When we first spotted the island of Bali from the ferry port on East Java at Banyuwangi, we thought we were nearly there. It’s really very close to Java, about the same distance as the Humber Bridge covers, near my home town of Hull…
The ferry across costs an amazing 60p or so, and we felt a sense of relief and elation at this apparently easy crossing to the final leg of our journey.
One hour and a half later, we were just pulling in to port at Gillimanuk. I have never ever experienced such a slow ferry. I think we did stop several times on the way over, but for most of the route (that can’t have been more than a mile or so) we seemed to keep to an extraordinary 1 mph – it must take some skill to drive a vehicle that slowly for such a long time.
By the time we disembarked, it was nearly dusk. We wandered over to the little bus depot a short walk from the harbour and saw a bus for Denpasar. The thing is, said the driver, we only have seven passengers, and I need 15 to set off…
Now, we’d come across this kind leave-when-youre-full approach to public transport elsewhere, but this was different. In China, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, there tended to be a steady stream of people looking for transport. At Gillimanuk, one new passenger came after one hour. And after two hours, we still only had eight fares.
At that point, the bus driver offered to leave immediately if we’d pay twice the fare. since bus fares are dirt cheap in Indonesia, we kind of wished he’d asked two hours earlier, but we set off on one of the longest, windiest island roads I’d ever experienced. Only about 80 miles, but it took nearly three hours, meaning our arrival in Denpasar was nearer midnight than 11pm, about four hours later than we had hoped.
Our last travel leg proved therefore to be one of the most difficult of all over the 110+ days of the journey.
We spent all the free time we had on Bali checking out the final tea and coffee venues for review.
But we were determined to have a photo taken on the beach at our last stop. So, here we go…
We managed to find a quiet, mainly-locals beach on the other side of Denpasar from Katu or Seminyak. And we kind of liked this statue of a fisherman standing by the beach. He kind of encapsulated how we’ll be now we’ve settled on east coast Australia, looking out to sea wondering about our next journey…
So, that’s it.
25 long distance bus journeys
14 private car journeys
12 mini buses or mashrutkas
2 shared taxis
after we left Yorkshire, we made it to Australia…
There will be other posts, but that’s it for now, folks. Our journey is done. Time to unwind off the road for a while.