Our next stop was Lovina, we weren't really sure why but it was the next big town on the road east so thought we'd give it a go. After a bit of wondering around we found some cheap accommodation and got straight in the pool as it was really hot!
That night we had a few drinks and Kris was hoping that the rugby would be on but it wasn't on any of their channels so he had to go without. There was a band on in the bar though which were ok....until...a moody teenager that was on holiday with her parents decided to sing for 30 minutes. She was bad, Emma said she could even sing better, and that's saying something! Her parents had seemed to encourage her on stage, but she was awful! Now we see how these awful XFactor contestants are created!
We woke up without having any real plans for the day, and then 30 minutes later we were booked on to our own private Lovina tour. It's so quiet here as it's low season so there doesn't seem to be any group tours or activities. So it was just us and our driver. First stop was a pretty impressive waterfall, the only problem being it started to pour with rain! We then went to the monkey forest, which was actually just a pull in by the side of the road where some monkeys sat waiting to be fed and a man sold bananas for over £1 each! We passed on that!
Next was the Temple on the lake, which is shown on their 50,000 note. It was really touristy, with Japanese tourists paddling round the temple in swan shaped pedlos getting in everyones pictures and ugly frog statues surrounding the temple - funnily enough that's not shown on the 50,000 note!
Then to the 'local' market, which actually mainly sold tourist tat. However, there were some fruit stores and one lady was really keen for us to try all of the different fruits. We tried Passion fruit (which Kris loved), Marquisa Telur Kodok - Indonesia’s version of the passion fruit and translates to “frog eggs” in Indonesian which is just what it looked like inside, tasted ok though! Mangosteen which was Emma's favorite. Snakeskin fruit or Salak which has reddish-brown scaly skin just like a snake. The Srikaya or Sugar-Apple, which looks like a green pine cone and was all seed and no fruit - pointless! There were loads of other fruits we tried that either don't have an English name or we can't remember the Indonesian one, but they were all great to try!
We then headed to a view point to see the twin lakes (two identical lakes side by side) but it was too misty so we couldn't see anything. Don't think we really missed much though!
Next stop was another waterfall, but because of all the rain it was a bit flooded and muddy. It looked like the chocolate waterfall from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, although we didn't fancy trying any!
We weren't that keen at first on going to the next stop, the coffee plantation as it's always just an excuse to try to sell you stuff. But it turned out to be a pretty good stop! The guy offered to show us around the plantation where they grew all sorts of things (some I think just for show for the tourists, but it was still interesting). They had Cinnamon, Ginger, Ginseng, Coca, Tumeric, Aloe Vera, Lemongrass, Pineapple, Vanilla and of course Coffee. But this wasn't just any old coffee!! The coffee beans are grown in the plantation, then at night a small animal called a Luwak is set free to feast on the coffee beans, but apparently they are very choosey and only eat the very finest beans. They then wait for the Luwak to digest or 'ferment' the beans and poo them out. They collect the droppings (as shown in silver.bowl in the photos) wash them and dry roast them to make 'coffee luwak'. This, we were told, makes the best possible coffee! Well with a claim like that of course we had to try it!! As it's such a delicasy here it was quite expensive, but no more than a Starbucks - maybe they should add it to their menu?! The coffee came in a pretty cool bamboo coffee pot and is drunk black. To our surprise it actually tasted pretty good! Not a hint of poo, which is what you want from a good coffee!! Kris even liked it, and he usually hates coffee!! Unfortunately you'll all be very sorry to hear we were unable to buy any of the coffee for you all to try back home as it wouldn't keep fresh! Sorry!!
To help us digest the coffee we took the windy mountain roads past rice paddies and various plantations to the Borobudur inspired Buddist temple.
And that was our tour of Lovina...