Really Big Shiva

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
RNS GuestHouse

Flag of India  , Karnātaka,
Monday, December 6, 2010

Alarm went off at 6.45am again, and this morning when we got to breakfast in the hotel they were awake and ready for us and best of all, the buffet had SCRAMBLED EGGS!! Ok – they had onions and big chillies in, but still delicious served with loads of bread, butter, jam, coffee and grape juice. We happily left the idlies and dal samba on the buffet trolley. Cycling out of the hotel gates at 8am was lovely, a gorgeous breeze blew us along the sea front, making us feel very sensible for getting up early. The first 15 miles were great cycling(for India). A few big hills, but the road was ok and the scenery crossing the backwaters continued to be beautiful. The amount of traffic on the road in Karnataka has significantly decreased which is good and we managed to stop on a few bridges and watch fishermen jump out of their canoes and wade around with their nets. Stopping by the side of the road to virtuously a snack of bananas and oranges we were approached by a cyclist selling icecreams. We had homemade mango icecream (against the advice of the Lonely Planet, but no ill effects yet!). The ice cream man told us he cycles 60km a day with his icecreams but was still impressed by our journey. Continuing, we did another 15miles and reached Maravanthe beach, pristine white sands which didn't even make it into the guide book. We spent 15 minutes in the shade drinking mango juice, eating crisps and trying to spot the dolphins the owner of the shack said were there. Small, dirty, cute children who should have been in school spent the time trying to get us to buy them 7up. They were already stuffing their faces with sweets so we didn’t oblige. After another  10 miles, it started to get ridiculously hot and we ate pastries and cake for lunch sheltering in the shade on a shop step, looking forward to an early finish to the day. It got very hilly after lunch, not great in the heat, but we did see another family of monkeys halfway up one hill. The big one was peeling and eating a banana, but he ran when we came close in case we stole it. One enormous hill had a sunset viewing point at the top, with pretty spectacular views over the landscape, hills in all directions unfortunately for us.  The terrain at the top of the hill was pretty mad, desert sands with the usual cows wandering around aimlessly. 6 miles from Bhatkal, our end destination, the road completely disintegrated making for very slow and frustrating going. Eventually reaching Bhatkal, it turned out to be a small town with basic hotels, but nothing to see or do. Being Monday, most shops were closed. Although we’d already done 60 miles we decided to do another 8 to Murdeshwar which had a beach. It was only 3.30pm, and having got up early and had two short 40mile days, we had enough energy and thought it was probably worth it. Arriving in a busy temple town with a great beach and the largest statue of Shiva in the world, we were really pleased with our decision! The place was full of Indian tourists having a lovely time, swimming in all their clothes and being packed like sardines into very rickety boats and bombing round the harbour. Once again there were jet skis for hire which raced about amongst all of the swimmers with no concern for their safety whatsoever. After checking into a great room with sea view balcony, we had pizza 'Indian style’ in a beach restaurant overlooking all of the beach action. Wandering around the town later was fun for a bit, but after 68miles we were asleep on our feet so staggered back to the room  7 and were fast asleep by 9pm after watching a shockingly bad Dolph Lundgrum film!
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