Goa and Gokarna diaries.

Phew. So the travel has actually kicked off now! It feels almost normal in some ways. Of course till now I’ve been in south India with Kalpana. I’m expecting things to change a bit once I reach Mumbai.

We started off from Bangalore on 11th of June. This being my first visit to Goa, I had some preconceived notions about the place. I expected it to be full of foreigners, pubs and loud music. When we got down at Canacona, it was the complete opposite. It was a quaint village with hardly any tourists. Travelling in off season has its own advantages. Being in the south of Goa meant that we wouldn’t have much tourists anyway. On top of it, the monsoons had arrived. So the shacks on the beaches were all shut, the beaches were deserted and the waves were rough. We spent three days here - going around to Palolem and Agonda beaches and just relaxing around the village of Agonda. The strangest thing was that we neither had network coverage nor electricity in Agonda for a good 2 days!!! 

Anyhow, I enjoyed Goa the way I saw it. The monsoon winds lashing the coasts, the streets deserted and villages devoid of tourists. Maybe that’s not what Goa is meant to be, maybe the experience of Goa is supposed to be something else. But for now, the laid back experience will do. 

From Cancana, we were supposed to catch the intercity express at 14:38 to reach Gokarna. We saw the train arriving at 14:20. It said Mangalore-Madgaon intercity express. We hopped in. The train left at around 14:35. After around 15 mins, we noticed on the map that we were actually going towards Madgaon instead of Mangalore :D. After a quick round of panic, we realised that we had boarded the wrong train - actually the exact same train name but running in the opposite direction. Thankfully we booked another train while on our way to Madgaon. All this meant that instead of reaching by 4:30pm, we ended up at Gokarna by 8:30pm. 

Gokarna - named so because it is shaped like a cow’s ear. This place is a weird mix. On one side you have the religious Hindu temples. The actual town in itself feels like any other pilgrimage town - shops selling puja items, rings and photos of gods and all. But venture a bit towards Kudlee beach and the hostels and homestays come into view. This area is more meant for the backpackers than the tourists. 

We spent one day just hiking from one beach to another. From Kudlee to Om to half moon to paradise beache. The hike is easy and accessible even in monsoons. Although the police might stop people from using the om beach route due to high waves. Just check the maps.me offline maps and you’ll get enough trails to get to half moon and paradise beaches. 

The next day we spent meeting a friend at kudlee beach and at the hostel watching the cricket World Cup match between India and Pakistan. 

Since then, Kalpana has left for Bangalore and resumed her work. I stayed back at Gokarna for two more days. As I write this, I’m on a train back to Madgaon. I’ll stay there for two nights and head towards Mumbai. 

Goa and Gokarna were different. Neither matched the notions I had about them. It’s also becoming clear to me that travel takes a lot of patience. You can’t rush though things. And since I’ve always travelled for trekking purposes, this experience in itself feels different. Let’s see how things pan out as I head further away from my comfort zone. 

Check out my Instagram handle for pics: rickety.ship.  

Until next time!