Thursday, February 21, 2013

Go Go Goa!

I woke up early on December 14, 2012 and was ready in a flash. I had a long way to go. The conditions were not the best for driving. It was foggy, and continued to stay so for another couple of hours. I took off in these conditions hoping that the sun would be out soon. The ride till Shirval was not very comfortable. The dew on my helmet visor meant I had to stop every 15-20 minutes to wipe it clean. At Shirwal, I turned off NH-8 towards Bhor, and then to Mahad via the Varandha Ghat. Visibility was poor!

As I went up the Varandha Ghat, the sun started peeping out. Varandha Ghat offers some great views. Would be a nice place to visit in monsoons when the lakes and greenery would be complemented by mist and waterfalls!

I joined the Mumbai-Goa highway (NH-17) near Mahad. I had heard lots of tales about this being a great road to drive on, and I wasn't disappointed. The road surface if good. I enjoyed the twists and turns much more than the speed thrills on offer on straight roads. A quick stop for lunch at the famous Hotel Abhishek at Chiplun and I was back on the road.

Some snaps along the way

I had booked myself for the night at MTDC's Hotel Lishan, Kharepatan. I saw a small signboard pointing towards a kachcha road to go to the hotel. Hesitatingly I followed the road up a small hillock. Hidden behind were 4 lovely cottages! I entered through the metal gates and went in. There was no sign of life! This place seemed deserted! Suddenly out of nowhere, the caretaker appeared. He wasn't aware about my booking. After a short conversation, he entered my details in the register and allotted a room to me. I was also told that the kitchen is closed, so I would have to go to the nearest restaurant (2-3 kms away) for dinner.

As darkness descended, the place appeared all the more scary! No soul in sight for miles, dense bushes and shrubs all around, random insects hissing from beneath them, and to top it all no television signal! After a quick shower I was off for dinner. When I came back I tucked into bed reading 'The Motorcycle Diaries'

Some snaps of the place taken the next morning

The next day morning it was foggy again

Luckily in a while the fog cleared. I was soon at Sawantwadi. As I left Sawantwadi, I missed the turning towards Aronda, from where one can take a ferry to Goa. Instead I ended up on the longer land route to Arambol via Perneim. By the time I reached Archana's beautiful home it was almost noon. Neelima and Sourabh were already there. Amogh arrived later.

The next 24 hours passed quicker than normal. Catching up with each other, reminiscing about old times, gossiping about friends, cribbing about common 'enemies', midnight pictionary and lots of good food & drink! And it was already time to leave :(
In the meantime we did manage to spend some time on Arambol beach and visit the Terekol Fort.

A delicious fish curry lunch at the Thakurs was a great way to end a nice weekend get together. We thanked the Thakurs for being such wonderful hosts and dispersed towards our respective destinations for the day. Mine was just a hour's ride away - Vengurla. I left Goa with a happy heart, a content stomach and a full fuel tank! (Petrol is 27% cheaper in Goa as compared to Maharashtra!)



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