The expression “The Countryside” is very British don’t you think? I don’t think that the French or Germans think really in the same way, the Australians certainly don’t with their outback and bush, the Americans have their prairies and mountains, the Russians their “steppes” and the South Americans their pampas, but it is the British who glorified the countryside and made draconian laws to protect it – at the same time creating contradictory laws of “trespass” prohibiting entry to private property (even if someone owns thousands of beautiful hectares) and “right of entry” which guarantees access as long as you stick to specific rights of way!
Great fun as long as you don’t come upon a gamekeeper ready to correct your route with a blast or two!
Here in Bali, the countryside takes on three distinct characteristics: the volcanic mountains which dominate the north and west of the island giving grandeur and vastness, but aren’t really suitable for walking, but are for serious adventurers. The second area is the amazing paddy/rice fields which are still all around the island outside of the urban areas and are just marvellous to walk around. But please be very careful, they are private property but no-one has signs up, and the mud walls between the fields can easily be damaged by careless and heavy-footed strollers. My advice is to stick to the outer edges!
The thirds area to walk, which I personally love, is not really countryside, but the marvellous rural villages, where if you get off the beaten path far enough, you can enjoy life in Bali as it used to be. Quiet village streets, pigs and dogs running about, people going about their normal lives, others going to the temple, it is wonderful but sadly there are not many people who try to really protect these gems of village life. Enjoy them while you can.
I know that you are reading this sitting comfortably poolside or on your balcony hotel or villa with a long cool glass in hand, but if you get in a hired car and head north, the open spaces await and with them a new view of Bali, as Thomas Hardy put it in his novel of 1874, “Far from the Madding Crowd”.
That’s where I want to be! Enjoy Bali’s beautiful countryside.
Alistair G. Speirs, OBE