** A guest post written by Jamie Gault **
I was riding my motorbike along the incredible coastline of north-eastern Bali when my back began to cramp up. I was carrying everything I had in a single backpack whilst weaving my way along the road just meters from a cliff face that fell into turquoise water. I knew I was in Amed. I knew it was beautiful but it wasn’t something I could appreciate whilst the freedom of the road and the breeze was running through my hair.
As I stumbled into a café keen to rest my ailing back, time began to stand still. Beneath the helmet and disheveled hair, I had no idea of the tranquility that had nestled up here, nor the calming sensations of the water lapping the stony shore.
I ordered a nasi goreng (what else?) and looked out into the distance. On one side of me were the colours of barren brown, the ground burnt from the lava flows of the striking Mt Agung. The other was the green tips of palm trees and glistening sapphire ocean with spots of local fishing boats. It was incredibly diverse and you couldn’t help but get sucked in by not just the colours but the aroma of a quietly moving town content with its life by the sea.
I had planned on continuing riding my trusty scooter through to Tulamben and complete the Liberty Wreck Dive but after a few days of sin and sand in Kuta, this was the perfect tonic to rest not only an ailing back but my senses burnt by neon lights. Instead of car horns and the thumping house music of the Bounty, I was surrounded by the calmness of country life mixed perfectly with a barely populated paradise. I was in heaven.
I downed my meal, man nothing beats a nasi goreng, and took up the owners offer of a tour of his home stay just beyond the café. I walked down a flight of stairs that hugged the cliff to a secluded beach side area. I didn’t even need to see the rooms to know that I could spend a few days here sitting beside the pool and looking out towards the horizon. One step from the pool deck landed you on the black stone beach and another five puts you in the calm waters of Amed.
As the day fell into night and the crystal blue ocean turned dark glistening against the light of the moon my back was well rested and the sounds of random scooters passing by were soothing against the silence. I walked along the road that stretches down the coast with the lights of the occasional restaurant and guesthouse flickering along the curving coast.
I stopped and watch the sun fall behind Mt Agung, the rich reds and oranges of the sun’s light rebounding between the clouds and the summit of this islands tallest mountain. It created stunning scenery as I sat slowing falling in love with this coastal region.
I woke early to catch the sunrise. Boats numbering in the teens were slowly floating back towards land trying to utilize as much of the barely perceptible wind as possible. It was a calming site, so was the horizon as it woke up as slowly as the rest of this sleepy town. I sat somehow comfortable on the sand, the occasional wisp of wind flowing past as I watched the sun move upwards.
Unfortunately, I could only spend a singular night here. After breakfast the sun was beginning to break through and the heat rose from the barren brown as I looked back down towards the aqua blue sea. I put my backpack and helmet on and suddenly time started moving once more. Whilst I could still see the colours and beauty around me the noise of my bike and the heart thumping in my chest meant I was no longer as much of a part of Amed. But as I rode off into the distance I knew I left a part of me there. And after falling in love I knew I would return again.