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Old 24th October 2009, 11:30   #1
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Default Pune - Goa - Pune : My first Travelogue

Hello,
I am writing my very first travelogue here on T-BHP. I had sought advice on the route queries section and I took that advice on the route on that trip.
I will also be adding few observations while I drove in Goa and the scene in general. There will be pictures in the travelogue. A little disclaimer before you start reading. Lots of travelogues exist about Goa and people like have covered the place in great details. So my travelogue maybe short or fewer pictures as the others. But I think since it is my first attempt at writing something on the net I would appreciate criticism so that my next travelogue can be better. (For non-members please mail me at my usual mail ID).

As is the norm here is the teaser.
Attached Thumbnails
Pune - Goa - Pune : My first Travelogue-dsc00318.jpg  

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Old 24th October 2009, 12:18   #2
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Ambivalent, good start, i hope you would do a good job for this!
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Old 24th October 2009, 12:32   #3
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Here are the further details.
We started off to Goa with my wife and two kids (ages 6 and 1 yr and 2 months) on 20th October morning 7 am. The plan was to cover as much distance as possible with the kids in a relaxed mood and wait for breakfast at the McDonalds near Kolhapur. We made it to Mc-Dees at about 9-15 am. It was an astonishing timing for me as I was able to cover those nearly 225 approx kms in two hours. This was due to very light traffic and no clogging at the four toll stations enroute. After McDees halt we started again at 10-15 and were going to take the route via Nipani-Amboli-Sawantwadi-Goa. However one of my close relatives who stays in Khanapur (near Belgaum) assured me that except for a few rough patches the road to Belgaum-Khanapur-Londa-Ponda (Goa) was in good shape.
I decided to take his advice and by 11-15 am I was crossing Belgaum city. We crossed Khanapur by about 12 noon and decided to take a halt by the roadside so that the kids could have the packed lunch we had got along. The location was exquisite. There was a dense forest around us. A vehicle or two passing at regular time intervals making it not too lonely.Kids lunch time was over by 1 pm after which we decided to hit the ghat. The road was good till about Ram-nagar. After that the trouble began. We had heard that the mining trucks that rule the road here at the Anmod ghat had become less in numbers as the recession had lowered the mining demand. I was happy to have seen a few passive parked mining trucks till that point. After that we were continuously weaving in and out of those horrid smoke spewing monsters whose drivers were driving badly. (This is very mildly written as the experience has to be felt). There was red dust everywhere on the road , well whatever was left of it. At a couple of place there was almost a 6 inch drop in the road level , almost like a step. I was really scared to drive on it as my Honda City suffers from low ground clearance and speedbreakers are my enemies in the city. Twice I heard a loud thud when I tried to avoid these steps but then I could not stop and inspect the damage. I just hoped that there would be none.
As we neared the Karnataka border there was a fresh accident that had just taken place in which a mining Tata truck had rammed a Swift and from the looks of it none of them were fast but then I am sure the truck driver was at fault. One thing I noticed and I will be adding to the list of observations later in this travelogue , mining truck drivers whether they are loaded or not are reckless brutes and scare the daylights out of most car drivers (me included in the most).
After entering Goa , the only change was that there were crash barriers in the Ghat. After that the road quality was OK. Already I was quite frustrated driving slow and the tension of fast moving mining trucks that I took a wrong turn and instead of going towards Ponda (pronounced locally as Fonda) I started on a road towards Honda. (Don't laugh, as there is a village by that name and an elderly looking gentleman was kind enough to clear my misunderstanding 2-3 kms after taking the wrong road. Well , we came back to the right road and what struck me in general till I reached my beach resort was the absolute absence or minimal presence of road directions. The boards were quite small and in many places absent. It was fairly frustrating for a first timer in Goa like me.
I had maps with me as a guideline and I had a general sense of direction. So I was able to find my way to the place I was going to stay Bogmalo beach resort. Here are a few pics of the journey till I reached the resort.
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 24th October 2009, 12:33   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Majic View Post
Ambivalent, good start, i hope you would do a good job for this!
Thanks
I do hope to make it a good one.
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Old 24th October 2009, 13:23   #5
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After reaching Goa , we spent the whole two days at the resort. After that one afternoon post-tea we decided to explore and made our way to old Goa. We asked for directions at the bell desk of the resort who called in a local cabbie. He was not too eager to talk about the route to old Goa from our resort (Which was close to the airport). He said it would be required to take a road which only the locals knew and which was on the right side while going to Panaji. Like a good businessman he gave us discouraging instructions encouraging us to take his cab. Like a real Pune-resident (Punekar) I took all his free directions and told him on the face that I would go by my car only. He tried to tell us that a guide would be available for us. I refused though my wife thought that the guide would guide us through the roads. I was quite firm and off we went. We found the road to be used by locals and found it to be quite an exciting drive. Like all roads in Goa and Kokan , it was narrow. The tarmac was good and smooth with few potholes. On the way the usual absence of boards or small boards prompted us to talk to a few locals who spoke only Konkani. My Marathi was far too polished though I tried to sound a bit nasal in my Marathi to make it "Kokanish" and we found that the locals were eager to talk. For eg we asked "Mangeshi cha haach rasta aahe ka ?" In Kokanish Marathi I asked "Mangeshi ncha haanch rasta aaanhe kaan ?"....and voila....an old man showed us the road. So then after Mangeshi we went to Panaji roamed about a bit. We wanted to go for the river cruise but then seeing the vast sea of humanity near the river cruise we headed back to the resort.
In the three day stay in the resort we enjoyed the swimming pool and 24 hour sea view from the room. Also the beach @ Bogmallo is quite OK. I mean though it is a public beach it is quite clean and decent. In our resort there were very few firangs but lots of people speaking Gujrati. I guess they were from Mumbai or beyond in Gujarat. Also I got the distinct impression that the resort had a tie-up with some travel agent in Gujarat as everyday we were seeing lotsa Gujrati speaking folk arriving daily. THis also affected the meals. I mean we had more vegetarian fare and just a couple of non-veg dishes. All-in-all the food was good and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the resort. Photos of the resort , beach and resort in general
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 24th October 2009, 13:39   #6
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The "known-to-the-locals" only road is the road from Pillar just before Velha Goa and touches Old Goa passing infront of Karmali Konkan Railway Station. Its no hidden road and anyone would ahve guided you easily.

Also English is an accpeted mode of communication in Goa. Most of them are fluent and some who are not will respond for sure in whatever broken english they manage.

You should have explored Goa a bit more. There is a huge lot to see. Especially when you had your own car and 3 days. Maybe next time.
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Old 24th October 2009, 13:54   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spitfire View Post
The "known-to-the-locals" only road is the road from Pillar just before Velha Goa and touches Old Goa passing infront of Karmali Konkan Railway Station. Its no hidden road and anyone would ahve guided you easily.

Also English is an accpeted mode of communication in Goa. Most of them are fluent and some who are not will respond for sure in whatever broken english they manage.

You should have explored Goa a bit more. There is a huge lot to see. Especially when you had your own car and 3 days. Maybe next time.
Totally agree on the fact that there are so many things to see in Goa and it is an amazing place,but I had two kids in tow so the explorer in me takes a back seat. Also my vacation agenda was relaxation , rather than exploration. Next time definitely
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Old 24th October 2009, 14:11   #8
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The journey back was uneventful. We checked out of the hotel at 11 am and came to Panaji. After that we had a pizza in Dominos in the business district of Panaji. It was choc-a-bloc with angular parking. One more thing that amazed me was that people seem to double park with ease and not be bothered about being policed for it. That seems to be a part of the driving culture. I was quite stunned to see that an elderly gentleman in an UNO had double parked and locked his car and walked off hampering my entry in the parking lot. There was nothing I could do. I blared my car's horn thinking that there was someone in the drivers seat. THe gentleman came up and quietly moved his car a bit further again quite happily locked his car and went off. Anyway I was able to park and leave it at that. We left Panaji by about 1 pm and came to Sawantwadi by about 2 after which we took the road to Amboli. Here again in Maharastra the road signs to Amboli were missing. I mean there was a sign to Mumbai / Panvel / Ratnagiri. But then I had to ask my way around and found the road just opposite to the bus stand. Amboli ghat was good. It was a good tarmac most of the way. Light traffic and the occasional photographer taking pictures of the valley below. I thought something as big as Panchgani if not Mahabaleshwar, but Amboli seemed a bit smaller. Maybe the lack of this commercialisation makes it very attractive to people who travel there.
I am not sure how high it is from sea-level but then it is not much further up from the level of Belgaum perhaps. Mahabaleshwar seems to be higher as there is a long ghat from the Pune side while there a super long ghat from the Mumbai / Kokan side of it. Perhaps I am wrong.
Anyway once on that road it was quite easy upto Nipani to NH-4. We hit NH-4 by about 4-45 pm after which due to my kids being hungry and bored we went inside Kolhapur city upto the bus-stand. We had some snacks and tea after which we hit the road again at 6-15 and reached Pune at home by 9 p.m. Here are the photos of the last leg of the journey.
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 24th October 2009, 14:45   #9
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Stats of the trip - (all figures approximate)
Total fuel consumed - 65 ltrs
Total distance travelled - 1150 kms.
Fuel Efficiency - 17.69 kmpl (a/c on at all times)

Some comments / observations during the trip.
(Disclaimer - These are personal feelings I am sharing so there is nothing right or wrong in them. I do not intend to hurt anyone's feelings, and if I do so please do let me know. Just trying to end my travelogue on a better note for those who are first time travellers into Goa like I was)

- In the Anmod ghat (Belgaum-Ponda road) , dumper trucks are bad drivers. Be the truck full or empty they just go bombing down the road be it good or potholed.
- In Goa , carry a map and don't expect large road signs. Mileage may not be indicated. Road signs are small green and usually not prominent. Best is to ask a local if confused. They might be better guides.
Normally policemen are the best impromptu guides as they tell the correct road. On the day I came I saw no cop till I reached the airport junction where there was a cop managing traffic.
- Two wheelers in Goa if driven by youngsters are to be carefully overtaken. As is roads are narrow and the younger the driver the riskier the overtaking maneuver might be.
- Using a horn in Goa does not seem to be the in thing as it is here in Maharashtra. People become really conscious if you do so. You might be warning a helmet wearing two-wheeler that you are driving behind him but be prepared to get a look even if your not too loud.
- Firangs driving rented cars drive by the book. But they seriously look out of the place with all the lane cutting speedsters (speedsters can range from a Sumo to a fast car like a Toyota to a mining Tata 1210).
- Bypasses and alternative one ways (especially the one near Mangeshi where the hillside has been dug up to create circular ring routes is amazing.) Directions to which road leads where might be confusing as one often sees outsiders staring at the small green boards and pointing to the direction they want to take.
- Expect lots of out-station vehicles especially from Gujarat to be around. (This maybe perhaps specific to a season).
- Black Porsche Cayenne looks amazing. There was one near our resort and I saw it almost daily.
- National Highways in Konkan and Goa (esp NH-17) can be as wide as a village road where two buses can barely pass. If some smart Alec decides to chat with a friend in a roadside shop he can create a traffic jam on a national highway although he has parked to one side.
- As far as I remember Goa police used to stop vehicles registered outside Goa at the state border to check for any type of liquor smuggling. However this time Maharashtra police stopped us and made me open the Honda boot to check for any potential threatening things I might be carrying. No Goa Police were sighted.
- Tolls on NH4 in Karnataka are cheaper though the roads are far superior (at least upto Belgaum). Maharashtra tolls are twice with roads OK.
- McDonalds has no specific breakfast options like some egg preparations. So you might get the same happy meal in the morning till night.

These are the few things I thought I would like to share. Please let me know in case you feel you were amused or not very amused or your suggestions on what could have been better or what is OK.
Hope to hear from many of you guys. I am looking forward to inputs from the senior BHP-ians and the folk who write long travelogues and travel a lot. This is a just a baby-step I have taken in that direction. Lets hear it from all of you fellow BHP-ians out there.

Last edited by ambivalent_98 : 24th October 2009 at 14:48.
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Old 24th October 2009, 15:04   #10
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Good, just loved reading your travelogue, i think it has come out very good for a first timer, splendid photos! Congrats on your first travelogue
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Old 24th October 2009, 15:22   #11
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Quote:
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Good, just loved reading your travelogue, i think it has come out very good for a first timer, splendid photos! Congrats on your first travelogue
Thanks a ton its very encouraging
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Old 24th October 2009, 16:01   #12
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Good travelogue.I think your close relative does not like you (Joking).He guided you through Belgaum-Londa-Ponda route.You are lucky not to drive this road in rain.I drove in rain in this stretch. I cannot forget this drive.
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Old 26th October 2009, 11:07   #13
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Good travelogue.I think your close relative does not like you (Joking).He guided you through Belgaum-Londa-Ponda route.You are lucky not to drive this road in rain.I drove in rain in this stretch. I cannot forget this drive.
Hmmmmm I spoke the gentleman who sent me through this road , I don't blame him as he relied on some other frequent traveller who probably drives an SUV.
By the way in the rains the stretch must have been lovely , did you do it in an SUV ? Well a vehicle like a Safari would tackle this quite well I guess.
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Old 26th October 2009, 13:21   #14
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I was driving between 6pm-9pm in the rain it was nightmare.I was driving Indica V2 about 4yrs back. Amboli ghat is a better road.I never recommend this Londa route as for years this road has never been repaired.
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Old 26th October 2009, 13:49   #15
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Nice travelogue, Mind sharing the resort name for us ?
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