. Stopping in Talera for lunch we braved a dirty looking shack and waited to be served, when we were ignored, Mikey went in and came straight out saying we’ve got to get away from here. I went closer and realised that the interior absolutely reeked of manure – absolutely disgusting. It has happened again since and we hope they use dried manure as fuel, because any other explanation is too disgusting. We went across the street (watched by everyone in the village) and managed to buy biscuits and crisps for lunch. We then headed further along the road through the village and seeing nowhere else acceptable to eat we sat on a bench and had our crisps. Mikey spent the time on the phone to Barclays trying to work out why our cash cards would not work today or yesterday, a big worry as we were getting very low and didn’t have enough for a room and food. They didn’t really have any answers and so we carried on hoping to try other ATM’s enroute. AT 2pm we found ourselves in a deep valley with a massive river flowing through it. We stopped and watched a family of oxen swimming. I couldn’t believe that they actually went underwater – thought they would sink and never come back up. After more ridiculous hills we eventually descended into a really steep valley and found the tiny village of Rajapur. Apart from a mosque and a fun looking river side cricket pitch, there was nothing there. Luckily a passer-by explained there was more of the village at the top of the hill. 2km up and we found a rickety town, which did at least have an ATM
. Discovering that none of our cards worked, including my Natwest one, and after 30 minutes of calls to the bank who couldn’t explain why they wouldn’t work we gave up and set off to find a lodge for the night. Hotel Foodland was the only option and it was absolutely disgusting – dirty, not even a sink, and the door hanging off. Camping seemed a better option, but the mad people in the hills meant that we didn’t want to risk it. We’d also already cycled 60 miles and it was getting dark. The room cost 400 rupees which we didn’t have, so after much discussion and confusion we managed to persuade the bemused owner to take 10 dollars instead. He couldn’t understand the situation at all, and told us we should go to Ratnigeri (70km away) now and change the money and come back. Getting up to the room we got ourselves as clean as possible using a bucket of cold water and then counted all of our coins to see if we had enough rupees left to get something to eat. It seemed like most of the town inhabitants had spent their Sunday drinking home brews and were now stumbling around happily, enjoying shouting at us. We found a noodle stand and managed to have some surprisingly good vegetable ones. Seeing them cooked in front of you is very comforting. Mikey was eagerly eyeing up the beer shop next door, but I said we couldn’t spend all of the money we had left on the world on beer! After supper we went for a stroll through the town, dodging drunk drivers and enormous potholes as we went
. Returning to the ATM we had spent an hour outside early the security guard greeted us warmly, despite the fact that Mikey had told him off for letting some locals in who wanted to watch him take out money. As it still wouldn’t work, he informed us that there was in fact another ATM in the town down a dark bumpy road. I didn’t want to go as we now had a drunk/drugged man in a rickshaw tailing us and continuously shouting at us to get in. We braved it though, and couldn’t believe it when we heard the machine churning and it actually gave us money!!!! SUCH a relief. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere cashless is a horrible feeling and something we’ve had no problems with so far. (Although I remember when Sarah and I were travelling it was a constant problem, usually because we left our cash cards in shopping bags in hostels!) We took our hard earned cash and went on a shopping spree for beers, chocolate and sweets. Getting back to the lodge, the man was further confused when we gave him 400 rupees and go tour dollars back. He had them in his pocket so I’m not sure what he had intended to do with them. The men at the lodge really wanted us to eat in their filthy restaurant, but we declined saying we were tired and wanted to retire to our lovely room. After putting up the mosquito net and covering their bedding with all of ours we snuggled up in the dark (so we couldn’t see where we were!) and watched Blades of Glory. Really wished we were at home celebrating Olaf’s Christening and Hollie-Pollie’s Birthday.
The Executive Inn had a very strict set of rules on the back of the door insisting that guests maintain silence in the rooms at all times, don't bring in any food or drink and look after aged people and small children. We broke all the rules, smuggling in breakfast and beers, talking in the room and sadly we couldn’t find any old people or children to look after. Quickly leaving in the morning, before they could find the evidence, we only stopped to say goodbye to the cute little puppies who lived in the kitchen. Having been nervous about my patched tyre we were pleased to do 20 miles relatively straight forwardly and rewarded ourselves by stopping Kankauli for coffee and a soggy but still nice cornetto. The helpful man in the restaurant told us that today’s destination, Rajapur, was not a good place to stay, but with nothing else on the map we had to hope his information was poor (like a lot we get). The day was incredibly hot and the terrain hilly and dusty dry and it got progressively less civilised