Coffee tales n' trails and Cafes in Bali

I’m a huge coffee freak and the aroma of a good coffee wafting through a coffee shop invigorates me like there’s no tomorrow. Whenever I travel, I do love to visit different cafes and Bali certainly has plenty of them.

Exploring Ubud, the heart of Bali and the little villages around gives you the real essence of traditional Balinese lifestyle, houses, art and culture.

Ubud - Meetime

The drive from Ubud market to Tegallalang Rice Terraces is breathtakingly beautiful as the road winds through lush green rice fields. The local farmers in their straw hats follow the Subak or the traditional Balinese  irrigation system to cultivate rice.

Lush Green Rice Fields - Meetime The Local Farmers - Meetime

There are many tempting cafes to sit and admire the view or take photos. Just laze and gaze at all the vast expanse of greenery around ….reduces stress they say. Well isn’t that why we are here in Bali…to relax and rejuvenate!

 Tempting Cafes - Meetime

The fertile  volcanic soil and the climate in the Kintamani region is perfect for coffee plantations and we went ahead to visit Bali Pulina Agro Tourism to learn about some secrets of coffee, spice and herb gardens.

Bali Pulina Agro - MeetimeHerb Gardens - Meetime

I was aghast to hear why Luwak coffee is the most expensive …because its poop coffee …the ripe coffee beans are eaten by the Civets and then partly digested and pooped out.Their digestive enzymes are supposed to change the structure of proteins in the coffee beans, which removes some of the acidity to make a smoother cup of coffee. As someone aptly said “Its a shitting expensive coffee.”

Civets - Meetime

Much as i love coffee, that story ain’t gonna get Mee to try a cup for sure! Would you?

Plantation Of Coffee - Meetime

Pure Bali Coffee - Meetime

A guided short tour of the plantation ended at the the open cafe or warung on stilts overlooking the rice terraces and we were served an array of lemon tea, ginger tea, ginger coffee, ginseng coffee, chocolate coffee, pure cocoa, vanilla coffee, pure Bali coffee to sample….You can order for some Luwak coffee if you wish.But I  preferred to tuck in to the locally made sweet treats like fried banana fritters served with honey or a palm sugar syrup and lupis (traditional snack made of rice with brown sugar syrup and grated coconut). Be assured of such local specialities on our holidays.

An Array Of Tea's And Coffee - Meetime Open Cafe - Meetime

After some shopping  in Ubud market, it was time to head for dinner to yet another amazing cafe, an oasis on the bustling Main Road: Cafe Lotus.
Cafe Lotus - Meetime

Pond Of Lotuses - Meetime

As I stepped inside I could feel that the place had a mystical aura to it, maybe because it surrounds a pond of Lotuses framed by ancient lowering kamboja (magnolia) and orchids. In the middle of the pond stands the most serene temple complex of Pura Taman Saraswati.The ambience is truly magical – especially during twilight hours and in the evenings. This place just warmed the cockles of my heart !

Pura Taman Saraswati - Meetime

Bali Tours Traditional Menu - Meetime

A Balinese folklore program and delectable traditional menu makes it the most perfect location for a few drinks and dinner.

For dessert don’t forget to indulge in some artisan Gelatos at the pretty in pink shop Gelato secrets just around the corner. They take pride in their signature gelatos oozing fresh flavours of the local fruits and spices. Have you had dragonfruit cinnamon or cashew black sesame before?

Gelatos - Meetime Pink Shop Gelato - Meetime

What’s your flavour? Pina colada, salted butter caramel from Tejakula sea salt,chai tea, coconut pandan, passionfruit, strawberry, organic Sulawesi vanilla or durian from Sumatra ? Try one, try them all, every night in Bali.

 

 

Girlie getaways for all seasons!

 

“I’ll be your girl for all seasons “….the opening lines of the unforgettable song from the movie Grease 2 inspired me to write this blog that take you to all these remarkable places in every season across the globe.

“I like people who get excited about the change of seasons, the sound of the ocean, watching the sunset, the smell of rain and starry nights.” – Brooke Hampton

Spring:

Spring - Meetime

Japan: Cherry blossom or Sakura season

Cherry Blossom - Meetime

It’s a very cheerful time in Japan in spring when the entire island is carpeted with cherry blossoms and transforms into a sea of pink. Locals and tourists gather in the parks for a” Hanami “or “flower viewing “. Have a picnic in the park like Shinjuku Goyen in Tokyo under a canopy of every imaginable shade of pink. The cherry blossoms adorning the shrines and monuments make a very pretty picture and we take you to Kyoto, Osaka and Nagoya Castle to admire these.

The most impressive pictures are at Lake Ashi with Mount Fuji or the symbol of Japan in the background and at Osaka Castle.

Summer:

International Tour Packages Summer - Meetime

Greece: Summer fun

The sun kissed islands of Greece are the most blissful escapade for you in summer. Enjoy the langorous beach life of Mykonos in the day and unwind with some Ouzo and table dancing at night in the taverns.The beach parties here in summer have the best DJs from all over the world and go on till dawn. Explore the coloured beaches of Santorini and visit the winery to taste the Asyrtiko wine that has a unique taste as the grapes are grown in the volcanic soil here. Put your feet up and savour the magical sunset at Oia for me time !

The UNESCO World Heritage sights in Athens like the Acropolis and the Pantheon best seen after 5pm as the brilliant light of the late-afternoon hours will only enhance your experience. Special music concerts in summer and the performances in the vibrant Monastirake area make summer time in Greece super fun time.

Autumn:

Croatia: Fall colours at Plitvice

The beauty of the fall colours is of joy forever in many parts of the world.Yet the transformation of the foliage around the 16 blue and green lakes and innumerable cascading waterfalls of Plitvice National Park into many shades orange and brown is a breathtaking sight. October is not a busy tourist season and hence the best time to enjoy the serenity of the National Park…take a leisurely stroll through this fairytale land and enjoy your me time with glorious Mother nature.

A holiday to Croatia along the Adriatic coast is a must, to revel in Dubrovnik, explore Roman ruins in Split and mend broken relationships in Zagreb.

Winter:

Iceland: Winter wonderland to chase the Northern Lights

The most spectacular natural phenomenons that brightens the earth in winter are the Northern Lights. Multi-coloured streaks of bright green, purple and magenta form a pattern across the sky and viewing that should be on your bucket list. We have a friend who can take you on an escorted trip to the island of Fire and Ice for a week. Experience many winter marvels like ice caves explorations and glacier walks in Iceland.

Soak in the geothermal spa Blue lagoon and drive away the blues.Its a different experience in Winter because although its freezing cold around you and you are nonchalantly floating in warm turquoise water. Steam arising from the waters gives it a wonderful surreal look …yet another perfect setting for an unforgettable holiday !

Fairytale towns in Europe that tug at a woman’s heart….

‘I travel, therefore I am.”

Having traveled to 29 countries and definitely planning to add as many more to that list as soon as possible, here is a list of cities and locations in Europe that I find close to my heart.

Italy: Positano

Positano - Meetime

It’s really hard to pick just one place in a beautiful country like Italy, especially as the charming Italian men make you feel special anywhere and everywhere you go! Yet Positano, along the Amalfi coast is undoubtedly my favourite. A small town of over a thousand steps, it’s not for those with weak knees. But the sheer prettiness of it will make you go weak in the knees for sure. The dramatic coastline, limestone cliffs, the coral pink houses, Sorrentine orange and lemon trees, mosaic churches, narrow cobblestone alleys with shops and cafes make it a totally Dream destination on any Europe Tour package. Sip a Sangria on the beach, read Elizabeth Adlers book “The house in Amalfi”, watch the sailboats in the azure blue sea, the most unforgettable sunsets !

The House In Amalfi - Meetime

Portugal: Sintra

Sintra - Meetime

Half an hour away from Lisbon lies a magical town on a hilltop that has fascinated royalty and nobility over the years and they built their palaces and palatial residences there. These grand mansions and their pristine surroundings are a perfect blend of nature and man-made creations and will captivate you the moment you set foot there. Tingle your senses with a breath of fresh mountain air, wander around the perfectly manicured gardens and explore Pena and Monserrate palaces and grounds for a taste of royalty.

Vienna - Meetime

Austria: Vienna

Palaces galore: Schonnbrunn, Hofburg, Belvedere how many palaces can you be bewitched by in one city? If you have the same thoughts as Julie Andrews who said “Like most girls, I fantasized about being some sort of a princess.” you will simply love all of them!

Schonnbrunn Palace:

Schonnbrunn Palace - Meetime

This was once a Hunting Lodge which was later transformed into a summer palace for the Imperial family. Spread over 435 acres just outside of Vienna city, it’s a mesmerizing journey through the staterooms and gardens, admiring the grandiosity of it all. Don’t miss the concerts of the musical maestro Mozart in the evening. It’s a day well spent!

Musical Maestro Mozart - Meetime

Hofburg Palace:

Hofburg Palace - Meetime

It means “Royal Castle” and was the winter palace and seat of government for the Imperial rulers of Austria. There are various wings open to visitors, but the most fascinating is the Kaiser or the Imperial apartments where you can follow the majestic trail of Empress Elizabeth with a Sisi Ticket. Regale her life, the agonies and glories and admire the free spirit and beauty of this intriguing icon.

Winter Palace - Meetime

Elizabeth - Meetime

Belvedere Palace:

Belvedere Palace - Meetime

Two Baroque palaces in one garden studded statues and marble fountains at the outskirts of the city house a beautiful collection of paintings, especially the works of the iconic artist Gustav Klimt and his masterpiece “The Kiss”.

Two Baroque Palaces - Meetime

In the evening get some me time, relax and enjoy the best of the Viennese coffee and Sacher torte in the heart of the city.

Viennese Coffee - Meetime

Germany: Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle - Meetime

The most charming of the Bavarian castles in the Alps in a picturesque setting of mountains and valleys inspired Walt Disney to create the Magical Kingdom and use the design of this fairytale castle in their logo. Built by the “fairytale” King Ludwig, it reflects his admiration for the renowned composer Richard Wagner. Linger around the enchanting town of Fussen at the end of the Romantic Road and its pretty Altstadt (old city centre) and lakes.

Europe Tour Packages Magical Kingdom - Meetime