The Island of Gods

I am sitting there, on a sunbed, watching the sunset. I am alone on the beach. In fact, I am not so lonely. The great Mt. Agung is keeping me company. Dressed in pink clouds, silent and magnificent. 


I have to admit - when the media news erupted (pun intended), I was a little scared. Ok. I live on a tropical island, with active volcanos, and one of them is on the verge of erupting. All the people are panicking, and I did what I know best: I got into a full panic attack. "To leave or to stay", that was the question. 

And then I was inspired to ask another question. What can I see and understand now from this Mother Nature manifestation? 



And this is how my story unfolded. 

You already know that I am obsessed with Sanur. Sanur is a beach resort for elderly people, with great hotels and a quiet shore. But I've found something more in here. A golden light, some vintage colors embracing the ocean, happy people, an old royal elegance. I was immersed in a deep, unforgettable love story with Sanur. 



And some months ago, I've found on the internet that a hotel in Sanur offers a tour of the Royal Compound. You are literally invited to see where the King of Sanur lives. I was hooked. I sent them a message and asked them if I can visit the Royal Palace. And this was it. 

After the Mt. Agung news and panic, I received an email. I was invited to Griya Santrian, to experience their Universe and to see the Royal Home of the King of Sanur. 

But I didn't know that this experience had the answer to my question included. 



Griya Santrian is the most beautiful Balinese garden on the seaside. With all the traditions kept alive, with frangipani trees all around, with colorful buildings and modern rooms - the hotel is a precious jewel. I've found out that the owner is the King' son. 





And I had two unbelievable, magical days in here. 

My first day started with a foot massage from another world. Half an hour, I was spoiled and covered in scented oils, until I was deeply relaxed. (which is still a difficult thing for me:)



Like a royalty, I experienced an afternoon tea with delicious cookies on the beach. Sun was my partner, and frangipani flowers my maids of honor. I couldn't stop smiling. 



Then, in that evening, on the beach - watching the sacred Mt. Agung - I had my answer: if I can see, taste and feel the stillness, the greatness of Mother Nature, how can I ever be afraid?



Oh, the peace! The relief. The freedom. I stared at Mt. Agung, until the magical night went on, covering everything with glowing stars. 

But our day was not over. We get out, on the streets of Sanur, stopped at a restaurant with live music, had dinner and danced under a frangipani tree. Back on our balcony with pool view, we breathed the rain and the tropical air full of promises, peace, and joy. 




At 6 AM next day, I was on the beach, checking Mt. Agung and looking for some coffee. Of course, I was surprised to see another very matinal guest of the hotel, walking around. A guy in his fifties, all smiles and with coffee and frangipani flowers in his hands. He stopped in front of me and said: "Oh, life is sooo good, right?"

I wouldn't dare to contradict him!




After the breakfast, a car was waiting for us, and Putu - our guide - drove us to the Royal Compound. I spent one hour at the King's house, and I don't have proper words to explain what I've felt in there. Curiosity, magic, memories, love and a strong feeling that I will come back someday. We've met the High Priestess of the Royal Palace, a lot of little happy dogs, wonderful people making canang sari (Balinese offerings) and a mystical scented smoke over the Gods statues. 

Griya Santrian is the only hotel in Bali that offers a Royal Tour (for free). So, now you know! 






In that afternoon, I was wandering alone on the streets of Sanur, taking deep breaths, living my love for this unique, elegant place. 

We had another royal treat at Griya Beach Corner - an authentic Balinese signature dish, Bali Medulang -a rijstaffel dinner, consisting of yellow rice with 5 kinds of side dishes including fish meatballs, fried prawn, grill chicken Balinese spice, Indonesian spiced beef, and minced fish sate. Complimented with crackers, condiments and an array of fresh fruits and sweet desserts. 

And, of course, another magical sunset with Mt. Agung and the ocean in our hearts. 





In the last day, we ran through the rain, had a wonderful Balinese breakfast and then we played some ping pong in the resort's library. Fun is always the best choice! 

I left Griya Santrian in tears. Because I've found my peace there, and I've started to live a little. Worries and fears are good, they keep us safe, but in a state of surviving. And I don't want to survive. I want to thrive, to enjoy life to the fullest! 







So, if you're listening to the news and you are afraid of Mt. Agung - that's ok. It's your call. Here, we are doing things a little bit different. We ask questions and receive answers in the most magical way. Directly from the gods. We are on their magical island. 


All photos by Vlad Semen

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