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Old 20th June 2015, 17:59   #1
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Default Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz

GOA, as rightly defined to be a place where you should "Go Once Annually"! This was a mini vacation planned during the second week of June.

Its raining a lot outside right now, and I've got no work to do, so I've got all the time to write a long review ;-)

Car - Ritz Vdi
Vacationers - 2 of us
Duration - 3 Night stay
Location - North Goa

Destination: We wanted the place to be peaceful, beautiful, should be a road trip, and as the monsoon have arrived, the drive to the place should be safe and fun. Daman, Alibaug, Lonavala, Malshej, etc, all these places Didnt really tick all the boxes. Also, the monsoon had not really reached around Mumbai by then thus probability of these places being dry, hot and humid were high. Goa, on the other hand ticked all the boxes.

Accommodation: This was tricky. Goa at this time of the year is almost into the off season, thus only handful of places would be open. We wanted to stay away from the rush, hence we chose North Goa which we thought would be less crowded (and damn it was!). We narrowed down on Anjuna and a place called "close2c" was recommended by a close friend. So, Anjuna it was!

Travel Route: First drive to Pune where my friend joined me. Halt at a friends place near Hadapsar. Next day we started early at 6.30AM and got out of Pune quickly avoiding the city traffic.

I had never driven to Goa before. In fact I had never driven beyond Pune on this direction, hence during the planning stage the threads on this forum helped me a lot.

I must say that the roads on this route are awesome (baring the few diversions till Satara). I can only imagine what an awesome drive this will be once all the flyovers are constructed. To add to it, the sky was beautiful. Perfect blue sky, white clouds, and a lot of wind made the drive thoroughly enjoyable.
Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434802166519.jpg

Frankly I've never seen a more Bluer Sky. Loved every bit of it.
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Our lunch halt was at Hotel Sai International 30 kms before Kolhapur. Like someone mentioned on our forum, this place has the CLEANEST toilets I've seen on highway front hotels. Super clean. The food was nice. They have a huge car parking with tall coconut trees. A must halt place while travelling on this route.

We continued till Nipani and took a right turn to head towards Amboli Ghat. This again is a freshly covered tarmac route with smooth twisty roads through small villages, lush greenery around and with barely any traffic.
Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434802831262.jpg
Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434802866696.jpg

And we get some rains...
Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434802919026.jpg

The time was around 12.30PM and knowing that Amboli Ghat is ahead and progress would be slow, we thought of having lunch before the Ghat.

Last edited by Aditya : 22nd June 2015 at 13:55. Reason: Spacing
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Old 20th June 2015, 18:18   #2
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I cannot recollect the name of the hotel but its few kms before Amboli Ghat begins and the food there was decent, the place was clean and well priced.

Amboli Ghat was covered in fog. It wasn't raining but it had dense fog, and to make matters worst, people who came to enjoy the fog had parked their cars randomly ensuring that half of their vehicle was still on the road, making the already narrow road even more narrow. But it was fun. Lots of Twists and turns.

Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434803950338.jpgWelcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434803984232.jpg

The road from Amboli till Sawantwadi goes through dense forest and it was fun driving through it. Fragrance of wet soil, cold breeze and good roads made it an interesting drive. Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434804112652.jpgWelcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434804144604.jpg

From Sawantwadi we head towards Anjuna. We missed a few turns and went around Arpora to reach Anjuna, but it was OK as we were going through the pretty narrow lanes of Goa passing by beautiful houses. What a bliss it is to have such houses.
We reached "close2c" by 3PM. We had not done any reservations before, yet the check in was super quick. Rooms were ready. At 1500 rs/ night for an AC room, with a swimming pool in the resort, I thought it was a good deal. The place is walking distance from good cafes around that serve great food. Its not too close to the beach, a 5 min ride from Anjuna Beach. The surroundings were peaceful and quiet, something that we wanted.
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Old 21st June 2015, 00:36   #3
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Exploring Goa is very interesting. You can either party a lot, or just relax at a nice cafe, or take a stroll on the beach. It has something for your mood and that's why the place is fun. On our first night we decided to head to Curlies Bar at Anjuna. The moment we stepped out of the resort, I found the place to be too silent. It was spooky dark, not a single soul around, it was raining a lot. For a moment I really thought if staying at Anjuna was the right option. We drove till the parking of curlies. From here the bar is a 5 min walk towards the beach. Rains, complete darkness, and not a single person at sight. We kept walking towards the beach. It was scary, a bit thrilling and the sea was roaring as the waves crashed to the shore. It was a perfect setup for a scary thriller. The moment we reached the beach, just to our left was curlies and guess what, it was full of people. It was crowded. Awesome psychedelic trans, cold wind, rains and great food made it for the spooky experience before.

Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434825904555.jpg

After spending few hours here we again head back to the resort. We were glad we weren't the only souls roaming like zombies at Anjuna.

Breakfast forms an important meal for the day and I always ensure breakfast is proper and tasty. We had read a lot of reviews of a cafe called "Artjuna". Thankfully it was a 5 min walk away from our resort so we went there.

Artjuna is bliss. Setup in lush greenery, it has a very positive ambience. There is calm and serenity. They have an art and clothing store, a cafe, and a library. The place is quite. Their sandwich and coffees are amazing. It rained a lot that morning so it was even more beautiful.

Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434826959057.jpg

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Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434827080821.jpgWelcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434827116459.jpg

The food here is awesome. A must visit place for food lovers.

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 21st June 2015 at 13:02. Reason: Pics or mention of alcoholic beverages on the forum is not allowed. Removing the relevant pic.
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Old 21st June 2015, 08:24   #4
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During the day we used to randomly roam around, explore places, beaches. We went to Baba and Calangute and it felt like Juhu Beach on a Sunday evening. It was packed with people. The rough seas meant that no one could enter the water. Life guards had placed red flags all along the beach and they were instructing people to stay out of water yet some idiots kept going in. I dont understand, why is it so difficult for us Indians to follow simple instructions especially when it comes to our safety ? Anyways, we had food at St Anthony's which was good. Evening took a long stroll on the beach and we head back to Anjuna.

Next day was spent lazying around. Taking short walks. Spending time at Artjuna. That night we decided to check out a place called Sri Cafe at Arpora and thank God we did.

Sri Cafe is a nature lovers paradise. The owner Richard is an awesome guy. He loves plants, animals. This place is not surrounded with greenery, it is within greenery. Food is absolutely delicious. You can try their authentic goan sea food dishes which is yumm. The place has a few friendly dogs and cats. Its super peaceful.

Sri Cafe at night:

Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434854568324.jpg
Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434854642876.jpg
Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434854669297.jpg

We loved this place a lot. My friend is a very keen gardener and she felt in love with that place (and perhaps Richard too ;-). She had saw a few lily plants and requested if she could take one with her. They said No, you can't take one, you can take as many as you want! This is what I love about such places. They make you feel at home, there are no rules of conduct. Be good to them, appreciate their efforts and they'll be super good to you. As it was night we thought we thought it will e better to take the plant in the morning.

Next morning we checked out from our resort and head to Sri Cafe for a breakfast and to also take the Lily Plant. Richard was happy to meet nature enthusiasts like us so he showed us around the cafe and the various plants around. We got a few Lily, Lotus seeds, and some random flowers.

Check this place during day time:
Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434854958294.jpg
Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434854980312.jpg
Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434855007143.jpg
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Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434855075655.jpgWelcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434855118154.jpg

After a wonderful start to the day we started driving back towards Pune. This time being a weekday, Amboli Ghat was deserted. Hardly any car around, the Ghat was clear of fog and rain. So we could enjoy the surroundings. We again took a halt at Sai International just ahead of Kolhapur towards Pune side and had their mini meal which was delicious.

Reached back Pune by late evening. Overall, loved this trip. It was a much needed break and what a break it was !

I made this entire travelogue using the mobile app, which was very convenient especially for uploading pics as all the pics were taken using the mobile phone.

Thanks for reading :-)
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Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz-1434854595154.jpg  


Last edited by Gannu_1 : 21st June 2015 at 13:03. Reason: Pics or mention of alcoholic beverages on the forum is not allowed. Removing the relevant pic.
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Old 22nd June 2015, 14:53   #5
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Default Re: Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz

Nice travelogue Dieselritzer.

Anjuna will never cease to surprise you. There will always be a crowd somewhere with some good music playing. Baga and Calangute are definitely the most crowded and probably the most unclean beaches of the all.

Thanks for the review of Sri Cafe. I'll make sure to visit it the next time I'm in Arpora. Till now the main reason to visit Arpora used to be the go-kart track,

Amboli Ghat has always been a joy to drive down! Unfortunately, the "parking-randomly-and-obstructing-traffic" crowd is found just about everywhere in our country. How is the road from Nippani? It used to be very badly maintained. I use to go further to Sankeshwar and then take a right towards Gadhinglaj, Azra and Amboli. It used to be better.
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Old 22nd June 2015, 16:38   #6
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Hi Aditya, Thank you for your kind words. The road from Nippani till Gadhinglaj is superb. Fresh tarmac all throughout the way. No traffic at all. The route you mentioned, we took it while returning and it wasnt fun at all. Too much traffic especially near Sankeshwar.

Also, do visit Sri Cafe. If you love animals, plants, peace and great food, you will love that place.
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Old 23rd June 2015, 16:01   #7
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Default Re: Welcoming the monsoon in Goa! Road-trip in a Maruti Ritz

Great Review Ritzer.
The pics were nice and the trip seems to be a complete stress buster.

How was the hotel experience and what are the room tariffs?

Also, there is a great restaurant near Calangute called Starlight.

They serve great seafood and the best part is its affordability.
During our stay in Goa(we stayed in a holiday home in Mapusa), we made it a point to visit Starlight before we returned to Mumbai.

BTW, the squids calamiri here is simply awesome.
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Old 23rd June 2015, 17:25   #8
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Hi, thank you. About accommodation, as mentioned in above posts, we stayed at a place called "close2c" at Anjuna. The tariff was 1500 rs / night, including taxes. AC room, a common clean swimming pool. Breakfast wasnt included. The place does not have an in house restaurant but they can make you simple stuff like a sandwich, egg items, etc.

Thank you for suggesting good places to eat. I have made a pledge to myself that i'll have a Goa road trip atleast thrice a year. Lets see how that goes :-)
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Old 23rd June 2015, 17:47   #9
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Excellent write up Ritzer.

Goa never fails to impress. It has a magnetic pull that's pretty hard to resist. I like the way you have penned down the trip. Reading through it makes me pack my bags and embark upon the long winding road. Been 10 years that I last went but the memories are as fresh as ever.

Way to go!
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Old 23rd June 2015, 18:24   #10
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Thank you. I suggest you make that trip fast till the fresh tarmac on the roads stay as the monsoons will take it off really fast. I always wonder, tiny twisty roads can be perfectly maintained by the tiny beautiful Goa, what makes it so difficult for our Municipal Corporation to do the same in Mumbai? I envy the Goan people especially when it comes to road quality.
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Old 23rd June 2015, 19:31   #11
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Super travelogue Dieselritzer!
Next time pm me while in goa me for more foodie joints! In fact planning an article about them soon. Wondering which section that'll fit into! Should help the happy tourist to explore more of the local cuisine when here!
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Old 23rd June 2015, 19:37   #12
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Hey will surely do so. I have a suggestion. While you'll classify the food joints basis the location, proximity to places, cost slab, etc, would you be possible to classify it for various ambiance that the place has? I think it will be interesting. Eg, places where one can just relax, places with live music, places with a lot of crowd, etc.
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Old 23rd June 2015, 19:43   #13
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I think that's a neat idea!! This calls for me going and eating out (not forgetting the snaps while I'm at it!!) all over Goa, but then hey, I'm up for it!! Who wouldn't be!! Will try and come up with it shortly.
Does this article go in the travelogue section then?
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Old 23rd June 2015, 19:45   #14
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I think it should. Finally Mods will place it rightly.
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