The objective of this short Goa trip was to avoid the usual tourist haunts like the plague…and boy, how we did that 🙂 No Calangute or Baga or Anjuna or Mapusa and Panjim…just cycling and driving through village roads and what I think is the best view in Goa…Cab do Rama Fort.
The first thing anyone does as they enter Goa (apart from paying the Rs. 250/- Entry Tax!!) is fill up your petrol tank and then stock up on beer…in that order nowadays, due to the huge difference in excise tax between Maharashtra and Goa on both essential commodities 🙂
Climbing Chorla Ghat was on my wish list for a long long time. We headed out from Saligao at 0600 hrs (wtf!!! nobody gets up at 0600 hrs in Goa) for the 50 km drive through Thivim, Bicholim to the base of the climb, just after the Goa Entry Toll Booth. The climb skirts Anjunem Lake for the first 5 – 6 kms through thick forest and the tarmac is a road bikers dream surface….butter smooth. The view opens up as you go higher and the road gets a bit steeper, eventually easing out at the Karnataka Border Check post. 15 kms of one of the best climbs I’ve done so far…and will come back for more for I am sure this would be a paradise in the monsoons.
Early morning cycling around Saligao, the climb to Pilerne, the backwaters of Nerul River, to Sinquerim Beach and up to Fort Aguada is beautiful. Tourist traffic is non existent at that early hour and the roads are empty of maniac drivers. However, I couldn’t find an open restaurant for coffee, although a few wine shops were just about opening up at 0800 hrs…This is GOAAAA!!!
Cab do Rama is way down in South Goa, and a bit off the tourist map, and thank heavens for that. For those who go through the effort of visiting, the drive is a long but pleasant one and as you hit the plateau near the fort, you are treated to a beautiful sight of blue green sea and a crescent shaped beach bordered by palms trees.
The only good thing about Agonda Beach is the road that leads to it from Cab do Rama. The beach is so so and the restaurant food was bland. If a chef can’t make a mildly spicy, palatable Rechado Surmai fry or Prawns then he should wind up and head elsewhere….the beer tasted good though 🙂
For the foodies, especially seafood, the go to place is Anand Seafood Restaurant on the Baga – Siolim road. It says something about the quality of the restaurant if you can’t get parking space nearby at 11:30 AM. The Rava Fried Mussels and Fish Gravy are to die for. The portions are good and the waiters very helpful in making sure you don’t go overboard and order more than you can possibly eat 🙂