Before we start the real post, here is a gallery (click on one to see them all larger) of our tubing adventures!
We have been lucky so far and throughout our travels we’ve experienced and learned what good service is. But this little villa we stayed in, overlooking a beautiful view and in the middle of nowhere, had absolutely no competition. Trip Advisor reviews showed a solid 5 stars, with 70-80 reviews… we wondered.. how do you get 70-80 stays to all be faultless? First the service was great… we had a nice villa and a gorgeous outlook over Mount Merapi with a long pool. The owners and staff were extremely friendly, asked if we needed anything, and we felt pampered as their only guests (the rainy season made sure of that!).
Once we arrived we soon realized there was nothing remotely close to us for a quick dinner or lunch and we desperately hoped for the attached “french restaurant” to be good and not too expensive; thankfully our wish came true. The first time we waited for dinner and all dinners afterwards were spent trying to replicate the elaborate and ever-changing napkin constructions. And soon, spring rolls arrived. We looked at each other… did we order this? We didn’t, but we ate it anyway; we were the only ones in the restaurant so it must be for us right? Well, our food arrived and was quite good, obviously made with fresh ingredients and cooked by the owner, a Frenchman. As we made to leave, fried bananas in a chocolate and vanilla cream sauce arrived, together with 6 little tangerines, all complimentary and absolutely delicious. We looked around, bewildered. It was starting to dawn on us how they had managed 70-80 five star reviews! They feed you very well… breakfast is bread toasted to a golden brown, fresh croissants, a fruit platter, and choice of omelet or nasi goreng. We’d giddily await the fried bananas… even among the banana-dislikers in the family. And sometimes, they just gave us food, like the time that I was working at the computer, eyes glued to the screen, and I hear Audrey’s tentative voice saying, “Lillian… umm they’re trying to give us food.” A massive plate of fried bananas had just been served, a different type this time with more crunch. I looked up and accepted with an ohh… um, Terimakasi! Soon 6 cups of tea came, delivered to our room with a smile. The service here was incredible and full of surprises… like the second pizza that came after desert. We didn’t really know what would actually come out of the kitchen once we ordered; all that we did know is that it would be good!
The owners of these villas take an hour-long walk every morning and scared we would be getting bored, they recommended it, drew up a quick map, and sent us on our way. We walked past a mosque and along the rice terraces. The rice terraces are a lush green and the coconut trees intensify the feeling of a painting. We wandered into a little village, getting lost as usual, and watched them herd the ducks along the road, build their homes, hang up laundry, tote around their babies, chat quietly. It ws truly like going back in time. Apart from electricity and motorbikes and the occasional phone, these people live like the old days, farming the rice when it’s time and working something else when it’s not. The chickens run around free, the barn holds the few livestock, firewood lays in heaps under the tin roofs, and the woven baskets hold just about everything that fits in a basket. The kids laugh and shout on their bikes. By now they know my dad’s name is Lancelot, after meeting him twice and practicing their English. We took pictures of them standing together and being able to see themselves on a little screen afterwards was fascinating and hilarious for them. They jumped around as happy as can be and I laughed. The kids here aren’t worried about the Wii their friend has or other material possessions; they live a beautiful version of simple, full of laughter and innocence.
The food, view and exceptional service at Villa Sumbing Indah= never wanting to leave. But we had to leave for Singapore, and of course, breakfast was served at 4 am with a smile…