Embarking on the relatively short journey from Gokarna to South Goa, a mere 120 kilometers away, I felt no rush to start early. My recent experiences in Gokarna had left me somewhat frazzled, compounded by the need to repair my bike’s seat and mirror.
Upon reaching South Goa, I settled into Monkey Mind Hostel in Margao. It was a pleasant change from my previous hostel stays. this one, offering a welcoming and home-like atmosphere. A delightful bonus was the unrestricted laundry service – a small but deeply appreciated luxury.
I reached out to @AkhilChoelo, planning ahead for my bike’s repair at Honda BigWing the next day. We decided to meet up for an evening tea, which led us to a quaint, ‘thattukada’-style eatery. There, we indulged in Beef Cutlette and Rose Omelet, the former being so delicious that I completely forgot to photograph it. The Rose Omelet, an fusion of omelet and spicy chicken curry, was a culinary revelation. Our evening was rounded off with a visit to the serene Broken Bridge Viewpoint.
The next day, my motorcycle was entrusted to Rajsree Honda Big Wing in Goa for crucial repairs, primarily an oil change and new mirrors from Bangalore. Their efficiency and quality of service were incredible. It was the best service center experience I’d ever had. For the seat repair, @AkhilChoelo recommended a renowned local upholstery shop. By evening, the seat was expertly fixed, featuring yellow stitching that matched Astrid’s color scheme.
Determined to explore South Goa, I set out for the famous Sea Cave, first grabbing a quick bun and tea for breakfast. The journey to Cupa Cave near Kalmath was long, about 72 kilometers taking two hours. Disappointingly, the final stretch to the cave was closed off, as it passed through private property and locals were unhappy with the tourist influx. Redirecting my trip, I visited Butterfly Beach and Rajbag Beach, with its striking view of the Talpon River estuary and vibrantly colored trees, reminiscent of a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ scene.
On May 3rd, @AkhilChoelo decided to show me around. Since I couldnt see the sea cave the day before, he took me to another sea cave. at Cabo De Rama Fort, we had a simple breakfast later and talked a bit as well.
The following days proved difficult due to an intense heatwave. The sweltering conditions limited my daytime activities, rendering the beach sands unbearably hot. My routine was confined to working, enjoying beer, and relishing evening street food. Realizing the heatwave was here to stay, and hearing about similar conditions in Pune, my next planned destination, I decided to alter my route. Coincidentally, Silsila and the Agastyarkudam team had scheduled a trek to Kodajadri, which I initially thought I’d miss due to my travels. However, as luck would have it, their visit coincided with my extended stay in Goa. It was a reminder that sometimes when one door closes, another opens. I chose to spend a few more days in Goa, then head to Mookambika, perfectly timing it to meet my friends.
The next day, Devine Francis, who I had met at the hostel and hailed from Bengal, decided on a trip to Cabo De Rama Fort. Eager for the adventure, we set off at 6 AM. The journey was a true Goan experience, featuring clean, winding roads amidst local scenery. Once at the fort, which was not so surprisingly empty(it was 6.30AM), we made our way down to the famous Pebble Beach. The sight of the beach was stunning, its shoreline dotted with smooth stones. We spent the morning there, talking, swimming, and soaking up the sun. We mostly talked about trains, life in West Bengal, and Devine’s maternal family roots in Kerala. As the heat of the day began to rise, we decided it was time to head back. After spending hours in the water, our appetites had grown. Just outside the fort, we stopped at the first restaurant we saw and gave in to our cravings – a dish of spicy chili beef and a cold beer. ( Okay. Dont judge me, It’s Goa. ). Also, dont drink and drive, kids. While we were eating – two MiG fighter jets engaging in a mock battle in the clear sky, a reminder of the nearby Karwar naval base.
We returned to the hostel by 11 AM. The next few days were filled with a sense of community and nostalgia, reminiscent of my hostel days. We all bonded like a big family, sharing meals, laughs, and stories. Among us was someone from Uttar Pradesh, working on a distillery project in Goa, designing a new vodka. On our last day together, he shared his creation with us – a remarkably smooth vodka.
But as with all good things, this too had to come to an end. On the 5th of May, I packed my bags. I had my final meal at Goa at a small nearby shop – a simple bun and dal that had become a comforting routine. With the keys turned on and the engine of my small but trusty 350CC roaring to life, it was time to head southwards, back in the general direction of home, after 3 long weeks.