Monday, October 29, 2012

Sagada Part One: The First Day

Hello from Lombok!
We made the jump from Bali on Saturday and after a short stop in the quiet surf town of Kuta  (not to be confused with the party city of Kuta on Bali) we are now on the western coast in Senggegi.
We were sad to leave Bali and its beauty but are excited to explore more of Indonesia.  More on our time there soon.

Our computer is up and running!  Thanks to an amazing friend of a family friend in Bali, our little netbook has a new hard drive, and for only 500,000 rupiah.  Don't worry, that's only just over $50 US dollars.

Now on to the updates! 

After our adventure in Batad and Banaue we headed east to another mountain town.  The views on the way were amazing and our jeepney stopped along the way for photo ops.

Sagada is a sleepy mountain town in North Luzon famous for its hanging coffins and intricate caves.  We truly enjoyed the leisurely pace of the small city, laid-back and calm compared to the hustle and bustle of other places we’ve been.  A certain "green herb is indulged in regularly, making the locals quite relaxed.  Police seem to look the other way on this issue, though in the evening the smell is hard to ignore.

We quickly settled into "the pink room" at a colorful guesthouse on our first night in town.  

For dinner we indulged in a buffet put on by a local restaurant. 
Every Saturday the resident  French chef  gathers fresh ingredients from the local farmer’s markets and prepares a feast.  We were lucky enough to arrive just in time for the first Saturday buffet since June.  It was incredible.  Local greens and  tender vegetables, smoky bean soup with fresh herbs, hot sliced foccacia bread, potatoes cooked perfectly, and savory chicken and pork roast to satisfy Ryan.  We finished the meal with egg ice cream, walnut apple pound cake and a yogurt tart served with mountain coffee.  It felt like Thanksgiving.  We welcomed the home cooking after weeks on the road. 

Still tired from our trek through the rice fields in Batad, we decided on a low-key day around town the next morning.  With a Canadian guy we’d met the previous day we strolled along the sunny streets and made our way to Lumiang Cave and its carved wooden coffins.  A peek inside a splintered coffin confirmed it-bones.  Those who are buried in the stacked coffins had to have been very wealthy, with multiple animals to sacrifice (upwards of forty pigs or an equal number of cows).

After a quick exploration at the mouth of the cave, we ran into a local expat who suggested a scenic hike within the area.  The three of us set out for what the man said should have taken an hour and a half to two hours.   

Along the way we noted the simple houses and buildings of Sagada.

We made our way along a ridge overlooking the city and were met with beautiful views at the top. 

From there we discussed how to find our way down and back. 
Turn around?  Find a path on the other side? 

Ryan found a path leading down, so off we went.  Unfortunately the path quickly forked, and we had more decisions to make.  One looked more traveled, so we made our choice.  Awhile later we realized there was another looming ridge between us and the way back to town.  

More decisions.  
Do we turn back now?  Do we follow what might be a path up the other tall ridge? 
We decided to keep on trekking, noting a road that we hoped would run into the path we were on. 

It didn’t. 

Instead we strolled on (did I mention it was laundry day and I was in a long dress for what I thought would be a ‘walk along the road?’).  

Along the way we met cows, makeshift bridges and lots of frustration, but since it was still early afternoon we were certain that we’d make it back into town before dark.  We saw a farmhouse and some fields in the distance and decided it would be our best bet to make our way there to ask for further directions.

Don't be fooled by my smile.  I brought new meaning to the word "trooper." 

After we wound our way through his neat rows of cabbage, a nice man told us where to find the road leading back to Sagada.  A couple of paths, one pond, and more tired legs later, we found our way back to town.  
 Five. Hours. Later.

Starving, we were never more thankful for Yoghurt House, a local place where we ate most of our meals in Sagada.  The sandwiches, salads, pastas, and of course, yogurt were delicious.  It was hard to leave without some of  their fresh chocolate chip or lemon oatmeal cookies after a meal too.  Yummm!

We certainly earned our late lunch and beer that day. 

Still smiling after our five hour hike.  
In a dress.  

Hey, it’s the mishaps along the way that make traveling fun. :)

1 comment:

  1. WOW!! You are definitely a trooper! Hiking in a dress - No thank you! Glad you got your computer fixed so we can keep enjoying these travel blogs! BTW: What'd you think of Lombok's Kuta?