. Reading the Lonely Planet we decided that the 6 miles off the main highway would be worth it, especially as we had arrived early enough to enjoy the beach. Reaching the town, there were no signposts to the beach and we had to rely on local's directions, most of whom seemed a bit spaced out and unsure. 5 miles later having cycled up several enormous hills with no beach in sight we were both cross as badgers! Actually totally enraged is more like it. Several times we discussed turning back, but felt we had committed too much. Another mile and we saw an incredibly beautiful beach below us and promising ourselves we would take a fishing boat back to the town in the morning we headed down a ridiculously steep track. Reaching a set of steps surrounded by rickshaw drivers we were informed that it was not possible to reach either Om or Kudle beach by bike/car and we would have to carry the bikes and gear 1km or more. Impossible. The Lonely Planet had mentioned none of this, indeed had said it was a 20 minute walk from the town – all lies. It was now 2.45pm and having now done 54 miles with no lunch we were exhausted, demoralised and actually pretty worried as the paths down was definitely to steep to cycle back up. Clever Mikey got to work waking up the rickshaw drivers and persuading them to put the bikes and luggage in two rickshaws and take us back to town. They were surprisingly reluctant at first, strange considering we see them stuffing at least 15 children in each one on the way to school each morning
. Eventually though, a couple agreed for £3 a rickshaw (I would have paid £100 this point!!). This at last cheered up the grumpy Nevilles and we had a great time stuffing the bikes in and overtaking each other on the long route back to town. I felt like asking how much to Bombay. It is important to note that this is definately not cheating as it is going back on ground we had already covered, ground which was off our route anyway. Arriving at Nimmu House, we settled quickly into a good, cheap room overlooking the dirty beach and then, absolutely starving, we headed to the next door, roof top restaurant, Mahalaxmi. They had a fantastic menu including a millions variations of milkshakes, pancakes, noodles and other non-curry based foods. We stuffed ourselves and then headed into town to update the blog and skype the Gicks. Being a temple town, it was full of cows and Indian pilgrims as well as loads of hairy, barefoot and bare chested hippies who had strayed down from Goa. I can’t see any reason to wander round barefoot in cow and other rancid faeces unless you absolutely have to, but they seemed to be having a lovely time. They weren’t your friendly traveller types though and none were remotely interested in the bikes or talking to us, (too busy writing journals, buying beige clothes and staring into the distance) but still it was nice not to be completely on our own anymore and to have western food. I have had a taste of peanut butter now and it’s given me a craving for marmite as well – Mum and Dad bring some out please
. After one false start in an internet café where there was a powercut, we eventually got online and I had a very long and mad conversation with Alan and Tricia trying to plan their trip with us. Had to put them straight on a few things, they had got it into their heads they would have to carry their suitcases about everywhere for some strange reason! Dad’s also bought some very strange new shoes he’s bringing. Can’t wait to see them, and Daniel, although I’m not happy about Mikey’s idea that he’s going to join Dan paragliding in Nepal. After an intensive internet session it was 7.30pm – bedtime and after a short wander on the beach we headed back to the room to be asleep by 9pm again. Mikey’s cold had got worse( might even be man flu) so had to give him some of the stacks of Night Nurse Mum made us bring.
Getting out of the hotel room early again, we realised that we had made a grave error not buying breakfast the night before to eat on our lovely balcony. Bananas, bread and jam on a dirty step over looked by a whole school of children was not relaxing, especially as we had both got out bed the wrong side and were in stinking grumps! I think it may have been the heat and air pressure because we both got heavy headaches as the day went on, and poor Mikey had somehow managed to catch a cold in all this heat. The road was hilly in parts, but fairly ok after we got out of the town. We only managed to have rubbish crisps, and cake snacks, but making good progress reached the junction to Gokarna having done 43miles feeling excited about getting to beautiful Kudle beach by 2. No food available for lunch, but more biscuits and a freshly made lime and soda made by a smiling man in a shack gave us the boost we needed to do the last 6 miles. He was very proud of his cute little 5yr boy who was diligently doing his homework on a slate outside the shop