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Old 7th October 2011, 15:31   #1
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It's that time of the year again. That time when our bags are unzipped and sunned on the terrace. Clothes strewn all over the place, some stacked up and ready to be pressed. The camera battery is on charge as I breeze through a travelogue (White sand, seafood and a few curves thrown in.. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore!)that I'd penned and posted last year. I'd forgotten how to do this. And then I thought to myself, this can't be hard. It just needs a little patience.

I realized that I could improve a great deal, when it comes to writing and taking photographs. I had to be smart about it. I shouldn't make a meal of it. I knew that I needed to take more photos, but how many more, was the question. I knew that I can't base it solely on foodie reviews. I have to add more information. I had to make it captivating. Enthralling.

Now, as I look back, I've realized that I've gone an done it again! Doh!

But I guess it's alright. I personally know several foodies on Team BHP. In fact, my first official Team BHP meet was a rather quiet one, when the food that we had ordered, had arrived at the table and the dialogues disappeared. So I knew immediately that I'm not alone. I felt at home with the rest of the petrol-heads who were taking a break from burning rubber and gorging on the meat instead. If it isn't the cars, it's gotta be the food!

Anyway, this travelogue is not just about food. It's about the great time that I had with my family, driving several hundreds of kilometers on beautiful tarmac and soaking in the wonderful Sun that I've grown to love.

Goa has become my second home. We visit the State every year, because we love what it has to offer. The culture, the beaches, the laid-back way of life, and of course, the food! Every year, we stay at a different place. We've been trying to get accommodation at Club Mahindra for a few years now, and despite being members, we haven't been given a holiday at their resort. We're looking to close our membership with them and continue our membership at RGBC (Royal Goan Beach Club - Time Share), which is pretty good. But October is when the season begins. The shacks are up and running, the produce is shipped to the specified parts, and of course, the fishermen work overtime.

Oddly, even the 4 resorts that come under RGBC were packed to the brim, and we were frantically looking for a place to stay in Goa. We do have a few relatives, but we're not the kind who like to impose ourselves. We like our space. So after some inquiry and several calls later, we got ourselves two rooms at The Royal Orchid. The resort is situated off Utorda Beach, which is far less commercial when compared to the beaches up north.

We weren't looking to have an action packed holiday. We wanted to relax, to get out of the fast-paced, bustling city life that we've gotten so accustomed to over the years. We wanted a break.

The Battle:

So about a week before we set off, we had a lot of decisions to make. We had to choose between the two cars that are capable of highway runs. It would either be the Civic, or the Jazz. And there was a lot of talk on this. A list of positives and negatives were laid out for us to see. The Civic is the more powerful car and would be able to munch the miles effectively and ensure a comfortable drive, but the lack of adequate ground-clearance put us off. The Jazz had never seen the highway, apart from a short stint to Mysore and back without luggage and only two occupants (mum and dad).

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The obvious negative that kept the Civic in the fight was that the Jazz had a small boot, in comparison. Or so we thought. We were in for a real shock. A day before the drive, we took our suitcases and stuffed them into the Civic. It took about 15 minutes to squeeze, stuff and adjust the bags in the Civic's boot. After wrestling them out of the boot, we decided to pop the Jazz's boot open and see what we could do. In just 2 minutes, we had the bags neatly arranged in the boot and there was space for a few more knick-knacks too!

The Jazz 350 liter boot gobbled up our bags with ease, despite being a good 50-70 liters lesser than the Civic's, in terms of sheer volume. It's all because of the fantastically packaged and designed interior and boot of the Jazz. The designers at Honda deserve several pats on their backs. So the boot-space issue was ticked off. But the battle continued. And arguments after arguments, we decided that it would be the Jazz. It's a decision that we will never regret.

So the car was prepped, tyre-pressure checked, tanked up and ready to go. Our plan was to leave by 5 am and break our journey at Ankola/Aversa, and then proceed to Goa the next morning. Why? Well, our family deity resides at Ankola and we've always made it a point to visit the temple every year. And we decided to turn it into a holiday! A brilliant idea, I must say!

Here are some important statistics:

- Distance One-Way: roughly 650 km

- Distance covered in total: 1445 km

- Date of arrival & departure: October 1st, 2011 & October 6th, 2011.

- Route: Route: Bangalore - Nelamangala - Sira - Hiryur - Chitradurga - Davangere - Harihar - Ranibennur - Hubli - Yellapur - Ankola/Aversa - Karwar - Cancona - Margao - Utorda.

Note: I have split my text and sentences in the posts accordingly. Several photographs have their own captions. I have even written a couple of pieces that one must go through. These pieces are found in one of the several posts in the travelogue. Please do not skip these pieces and view the photographs only, as I've tried my level best to capture the essence of my holiday in words. However, there aren't enough words that can even begin to describe the experience and I'm thankful to my folks for making this holiday possible, just like all the other holidays that I've been a part of. i'd like to thank my father, whom I consider to be one of the best drivers. he has taught me well, and it is sad that age is catching up with him and his reflexes aren't up to the mark anymore. I'd also like to thank the moderators, Rush and the gang, for giving us BHPians the Assembly Line section. It's a fantastic tool that has enabled me to compile all this information and a truck-load of pictures in a clean, fast and effective manner.

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Flashback

Some photos that I'd taken on our previous drive, along with some I'd taken on this drive. Then. And now. October '10 : October '11

Then..

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And now.

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Then..

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And now.

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Then..

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And now.

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Then..

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And now.

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Then..

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And now.

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Then..

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And now.

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Then..

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And now.

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Then..

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And now.

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Then..

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And now.

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Last edited by GTO : 18th October 2011 at 14:18. Reason: Merging post no.17 with opening post as requested
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Old 7th October 2011, 16:19   #2
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Day 1:

It's 4:15 am. I'm not used to waking up this early. At this hour, on a regular day, everyone is snoring, and I'm generally in my prime state of sleep. But not today. Today is different. It's the day when we go on a long drive, and I cherish such drives quite a lot. So much so that my excitement the night before got the better of me, and I'd slept for a mere 3 hours. Now that's never a good idea, especially considering the fact that there is a 600 km drive the next day, and I'd be doing a big chunk of it.

I woke up on time, nevertheless, and got myself ready for the journey ahead. A cup of coffee is all I needed, and I was suddenly wide-eyed. I'm a big caffeine addict. It's one of my many bad habits that I've inculcated over the past few years. It's never a good thing, but we've got one life, right?

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As you can see, the bags fit perfectly. And to think we were worried! All systems GO!

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Anyway, I'm going just digressing now. So we jump into the car at 5:50 am and we're all ready. the bags are packed and loaded into the boot. And at 6:10 am, we were driving past Ulsoor Lake, and that's when I'd realized that in the commotion, I'd forgotten to take a music CD that I'd painstakingly burnt the night before. Rats!

No matter! The auxiliary port is a blessing in disguise and out comes the cable. But the radio had been tuned to radio Indigo 91.9 already, and my mother began to hum the chants and bhajans that are played till 7:00 am every morning. So the cable goes back into the dashboard and my phone back in my pocket.

The camera was out though, and our new Panasonic Lumix digicam was put to the test. And I'm quite pleased with the results.

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The Metro construction near err, Metro, didn't slow us down, thankfully!

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It was a gloomy morning. A spell of rain slowed us down a little, but not for long. These spells of rain disappear and the highway driver is then greeted by dusty and dry roads in a matter of seconds. It's weird, uncanny and well, a little funny!

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We ripped the Jazz a fair bit on our drive. It could go more. It had more juice left. But is it wise? We let our hair down a few times but hung around 90-120 km/h throughout the drive. No matter how smooth the expressways get, Indian roads are just not meant for high-speed driving, IMO. It makes more sense doing decent speeds. And I'd realized something during this drive of ours. We were overtaken by several Innovas which seemed to be doing 150 km/h+ and quite comfortably at that. They would come behind us, overtake us and disappear into the horizon in a matter of minutes. But 5 minutes later, we would catch up to them anyway. So what really, is the point in straining your brain to cope up with such speeds and concentrate so much, when you're not really gaining much. You might reach 15 minutes earlier, or even half 'n' hour earlier. But I'd rather reach my destination in a calm and relaxed state, rather than being drained and tired.

The thing is, even though we find smooth, arrow-straight roads, it isn't exactly wise to go beyond 100 km/h, even if you're the best driver in the world. There could be a surprise waiting for you, behind the shrubs on the median. A surprise in the form of a person from a nearby village or even a stray dog. You wouldn't want to be caught in a situation, especially in uncharted territory, now, would you?

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The collection of toll was orderly, systematic and the toll-booths were well designed too. The warnings as one approaches the toll-booths were clear and large enough. One must keep a few hundreds ready at all times. Try and keep some change too. It will help. Do count your change that you receive. We'd realized a few times that we weren't given the exact change every time.

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While 70% of the truckers followed lane discipline, there were many that didn't. And it can get quite annoying. They take eons to overtake each other, and sometimes, they aren't really overtaking each other either. they just 'hang-out' in whichever lane they seem to fancy. And that generally happens to be the right lane.

I noticed some truckers don't like being honked at. If you do honk, they will not budge, and will cease to entertain any thoughts of switching lanes for your convenience. i saw this with my own eyes. They know how to tickle you in the wrong places. But I must say, some of them are very very decent. Several times, my way was blocked by an idiotic autorickshaw driver in the right most lane, and after repeated honking, the truck driver moved to his extreme left (in a 2-lane road) and gave me way. i had to overtake in the middle of two lanes. The autorickshaw driver refused to budge though.

I'm considering carrying a bag of tomatoes on my next drive.

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I love this picture. The quarter-glass is quite useless, actually. But it's only as useless as you'd want it to be!

Last edited by noopster : 6th March 2012 at 18:54.
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Old 7th October 2011, 17:07   #3
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About 200 kilometers into our drive, we were greeted by these wonderful wind-mills that make the drive oh-so-very picturesque. The sunlight reflects off it and thus makes it very hard to capture on film. Perhaps a professional DSLR would have done a better job. But it doesn't matter. I think the roads look fabulous.

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And shortly after, our blue Jazz found some company:

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We were accompanied by our Jazz's evil twin! Yes, the cars were together for a good 50 kilometers, before the evil twin (that I've nicknamed) 'Venom' took to it's heels and disappeared into the horizon.

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What you see here is a toll-plaza that hasn't been pressed into service yet. Construction is complete, though. The GQ is almost done, by the way. We had 400 km of beautiful straight and smooth tarmac that ensured a comfortable and relaxed drive. We were very pleased with the roads this time. They were nothing short of beautiful. Kudos to the people behind it!

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At this point, we were getting closer to Davangere (the pictures above are of us entering the town), and the hot debate in the car was our pit-stop destination. There were talks of a non-stop drive till lunch. Mother had packed some sandwiches to ensure we aren't famished, so there were talks of that being brought out. What was strictly struck off the list was Davangere Benne Dose. We'd been there too many times, and my parents were not too keen on it. It had become a sort of a ritual with us, to stop at 10:30 and have a bite to eat at the famed Old Sagar Benne Dose house.

Pit Stop:

So the debate continued. We spoke about stopping at a Kamat near by. We talked about stopping by the side of the road and eating the chutney sandwiches. And the debate didn't seem to stop, even after we parked the car and walked into Old Sagar. We ordered two Kali Dosas and two Benne Dosas. The food hasn't changed. It's still absolutely brilliant.

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The Food Card:

- Taste Quotient: 10/10

- Service: Quick. But it can never be quick enough!

- Ambiance: Does it really matter?

- Price: Again, does it?

- VFM: Couldn't be more!


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As you can see from the photographs above, the GQ is not 100% complete just yet. The finishing touches need to be applied. But it won't take too long. The progress and development I've seen during the drive is great. It's good to see India moving forward.

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The Kamat that we never went to.

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Last edited by suhaas307 : 8th October 2011 at 19:42.
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Old 7th October 2011, 18:15   #4
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The roads, as I've mentioned before, are more or less done. Except for the markings and a few touches. The 'Take-Diversion' boards still hadn't been removed. A little misleading, I must add.

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At this point, we took a diversion and went off the GQ at Hubli and onto the State Highway towards Ankola/Aversa. It's a 250 km drive from here to Goa, and a little less than 200 to Ankola/Aversa. The roads were smooth and some of the curves were fast. I'd taken the wheel a little after Davangere and was pleasantly surprised by the road condition that seemed to be great throughout. We tanked up just after the diversion and followed the road. The drive, hereon, was absolutely beautiful.

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It was around 12:30 when we decided to stop and take a little break. I took this opportunity to take a few photographs of our car and stretch my legs a bit. The lush greenery around the State-Highway is wonderful. It really does take your breath away, and it's very hard to keep your eyes on the road. Our car took a breather too, by the side of the road, as I walked around and admired her. She was more than prepared for this photo-shoot, with those beautiful shoes and that lovely complexion. I love my car. I love everything about her.

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The road condition, for the most part, was superb. Smooth, flat and wide enough, apart from a few surprises here and there (in the form of pot-holes, craters, etc) but in a 500 km stretch, it's great to see just a handful of pot-holes. However, towards the end, right before driving into the costal road that goes through Ankola/Aversa is a 20 km stretch that's full of undulations. This is the Hubli-Ankola stretch. It's a great stretch. Very picturesque, very scenic, but it gets patchy and rough towards the end. It's the World Bank road that I'm talking about. It slowed us down a bit, but it was great fun pushing her around the curves and simultaneously avoiding the patchy bits. Parts of the Ghat-section too, were not really up to the mark.

What really surprised us is how easily our Jazz coped with the thrashing, and despite being loaded with 4 adults and luggage, she did not scrape her underbelly even once! she climbed and negotiated every speed-breaker with aplomb! Our Civic, in comparison, scrapeed almost every medium-large speed breaker we'd come across during our previous drives. There was a point where we had to literally get out of the car for it to negotiate it without hitting it, but the Jazz tackled the roads brilliantly. As we drove on, we realized that it was a brilliant decision to pick the Jazz over the Civic.

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The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000154.jpg

Time for a short little review on our wonderful little car.

The Jazz has amazed us. It had never seen highways before, apart from a short stint to Mysore and back, without luggage and just two occupants (mum and dad), so we were pleasantly surprised by its ability. Not only did it swallow all our bags and luggage, it ensured that we were comfortable throughout our journey. The 1.2 iVtec mill is a pretty good engine, but a tad small for the highway. It did feel a bit sluggish through the gears, but once we got it moving, it was fine, and even quite fast. 100 km/h was dealt with easily. Trying to get past 120 km/h is a bit of a struggle though, especially with four adults and luggage. The City's 1.5 iVtec mill would have been perfect for this car, IMO.

The ride is a bit harsh. The little undulations weren't really filtered and were felt in the cabin. Pot-holes and uneven surfaces resulted in loud thuds at high speeds, and even unsettled the car a few times. It did not feel very composed at speeds above 130-140 km/h. It was fine up till 110 km/h. Even though uneven surfaces unsettle the car at high speeds, it does inspire some sort of confidence, and allows you to regain balance and composure, which is a good thing. Keep it below 100 km/h and the car feels great on any surface.

The handling is brilliant, IMO. I had the opportunity to test it around the curves as we approached the ghat sections, and the drive is very rewarding. The steering is very communicative around the bends, and the gearbox feels great to operate, as you work your way through the cogs. The pedals have great feel, and the brakes are very reassuring. All it needs is more power, and it would be fantastic around corners. It's great fun to drive. It may not be in the league of the VW Polo or the Fiat Punto, but it makes up for it with its sorted gearbox (in comparison to the Punto). I was left impressed, to say the least. I did not expect it to be a good handler at all. There is a fair bit of body-roll, but nothing you can't control. It understeers too, a wee bit, but lift off the throttle and a dab on the brakes should correct that. But carrying in too much speed around the corners many not be the best idea, unless you're on a race-track.

This car needs a few modifications to perform better. The 175 section MRFs simply don't do justice to the car's dynamic ability at all. And more power would have been great. If you ever do buy a Jazz, up-size to 195 section tyres, and get a K&N conical+cold-air-intake kit installed straight away. These are a must, IMO.

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On a drive like this, one must ensure that the air-conditioner is in working condition and cools well enough. If not, well, you're going to be in big trouble. It can get very hot as you drive through the NH & SH. There are no trees on the GQ expressway, so in a car like the Jazz that has a very large green-house, you're bound to get cooked. Ensure that you've got adequate tints too. The A/C in the Jazz is quite effective. It takes about 10 minutes or so to cool the entire cabin. One must keep in mind that the car's cabin is huge, and is in the same league as that of larger sedans that are a few segments higher. So The A/C has that much more work to do, and it did a pretty good job.

The bottle/cup holders that are strategically placed in front of the side A/C vents helped keep the water cool, but with bottles blocking the vents, it would take a little longer to cool effectively. For a hatch as big as the Jazz, A/C vents for the rear passengers would have helped. The occupants at the back seat did complain a few times, that the back-seat isn't getting enough air. It does take a little while for the rear passengers to feel comfortable, especially when it gets hot outside the cabin.

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The Gods were by our side, and on our dashboard, watching our every move.

And our next move was a stop for another quick bite. We love eating, don't we?

Pit Stop:

We stopped for a quick bite 10 km before Aversa/Ankola, and it had to be a Kamat Upchaar.

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The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000164.jpg

We'd ordered a few plates of 'Khotos'. Khotos are essentially idlis wrapped and cooked (steamed) in jack-fruit leaves. The flavour of the leaf finds its way into the Khoto and tastes wonderful, especially with some good chutney. We had also ordered a couple of plates of Bubus Roti, which is a kind of hot bun that is a delicacy in South India. Washed it all down with a cup of hot filter coffee and proceeded to Ankola/Aversa, which is only 10 km from there.

The Food Card:

- Taste Quotient: 9/10 ah what the heck, I'll give it 10/10!

- Service: Bloody quick!

- Ambiance: Airy, roomy, and most importantly, clean.

- Price: Reasonable

- VFM: Most certainly! Won't be more than 400 for four, all inclusive!

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000165.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000166.jpg

The picture above is of the Temple premises. We reached our beautiful Katayani Baneshwar temple at 3:15 pm. There are quarters available for pilgrims who wish to stay the night, and we opted for two of them. They are very basic. Two beds, a decent bathroom/toilet, a few plug-points and a fan that has a mind of its own. It's no great shakes, but it's alright for a night.

So we freshened up and spent the evening in the temple premises. I walked around and soaked in the powerful atmosphere and the distant chants. Our dinner was at the temple too, and it was, hold your breath, Rs. 5 per head! What you got was a large helping of rice and rasam and to go with it, some sides and pickle. Very homely and very filling. We were pretty tired, but not as much as the last time we'd done the drive, surprisingly. We called it a night at 10:30 pm.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 8th October 2011 at 19:41.
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Old 7th October 2011, 19:59   #5
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Day 2:

Our day started at 8:30 am. Breakfast was on our minds and we took a short stroll from the quarters to the mess in the temple premises. The morning Sun beamed onto our Jazz as she glistened in the bright rays, despite the muck around her shoes and skirts. She needed a wash, but she wasn't priority, for now.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000167.jpg

We had a quick shower and changed into fine ethnic wear. The camera was charged and ready for another day of snapping. I could feel the difference in weather as I walked barefoot towards the temple. The difference was felt, even more so, at night. The fan was something one can do without in a city like Bangalore. But not here. Not in Ankola, not in Karwar, and definitely not in Goa. It gets very, very hot.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000176.jpg

But the heat wasn't an issue once we walked into the temple. It was cool. Relatively cooler than outside. But it was still warm. the chants began and the Aarti commenced, shortly after. At 12 pm, we packed our bags and loaded the car. We were off to Karwar.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000177.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000178.jpg

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The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000182.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000184.jpg

Notice the beautiful green tree-arch that the bus is driving through, above. Nature at its best!

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Karwar greeted us with wonderful curves that lead us into the town, shortly accompanied by horrible roads. The main Karwar stretch is absolutely horrible. Very very patchy and rough. You will be rattled if you drive though at 40 km/h. It's very irritating. However, the town isn't bad. The roads are marked well and the traffic is disciplined. Of course, it's a small town so traffic is never a problem.

Pit Stop:

We stopped at Amrut for lunch. It is the most famous restaurant in Karwar. Very well known for its seafood.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000206.jpg

We had ordered a portion of Red-Snapper Rava Fry that we shared among ourselves. A portion of Masala Prawns was ordered as well. I'd ordered a portion of King Fish Curry & Rice while my folks ordered a portion of Pomfret Curry Rice. The Curries were great along with the rice, but the Snapper Fry was not up to the mark. The Pomfret and the King Fish were fresh and very tasty. I'm not a huge fan of sea-food, but I like Amrut's dishes.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000207.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000208.jpg

The Food Card:

- Taste Quotient: 8/10

- Service: A tad above average. Could be better. they took quite a lot time to get our orders.

- Ambiance: It's alright. Can't expect the moon. It works. There is scope for improvement, though. 6/10.

- Price: Some dishes are very cheap, while others are very pricey. Seafood is subject to high prices and availability, of course. prices have gone up, since the last time we paid a visit.

- VFM: Good. 7/10.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 8th October 2011 at 19:40.
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Old 7th October 2011, 21:19   #6
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Default Re: The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!

Karwar is a beautiful town. We happened to drive into it during its Sunday street-market. The streets were bustling with activity. People from all over the town, and even nearby towns were at the coastal city for the day. Almost everything is on offer at these markets. You had the freshest fish, the best fruits and vegetables, pulses and grains, the lot! Little tents were put up on every street and the produce and catch were laid out on display for all to see, pick, choose and buy.

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The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000205.jpg

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The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000210.jpg

The traders who sell their produce and catch are generally decked up, and look their best on the market day. Jewelry and expensive sarees are worn by the women, while the men dawn silk dhotis. The market is really an occasion for people in Karwar. It is taken very seriously and has been happening for decades now. A must visit for those who love cooking and appreciate culture.

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The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000225.jpg

We didn't have to drive long to reach the Karnataka border. The moment we drove into Goa, the difference in the roads was apparent. The quality of material used in laying the roads is much better, IMO. The roads are smooth, flat and don't have any undulations or pot-holes. I enjoyed driving on these roads. The curves were nice and were well marked.

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The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000228.jpg

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We reached our resort later in the afternoon. We got our key-cards and went straight to our rooms and decided to get some rest. The rooms were lovely and very impressive. We walked around the resort and explored it a little. I shall post pictures of the same a little later.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 8th October 2011 at 23:25.
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It's time for the Juke Box update. Through the drive, there was a tussle for the auxiliary cable. My folks got to play some of their music, and so did my sister, but I dominated the stereo with my phone packed with over 1000 tracks. I played some of the best driving tracks, I'd like to believe. Here is a little something I've compiled for the audiophiles.

For those who haven't listened to some of these tracks, I highly recommend you tune in to them, especially on a long drive.

Porcupine Tree:

- .3
- Arriving Somewhere But Not Here
- Sound Of Muzak
- Trains
- Blackest Eyes
- Even Less
- Every Home Is Wired
- Hatesong
- Lazarus
- Mellotron Scratch
- Nine Cats
- Normal
- Open car
- Piano Lessons
- Radioactive toy
- Russia On Ice
- Sentimental
- Start Of Something Beautiful

Pink Floyd:

- Echoes
- High Hopes
- Dogs
- Brain Damage
- Breathe
- Careful With That Axe Eugene
- Comfortably Numb
- Hey You
- Learning To Fly
- Lost For Words
- Money
- Shine On You Crazy Diamond
- The Great Gig In The Sky
- Time
- Us And Them
- Wearing The Inside Out
- Wish You Were Here

Led Zeppelin

- Tangerine
- Whole Lotta Love
- No Quarter
- Dazed And Confused
- Stairway To Heaven
- Black Dog
- Dyer Maker
- Fool In The Rain
- Kashmir
- When The Levee Breaks

Buckethead - The entire 'A Real Diamond In The Rough' album. Instrumental progressive rock that consists of wonderful guitar melodies. Highly recommended*

We played some Phil Collins, Eagles, The Beatles, Dire Straits, The Doors, John Mayer, Peter Paul & Mary, Harry Belafonte, Jack Johnson, John Butler, Supertramp, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Queen, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Santana, Scorpions, Simon & Garfunkel, Sting & The Police, etc.

While in Goa, it was the radio that kept us entertained during our short drives around the State.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 8th October 2011 at 23:26.
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Default Re: The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!

Day 3:

I woke up pretty late the next morning. Our stay at The Royal Orchid is a bed-&-breakfast arrangement, so I dragged my sorry self to the dining deck that overlooks the resort, and was greeted by a fantastic view that is garnished by some pretty women and cherry-ed by the ocean kissing the horizon in the distance. As I gazed at the sky, I entertained thoughts of walking barefoot on the lovely white sandy beach in the distance, and even thought of talking a quick dip into the ocean, and then a little nudge brought me back to reality. A little nudge from the steward on the deck who asked me if I would like milk in my coffee. I said, "No". As I sipped my coffee, I realized that it was very much reality the whole time, and I wasn't dreaming. But it felt like a dream. Goa does that to you. You tend to wander off and then think to yourself, "Is it really a dream? Because I'm here, right now. But it sure does feel like a dream!"

Goa is a great place to party and have a good time. People from all walks of life take time off from their busy schedules and drive/ride/fly/chug their way to Goa, and end up having such a good time, that they're generally even more tired than before, and would require another holiday after a visit to Goa! But Goa is also a great place to sit, relax and introspect, as you pull onto a cigarette that you carelessly ash onto the floor, despite the presence of a fresh and unused ashtray on the wooden table. Goa takes you to a different World. A World where people are happy, and where there is peace and tranquility. It makes you forget the maddening crowd back in the city that you've conveniently and smartly left behind. It gives you a sense of calmness that only a few places can give. It's the only place in the world where the hustle and bustle of partying clubbing coexists seamlessly with a calm and serene environment.

I'm not the partying kind of guy. I prefer sitting with a close bunch of friends, or family, sipping on my drink, listening to some good music, and watching time fly. Jokes. Banter. A little slapstick humor. Some stand-up by a witty friend. Some subtle stuff. I'd like to throw the occasional strumming of a guitar, right in there. On the beach, or by the firewood. Or on the beach, by the firewood. Or in the woods, by a campfire and tent. I'm a man of simple taste. Good music, good food, pretty women, and cars are what make my world a better place. Of course, no woman can ever come in between me and my car. Ever.

And I continue to digress. Again. Sorry about that. I tend to wander off easily. Call it the 'Goa' effect!

Anyway, here is a picture of the resort from the dining-deck. It's quite a view. No brush or pallet, lens or paint, will ever be able to replicate the beauty of this view. Much like several others.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000250.jpg

So the plan for the day was to visit one of our favourite restaurants in Goa, Martin's Corner.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000239.jpg

Martin's Corner is one of the most famous restaurants in Goa and is known for the excellent crab and seafood in general. The King Crab dishes get some serious brownie points from several regulars, and our very own Cricket Maestro Sachin Tendulkar is one of them. I'd mentioned it in my previous travelogue, and I shall mention it again. Sachin loves this place. It's arguably his favourite restaurant in India, apart from his own, of course! He loves it so much that he purchased property right next door, and whenever he visits Goa, he stays there and makes it a point to indulge in Martin's King Crab.

This time, however, we opted not to have the Crab, and decided to order some mainstream dishes. It would be much too much. I'm not a fan of crab, really. Butter Garlic Prawns, Shrimp stuffed in papadams - deep-fried of course, and King Fish cooked in Goan Masala were the starters. These dishes go very well with lager. Nothing more on that. For our main-course, we ordered a portion of authentic Goan Chicken Cafreal, a portion of steamed rice, a portion of Dal, and Naan to go with it, and authentic Goan bread that goes with the Cafreal. It was absolutely mouth watering, and I'm salivating, again, by just looking at the pictures I'd taken!

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000240.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000241.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000242.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000243.jpg

Dessert was great too. We ordered a few plates of Caramel Pudding that we shared among ourselves. We were too stuffed to have one each. I'm not the biggest dessert fan out there. I love food with spice. A few spoons of sweet go well at the end, after a heavy helping of savory.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000245.jpg

The Food Card:

- Taste Quotient: 10/10 Don't forget to order the bread to go with the Cafreal. You will not regret it!

- Ambiance: 9/10 Gives you a great experience. Everything is on display for all to see, including the best catch of the day, and the deserts too!

- Service: 8/10 Good service. If it gets crowded, and it is bound to, your food will still come pretty much on time.

- Price: 8/10 It is relatively pricey, but..

- VFM: 10/10 It is worth every rupee, without doubt. You won't feel too bad about spending much. And Oddly, the food seems to get better with every visit!

----------------------

So after that fantastic meal at Martin's, we jumped into the car and were on our way back to the resort. Betalbatim is not far from Utorda, and it's a 20 minute drive back to our resort. The roads in Goa are clean and a little windy. It is a little dangerous, especially if you aren't familiar with the roads and the route. Going too fast can prove to be disastrous, so I recommend those behind the wheel to stick to 3rd gear and coast along. Even if you frequent Goa from time to time, you aren't a local and speeding will only land you into trouble.

Watch out for errant taxi-drivers. They tend to zip around pretty fast and they seem to know the roads inside out. Also, watch out for two-wheelers. they aren't as bad as the mosquitoes that cut across lanes in Bangalore, but that's also because the traffic isn't too heavy. The Two-wheelers in Goa can get a little too close for comfort. one can argue and say that they're used to it, but seriously, why do they have to do it? I mean, Goa is such a peaceful and laid-back place, why would you want to rush yourself and get into a tizzy.

The foreigners on their rented bikes don't bother you generally. When you see an Enfield or one of those little gear-less bikes they call The Activa, you know you're in Goa. That is of course, when you drive in for the first time.

Anyway, we arrived at the resort a short while later and swiped our key-cards, opened our room doors, and were a bit shocked to find this:

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The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000248.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000249.jpg

The staff at The Royal Orchid ensured that our stay was a comfortable one, and they went to great lengths to do just that. The bathroom towels were skilfully folded and arranged in order to achieve stunning shapes and figures. We were pleasantly surprised and it lifted our spirits higher, not that it wasn't high enough, after that fantastic meal at Martin's.

My sister, in particular, was thrilled by the figures that the staff had created for us. My folks nodded in agreement and retired to their rooms.

The rest of the day was spent exploring the resort and lazing by the pool-side, gazing at the ever-so-slightly appearing stars in the dark and expansive blue night sky. More time to ponder and immerse ourselves in the years gone by. The life we've lead so far. The idea of us being inconsequential and insignificant in this vast Universe. The times when we cried, and the times when we laughed. The times when we were given a dressing-down for our mistakes. And the times when we were given a few pats on our backs. And then I felt the pats again, and that's when I snapped back to reality.

Another steward asking me if my stay is comfortable and if I needed anything. For a second, I knew what the Maharajas felt like, back in the day. A pot for a belly after a heavy meal, droopy eyes, and the ability to escape from reality when you're not ruling your kingdom.

It isn't dusk anymore. Time flies when you're on a holiday.

Dinner isn't really quite the affair that lunch is, with our family. My folks prefer to munch on something light before going to bed, so that leaves my sister and I in a bit of a soup. We don't know what to order and where from either. Our dinners were from the resort's restaurant and it was something light and enough. Fish 'n' Chips, rice, noodles, the usual boring fare is what we generally order for dinner.

After the Fish 'n' Chips (it was average, I've had much, much better), I went back to the room, slid open the balcony door, put my feet up, and shut my eyes, nearly. Time to escape again. I immersed myself in the wonderful sounds of the night. The crickets and the frogs giving the night its music, and the light breeze that I felt time and again, running through my hair. The obvious humidity. And the frogs, ever so silently croaking. Did I mention that already?

Last edited by suhaas307 : 8th October 2011 at 23:51.
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Default Re: The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!

Day 4:

It's Just Another Day In Paradise.

One of my all-time-favourite Phil Collins tracks. The man is a musical genius. And the song couldn't be more apt for the moment. It was being played on the radio as we headed to the capital city of Goa, Panjim. Now Panjim is a typical Goan town. It is a lot more crowded that the other towns in the State. But it's a beautiful town with a wonderful road-network. The road I'm talking about is the lovely strip of well marked black tarmac that runs along the banks of the Mandovi river. The trees that form a makeshift canopy over this road provides much relief to the commuters who shuttle often on this stretch. The road curves ever so slightly, several times on this stretch. It's a real beauty. And it's sprinkled with some nice touches like colourful benches that are fixed on to the well-laid pavements. There are pavements in Panjim! I don't remember the last time I saw a pavement in Bangalore.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000246.jpg

And the Municipal Authorities try their level best to keep the entire State spic and span. Every vicinity and area has a recycling station where the waste is disposed off quite well and in a systematic and orderly fashion. It's great to see the authorities taking such initiatives in order to improve the quality of life in the State. The other State Governments must take a leaf from Goa's management. Yes, I'm sure they aren't angels and they have quite a lot of baggage, what with the 2G scam, illegal-mining allegations and land acquisition issues. But the public's money isn't being squandered off on International (bureaucratic) family-holidays and other things.

Anyway, let's not dwell on such things at the moment.

So the plan for the day was to visit one of Panjim's most talked about restaurants, Mum's Kitchen. And after that, make a quick stop at Wendell Rodricks. It's a fashion boutique, for the uninformed. I fall under that category too, and I expect most members here to not know about this. So after the boutique visit, we'd planned on visiting relatives in the city. They stay in an apartment that's off the Panjim beach, that's just walking distance from the boutique and Mum's Kitchen! So the plan was a smart one.

Here is a collection of photographs that I'd taken while on our way to Panjim. The second picture though, was taken by the pool in our resort, just before leaving for Panjim.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000252.jpg

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So Mum's Kitchen is one of Goa's most popular restaurants, just like Martin's. There are several regulars who swear by this place. It's been around for a while, and what sets it apart from the rest of the restaurants, apart from the horrendously expensive bill that might give you a mild heart-attack (and the extremely rich chicken dish that will help the attack on its way!), is the Portuguese twist to the food on offer. And it's an authentic Portuguese flavour that is very rare and hard for the other restaurants to replicate. The closest thing to this, would be to visit an Anglo-Portuguese household in the back-alleys of Old Goa.

We'd ordered a portion of Tiger Prawns in butter-garlic sauce, a plate of rava-fried King-Fish, a portion of Chicken Xacuti, a bowl of red-rice and authentic Goan breads to go with it, and two portions of the fantastic Chicken Portuguese Connection. A small portion of pickle and masala-mix papadams were served as well. The Xacuti and the Portuguese Connection are dishes that sends you on the next flight to Portugal. They're that good!

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000264.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000265.jpg

The Chicken Xacuti is a kind of curry that you'd find being made at most Portuguese households in India. There is a hint of Indian-ness to it, and more than a hint of Portuguese in it, as you clamp onto the juicy and tender chicken meat and have a spoonful of rice mixed with the lovely curry. there seemed to be some coconut in it, and some subtle spices that tingle the pallet. It's brilliant!

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000266.jpg

The Chicken Portuguese Connection is a dish one could eat every day. But be warned. It's very heavy and very rich. You're served two chicken-breasts that are moist and fresh on the inside, and have a scrumptious layer of fried batter that is wrapped around it on the outside. They are placed on a layer of creamy white sauce, and is served with a small portion of mashed-potatoes. And as you dig into the chicken, the breast, as we'd discovered, is stuffed with even more fat. Butter. Cheese. The works!

The only dampener at Mum's Kitchen is the exorbitant prices. There is almost no dish that is less than 400 rupees. The Chicken Portuguese Connection is a whooping 550 rupees. A meal for four will set you back by Rs. 4000, if not more. We hadn't ordered any starters or beverages, and the bill was close to 3000, so you do the math!

The Food Card:

- Taste Quotient: 9.5/10 Nothing beats it in terms of taste!

- Ambiance: 9/10 great place on the inside. gives you a very Portuguese feel, with all the wooden cutlery on display and the flowers and the lovely colours. It's a cozy place to enjoy a good meal.

- Service: 7/10 Can be better. We had waited quite a long time for our food to arrive. there was a family that had come in 15 minutes after us, and 15 minutes later, we noticed that the food that they had ordered had arrived. Yes, we know it's rude to look! Sue us!

- Price: Exorbitant to say the least. I never remember Mum's Kitchen being so expensive. Everything has gone up by 250 rupees!

- VFM: Most certainly NOT! But it's worth a try, definitely! Especially that awesome Chicken Portuguese Connection.

----------------------------------------

After that relatively heavy meal, we headed to Fashion Botique Wendell Rodricks. It happens to be 2 minutes from Mum's Kitchen and our relatives' apartment, which makes it very convenient for us. I was almost instantly bored the moment I walked into the boutique. Nothing was less than Rs. 2000, to begin with, and oddly, everything looked the same. Don't get me wrong, my sense of fashion isn't bad, i'd like to believe. I guess it's got to do with the flavour of the season. There were a few nice looking white linen shirts and half-kurtas, but nothing exciting in the men's section. I guess it's a woman thing!

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000267.jpg

After that, we drove for a mere 5 minutes and found ourselves at our relatives' apartment building. Our relatives at Goa are very hospitable, and were very upset that we chose to dine at Mum's kitchen instead of stopping by for lunch at their place. They insisted that the next time we come to Goa, we ought to stay with them. they made us feel at home instantly. We spent a few hours at their place, laughing, talking and generally catching up. It was great to see them after a year.

As day turned to dusk, we jumped into our car and arrived at the resort 45 minutes later. The rest of the evening and night was spent chilling with the folks. A day well spent. A good meal, good people, good fun!

And yet again, we were pleasantly surprised by the Royal Orchid's staff's skill in towel-origami.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000269.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000271.jpg

Look closely and you'll see that they've improvised by using my mobile-phone charging cable in the first picture! Brilliance! Also notice the extensive use of rose petals and other flowers, not to mention the balloons! The whole thing looked so good that I almost decided not to sleep on the bed that night, and nearly called the reception for a spare mattress that would be spread on the floor!

Last edited by suhaas307 : 9th October 2011 at 15:01.
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Old 9th October 2011, 15:08   #10
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Default Re: The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!

Day 5:

The days seem to just fly by, and day 5 was our last day at The Royal Orchid. We would be leaving the next morning. I did not want to leave the place. No. I don't mind going somewhere else, but somewhere else in Goa.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000272.jpg

Anyway, we woke up late and lazed around as usual. We've been all around Goa over the past 10 years and we've done our share of partying and sight-seeing. So we're done with that whole shebang. We'd rather chill at one place now. And that's exactly our plan.

So the plan for the day was to laze around the entire morning and get ready to leave the resort at 1:30 pm for, you guessed it, lunch! We were mighty impressed when we had been to this place the last time round, and it did not disappoint us this time either. The place is called Zeebop By The Sea, and is located on the white sandy Utorda beach. Seafood is the specialty, obviously. At 1.30 pm, we met up by the pool-side after a warm shower, and made our way to the restaurant on foot. It's a 2 minute walk from the resort and that's when I spotted this red-hot-little number in the parking lot.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000273.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000278.jpg

It's a Mercedes Benz SLK 350, and it looked gorgeous! I did not like it when I'd first seen it in the Top Gear India magazine. I thought it looked like a poorly executed interpretation of the class-act that the Mercedes SLS AMG is. I was so wrong. The SLK looks taut, muscular and purposeful. The metal-folding roof should give it a dash of practicality, especially in Goa, where sunny days can turn into gloomy days in a matter of minutes. You cannot call this 'The hair-dresser's car', or a 'girl's' car anymore. A man would be pretty happy seen driving it, and wouldn't really get a complex. So I walked around it, and soaked in the fine lines and that lovely metal-glass roof. And at that point, hunger got the better of me and I walked over to the table where my folks were seated. And then I got up again. this time, I wanted a few photographs of this stunning restaurant.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000281.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000282.jpg

Zeebob isn't a restaurant where you order quickly, eat and leave. It's a restaurant where you sit, relax and soak in the atmosphere. Take a few bites of the food on the table, sip the drink a little, look up and watch the children play in the white sand, whip out the camera and snap the distant fisherman on the boat in the Arabian Sea. The same fisherman who brings you these:

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000283.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000284.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000294.jpg

As you make your way into the restaurant and find a table for yourself, you can ask the waiter to show you the catch of the day. And in a matter of minutes, there will be more than just one platter sitting on your table. Two platters full of the best looking fish from the sea. The variety on offer, when it comes to seafood, is extraordinary. You get everything here, right from shrimps, prawns and crabs to oysters, caviar and squid! And it's all there for you to see! I'm not really an adventurous foodie, so I wouldn't want to try oysters and squid (actually, maybe I would, I don't know! :P).

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000285.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000291.jpg

We'd ordered a portion of butter-garlic prawns (our folks staple), crab-meat stuffed in papadams, Pomfret cooked in traditional Goan masala and potato-wedges as accompaniments, and a massive King Crab cooked in Goan curry along with a bowl of rice. We've taken a liking to Goan Bread, so we always make it a point to order a portion of the same. The bread has a distinct flavour and is really comes into its own when you want to polish off the masala on the plates and the curries in the bowls!

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000292.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000293.jpg

I did not enjoy the crab-curry that much. It was alright. Like I said, I'm not quite a seafood person. I like my red-meat. That said, the crab was actually not bad at all, and the curry was pretty good. My folks enjoyed it a lot. They polished it completely and once it was over, they sat back and looked at the plate of bones and shells, looking pretty pleased with themselves! It's quite an accomplishment to finish that huge bowl of King Crab. The menu came back to the table and dessert was on the cards. So we ordered two cups of Kulfi.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000301.jpg

Now the Kulfi, I absolutely devoured! It was superb! Not only was it nice and cold, you get the flavour of the earthen pot that it's set in. This has got to be one of the best Kulfis I'd ever had. It goes right up there in my top desserts list!

The Food Card:

- Taste Quotient: 8/10 great food!

- Ambiance: 10000/10. There is no better feeling than sitting on the beach, digging your feet into the sand and watching the boats sail in the sea as you dive into great food and the waves hitting the shore is always the default soundtrack, on the beach. God makes great music, but we make great food!

- Service: 9/10 Great service. We had nothing to complain about.

- Price: Reasonable, and depends on what you order. Some dishes are as cheap as 100 bucks, and the King Crab goes up to 2000 bucks a pop.

- VFM: Definitely, and worth a visit, at least once!

------------------------

So we headed back to the resort and we were in for another surprise as we walked into my room!

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000305.jpg

It was a crocodile this time round. And this was the most impressive shape that they'd created over the last few days! Super stuff! No matter how dull, unhappy or irritated you are, you're mood will be lifted the moment you set your eyes on these things! This time, they left a little card by the side of the croc. It was a feedback card, and our ticks were reserved for the boxes on the business end of it! And why shouldn't it? We've had such a great time at the resort Our stay was made interesting and exciting by the staff. Great going!

So I decided to take a couple of pictures of the resort. Some interesting sights and sounds of the place. Here goes:

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000302.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000303.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000304.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000306.jpg

The Sunset is quite a sight at the resort. The setting Sun's rays fall on the immaculate structures and the systematically arranged palm trees in the lush and clean environment. It looks absolutely gorgeous, and watching this for the fourth time over the four days that we stayed at The Royal Orchid will make me miss Goa even more.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000307.jpg

And the bright blue sky slowly got darker and darker as the hours passed by. There is time to introspect one last time, right? Wrong. There was a very very exciting CLT20 cricket match featuring RCB and SARB that evening that I simply couldn't miss. Yes, I know, it's criminal to be cooped up in a hotel-room and watching Cricket for the most part of the evening, when there are so many more interesting things happening in and around Goa. But we decided to call it a day. We needed to be up bright and early the next morning. Another long drive beckoned.

Last edited by suhaas307 : 9th October 2011 at 22:57.
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Old 9th October 2011, 16:49   #11
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Default Re: The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!

Day 6:

We woke up the next day at 6:00 am. *face-palm*

We got ready quickly and made our way to the breakfast deck, where the staff had everything ready for us! We were the first ones to get to the breakfast buffet. The spread made my mouth water. I needed to tank up before the long drive. A cheese omelet, a doughnut, some bread, and a couple of cups of coffee later, we were ready to hit the road.

And hit the road we did!

It was a bright and sunny morning, as we headed out of the resort, luggage in the boot, et al. We bid adieu to a beautiful place. And with the tarmac calling, we got a move on.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000314.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000315.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000316.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000318.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000320.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000324.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000328.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000330.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000331.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000332.jpg

It didn't take us too long to get to the Karnataka/Goa border. The police out-post is pretty strict here, and generally stop suspicious vehicles, but we didn't have to worry really.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000333.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000334.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000335.jpg

But it didn't take too much distance to cover before the bad patches and undulations began to creep up. Ah, I'm going to miss the beautiful roads in Goa.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000336.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000337.jpg

But one thing about the Sh and NH in the State of Karnataka is that you'd be rewarded with fantastic views and scenic spots as you drive through the hills. The Western Ghat is a thing of beauty. The roads may be bad, but that will get you to slow down, and appreciate the beauty of the countryside as you slow down to tackle those nasty pot-holes, instead of clipping as you see the scenery blurs around you in a jiffy. The pot-holes didn't stop some drivers from pushing their cars though. there was this one GA registered Maruti Versa, in particular, that got so close to our car while we were overtaking another car in front of us. He just breezed past us casually and nearly took out our right ORVM in the process, as he bobbed in and out of the pot-holes around the faster corners around the Ghats.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000340.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000341.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000342.jpg

We decided to take a 5 minute break about 30 km after Ankola. Nothing like the sound of the birds chirping and the distant rumble of a car's tyre being put through its paces as you relieve yourself. I took this opportunity to take a few pictures of the Jazz.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000343.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000344.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000345.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000346.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000347.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000348.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000349.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000350.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000351.jpg

The roads were fairly okay up till this point. But the authorities seem to have tried and patch the bad bits up. A little annoying when you go over them at speed. Especially in the Jazz. Honda owners will know what I'm talking about.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000352.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000353.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000354.jpg

Last edited by suhaas307 : 9th October 2011 at 23:20.
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Old 9th October 2011, 17:04   #12
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Default Re: The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!

And this is when the roads got even more uneven, patchy and quite rough! The fillings have not really solved the problem. For a completely smooth ride, you need a road with an even surface. But hey, at least they've tried. Is that the right attitude?

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000359.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000360.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000362.jpg

I caught this truck by the side of the road. The shunt doesn't look good. I'd noticed that there were serious undulations on the road as we drove further up. Could it be that the truck was performing an overtaking maneuver and while trying to avoid an oncoming vehicle, and the driver of the truck braked hard, swerved, and the undulations unsettled it? It's quite possible. Because the unevenness was quite serious, and these trucks generally carry a very heavy load. It's easy to unsettle something like this, even with those massive tyres.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000364.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000365.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000370.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000371.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000372.jpg

The roads did get better though, as the miles were clocked. It was only a small stretch. Maybe 20 km?

So once the roads got smoother, we picked up our pace and headed for Hubli.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000373.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000375.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000376.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000383.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000389.jpg

But the moment we got closer to Hubli, the rain clouds loomed large and it was threatening to pour. We got a whiff of wet mud and the humidity dropped considerably.

At this point, we were famished. So we decided to stop at a place in Hubli for a quick bite. Our Pit Stop was at a South Indian restaurant. Duh! After a few dosas and a cup of coffee, we hit the road.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000390.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000393.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000394.jpg

And soon enough, it began to pour.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000396.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000398.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000399.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000400.jpg

And within minutes, the rain got much heavier. It slowed us down considerably. The average speed of 70-80 fell to a safer 40-50, as we rolled on. The rain was so heavy at one point, that we simply couldn't see anything. The fogs were switched on but that didn't help matters much. The speedo read 20 km/h.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000401.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000403.jpg

But thankfully, it was a short burst. The rain subsided and we were back to doing good speeds. We did maintain a constant 50-60 till we covered more ground.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000405.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000406.jpg

And in a matter of minutes, we started covering roads that weren't wet at all. In fact, they were very dusty and looked like it hadn't seen rain in months! The uncanny behaviour one faces on long drives.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000407.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000408.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000410.jpg

As we approached this Toll-Booth, I spotted this Maruti 800 who's owner/driver is possibly a huge fan and a staunch follower of Fashion TV. He also seems to have a thing for Mahindra's latest. Not the XUV500.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000412.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000413.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000415.jpg

Last edited by suhaas307 : 9th October 2011 at 23:44.
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Old 9th October 2011, 17:14   #13
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Default Re: The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!

At this point, we were nearly half-way through in terms of distance, but 3/5th our way in terms of time.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000416.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000417.jpg

Some stretches of the GQ hadn't been marked yet. The road seemed fresh, and we heard the sticky tar clinging onto the inside of the wheel-arches from inside the cabin, as we drove over it.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000418.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000419.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000424.jpg

These trucks I tell you! These guys need a course in vehicle control, and they desperately need to lay off the alcohol.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000425.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000426.jpg

Look in the distance. Can you spot the wind-mills? It was quite a sight!

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000428.jpg

And so was this contraption that was being transported on a very large flat-bed. It's definitely a military vehicle. Look at those massive tyres! I'd love to drive that on the streets of Bangalore. Just the thought of it makes my eyes light up.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000429.jpg

And some more wind-mills. They add a touch of class on this stretch of the GQ.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000433.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000435.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000437.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000439.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000440.jpg

At this point, I took the wheel and proceeded to cover the remaining 250 odd kilometers left in the drive.

Pit Stop:

A few hours later, we decided to stop for a short snack. And out of nowhere, this Kamat Upchaar sprang up by the side of the road. Oh goodie!

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000442.jpg

We reached the Nelamangala Expressway Toll-Booth in no time. And were stuck in heavy traffic at the booth. We were held up for a good half hour. I hate being in first gear and rolling the car on half-clutch.

About 5 minutes before reaching the Toll-Booth, we nearly had a close encounter. A Tata Indicab was being driven on the extreme-right-hand-side of the 4 lane expressway. the same lane were I was observing the 80 km/h speed-limit. And this happened twice! Must be something to do with the Toll charges. Some people will do anything to save a few bucks.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000448.jpg

The Nelamangala Expressway is beautiful. Smooth, well lit and well marked all the way up to the city. The reflectors on the roads are a great addition. It almost made me feel like I'm driving in Singapore, or Dubai.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000449.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000451.jpg

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000452.jpg

We reached home after negotiating some light traffic in the City. It helped that the day happened to be an auspicious one. The festival ensured that the crowd on the road wasn't much. But as I drove into the city, I was greeted by a nasty pot-hole near the Magdi Road junction. And then I knew that we'd truly arrived.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000457.jpg

And now, the fuel efficiency award goes to the Jazz. I don't know which other petrol car would have accommodated 4 passengers and their respective suitcases in good comfort, for 1445 kilometers, and deliver a great 17.5 kilometers per liter. Remember, the car accommodates 4 passengers and enough luggage for an entire week! This figure would jump considerably once it sheds the weight.

The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!-p1000458.jpg

I guess this is why the Jazz delivers a constant 18-20 when driven in other countries, especially in Europe, where the roads are great. When you do 80 km on an average, in 5th gear, and the Jazz is built to do just that, you are bound to get great mileage.

Six days. Six days have gone past us in a flash. Goa suddenly seems like a distant dream once again, and this time, I'm actually dreaming. And I shall continue to dream until next year.

Have a great week, fellow BHPians. Until next time, then. Same time, same place. Buckle up, and drive safe!

Oh, and before I forget. Please don't forget to rate, share, thank, comment.. You know the drill!

Last edited by suhaas307 : 10th October 2011 at 00:19.
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Old 10th October 2011, 08:56   #14
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Default Re: The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!

Thread moved here from Assembly line. Thanks for sharing
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Old 10th October 2011, 11:28   #15
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Default Re: The Road To the Sea. Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore. Again!

What a travelogue!!!

You had posted all details about road condition with pics.
Food review is plus point.
Towel origami at the resort is amazing.
You posted only 2 or 3 pics showing the sea, not a single pic of beach, not fair in Goa travelogue.
You accommodated entire travelogue with 250+pics in a single page which is sometimes troublesome for viewers, i know its effect of assembly line.
I suggest to arrange such superb and long travelogue in multiple pages while posting new travelogue next time.

Last edited by ASHISHPALLOD : 10th October 2011 at 11:33.
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