There is a Goa for everyone here!
Where there’s no stop and Goa thought may wet your face, a breath arrest your stare.
It had been a long time that I visited a beach. Almost a year. So I was bored by the hills and mist and trees for a while now and wanted to take a relaxing vacation by the sea. Name of places started hurling my brain. Pondicherry, Varkala, Kanyakumari, Gokarna and so on. We landed on Goa. Reason being, never visited Goa in my life before and what could be more than best to bid farewell to the year with a road trip? Planning was on. Places to explore based on recommended timing plus avoid irritating tourist crowd, prepared to spend money on food and adventure and blah blah… One of the most awaited trips I was hooked onto. Finally we did it.
So, the journey started on 29th early morning at 4 AM. Trip was all planned this time. Like on hourly basis! The stops were pre-planned too. And guess what, it all happened exactly how it was written. We hit the road at exact 4.
Passing through the city streets engulfed in the darkness of night gives me a feel like something better is going to happen towards the dawn. Life moves on fast and as the sun rays start pouring in from the east, my eyes fill with joy and positivity. Yes this is too philosophical, but this is how I feel at the start of every trip. What else do we ride for? To be hopeful and positive about the next phase. To be happy. The pursuit of our lives. Me and my partner start our rides with earphones plugged in and listen to the songs specially dedicated to the highways. Hence with the beats in our ears, the first stop was Kamat Upachar on the Tumkur road, Nelamangala.
The map route covered during the journey as following:
Few of the places that we covered, are marked in the map below.
First stop at Kamat Upachar on NH4. Washrooms are not in a good condition but a coffee break here helps give a rest to your butt (If at all it pains… coz mine has become like one hardened marshmallow and after riding for so many trips it doesn’t even give me a hitch for at least initial 450 to 500 kilometres). Tough pillion huh ;p
Taking the route via NH4 we passed through Tumkur, Chitradurga, Davangere, Ranebennur, Dharwad, Yellapura, Ankola, Karwar, and finally Canacona.
Check out some snaps taken throughout the route:
Passing through Chitrdurga windmills area….
Just while entering Karwar, you could see the famous Warship Museum on the left. You can also relate it to the Highway On My Plate episode where in one season the chomping duo take a shot ON that ship!
We stopped here to take a few pictures, and had freshly prepared mausambi juice. Losing out on a lot of time we decided to have this juice in some restaurant ahead. Turns out the juice in the restaurant was pathetic and lame. 😂 Imagine a juice without the fruit’s pulp. Lesson learnt: never rush when you get a juice freshly prepared in traditional way, that is with the machine and not the fake syrup.
The road taken from Bangalore to Goa was in a very good condition.
We reached Canacona by 4:15 PM exactly 12 hours and 15 minutes from our start time. See it feels like an achievement to complete a distance in time less than what Google uncle tells! Anyway we checked in to the hotel room which was pre-booked at Pritam’s Cottages in Palolem. Nice small cozy setup where are the amenities like t.v., clean linen, and food are provided. The owner is pretty friendly so are the people.
It all seemed like I have entered into a place where everyone is so chilled out and friendly and smiling just to welcome you. People roaming in clothing with least maintenance required.
I had already started feeling relaxed. After dropping off the luggage in the rooms, I went on to explore the much praised sands of the Palolem and Patnem beaches.
Sunset at the Agonda beach was captivating. No noisy and show-off crowd, no peace-intruding sellers, just the sand, water and a couple of foreigners. It all felt like every moment is a celebration. Had king fish and two beers there in a shack. After coming back to Palolem we started exploring local restaurants, that’s when we came across hotel Su-Maya.
Homely and very cherishing experience of their hospitality made us love this southern part of Goa even more. Stating this because we had ordered two beers ( super cheap! 32 rupees!!), masala fried mussels, bangra rava fry, and prawns. The prawns did not taste that good, and the moment we brought it to their notice, they immediately replaced it with another one and insisted on not paying for it. We asserted on paying the whole bill but they said that if you did not like the dish we will not take money for it. As demanded by the restaurant owner Dilkhush 🙂 we came out without paying for the prawns. But this experience will always leave us with an urge to keep coming back to them. Su Maya definitely won my heart. I would recommend this place for people who love genuine seafood and the prices won’t even ask your pocket any questions.
After finishing with the dinner, I had a short stroll on the market road. By the time it was 8, all the people started closing down and went on to enjoy the waves at the beach.
Next day morning was planned for a short trip to Gokarna, but we were really tired from the last day’s journey hence chucked the Gokarna plan and we came up with a stunning breakfast. My all time favourite pancakes! There is this veryyyy small place by the name Little World. If you look up in TripAdvisor, positive reviews are flooding their page. When you enter it, there is a narrow gallery where a few tables and chairs are put up. Right at the centre you can find Lord Shiva’s image engraved on a stone with their all time famous Masala Chai kept as an offering in front. We ordered sweet pancake with banana fried stuffing and nutella, home-made peanut butter, vanilla ice cream, and strawberries served together. Another i had cheese omelette served with the ‘oh so soft’ pav. People running this place are extremely friendly and welcoming.
You can not miss it whenever you visit Palolem!
After this my partner wanted to refresh his old memories so we went on to visit Sernabatim Beach. We packed our luggages, check out from hotel and waved the cool owner a good bye. Some 45 kms away from Palolem, a sweet, curvy road takes us to Sernabatim via Margao.
On our way we had to get the rear tyre repaired at a puncture shop just at the crossroad.
Riding through Old Goa makes one feel relaxed and at home.
Lunch was an unexpectedly awesome local chicken curry topped with omelette plus the pav at a small place just over the beach when you enter it. Locally called as Ras (curry) omelette with pav, is so stomach filling. My partner and his friends used to come here during their college days. With their stories of college days I got zoned out for few moments. The heat was gearing up and we had perfect shade and lunch. Life is awesome.
Lonely sunny beach and hot lunch made the day. Next we moved on to explore Colva beach. While on our way towards Colva bike’s tyre got punctured. Fortunately we were close to the market area so we got it fixed. Colva was too hot so we decided to move on to Anjuna beach. I wanted to ride along with my partner so we rented an Activa on our way to Anjuna beach.
Parked our bikes and entered the beach area soon. I saw a bunch of Indian crowd but it was not too crowded. Strolled and got smeared in water, we then left to see the Chapora Fort on request of my partner. It was late in the evening hence too darkness took advantage and then taking a smart alternative route had us missed the sunset at the Fort. Happens every time I try to play smart with the Google maps.
Anyway, so one last beach was left for the day. The Bagha beach. The most happening and preferred of all, this beach is totally crazy at all times of the day. We went there at around 8 or 8:30. Parking was full, famous Tito’s lane was hoarded with beautiful ladies and men walking down and having drinks. Bars played loudest music possible. I even got a glimpse of how desperate men are to just have a woman’s company.
This doesn’t end here. The reason why i am aggressive about it adds on further. We wanted to have our dinner here itself so just got one of the few seats left vacant. Waited for about half an hour since the super busy waiter gave us the printed menu. After reaching a certain level of annoyment we planned to leave the place after 10 seconds, but here he comes again. We asked him politely about the menu and other things, but our ‘sire’ had a different level of attitude! He answered back very rudely and came back with our order and placed it without a hint of hospitality. I got so much annoyed by the people, the noise and the place. But dinner was really good. We had ordered chicken kebabs.
So funny first we were not able to find the exit towards the parking. A memorable incident happened in this parking where my partner had parked his bike. The ticket collector boy came to ask him about his bike and praised it. I wonder they must have seen this bike rarely parked there, because maximum of the people take gear-less Activas and other scooters. We feel good at times when people acknowledge and appreciate our ride and the way we reach places.
Shashank explained me the whole idea of visiting these places. He wanted to show me all kinds of Goa. I noticed the difference among all of them. To be general South Goa is much more laid back and cooler than North Goa where people are more money centric rather than being nice to people and provide good hospitality. Definitely Goa today is not what it used to be long time ago, I am sure time and people’s attitude take it’s toll. But whatever I had experienced will be remembered forever.
Entering Panjim through the bridge is fascinating and beautiful during night. You see the night-life here. Casino cruises, street food, nice cars and bikes.
Moving on towards the night we visited the area near Miramar beach in Panjim in the search of famous shawarma. But heck we had passed a lot of time and the shawarma stall was not there. At the same time IFFI (International Film Festival of India) had just got over by then and the footpath opposite to it was laden with numerous varieties of street food.
You ask Punjabi, Marathi, South Indian, North India or anything else, it was there! We gulped chicken rolls, egg-chicken parathas, and kulfi. Edward’s Yard, a raised platform slightly standing out over the Mandovi river, was our next stop. Here we tasted chicken wings which were not up to mark since they were closing down. While all this time we had parked our bike near the Miramar beach point and till the time we returned back our ZMR was standing there all alone. We hurried in order to check if something’s missing or not. To my surprise it was spick n span, right how we left it. The second day got over happily with a glimpse of one of the famous Immaculate Conception Church.
Day 3 was not that fruitful initially. I had some tension over taking an unplanned leave from office. And also visited Sri Chandreshwar Bhootnath temple on the road to Quepem 14 kms from Margao. It was nice being there until the pujari talked to us. He misbehaved with us on asking about the process of puja. Well the ride up and down the Chandranath Hill was satisfying. Green cover and fresh air abundant in oxygen.
After coming down we had a quick break at Monginis Bakery to have some patties and cakes.
Hereafter we went on to visit Sernabatim again for lunch. From there headed for Colva beach during the hottest hour of the day. My bad decision. But its okay, we make mistakes every now and then and that is what makes us human cause we learn from our mistakes. 🙂 Saw the incomplete model of the air bus.
At Colva beach I got a para sailing trip booked for us. For a change I was relieved by the tension from the morning. We had a good time going to the middle of the ocean, away from the land and getting that adrenalin rush in the thin air. Post para sailing session we had an ice cream to soothe our senses from the heat.
My partner told me the story of Dona and Paula, the two lovers on whose names this place in Goa got its’ name. Again navigation went wrong and again we missed the sunset at Dona Paula. Finally battling the huge traffic we reached home and arranged to return the rented scooter. Awesome dinner invited us to Ritz restaurant in Panjim. We ordered a lot of things, I do not even remember, but IT WAS DELICIOUS!
Talking of bikes I had chance to see this marvel while having dinner at The Ritz.
Day 4 was straight run down to Bangalore. We had packed our bags the previous night and got up at 6:30 in the morning. Left at 8 ‘O clock from the hotel. On the way towards NH4 while we were still in the city limits, we stopped by at a small shop and broke our fast with samosas and tea and oh so soft pav.
The owner was really sweet. Loaded our bike for the highway and pointed our next stop at the famous ancient Basilica of Bom Jesus church. We visited the ruins of this Church.
Quickly we hydrated ourself with water and Tang and moved on to cover up the highway till Bangalore. We took the Road through Londa, Ponda, Dharwad-Hubli bypass, Haveri, Davangere, Chitradurga, Sira, Tumkur and finally Bangalore.
While crossing the Mollem National Park the road was smooth like butter. In the middle of nowhere I saw this coconut water stall. It was good! When being asked about the road condition further, one of the men indicates by their hands kept till knee level and sarcastically told that the pits are this deep beyond this point. 😀
Crunching kilometres with and average speed of 80 to 90 kmph, we stopped at Jagadish Da Dhaba at around 2:30 pm.
The place is surprisingly huge and clean. Seating area is big enough to hold 5-7 families at a time. The food is bumper yummy. The staff was really helping when they looked at our bike and gears. Next our stop was at Genesis Retreat Resort at Davangere for loo. I swear I needed this stop the most. The constant pressure of the wind due to high speed was forcing my head backwards. I had to hold the strap of my helmet forward to keep it in position.
My partner’s riding skills became even more tough when he re-visited that exact spot at Sira where he met with an accident by a truck back in August 2014.
Resulting in our arrival time of 9 ‘O Clock in Bengaluru.
Definitely I will remember each one of these good and bad, happy and sad experiences. Ultimately your life is just a bank of experiences!
Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul. ~Author Unknown
Dedicated to ZMR and its’ rider. Stay put for another batch of experience…