Today started off like a regular morning in Bali, we got up early, some of us ran and after breakfast we all got on the bus. Instead of taking us to class however, we were whisked away up a winding mountain road, providing us with breathtaking views. The first temple (pura) we visited was Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu, an ancient temple built around natural springs. The temple was very peaceful, with massive walls of ferns growing behind the beautiful pagodas and large ponds filled with crystal clear blue water and schools of koi fish. The pools were filled with water from a natural spring, but the water is holy, and people will come to the temple just to get water to bring back to their village. The temple was a beautiful start to the morning, as it was so calm and peaceful.
The next temple was high in the mountains on the edge of a volcanic caldera, and as we arrived, we noticed the air was significantly cooler. The views were absolutely breathtaking, as a massive lake took up the southeast section of our view and large volcanic rocks dotted the landscape. The temple is called Pura Ulun Danu Batur, and it is the second most important temple to the people of Bali. Massive pagodas rose into the air, and the statues of deities surrounded us. The most spectacular part was the view provided by the outlooks along the edge of the temple. It was surprising to see such poverty in the comunity surrounding the temple, and it provided an interesting antithesis to the powerful temple. We also ate lunch on the edge of the caldera at an all you can eat buffet, which like all food in Bali, was absolutely delicious. As we traversed the land to the next temple, Gaylon told us about the Banyan tree, and how it is like its own world to the animals that reside in it. The birds that live in it spend their entire life flying around the tree, as the bugs in the tree provide sustenance. Other plants grow off the behemoth of a tree, and they are considered very sacred. We were able to climb inside the tree and explore around, taking many photos of each other and the land around us.
When we returned to Ubud, we went off to dinner with Anom (our puppet-making teacher) and Nonick at their home. Nonick provided us with massive amounts of delicious food, and we all sat around eating and laughing. It will be very hard to say goodbye to them and to Ubud.