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Old 29th October 2013, 20:59   #1
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Default Saheb, Biwi, Sun, Sand, Sea...and the Nissan Sunny! Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

Fellow Members, I am penning (well, virtually) this thread with the memoirs of my recent trip to Goa. My wife and I undertook this self-driven trip from October 12 through 20, spanning 9 days and 1400 kms.

The circular route is as mentioned below -

Bangalore -> Tumkur -> Chitradurga -> Davangere -> Ranebennur -> Hubli -> Dharwad -> Belgaum -> Panaji -> Anjuna -> Holiday Inn Resort - Cavelossim -> Karwar -> Gokarna -> Honavar -> Jog Falls -> Shimoga -> Tumkur -> Bangalore

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did while composing and putting my experience together.

Last edited by Safety is Param : 31st October 2013 at 16:52.
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Old 29th October 2013, 21:14   #2
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Default Re: Saheb.Biwi.The Sun.Sand.Sea...and THE SUNNY...Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

I changed jobs in June this year, with hardly any gap between the switch over, and was contemplating on taking a vacation since.

After completing 4 months in the new role, I finally decided to take a vacation before the festive season of Diwali and Christmas sets in, as I prefer less crowd (read, festive season crowd), and also see no point in paying extra for the same thing on offer, just days before.

Arabian Sea has always been my personal favourite since I spent a considerable part of my childhood in South Gujarat (I am a native of Valsad, born in Ahmedabad, with schooling, etc. in Baroda)

We had a weeklong trip to Trivandrum in March this year, and a visit to Varkala Beach, coupled with a fantastic stay at Turtle On The Beach, Kovalam, was enough to get us going for 7 more months!!

Since it was supposed to be a 9-day, self-driven vacation this time, my wife and I unanimously agreed for Goa. It is one of the few destinations where spending 9 days would never be a boring affair. So Goa it is then!

Once the destination was finalized, we started looking out for accommodation. We decided to break the entire itinerary into 2 parts; North Goa & South Goa.

It was finalized that we stay for 3 nights in North Goa, followed by 4 nights in South Goa.

North Goa is more bustling, crowd is more and so are the activities on offer. Comparatively, South Goa is the place if you want to relax and be confined to your hotel premises, that has everything to offer at one place, i.e. Indoor Games, Swimming Pool, Beach & Beach Recreation.

We wanted to visit Dudhsagar Falls enroute to Goa, however, after scrutinizing multiple threads on the forum I realized that it's not so simple to drive in and out of Dudhsagar, and that you need to dedicate at least a complete day in order to be content with your visit. Since Goa was our main destination, we decided to drop this idea and visit Jog Falls instead on our way back.

The dates were finalized as well - October 12 (Bangalore to North Goa) - October 15 (North Goa to South Goa) - October 19 (South Goa to Shimoga, via Jog Falls) - October 20 (Shimoga to Bangalore) - a total of 9 days.

Got the car serviced 2 weeks prior to the trip to accommodate any avoidable surprises.

Now, the next question was which route to take? Different people had different preferences and experiences, which was obvious, and my preference was to traverse as much as possible on NH-4, in order to gain maximum advantage of the wonderful tarmac that is. But again, NH-4 has various exit points to Goa, however, the thing to note here is that the early you exit, the more towards South you reach in Goa. So I decided to leave NH-4 at the last exit point, i.e. Belgaum, after some invaluable inputs from fellow members AMPERE & Parag, to name a few. This exit would take me to North Goa.

3 days before the trip was to begin, one of our fellow members who had just returned from Goa, got some not-so-great news about the Chorla Ghat section. There was a land-slide on this route, and the article in TOI was enough to make you rethink your strategy. I decided to stick to the plan since it was carved out after careful consideration; however, at the same time I also decided to keep a tab on the latest news on this route by following Google as well as getting latest updates from the Hotels, if they had any. Particularly the hotels had no idea on this, and they had all personally travelled only on the Hubli - Karwar - Goa route. A mention of Jamboti- Chorla route evoked a unanimous response from them; WHAT??? WHICH ROUTE???

Finally, I decided to stick to the Chorla route as the worst case scenario would be to return to Belgaum or Hubli and spend a night there, if the Jamboti-Chorla section was not motorable. Belgaum and Hubli have got some good hotels so there was nothing to lose sleep about on this. So Bangalore - Belgaum - Chorla - Panaji - Anjuna it is then.

Filled Diesel (full tank) while on my way home from office on the 11th. I was not expecting more fuel until I reached my destination in Anjuna the next day. It took about 31 litres to reach auto cut off.

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Packing was already done by Wednesday (yes, we were so looking forward to this trip) and only the finishing touches needed to be done now. By 21:00 hrs, everything was complete and we loaded the car with the luggage. Only the bag containing food replenishments would be loaded in the morning; everything else is now resting in the boot. We had decided to switch ourselves off max by 22:00 hrs and wake up at 04:00 hrs.

Our plan was to have just tea and start in the morning, then halt at Ranebennur Kamat for breakfast. The 1 litre flask would be filled with tea so that I can top up my quota enroute.

Just when we thought that everything was going as planned, came the first hurdle. I got a call from office that there was an important meeting (unplanned), and that the U.S. folks were awaiting my presence. This happened at 21:45 hrs. I had to join the meeting, and instead of the originally planned duration of 30 mins, the meeting went on till 23:00 hrs. Technically, I was already 1 hr late even before the trip had begun!!

I went to bed at 23:15 and remember being awake till 00:00 hrs. Waking up at 04:00 hrs meant that I would be getting only 4 hrs of sleep, which according to me, was insufficient for such a long drive. I changed my alarm to 05:00 hrs, and let my wife wake up at 04:00 hrs.

Day -1: Saturday, October 12, 2013

Perhaps the mind was too synchronized with the original plan, and as a result I was awake at 04:00, even before my wife’s alarm went off. I asked myself; “Are you fresh and ready to drive, or do you need more rest?” Pat came the reply “What the heck, get up and get going!!

The first thing I did was to update the Bangalore to Goa thread on the forum with my response stating that I will be taking the Chorla route. By the time we were fully ready, it was already 05:30. I felt we were moving too slow after waking up and there was no rush as such to stick to the scheduled departure of 05:00 hrs; perhaps the scheduled departure time was too optimistically deduced!!

Finally, we left our apartment parking at 06:00, a full hour late.

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Took the outer ring road from Nayandahalli Junction (signal free corridor) to reach Tumkur road. Being early Saturday morning, traffic was negligible. Once on the Neelmangala flyover, I could see hordes of cars moving towards NH-4. Mostly, all cars had the Dusshera Pooja done and were garlanded. Soon we reached the first toll-booth and the queue was quite long. Took 15 mins approximately to clear this booth.

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Traffic was constant till Tumkur, and I remember touching 80 kmph only once. Post Tumkur, I was able to maintain 100 kmph almost continuously, barring village crossings where there was a gap in the divider. After crossing some more tolls, we were around 10 kms before Ranebennur Kamat when all of a sudden I saw 4 tractors being driven parallel on the road in front of me. They were filled to the brim with mud, and it was getting scattered all over the road as the tractors moved ahead. I remember driving around 20kmph for the next 5 mins. Once past them, we reach Ranebennur Kamat, our first pit-stop, for breakfast.

Total Distance covered -> 291 kms

Just quoting my experience, but the Kamat outlets on the NH-4 section are no match to the ones on the Mysore-Bangalore highway. The only Kamat on NH-4 that I found decent was the Dobbaspet Kamat, next to HP Petrol Pump.

At 09:50 hrs, Ranebennur Kamat was already out of Rava Dosa, Masala Dosa, Thatte Idli and Rava Idli!! When we ordered 2 plates of idli vada, all they could manage was one vada and 2 plates of idli. Come on now, who anticipates their business? I mean, Dusshera weekend looming, location being on NH-4 that traverses Hubli, Belgaum, Pune, etc., and you don’t expect business at 09:50 hrs?? We were so hungry, but their lukewarm response only left us petrified.

The only thing worth mentioning about Ranebennur Kamat, in my opinion-

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My wife always carries home-made snacks on such trips, which came to our rescue big time. We went back to the car, had some snacks and tea that we were already carrying with us. Left Kamat at 10:30, vowing never to come back there again, not to mention the exorbitant prices as well.

If I recall correctly, NH-4 is no more a 6-laner post Davangere. We started towards Hubli, and the roads were scenic and there was hardly any traffic. We mostly encountered cars and some KSRTC buses, and were able to maintain 100 kmph continuously. I remember there was an unmarked speed breaker right at the end of a C-turn on this stretch, and was lucky to spot it from a distance.

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Soon we reached the Hubli bypass. It is a 2-lane road (w/o a divider), but the road is laid out pretty well. You pay a toll upon entering this by-pass and handover the same receipt on the exit. The road is quite scenic and after sometime you can see the Karwar road forking out from here.

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Once the by-pass is over, you are again greeted with a 4-lane road, towards Belgaum.

The Hubli – Belgaum stretch is a very good road. There was some work going on and I remember encountering a couple of small diversions. Also, if I am not wrong, some part of the stretch is concrete laid. You are greeted with a beautiful view of the Vidhan Soudha upon nearing Belgaum. Windmills can be viewed at a distance making the overall experience very scenic. Just 25 kms before Belgaum, there are couple of large deviations. Be sure to drive slowly on this stretch as there are some unmarked speed breakers awaiting you.

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At the stroke of 13:00 we were at Sankam Residency, our next pit-stop for lunch. If you have marked this on Sygic before embarking on the journey, you do not need to take a left-handed U-turn from NH-4. Rather, you will be prompted to exit NH-4 and then take a left for arriving at Sankam Residency.

Total Distance covered -> 497.8 kms

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The hotel had very few guests in the restaurant at that time. The ambience was very good, and you feel just like arriving to an up market restaurant in Bangalore. Since we would now be encountering the ghats, we decided to skip the customary subji-roti and instead ordered an American Chopsuey, one Paneer platter and one Spaghetti (yes, we were hungry!!!). Service was pretty slow considering the number of guests, however, the taste, once it arrived, was lip smacking. While the order was being prepared, I quickly updated the forum once again with the latest update. We were expecting to resume from Sankam Residency at 14:30 hrs. The destination was still 123 kms away, and I was expecting to reach there in 4 hrs, i.e. 18:30. We were so looking forward to the Chorla section, and the weather being sunny, we anticipated no surprises. However, that was not the case and an unpleasant surprise was awaiting us!

Last edited by Rehaan : 14th November 2013 at 12:32. Reason: As per PM.
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Old 30th October 2013, 13:10   #3
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Default Re: Saheb.Biwi.The Sun.Sand.Sea...and THE SUNNY...Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

Post Lunch...Day 1

Drove out of Sankam Residency exactly at 14:30 hrs and drove to the adjacent IOC pump. Asked him to do a full tank, and 1008/- worth of Diesel was filled in before the auto-cut triggered. While swiping the card I confirmed with the manager there on whether the straight road, after taking a U-turn from the pump, would take us on our way. He nodded and said that the Chorla section has some blind curves, so be careful. I thanked him for this tip and drove away.

Took a U-turn after the pump and continued straight, passing by Sankam Residency on our right. My wife once again mentioned how tasty the food was. Soon we reached the first junction (5 roads, may be?). I saw a Paulo Volvo moving from the right road that joined the junction and then taking a 90 degree turn on the right road again, after the junction. I told my wife that Paulo is associated with Goa, and this bus is mostly headed where we are.

As we neared the junction once the Green light was on, my wife who was monitoring Sygic all the way, asked me to take a right. This was the direction from where the Paulo Volvo came, and not where it was headed for. Since I could not take my eyes off the road, I asked her again whether she was sure that we needed to take a right and not left. By this time, we had deviated towards the right side and proceeding further. Suddenly, I saw a board that said “Sawantwadi 91 kms”. I had taken the Sawantwadi route once while coming from Mahabaleshwar to Pune, and was aware that one should come via Sawantwadi if driving from Maharashtra (after Kolhapur). This is not the route you should be going to if you were planning to enter Goa from the Karnataka side. I pulled over immediately and was contemplating taking a U-turn. However, I decided to feed the route to Chorla again and follow the route from there. After the route was fed, I was asked to go straight from where I had pulled over and then take a left, followed by a right, and then a right again, joining one more road. I was driving slowly as the road was pothole ridden and narrow as well. After 5 kms we could see this road joining a SH on Sygic. We thought, finally, we will join the correct road. But I was about to be proved incorrect, one more time!!

Please note: Images are not in the same sequence as the narration

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The road now improved, but it was still a narrow road, to the extent that if 2 sedans were to come face to face, the left front & rear wheels of both the cars would have to slip down the road to pass through. We passed by countless fields on both the sides, with intermittent kaccha houses. I remember that for 3 to 4 kms continuously all we encountered were wood laden bicycles. The glance that we were getting from people on the roadside assured us that this was not a place where people were used to seeing a moderate movement of cars. We assured ourselves, WE WERE LOST!!!

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All this time my wife was keeping a close eye on Sygic and every km or 2 I used to have a look as well, however, all it showed was “Go Straight for 5 kms”. We encountered a left fork, which we didn’t take (because it wasn’t marked on Sygic) and instead went straight. A km or 2 ahead, the road suddenly changed to a mud-road and we could see a dead-end approaching. I checked Sygic again, and all I could see on the screen was the pointer hovering 360 degrees. The route had disappeared and there was no signal available. We checked the mobile signals as well, and none of the SIM cards (Vodafone & Docomo) were in service. I was wondering why would GPS be unavailable under open skies. The time was 15:30 hrs.

We took a U-turn on the mud road, joined the tarred road again, and went straight ahead for the right fork (earlier described as the left fork above; we have now changed sides on the road). The moment we took a right, Sygic was back in action and we could see the purple/violet path that it generally indicates while navigating. We continued straight and after a km or 2 my wife spotted a farmer grazing his cattle. He was looking at us, and my wife even checked with me if we should ask him the route, but I replied in the negative and instead suggested her we follow Sygic. Shortly, a left turn forked out, but we still went ahead as per the instructions. I could see a small village approaching. We decided not to ask anyone for “Panaji”, but instead ask for “Jamboti” or at the most “Chorla”. We didn’t want to project ourselves as someone who had lost their way; however, it was very apparent. Passing through the village, Sygic again lost its track, and there was no mobile signal either. I rolled down the window and asked a group of village men gathered there (it was a Gram Panchayat office) for the route to Jamboti. They asked me “Do you want to go in this car??” Upon answering in the affirmative, I was told that the road was straight ahead, but my car won’t make it. So I asked them other options, and they asked me to go back and take “some other road”. I tried clarifying on which road exactly, but I was unable to get them due to language barrier. The time was 15:55 hrs. (approx.)

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We took a U-turn and headed to that farmer whom we had seen earlier, passing by the right handed fork that we had given a miss earlier. We inquired about Jamboti, and he, instead of answering, came rushing towards the car and was standing at the driver side window in no time. We were taken aback for a second, but gathered ourselves almost immediately. He asked us to take a U-turn and take that left fork, go straight, through 2 villages, and then take a right-turn after crossing a river. We asked him the names of the 2 villages we were supposed to cross and he obliged. Took a U-turn and then the left fork. We decided not to look again at Sygic till we reached the main road, and instead check with the locals. The time was 16:10 hrs.

After 3 kms, we saw a KSRTC bus taking in passengers. I went ahead and stopped near the driver window and asked him for Jamboti. He told me the same thing that the old man had told us earlier. I thought of following the bus if it was headed for Jamboti, but the driver said that the bus was headed to Belgaum. It was now raining and the visibility was poor. We passed a couple of small peaks, but the 2 villages were not to be seen. Since it was raining, the windows were rolled up and I could spot a right handed fork again. However, since we were asked not to take a right before we passed by 2 villages and a river, we skipped it.

There was no sight of these villages and we were running out of ideas. I glanced at my wife and could see tears rolling down her cheeks!!! I calmed her and told that we would continue to explore for 30 more minutes and if unsuccessful, head back to Belgaum.

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A km later we saw a couple on a bike and I rolled down the window (the rain had eased off by then). I asked for Jamboti and the guy asked me to take a U-turn (I have never taken these many U-turns in my life) and go ahead with the left handed fork that we had given a miss earlier. I was able to converse with him in Hindi and he very clearly told me that the 2 villages I was looking for (since ages??) were on that road. Thanked him and went back for the suggested road. The time was 16:25 hrs.

Our fellow member, Harry B, was supposed to be travelling to Goa on the same day, and I was supposed to update him on the route condition as I pass it, however, no mobile signals meant that I was unable to apprise him on the route conditions.

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Immediately upon taking the left, we passed by a river (remember? The river was to come after the 2 villages) and entered the 1st village. Saw a couple of Boleros parked there. Continued on the road and after 3 kms or so came across another village. After passing this village we came across a sign board indicating “Cobra Commando Training School, 2 kms”. With no signs of main road approaching, we were again back to square one. That’s when we saw a guy on his bike and decided to flag him down. I asked him about the road to Jamboti and he responded without losing a breath “Don’t turn anywhere, go straight. This road directly meets the Chorla route”. We left after thanking him.

There was a glimmer of hope now. We continued straight and after 2 kms saw the road taking a gradual ascend. At a distance we could spot this road joining a main road, but there was no vehicular movement to be seen. We reached at the junction, took a right turn, and this is what awaited us.

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Finally, we had joined the main road to Panaji, via Chorla. Saw a Tempo Traveller coming in from the opposite side. I flashed my lights and indicated him to slow down, but by that time we had passed each other. I glanced at the rear view mirror and there was no traffic coming in, so took a reverse to meet up the tempo traveller driver who too had braked on my signal. I asked him “Is this the Chorla road?” He said “Yes, but where are you heading?” I said “Panaji”. He asked me to go straight and follow the sign boards enroute. Went a little further and came across a milestone; Panaji 99 kms.

Showed it to my wife and assured her that we were on the right track, and that we can now resume relying on Sygic. She was now smiling!!! The time was 17:00 hrs.

The road was excellent, reminded me of a single lane Baroda – Ahmedabad Expressway. There were ample sign boards to warn you, and I was easily doing 80 kmph on straight & empty stretches.

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The twists and turns started after sometime and there was thick forest cover on both the sides. The vehicular movement increased gradually and there were 2-wheelers as well as trucks plying on the road now.

Decided to stop for some time at an appropriate place to have a cup of tea. Finally, came across the spot which was both, picture perfect and safe to park on the sides. Clicked some pics here and went through the moments of what we had just been through, while sipping home-made tea.

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Resumed after 15 mins and the road was now narrow. The particular patch that was affected in the land slide was now visible.
Once past it, we resumed straight on and soon came across the entry-tax booth for Goa. Paid 250/- and proceeded further. We were now on typical Goan roads.

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Sygic was accurately giving navigational directions and was matching perfectly with the sign boards on each and every road. Traffic was heavy and the average speed I could manage was 30 kmph. Passed by a couple of bridges and we could see the impending sun set.

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Soon we were on the bridge for Panaji and later joined the road that enters Panaji via Sawantwadi (this road came in from the opposite direction). It started raining soon after, but we were glad that we finally managed to get within 30 kms of our destination before it was dark.

After crisscrossing through the narrow roads leading to Baga and Calungate, we finally reached within 2 kms of our destination. Passed by Dominos and took a left at Baskin Robbins. However, since the hotel was located on a cliff, Sygic was unable to precisely navigate (I had faced this issue in Coorg as well). So without wasting further time, I called up the hotel and told them the landmarks I had just passed by. They provided precise directions and we reached the hotel at 19:30 hrs.

Total Distance Covered -> 653.2 kms

Check-in was smooth and we were in our room after filling out some forms and furnishing IDs. Took bath and ordered dinner in the room itself. While waiting for the dinner to arrive, I received Harry B’s sms on the route condition that he had sent in the afternoon. He too had taken the Chorla route and had entered Goa at 20:00 hrs. Felt good as he didn’t have to go through the adventure that we did.

My wife and I chatted about the route that we got lost on and were now laughing on the blunder I made (it was my responsibility to drive her safe to the destination, and I had made a mistake for over relying on a navigational aid; a mistake which I have to admit honestly). Dinner arrived finally, which was gulped in no time. At 22:30 hrs, we retired to bed.

What a day!!!!

Last edited by Rehaan : 14th November 2013 at 12:39. Reason: Removing a few repeated pictures, as per PM discussion.
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Old 30th October 2013, 15:53   #4
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Default Re: Saheb.Biwi.The Sun.Sand.Sea...and THE SUNNY...Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

Day -2: Sunday, October 13, 2013

Woke up in the morning and headed for breakfast that was served in the restaurant. We enjoyed the piping hot delicacies served on our platter. The pictures below provide just a glimpse. There was much more on offer!

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A balcony was attached to our room, overlooking the coconut plantation. Arabian Sea was visible at a distance since the hotel was located on a cliff. I zoomed in the cam and was able to capture the sea.

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Today was reserved for Baga Beach, my wife’s favourite. The first thing my wife mentioned when I broke the news to her that we were heading for Goa was, PARA-SAILING. I am scared of heights, so there was no way I was going to get on one of the boats, however, I wanted her to fulfil her wish and hence, Baga beach it was, on the first day of our itinerary.

Headed for the beach at 11:00 hrs. The roads were narrow and we had a good view of them as it was already dark when we took them on the day before.

The beach was already crowded as it was a Sunday, and we were greeted with all colours on the horizon one could imagine. It was just so colourful. Paid 600/- towards para-sailing charges and I stayed on the beach and started clicking almost everything!

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Notice the Red Jeep. He drives you away if you are swimming in potentially dangerous areas. He was prompting people to swim behind the jeep, and not in front of it.

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A full hour later we went to La Shack and had brunch. Food was lip smacking and prepared meticulously.

All the coordinates for the day’s trip were already fed into Sygic, so we now headed to our next stop; Vagator Beach. It was quite sunny when we reached there, 15:00 hrs, and one could see for long distances. This beach is a beach - with - a - view!

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While returning back to the hotel, we stopped at Baskin Robbins and cooled over selves. Reached the hotel at 17:00 and headed for the pool.

My wife had visited Goa in 2006, and though she couldn’t recall the name, she mentioned about a very scenic beach that had a view from a cliff.

I googled based on her description and came to the conclusion that it was the Arambol Beach. After visiting Varkala Beach near Trivandrum in March, even I was looking forward for a similar kind of natural set up.

So, the day -3 itinerary was ready; the Arambol Beach.

Last edited by Rehaan : 14th November 2013 at 12:44. Reason: Removing a few pics as per our PM discussion.
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Old 30th October 2013, 22:08   #5
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Default Re: Saheb.Biwi.The Sun.Sand.Sea...and THE SUNNY...Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

Day - 3: Monday, October 14, 2013 – Dusshera / Vijaya Dashmi

On the breakfast table we were discussing on how scenic the Varkala Beach was and it would be great to visit some place similar again, i.e. Arambol Beach.

It was time for Car Pooja as it was Dusshera, and we already had got kumkum and rice with us from home. My wife did the Pooja, but the garland that was promised from the hotel never arrived. So we plucked some flowers from the garden in the hotel premises as a stop-gap arrangement.

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We decided to leave by 13:30 hrs, take a pit stop at Dominos near the hotel, and then proceed to the beach.

After driving out of the hotel, passing by the football ground, we reached the T-section near Baskin Robbins. Again, Sygic was doing duties, but I decided to play smart and asked my wife “Left, right?”, and the smarter person replied “Yes”. I took a left, but both of us, at the same time, realized that we took the wrong turn; we should have actually taken a Right. Since the roads were narrow, I kept going straight to find a suitable space where I could reverse the car. There was a small open space, with shops on the right hand side of it. I thought it wasn’t enough to reverse and I would end up blocking the traffic, so went ahead. 200 m ahead, I realized that there was no point in going forward, and since it was noon and less traffic, I can reverse it in the same open space that we passed by earlier.

I put the reverse gear and was moving straight till I reached the open space. Then took a left handed 90 degree turn so that the car could get down the main road, after which I would take a 90 degree right turn and get going.
My wife asked me if she could get down so that I can be guided properly. I told her that it’s too hot outside and moreover there’s just a small tree out there which we can already see, so it’s not required. I was reversing intermittently as we would do, using only the clutch to control the speed. The view was clear in all the 3 mirrors, and I could clearly spot the tree in the driver side rear view mirror.

Suddenly, I lost visibility in the inside rear view mirror, as if someone had put a curtain out there. Below pic best illustrates this curtain-like feeling.

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Before I could turn around and see, my wife screamed “The rear windshield has hit the tree and it is broken”. I was petrified. I stopped the car there itself and got down to see what had happened.

There was a branch protruding perpendicularly out of the tree, which I had not noticed, and it had pierced the glass. The glass was shattered, but was in its place. There was a gaping hole on the side of the glass through which the branch had pierced.

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I knew instantly that Arambol Beach had gone for a toss and we were now in for an unpleasant day.

I had stored the Nissan Road Side Assistance, along with the Nissan Panaji Dealer’s number in my cell phone before embarking on this trip. I decided to call up the Road Side Assistance first as I was not sure whether I should be driving the car with the rear windshield shattered. The Road Side Assistance operator asked me whether the car was in a driveable condition, and upon knowing that it was, asked me to take it to the service station.

Nissan has only one service station in Goa, and is located in Verna, 45 kms from Anjuna. I started driving my car while my wife searched for the Service Station in POIs. One glance at her face, and I was assured that I had screwed her day big time. Until we reached the service station and further, she reminded me multiple times on how she had offered to get down from the car while I reverse it, and that I shot down the offer. Anyways, it was my fault, again.

There are innumerable speed breakers in Goa, but thankfully all those I encountered were scientifically designed. I was able to carefully negotiate through them and could hear a couple of glass pieces falling down on the seat every time I hit a bad patch on the road. I just prayed for 2 things –

1) The glass holds on till we reach the service station.
2) The replacement part is readily available.

There were a couple of idiots as well who despite seeing the shattered windshield, wanted me to clear the single available lane for them to overtake. It was not the right time to lose my cool, so I pulled over and let the honking morons pass by.

My wife tried calling the dealer at least 6 times to check with them if the part was available, however, every time the call was disconnected in the process of being transferred to the Service Station. Finally, we decided not to call them again and rather deal with the Service Station directly.

I have one question for the phone operator and the Nissan Dealership in Goayou knew that we were stranded with a serious issue and were requesting help from your end; didn’t it even occur to you once to call us back despite the call getting disconnected abruptly? Were you so busy handling customers at your showroom that you couldn’t call a customer who was in dire straits? Would you do the same thing if one among your family was in a similar situation? But then, we have a saying “Crows are black wherever you go”!!!

This time Sygic took us directly to the Service Station door step. We parked the car and went inside the service station, thanking the Almighty that the glass didn’t come off fully. Actually, it didn’t come off at all, barring some very minute pieces that would fall off on bad roads. May be the 3M film was holding it together. Time was 15:20 hrs

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Met Mr. Paresh there, the Service Advisor. We apprised him of the details and he came out and took a look at the car. With my fingers crossed I asked him “Is the part available”, to which he replied “Yes, it is, but you would have to leave the car over night for the sealant to dry out”. When we realized that we would have to part with the car, our instantaneous reaction was “No, we can’t leave the car”.

By this time the Service Manager was also with us and all of us were debating on the further course of action. They made a very valid point – “We can give you the car today, however, the sealant will be wet and hence, we do not guarantee that the glass won’t fall off from its place”. They were ready to completely guarantee the work done if we agreed to leave the car overnight. We also wanted them to remove the little dent that the branch had caused when it hit the body. We were informed that if the dent was to be removed, the entire side panel would have to be painted again, as removing the dent would affect the paint as well. This required the car to be in the service station for a total of 2 nights, an additional night to allow the paint to dry off.

I requested them to prepare an estimate on the repair cost. They came out with a figure of approximately INR 15,000, and at the same time also suggested me to claim insurance.

I agreed immediately as it was way above the no-claim bonus, plus there was no logic in getting the car to Bangalore and getting the dent cleared here. I asked them if they would provide cashless settlement since they had a tie up with Bajaj Allianz as well. However, due to policies on the dealer end, they refused to extend this facility. Cashless facility can be availed only if the car was purchased through them, irrespective of the Brand and Insurance Company, i.e. Nissan and Bajaj Allianz.

Paresh had a contact (surveyor) in Bajaj Allianz whom he called over the phone immediately. The person, Sairaj, asked us to register a claim and provide him with the claim number, after which he would take care of rest of the things. After countless attempts, I was able to register a claim and get an acknowledgement.

Filled out the Insurance Claim form with all the details in it and submitted photocopies of my Driving License and the RC Book (Card). The experience at the Service Station was very soothing and they heard our concerns with utmost patience.

Kudos to Paresh and the Service Manager for their outstanding Customer Service.

Finally, it was decided that the car would stay in the Service Station for 2 nights; Rear Windshield would be fitted and it’s sealant left to dry out, followed by dent removal and repainting the panel.

Fortunately, there was a Nissan Evalia (Yellow Board) that had come for servicing that day from Anjuna, and they arranged our drop to the hotel in that vehicle. The owner of the Evalia, Sai Nath, agreed us to drop to Anjuna for INR 300/-
We finally left the Service Station at 17:30 hrs and reached Anjuna at 19:00 hrs.

Started packing as we were to check out the next day and head to South Goa. In the meantime, I called our hotel in South Goa and asked them to include us in the pickup list. Since the pickup was either from the Airport or from Margaon Railway Station, we opted for the Airport shuttle. We called up the front desk and asked them to arrange a taxi for the next day, for a drop to Airport (put that as an additional place for sightseeing)

All this time, the incident during the day was continuously playing at the back of our minds.

Just as a mother would worry about her child staying in a hostel, whether the kid would have had food on time and whether he would have slept in peace, the same thoughts occurred to our minds again and again for our beloved SUNNY!

Watched TV for some time, had delicious dinner, this time by the pool side, and called it a day!

Please forgive me for the quality of the pics below. Clicked using mobile with extremely poor visibility.

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Last edited by Safety is Param : 1st November 2013 at 21:21.
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Old 31st October 2013, 11:48   #6
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Default Re: Saheb.Biwi.The Sun.Sand.Sea...and THE SUNNY...Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

Day - 4: Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Had breakfast as usual, our last at this place, for this trip. Reminded the front desk again about the cab we had booked for 11:00 hrs. The vehicle arrived on time, an i10 (white-board), and we had hard time fitting luggage in the boot that i10 has. We were missing the SUNNY’s boot big time.

Left the hotel at around 11:20 and reached the airport at 12:30 hrs.

We were one of a kind, because though we reached the airport, we went to the ARRIVAL Terminal instead of the DEPARTURE! Inquired around with the various hotel representatives present there to receive the guests and were pointed to the one who had come to pick us up.

It was an INNOVA and the last row of seats was folded all the way down to accommodate the humongous quantity of luggage that accompanied us. I told my wife “this guy would be thinking whether we were here for at least a month!!

Current Airport Terminal -

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The new International Airport terminal awaiting completion -

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Had inquired about a stay here as well, however, didn't book due to lack of proximity to a beach -

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So went ahead and instead booked our stay here -

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While waiting at the airport for the pickup to arrive, I called up the Service Station to inquire about the progress that was made on the car, and Paresh informed me that the glass was already fitted the previous evening, and that the dent removal process was underway. I was given an appointment for the next day at 10:00 hrs to pick up the car. We were relieved that there were no surprises; however, the final relief would only come once we would get to have a look at it in person.

It was a hot and humid afternoon and once we got moving, the rear A/C made us comfortable. The hotel was 40 kms from the Airport, and we reached there at 14:15 hrs. The check-in time was 14:00, and lunch would be served till 15:30. Our booking was inclusive of all meals.

Check-in was smooth, and we found ourselves in the room within 10 mins of arriving at the hotel.

Freshened up and headed straight for lunch. I fully agree with SAMMYBOY, our fellow TBhp member, that the food served in this hotel is top class.

Though it was sunny, post lunch we headed straight to the beach. It was just a 200 m walk from the room, through the Garden, the Pool and finally, the Beach Grill restaurant. It was a relief to be on a beach that was not over-crowded, not even crowded; only the hotel guests could be seen enjoying the sunshine. Spent a few minutes there and came back to the room, to go back there again at 17:30 hrs.

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Some shots taken after dark using a Mobile Device -

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Last edited by Rehaan : 14th November 2013 at 12:49. Reason: Removing some pictures, as per PM discussion.
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Old 31st October 2013, 14:08   #7
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Default Re: Saheb.Biwi.The Sun.Sand.Sea...and THE SUNNY...Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

Day - 5: Wednesday, October 16, 2013

First thing we did after freshening up was to head to the beach. It was a cool morning and the crowd was at its scantiest. We could see few people playing volleyball; probably they were guests from the adjoining Leela.

The sea was calm and it was a low-tide time. We walked around for a couple of kms, with my wife intermittently stopping to collect sea -shells that she would later use for home décor. As natural as it gets!!

After a lazy morning walk, we were feeling hungry and breakfast was now on our mind. It was going to be our first affair with the breakfast here, and boy, we were not disappointed!!

The menu consisted of idli, vada, uttapam, stuffed parathas, 4 varieties of dosa, various omelettes, poha, pan cakes, 3 varieties of fruit juice, fresh cut fruits, hot & cold milk, tea & coffee, etc. for the veggies and the eggies!

We were still an incomplete family; our 3rd member was resting 40 kms away from us, in the Service Station, and we were getting restless to get there, for a family reunion!!

Finished breakfast at 09:00 hrs and headed straight to the reception to inquire about a drop to Verna. Generally, the pickups and drops are reserved only for check-ins and check-outs (or at least that is the impression I am under), however, the hotel management was courteous enough to accommodate us in a bus that was heading to the airport to drop the first batch of passengers.

Came back to the room and called up Paresh, however, the phone went un-answered. I assumed he would still have not reached the Service Centre, and the same was confirmed when I called the Service Centre directly and inquired. The lady on the phone assured me that she would pass on the message to Paresh as soon as he was in. Within 10 mins I received a call from Paresh, and we heard what we were longing to hear!! All the jobs were complete, and the car was ready to be picked up.

We had a feeling of euphoria and as a result we were first ones to hop on to the bus that was scheduled to leave at 11:00 hrs. If I were to describe the feeling in exact words, it was nothing less than as if we were taking the delivery of the car afresh!!

The bus left at 11:15 and the next 40 kms were the slowest in my life!! Finally, we reached the left handed Verna fork on NH-17 at 12:30 hrs. Walked about 300 m from there and reached the service station. Going by the developments in the last 2 days, everyone in the Service Centre, right from the Security Guard to the Mechanic, was aware that a Bangalore car was being worked upon at their place. This was confirmed by the Security Guard, who upon us entering the gate asked “Sir, is your car ready now?” We could already spot it parked at a distance, and I said “Yes, it is ready”.

My wife was the first one to rush towards the car and by the time I reached she was ready with her inputs…”PERFECT JOB”. And yes, it was indeed a perfect job. The car was washed and vacuumed thoroughly as well; even the tyres were perfectly cleaned.

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The battery had been disconnected in the repair process and as a result, I lost the Trip – A & B readings. However, this was already intimated to me by Paresh on the 14th, and I had noted down the readings.

There were some minor scratches (2 in number) observed on the rear windshield, only visible through naked eye, and that too while observing carefully. My wife spotted them and requested Paresh to do something about them. Immediately, the car was taken back to the service bay.

I went inside the service centre to complete the formalities, whereas my wife was now in the service bay, inspecting the work being done on the car. After 15 mins when I reached the car, my wife was holding the 3M Rubbing Compound jar in her hand, reading the instructions, and the mechanic, Ranjan, was working on the rear windshield to remove the scratches using that material.

Ranjan did a very good job and the visible marks were now not to be seen anymore. I commend the patience he exhibited while my better half was pointing to the same scratches again and again, till they disappeared! Kudos to my wife as well for being persistent!

I paid the bill, INR 10,589, filled out the feedback form, thanked Paresh, Ranjan and the Service Manager. I was told to inspect the items I had left in the car, i.e. Vaccum Cleaner, Tyre Inflation Compressor, Spare Wheel, Tool Kit, Jack, etc., and everything was in order. Thanked everyone one more time and left the service centre at 14:15 hrs.

Our family was now complete!

The drive towards the hotel seemed so pleasant now; couple of times we were driven on this road, but this was the first time we were driving.

Reached the hotel at 15:00 hrs, parked & secured the car, and headed straight for lunch.

Went to the beach in the evening for a stroll and watch the sun set on the horizon.

October 17 & 18 were spent like all of us do, when on a vacation –

1) Went for a beach walk.

2) Showered and entered the pool till 09:00 hrs.

3) Had breakfast, and every time I used to tell my better half; “we are surely going to miss the breakfast once back in Bangalore”, and every time she used to reply; “Why don’t you find work here in the hotel”. Asking for too much, isn’t it?

4) Pool again, till noon

5) Some TV and then lunch

6) Beach again in the evening

7) Pool again till the close at 19:30 hrs

8) Dinner at 21:00 hrs

9) Steam & Sauna on the 18th. Brilliant set up, and a rejuvenating experience

10) Inspect the car after every Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner!

Last edited by Safety is Param : 1st November 2013 at 21:32.
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Old 31st October 2013, 16:50   #8
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Default Re: Saheb.Biwi.The Sun.Sand.Sea...and THE SUNNY...Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

Now that you have read through a lot of text, please find 3 back-to-back posts below, with only the pics doing the talk -

The Restaurant and it's ambience -

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The Hotel premises -

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The Room -

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Indoor Games -

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Chill out place for the 3rd member -

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Last edited by Safety is Param : 1st November 2013 at 21:39.
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Old 1st November 2013, 12:00   #9
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Default re: Saheb, Biwi, Sun, Sand, Sea...and the Nissan Sunny! Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

Holiday Inn Resort, an overview -

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One of our favourite hang out place; The Pool -

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Last edited by Safety is Param : 1st November 2013 at 21:49.
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Old 1st November 2013, 12:18   #10
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Default re: Saheb, Biwi, Sun, Sand, Sea...and the Nissan Sunny! Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

The Beach -

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Sunrise & Sunset -

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Last edited by Safety is Param : 1st November 2013 at 22:30.
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Old 1st November 2013, 12:35   #11
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Default re: Saheb, Biwi, Sun, Sand, Sea...and the Nissan Sunny! Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

Day - 8: Saturday, October 19, 2013 – Adios GOA, but we will be back

It was time for check out today, and to be honest, we would have stayed there for eternity if we had our way, but then, All Good Things Come to an End and the same applies to this vacation.

Woke up at 06:00 hrs (Did I say I was on a vacation???)

Had a last walk on the beach for the trip, and the missus didn’t miss this opportunity to collect as many sea shells as she could. I think she had already collected at least a kg till now! If the sea didn’t mind, I didn’t need to bother as well!

Here’s a tribute to her effort -

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Headed for the pool and spent almost an hour there before heading for breakfast at 08:00 hrs.

Thanked the staff for their wonderful & prompt service before we left the restaurant. After all, they are the ones who maintain and keep the kitchen and the restaurant running non-stop.

Spent some time in the pool again (If we had our way, we would have taken the pool along!), and finally went to the room at 10:00 hrs.

Called up reception and informed them that we would be checking out at 11:00 hrs, and that they can begin the formalities, if any.

Checkout was smooth, and the luggage was kept in the car at 11:20 hrs.

We drove away soon, our next destination being Jog Falls, followed by a night-halt at Shimoga. The route we were intending to take was South Goa – Karwar – Honavar – Jog Falls – Sagar - Shimoga

Tank was less than half-full, and I had already decided to cash in on the low fuel prices in Goa.

Drove for around 35 kms, before tanking up (auto-cut off) at an IOC Pump.

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Though narrow, the road to Karwar (NH -17) is a gem to drive on. One passes through green forests on either side.
Soon we neared the Karnataka Border. There was enough staff waiting to flag down vehicles, but they let the ones with families pass through without any fuss.

The entry point to Karwar reminded me of the one to enter Panaji when coming from Sawantwadi. Though we wanted to click pics of the beautiful scenery enhanced by the peaks and the sea, we resisted out temptation since the Bridge had “No Parking”, “No Stopping” boards all over it.

Soon we were past Karwar and the Naval Base entry gates. The road maintained its uniformity and I was maintaining an average speed of 70 kmph.

We encountered a right handed fork towards Gokarna on the way, and my wife immediately mentioned about the tip our neighbour had given her on this place. By the time we decided to visit it, we were already 500 m further. Reversed the car (no tree branch waiting for me this time!!) and headed to Gokarna.

It’s around 10 kms inside from the main road, and the road condition is nothing to write about. It was pathetic to say the least. On top of it, the temple was closed till 17:00 hrs, and all we did was to catch a last glimpse of the sea of our vacation and head back. The time was 14:30 hrs by the time we re-joined NH-17.

The road condition deteriorated slightly towards Honawar, but was manageable with modest speeds. Finally, we arrived at the left-handed fork that would take us to Jog Falls and onwards to Shimoga. The straight road goes to Mangalore.

The ghat section began immediately upon taking the route to Jog Falls, and we observed darkness setting in quite early due the surrounding thick forests and cloud cover.

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Since it was a Saturday, traffic was quite heavy on this road, and hordes of tempo-travellers and jeeps could be seen ferrying people on this route.

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To make matters worse, it was pouring heavily and I had to switch on all the lights that the car had to offer, i.e. Head Lights on low beam, fog lights and the hazard lights. The average speed had now reduced to 25 kmph. The ascend was quite steep at some places and there was a lack of common sense observed among the vehicles descending the ghats. There was a particular stretch of 100 m just 2 kms before Jog Falls that was completely washed out due to a landslide. Though the road was cleared, the remains of the road were enough to force you to use only the clutch.

The weather eased out after sometime and we reached Jog Falls parking at 17:00 hrs.

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The parking was full to the brim, and we barely managed to get the car in. Took out the flask and poured some tea in a glass and headed towards the view point.

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It was the fag end of monsoon (not exactly true in this part of the country) and the Jog Falls was, may be, 15% of what it is when in full glory. However, we were not totally disappointed by the view and were in fact feeling relieved to have made it before darkness set in. Quickly took out the cam and started clicking before it got too dark.

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The time was 17:45 hrs and I tried calling my parents, however, neither Vodafone nor Docomo was able to register on the network. Strange, considering that this was not such an isolated place, and there were places to stay overnight at Jog Falls. May be BSNL or Airtel would have helped, who knows!

Had one more glass of tea before leaving the parking lot at 18:00 hrs. We are now headed to Shimoga, the approximate distance from Jog Falls being 100 kms

The ghat section had eased out almost completely, though we could still feel we were climbing. Traffic was moderate and we regularly encountered passenger cars registered in Bangalore. The road through Shimoga passes though villages and since it was evening, the average speed reduced to 20 kmph while passing through them. Took the by-pass from Sagar and saw a Bangalore registered Tempo Traveller cruising in front. After some kms I was almost sure that this vehicle is headed to Shimoga at least, and hence, I decided to use that as our sweeper car; maintaining safe distance all the while between the 2 vehicles.

It was a full-moon night (most probably, or pretty near to that) and the sky was lit up beautifully.

There are some nasty, unmarked group – speed breakers enroute and the sweeper vehicle was especially helpful here.

Thankfully, without any more surprises, we reached our hotel in Shimoga at 19:45 hrs. The sweeper vehicle most probably headed straight to Bangalore.

The location of Royal Orchid Central, Shimoga is not one of a kind one would expect. However, once inside, you are sure to forget the hustle and bustle of the town.

We had booked a double-room, but to our surprise, were allotted a room with 2 single-beds. I agree we didn’t report at the check-in time, however, they should have called us and checked before allotting a double-room to others. Also, there was a shortage of staff observed as the staff carrying the luggage to the guests’ room was half than that of the people checking in (the rooms being allotted). As a result, we had to wait for about 10 mins in front of our room before it could be opened! Not something you would expect from Royal Orchid.

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Had dinner at the in-house restaurant - Tiger Trail. There was a 10% discount on offer for the hotel guests.

Watched Big Boss from 21:00 to 22:00 hrs and called it a day!

Last edited by Safety is Param : 1st November 2013 at 22:42.
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Old 1st November 2013, 12:50   #12
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Default re: Saheb, Biwi, Sun, Sand, Sea...and the Nissan Sunny! Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

Day 9 : Sunday , October 20, 2013

The Air Conditioning was faulty and as a result we didn't get a good sleep overnight. Woke up early and decided to go out for a walk.

Location of Royal Orchid Shimoga - Crowded area and a stone's throw away from the main Bus Stand.

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Had breakfast around 8:00 hrs. There was a lot on the menu and it would only be apt if I say - "We didn't miss Holiday Inn for Breakfast!"

Bangalore was about 250 kms from Shimoga and hence, we had decided to start from Shimoga at 12:00 hrs.

Since we slept intermittently in the night, decided to take a 2 hour nap so that we were fresh for the last leg of our journey.

Woke up at 11:15 hrs and checked out by noon. When asked for a feed back, I informed them about the faulty air-conditioning, however, they didn't have much to say on that.

A parting shot -

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The drive from Shimoga to Bangalore is mainly on a 2-lane road. For a certain distance after Shimoga, there is a 4-lane road, however, not more than 15 kms.

There are some stretches where the road condition really deteriorates, and to negotiate the suddenly-ecountered potholes (craters???) you have to drive using only the clutch.

Average speed that I could muster was 60 kmph and we reached NH-4, through Tumkur Ring Road, at 16:30 hrs.

Once on NH-4, the average speed reduced to 40 kmph, such was the traffic. Hordes of cars coming in towards Bangalore.

Took a pit-stop at Kamat, mainly for tea. Spent around 30 mins there and departed for Bangalore.

Near Dobbaspet we were stuck for 30 mins due to an accident between an Indica, Qualis and a truck. The sight of the Indica was not good.

I am not brave enough to look at it when I know for sure that there is a human being involved in a mishap, however, my wife is exactly the opposite, and she had a close look at it and later described it. I would avoid putting that here since I am uncomfortable narrating it.

We reached Neelamangala Flyover at 18:00 hrs and finally, took a right for the Outer Ring Road at 18:20 hrs.

After passing through Nayandahalli junction and PES College, we reached our apartment parking at 19:05 hrs.

It took us slightly less than 7 hrs to cover a distance of 260 kms.

Parked the car and patted her as a Thanks - Giving gesture for the wonderful companion she had been on this journey. We put her through a lot, including pain, but she always came out TRUMPS!

Hats off to The SUNNY!!

PS - I am planning to upload the following in a week -

1) Details on Toll Collection between Bangalore and Belagum.

2) Reviews of the hotels we stayed in.

3) Claim Details - The Insurance claim has been disbursed already and I have received the amount last Thursday. In a nutshell, from the total bill of INR 10589, I received an NEFT of INR 7218, despite the policy being Comprehensive.

Last edited by Safety is Param : 2nd November 2013 at 11:22.
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Old 2nd November 2013, 14:52   #13
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Default Re: Saheb, Biwi, Sun, Sand, Sea...and the Nissan Sunny! Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 2nd November 2013, 20:08   #14
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Default Re: Saheb, Biwi, Sun, Sand, Sea...and the Nissan Sunny! Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

Nice write up friend. Enjoyed the whole trip.
Please see to it that you don't upload so many pics of the same place. It makes it a little boring to scroll and scroll and see the same pics. Other than that , I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Cheers
CF911
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Old 2nd November 2013, 21:54   #15
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Default Re: Saheb, Biwi, Sun, Sand, Sea...and the Nissan Sunny! Our mesmerizing trip to Goa

Really enjoyed reading the travelogue!

Big thanks for mentioning Varkala, my hometown! I live just 3.5 kms away from the beach, though I am in no way related to the local tourism industry.
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