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Old 14th May 2016, 15:07   #1
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Default Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa

The previous road trip (Ahmedabad to Shimla, Dec 2014, http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...een-hills.html (Ahmedabad to Shimla, the Queen of Hills)) was ages ago and seeing Vento idling in its parking lot made me propose new destinations (of course , to wifey) every once in a while. Some were taken up for discussions, some outrightly rejected.

Goa was rejected several times earlier. By the end of 2015, I presented it once again and (surprise surprise) it was approved. Don't ask me why, since nobody expects explanations to wife's decisions.

So it is going to be GOA!

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160314_082726.jpg

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Old 14th May 2016, 17:27   #2
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Default re: Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa

Suggestions for routes were sought. There were references plenty on team-bhp too. Decided to take the most travelled Vadodara-Surat-Mumbai- Pune-Satara-Kolhapur-Belgavi-Chorla route. Since I am not comfortable driving during night, a stopover was planned at either Pune, Satara or Kolhapur, wherever we reach by sunset. Goa stay was at Club Mahindra Varca.


So, everything was done. Since I had an AMC, even the car was given for a general inspection and cleaning. We were supposed to leave on March 11. But, as fate would have it, on February 21, on way to the office I met with an accident when, while passing through a crossroad, an Amaze rammed on the left-hand side rear door, sending me and my ready-for-Goa car into a 180-degree spin in the middle of the road.


Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-accident1.jpg

My two-and-a-half-year-old vehicle didn’t have a single scratch or a dent till the accident, and seeing it in this manner left me literally in tears

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-accident2.jpg

Except varying degrees of damages to both vehicles, nothing happened to neither me nor the three passengers in Amaze.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-accident3.jpg

The wheel trim was gone and the dead axle was bent

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-accident4.jpg


Luckily there was sparse traffic since it was a Sunday, which averted multiple hits and pileups.



Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-accident5.jpg


Vehicle off to the workshop, and there goes the Goa plans for a toss.

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Old 15th May 2016, 01:41   #3
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Default re: Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa

The bodyshop at Volkswagen Karnavati was not sure it could give the vehicle back after repair before the trip, especially since the dead axle had to be changed and it had to be ordered and brought from Aurangabad.

There were three options left – rely on the service centre to get the vehicle ready, book train/flight tickets or take my Alto K10. I decided to book train tickets, and wait it out for repair works to get over.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160223_150347.jpg

That's my car at the service centre. The rear door had been removed and it was lying in the open. Noticed that the steering cover was losing its 'skin' (see pic below). Decided to put some pressure on these guys. Following a series of letters to VW and phone calls to Volkswagen Karnavati, I got the vehicle back on March 9, a day ahead of my trip. So, once again, it was back to the original plan -- burning up the road all the way from Ahmedabad till Goa.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160311_041812.jpg

DAY 1

It was 4.16am on March 11. The odo stood at 13,180. Petrol had been tanked up. Nitrogen had been filled. And we -- me, wifey and two kids aged 12 and 9, and a boot full of luggage for 9 days-- were ready to hit the road

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160311_065825.jpg

Once the Ahmedabad-Vadodara Expressway is over, the roads are mostly three lane and trucks and luxury buses are never a problem.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160311_065918.jpg

With the accident still lingering in the mind, I seldom crossed 100 kmph despite the road being butter smooth and devoid of any traffic.

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Old 17th May 2016, 14:15   #4
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Default re: Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa

Our first major hurdle was crossing Bharuch, with a new bridge being built near the Sardar Bridge and the Golden Bridge traffic being restricted. Since it was early morning we were not expecting the usual several-kilometers-long traffic jam on the highway but eventually we reached a dead end, behind trucks and trailers. Luckily for us, some cars were taking a U-turn (wherever space permitted) and we diligently followed them. They took us to the city and to the Golden Bridge. In the end, we saved some 5-6 hours of our precious time


Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-bharuch-2.jpg

The Golden Bridge. Though I have crossed Bharuch several times in the past this is the first time it is being done via this bridge.
The bridge is old and narrow too. All the way, I was scared that I will break my OVRMs whenever an MUV was coming from the opposite side

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-bharuch-3.jpg

If there are pedestrians on the stretch, driving becomes all the more difficult. A couple of Boleros and others coming from the opposite side literally gave me some heart-in-the-mouth moments.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-bharuch-4.jpg

This is what you call light at the end of the tunnel. What a relief.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-spice.jpg

First stop. Looked decent and inviting to break the fast.

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Looked like we were the first to stop over for breakfast there. Food was just about average

[ATTACH]1508022[ATTACH]

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Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-spice3.jpg  


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Old 18th May 2016, 14:12   #5
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Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-anotherbreak.jpg

Another break at a nondescript place. Vital fluids were replenished for the long day ahead

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-road.jpg

The long and inviting road. We needed to cover Mumbai and Pune and find a decent place for overnight stay anywhere between Pune and Satara. Kolhapur would have been great place and we were indeed aiming for Kolhapur

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-road-1.jpg

No traffic jams till Mumbai other than a minor one after Surat due to an overturned tanker in the middle of the road (sorry, no pics). Lost a lot of time negotiating the afternoon traffic in Mumbai. Also, it took some effort to get on to the eway.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-road-2.jpg

Wondering what's happening on the right? Well, it's nothing but bird droppings on the windscreen.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-me.jpg

With Mumbai behind us, it was confident cruising all the way. Any hint of tiredness? No, I guess.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-tunnel.jpg

The longest tunnel on Mumbai-Pune Expressway. I have to admit that I am not at all comfortable while driving through tunnels.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-god.jpg

Blessings we need in plenty since we are in uncharted territory.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-ew-road-work.jpg

Some work happening on the way. Made me recall news of frequent landslides, traffic jams and accidents on the expressway

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-pune-break.jpg

Lunch break at around 4pm.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-me-last.jpg

Time was not on our side. Kolhapur was nowhere in sight and we were desperatley hoping that we could at least reach Satara by 8-9pm. We did stop at a place 70km before Satara -- it was good and well maintained but there was not a single occupant there (forgot the name of the hotel). Decided to skip it and go ahead despite the numerous diversions that were on the way.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-hotel.jpg

After checking out a couple of hotels, we finally settled with Hotel Mahendra Executive in Satara. Bare-basic facilities but good for the purpose of pure overnight stay. The sun had set a long time ago and we had to take dinner from the same hotel so that we could hit the bed asap. That's curtains on day one without much incidents

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Old 19th May 2016, 15:10   #6
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Default re: Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa

Day Two

Day two was unlike day one. There was a near-miss and a wrong turn that took us through an unplanned route.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-1.jpg

A photo shoot early in the morning while bags were being moved back into the car.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-2.jpg

The odo reading before the start. We made a big mistake of not having breakfast from Mahendra. Thought there would be plenty on the way. A big mistake, because everybody was hungry and most eateries were yet to open. Stopped at several restaurants that were open, only to find that either there was nobody there or there was no food ready yet. This eatery hunting was quite tiring and time consuming, to say the least, because the biggest worry was the wrath of famished wife and kids.


Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-3.jpg

Finally! We almost missed this one. Had to reverse a bit to reach there.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-4.jpg

It was a decent place and it turned out that the food, mostly south Indian, too was not bad

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-5.jpg

Back on the road. It's early in the morning, weather was nice and not many vehicles on the road, all of which made the drive a pleasant one

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-8.jpg

There were occasional irritants, like this one, when heavy vehicles blocked the way. Honking don't work and had to wait it out for a way out

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-9.jpg

Had a long way to go, Kohlapur is 71 km away and we were planning to reach Varca by 2pm. That's when a near-miss happened. Was cruising in the right lane and a truck was in the left someway behind us when traffic cones appeared from nowhere and blocked my lane, and the road suddenly became single lane. Couldn't take the left lane because the truck was almost parallel with me. So I braked hard.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-10.jpg

The speed at that time could have been 80-90 but the vehicle stopped though it hit a traffic cone near the right fender. For a split second I had thought of swerving to the left, but I guess I avoided a hit because I didn't do that. Nothing happened to us or the car, except my son, whose head hit the driver seatback. My right leg was trembling for a while and I decided to take a break. The pic shows my son getting some treatment from his mother.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-11.jpg

All was well in a few minutes and to make things better a goatherd appeared next to the service road.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-12.jpg

Decided to stretch the break and crossed over to the herd.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-13.jpg

The goatherd played along and gave kids a chance to hold and take photos with the goats. Tried talking to him.. but couldn't make out what language he was speaking. Could've been Marathi or Kannada, both of which are Greek to me.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-14.jpg

That's me after regaining composure and all set to get behind the wheels again.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-15.jpg

Some random interesting sights on the way.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-16.jpg

The day was wearing on and the traffic was getting heavy, slowing us down to 50-60 speed levels.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-17.jpg

Managed to drive alongside the train for quite a long distance. Reached Belgavi and somewhere we missed the turn that should have taken us to the Chorla ghat route and, guess what, we ended up on the Mollem ghat road.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-18.jpg

We realised our mistake after we covered some distance when we noticed that the road had narrowed and traffic had thinned. Shouldn't have happened because we weren't blindly following gps but doublechecking the route with passersby too.


Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-19.jpg

Guessed we never asked for Chorla ghat but instead sought the way to Goa. Afterwards when I checked gps, it was showing the Mollem route. So, in effect, both gps and passersby guided us to the Mollem route. Luckily the roads were in good condition and there were some vehicles passing by, thus not leaving us all alone in the forest. But it was still scary since we didn't find any human being or houses / shops on the stretch. A few kilometres into the route there was a strange kind of sound from outside.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-22.jpg

A true double whammy. We were trying to find the way out when this scary sound appeared from nowhere. In the past I have been to several forest areas in several states, but this took us by surprise and at the same time it was scary too. My fear was that the tyres have gone flat. But the sound could be from the engine bay too. I wanted to stop and see. But wife didn't allow. She said it won't be safe. Decided not to throw caution to the wind. Since the car didn't show any problems we moved on, though at a slow pace. If it was a problem with either the tyres or engine, how long can it carry on? The car seemed fine even after a few kilometres.



The forest was thick on both sides, the sound continued to be shriller and we made slow progress. After a while, a car overtook us and went ahead. This gave us some courage to stop and see what was happening. The tyres were perfectly fine and everything seemed ok in the engine bay too. Well, the sound was from the forest. Here is the video

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20.jpg

Finally some semblance of human life. Fear gave way to fun and we then took in the sights and sounds of this road less travelled.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-21.jpg

Things were going smooth and this happened. We were way laid by these simians. We stopped and did some serious monkey business.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-23.jpg

Finally, Goa.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-24.jpg

Our home for seven days

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-25.jpg

The long and winding parking lot.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-26.jpg

The room

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Old 22nd May 2016, 15:53   #7
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In and around GOA for seven days

Goa is the familiar hunting ground of every travel enthusiast, specially teambhpians. So, no need for any introduction. Posting some pics during the seven days of our stay in the 'tourist's paradise'.


Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160312_172440.jpg

First taste of Goa, squid masala

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160312_184448.jpg

The clean and endless beach at Varca

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160312_191406.jpg

The pool dance at CM

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160313_125804.jpg

The market at Mapusa

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160314_154042.jpg

One of the many fish delicacies

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160315_073522.jpg

Crab hunting at the beach

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160315_122948.jpg

At the famous Martin's Corner

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160315_225249.jpg

Had to do a lot of restaurant hopping to find this. And, we found it, of all places, next to CM -- stuffed crab. Not sure how authentic it is

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160313_162507.jpg

At the church of our lady of the mount. A bit out of the way and had to ask around quite a lot

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160316_120903.jpg

Among taxis and buses, at the parking lot near Fort Aguada

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160316_131927.jpg

Interesting (and extensive) menu at an eatery on the way back from Fort Aguada. In fact, the full menu is on display outside

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160317_143641.jpg

Lunch at the place. Was looking for Goan thali for a few days and finally found it here.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160317_180400.jpg

Son getting ready for parasailing at Varca

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160317_181415.jpg

Up, up and away

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-20160317_220523.jpg

Fish in butter and garlic

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-img_6881.jpg

Going around Goa

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-img_6908.jpg

Customary visit. It was unbearably hot at Anjuna beach so didn't bother to venture further. Had to scoot from there asap.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-img_6932.jpg

Some off-roading on the way and back from the beach. The detour was due to road work

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-img_6988.jpg

At Basilica of Bom Jesus

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-img_7061.jpg

And, the Fort Aguada

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Old 24th May 2016, 22:24   #8
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Days 9 & 8

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-1.jpg

Time to say bye to Goa. Ready for the two-day return journey. Decided to take the Sawantwadi-Amboli-Kolhaphur-Pune-Mumbai-Surat-Vadodara route. Stopover in Pune.


Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-3.jpg

Was stopped by cops before Banda. But they were not interested in licence and other documents but wanted Rs 100 for some kind of entry permit. Paid Rs 100 but didn't get any permit in black and white.


Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-4.jpg

Though not one-way, the road was well laid and marked, helping good movement. With the Mollem-Ponda misadventure afresh in mind, was mindful to take the right route.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-5.jpg

But, despite, our best of intentions not to take any wrong turns, we just did that. The gps was the culprit again this time. The route was narrow and there was no road at most of the places. It was worse than the Mollem-Ponda route, because there was no road at all and there were no vehicles.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-6.jpg

After a few kilometres of tension and anxeity, we were back on the main road. We've come to the conclusion that wrong turns and a few hours of tension are given for any trip.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-7.jpg

More than any other vehicles, we could find trucks on the route. Most of them were speeding on the tricky ghat sections, intimidating most other road users.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-8.jpg

Stopped for lunch at a nondescript place.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-9.jpg

The food was fresh, simple and cheap. There was not much choice and what was available was good, so much so that everybody literally gorged on the food. For some reason, the fish was bigger, tasted fresh and better than what we had in Goa.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-10.jpg

Food is cooked by women at home and brought here to be served, hence the word mess in the title, i guess. There were lot of eateries on the way near Amboli but since this was the most crowded we rightly decided to stop there

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-11.jpg

With stomach fully tanked up we were back on the road. Stayed overnight at company guesthouse in Pune.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-12.jpg

Took breaks every two hours or so. Halts at fastfood centres were always welcome, especially for kids, since they can gorge on their favourite junk food. Another fact is that they are generally clean, fast and less troublesome for tummies.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-13.jpg

Everything was smooth and we were on time until we reached the problem area, Bharuch. Had information that the traffic on Golden Bridge has been restricted, so decided to try our luck at the main Sardar Bridge. Traffic slowed and came to a complete stop and I was sure that
we were in serious trouble. All that we could see was tankers and trailers around with very few cars in between. We were under siege.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-14.jpg

The tanker ahead was with us for about 4-5 hours. Since this has become a routine, there were people selling water and peanuts, and they told us the jam is about 8-10 kilometres long. Every 15 minutes the vehicles will move a few metres. This continued for hours. Time passed with we making little progress. Going by our pace, we would cover the bridge in another 8-10 hours.

Burning up the road - Ahmedabad to Goa-15.jpg

After about 5 hours, a volunteer stopped us and guided us to a track used by construction vehicles. There was no road as such, but just a track used by dumpers. It was dark and there was no light. It was real offroading (sorry for the pic quality). The route was quite long and after literally groping in the dark we finally reached the main road. It was indeed a testing time. Hope the government will finish the bridge works soon. From there we were on the familiar home stretch, and we were home after midnight.

Well, after nine days and some 2,800 kilometres later, there ends another trip. Though it gulped down Rs 11,500 worth of petrol, Vento was the perfect travel companion all through. To top it, this time there were no underbody hits.

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Old 26th May 2016, 22:31   #9
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 26th May 2016, 23:06   #10
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Nice travelogue.

The sound in the forest is from harmless insects called Cicadas. Eerie as they might sound, the sound is made only by males during mating season.



Quote:
The "singing" of male cicadas is not stridulation such as many familiar species of insects produce ó for example crickets. Instead, male cicadas have a noisemaker called a tymbal below each side of the anterior abdominal region. The tymbals are structures of the exoskeleton formed into complex membranes with thin, membranous portions and thickened ribs. Contraction of internal muscles buckles the tymbals inwards, thereby producing a click; on relaxation of the muscles, the tymbals return to their original position, producing another click. The male abdomen is largely hollow, and acts as a sound box. By rapidly vibrating these membranes, a cicada combines the clicks into apparently continuous notes, and enlarged chambers derived from the tracheae serve as resonance chambers with which it amplifies the sound. The cicada also modulates the song by positioning its abdomen toward or away from the substrate. Partly by the pattern in which it combines the clicks, each species produces its own distinctive mating songs and acoustic signals, ensuring that the song attracts only appropriate mates.
Source: Wikipedia

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Old 27th May 2016, 01:08   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airfoil View Post
Nice travelogue.

The sound in the forest is from harmless insects called Cicadas. Eerie as they might sound, the sound is made only by males during mating season.
Thanks for the info. The insects maybe harmless, but they frightened the living daylights out of us
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Old 27th May 2016, 02:31   #12
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[quote=sreepathy;3981729]Days 9 & 8


Was stopped by cops before Banda. But they were not interested in licence and other documents but wanted Rs 100 for some kind of entry permit. Paid Rs 100 but didn't get any permit in black and white.

This is no permit, just bribe that these people want. Simply deny it to them.


But, despite, our best of intentions not to take any wrong turns, we just did that. The gps was the culprit again this time. The route was narrow and there was no road at most of the places. It was worse than the Mollem-Ponda route, because there was no road at all and there were no vehicles.

You were guided to the route most villagers take or people who want to smuggle cheap alcohol take. Its a interior road from Banda.



Stopped for lunch at a nondescript place.

Next time try Bhalekar (Mahalakshmi) Khanaval in Sawantwadi, they serve yummy, lip-smacking non-veg and at affordable price.



And now with the photos, I feel like I should plan a Goa trip soon. (Twice has been done this year)
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Old 27th May 2016, 12:28   #13
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[quote=KaandBaaz;3983387]
Quote:
Originally Posted by sreepathy View Post
This is no permit, just bribe that these people want. Simply deny it to them.


You were guided to the route most villagers take or people who want to smuggle cheap alcohol take. Its a interior road from Banda.


Next time try Bhalekar (Mahalakshmi) Khanaval in Sawantwadi, they serve yummy, lip-smacking non-veg and at affordable price.



And now with the photos, I feel like I should plan a Goa trip soon. (Twice has been done this year)
Knew it was daylight robbery, that too by policemen in uniform. But didn't want to get delayed. Else, at least I could have asked for a receipt

About the wrong turn, we couldn't find any vehicle and people were staring at us either due to surprise or suspicion. Now I know why they were suspicious.

Will definitely try this place next time. We didnít have any info about eateries there. We just followed the crowd and had a good time. Actually we took the bypass road, didnít touch Sawantwadi. Narvekar Mess is somewhere near Amboli.

Happy to know that I could inspire you for another Goa trip.
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