh beach

If I lived in Bali, I would like to live in this house.

24.house Seseh Beach

We wandered back through the village, the landscaped gardens

25.village street

a sharp contrast to rural life.

26.village life

The imposing stone gateway at the entrance to the village marked the end of our excursion.

27.village gates

Canggu: Tugu to Seseh

We had heard about the popular surfing beaches of Bali, one of them being Seseh, the location of our villa. In order to discover more, we asked the driver one morning to take us a little further down the coast so we could walk back along the beach. He dropped us off at the back entrance of the Hotel Tugu, about 3 km away.

1.Hotel Tugu

A paved path led toward the beach, past old rustic buildings

2.Hotel Tugu

and the hotel grounds behind the wall.

Sun lounges looked inviting and we could glimpse the specks of hopeful surfers in the water.

6.Tugu Hotel

Just as well it was too early for a cocktail, the bar appeared in need of restocking.

7.Tugu bar

Barongs were on guard to repel the evil spirits, possibly to protect those seeking slumber.

Canggu, as well as being a small village, is the name given to a stretch of coastline between Seminyak and Tanah Lot. From Hotel Tugu, we walked along the black sand of Batu Bolong Beach.

The waves didn’t look particularly impressive to us but what would we know?

13.surfer

Volcanic rocks loomed out of the water making interesting obstacles for unsuspecting surfers.

14.Batu Bolong Beach15.Batu Bolong Beach

Looking beyond the modern villas, we could see the hint of a temple.

16.Batu Bolong Beach

Pura Batu Mejan is a Balinese Hindu sea temple, guarding the coast and giving its name to the beach, Pantai Batu Mejan.

17.Pura Batu Mejan temple

One of Canggu’s most popular surfing beaches, Echo Beach is the nickname given to this stretch by the wave riders.

20.Echo Beach21.Echo Beach

We watched them in action while we lunched at Echo Beach Club.

22.surfer Echo Beach23.surfers Echo Beach

The local transport didn’t look too reliable

24.bicycle

so we made our way down to the beach for the walk back to Seseh.

26.Echo Beach25.Echo Beach

This family picnic looked lovely

27.picnic

but I don’t know how they keep their whites so white.

28.picnic

It seemed like a bad choice for me to wear with the black sand.

29.white pants copy

summer sunset

Last evening, after a sweltering 30°C day, we drove Cooper, with the top down, into Burnie to attend the preview of the “National Geographic 50 Greatest Photographs” exhibition at the art gallery. We are very privileged to have this fantastic exhibition here in Burnie as part of the world tour. Each 3′ X 4′ image is accompanied by the story behind the photo as well as the photographer who captured the moment. I shall have to return and spend more time absorbing the works and to watch the many videos with behind-the-scenes stories and interviews. We used the excuse of being in town to dine at our favourite Bayviews Restaurant once again. With heavy cloud cover I didn’t expect much of a sunset but at 9pm, the world outside turned a stunning shade of pink.

1.summer sunset2.summer sunset

I should never have doubted nature’s ability to produce a spectacular show.

3.summer sunset

La Lucciola

If there is one thing you can rely on in Bali, it’s the fabulous food. Coupled with a stunning location, you have La Lucciola at Seminyak. After a stroll along the main street accompanied by the cacophony of traffic and populace, reaching La Lucciola was nirvana.

1.La Lucciola2.La Lucciola

Seated on the upstairs balcony, the gentle sea breeze mingled with that of the overhead fans and the tranquil view perfected the scene.

3.La Lucciola

The undrinkable water forced us to order cocktails instead, anything to quench the thirst.

The flower arrangements were quite spectacular, even in the bathrooms.

The meals disappeared too quickly for photographs but I caught a couple of the desserts.

After lunch, we walked onto the sands, soft and golden on this part of the island.

11.Seminyak Beach

Seminyak Beach comprises three adjoining coastal strips, the southernmost bordering Legian Beach.

12.Seminyak Beach

This little squirrel has certainly chosen a lovely spot to call home.