Idyllic Coasts

Posted by on 9, Apr 2024 in 2024 - An Indian Winter, Tilly the Tandem

Idyllic Coasts
Mangrove beach, mini Goa

After being told by multiple people, as we headed up the coast, to visit Mini Goa we took a short detour off our route and visited this rather picturesque estuary as it enters the sea, complete with mangrove trees and of course plenty of rubbish.  It would be idyllic if people didn’t just drop their rubbish everywhere whilst walking to the beach and as we’re heading that way, we hope Goa actually isn’t this bad.

It’s been quite tidy with little rubbish for much of Kerala with pockets of really messy areas. Some of those areas, we assume its the authorities who have erected wire mesh fences along the canals to stop people throwing their rubbish in the water. It’s strange how in some places you get recycling bins and in others just mountains of rubbish.

We are now well off the tourist route, or at least western tourist, and this is a Communist led government so there are many projects for the benefit of the local villages being built.  Usually they include the hammer and sickle too!  We stopped at one really nice beach park for a sit down (benches are few and far between here) and immediately got thrown out as Tilly wasn’t allowed in. There was no one else in the park, just the group of around 20 women cleaners and the female manager. So poor Tilly had to wait outside whilst we had a sit down and a drink. The park was exceptionally clean though!

We are now having to go more often onto the main road as some of our lanes have been blocked by the dual carriageway work and there are often no other bridges over the rivers.  This actually hasn’t been as bad as we feared. The vehicles are obviously still crazy driving but they give us loads of room and seem intent on killing the oncoming driver rather than us, which is fine by me.

But they’re still have no road sense with regard to other drivers. We passed through a small town and a lorry was unloading on our side of the road, another lorry had tried to pass it, but the bus coming the other way was having none of it, so there was the Indian Standoff.  Cars tried to creep past both – just to make it more difficult to sort out and couldn’t get through the tiny gap. But we could, along with mopeds. So whilst the drivers got out and tried to get people behind to back up – which itself is difficult as by then dozens of cars and trucks etc had joined the queue in a very haphazard way, bumper to bumper, we weaved through and had the road to ourselves for ages.  We turned off long before anyone caught up with us.

That’s our gap…..!

We are in a world of our own sometimes when cycling watching the people and scenery and were a bit puzzled why everyone kept saying Bonjour to us as we cycled along a lovely promenade along the river. Then when we left the promenade and entered the town we saw loads of wine and beer shops, licenced bars and finally as we crossed the river a Excise control point. We had unknowingly entered Puducherry, the old French colony which we went through a few weeks ago on the east coast just south of Chennai. No we hadn’t somehow cycled 1000km in a day to get back, It has various enclaves on both sides of the coast and this one retained its language and love of booze! Obviously the Puducherrians were making a healthy profit selling booze to their Keralan neighbours, where you’re lucky if there’s 2 bars in a town and one mad max style government liquor shop.

And of course as fate would have it, we were there well before 8am and everything was shut. But it would have looked a bit odd for us to roll into the local cafe and order a Croissant and 2 kingfishers for breakfast… We’d have done it though. It’s not that we are in any real desperate need of alcohol, but drinking water, soda water and adding lime as a treat gets a bit monotonous after a while when we spend half the day drinking.

The fact that there are so few westerners means we get stared at alot when we park up to rest or check the map. It’s not rudeness, just a fascination with these crazy people on that funny bike. Mind you, they have no idea what our flag is. They usually think we are American, and sometimes think we’re  Australian, which is a vast improvement on being called an American, and only occasionally and rarely think we are UK or British or English…. So much so for Borris and his soft power political desires post Brexit.  For goodness sake, the union flag was on their flag until 1947 and still flying in Kolkata in 1975!

With my knee giving me some gyp we decided we needed a rest and a chance to look at our routes northwards and plan just where and when we will return to the UK. We found the ideal hotel with a lovely sea view villa and virtually the entire hotel to ourselves. Certainly during the day we were the only people in the pool or on the beach and it was like our own private resort.  The manager was obviously desperate for trade as he came to us at breakfast and offered us a bargain rate to stay another night. So we ended up there 3 nights. Though on one day we were dragged off for a photoshoot with Tilly for their Instagram.. Poor Tilly was having a nice doze under a palm tree and a well earned rest…

Afternoon Tiffin

We’d not seen any westerners for days and days until at this beach resort where a single French lady doing a yoga course had come to escape her course for a few days of rest and luxury!..not quite her imagined chilled out yoga holiday apparently..

Moving on from our beach rest we had a lazy start, staying for breakfast at the hotel for once as it was posh and on the beach. We only had a short ride of 35km but the sun was out in force and much of the ride was on the main road.  It’s fine cycling on the road, but there’s no shade, it’s a bit inland so much hotter than the sea breeze roads of the coast and the heat just bounces off the tarmac and buildings around you. It was oppressivly hot and we had to stop numerous times to get in the shade for a drink and rest.

We were then very surprised when we rolled up at a hotel and found a date and nuts shop underneath selling all kinds of UK foods. Straight from the UK too, with UK price stickers on. So we had to buy some salt and vinegar crisps and some decaf coffee. Sadly there wasn’t any cheddar!

By the time we entered Kasaragod we were completely exhausted and had to stop at the side of the road in the shade and sit on a step as I was feeling faint. We had cycled to where Google showed there was a coffee shop selling croissants and proper coffee – (Linda describes the coffee here as nats pee), but that had gone, so we moved on to an ice cream parlour which, in true indian style was shut, not hot enough for ice creams! A quick map check and we went on our 2nd lap of the one way race track around the town centre and stopped at another ice cream parlour that thankfully had fabulous milkshakes and our snack of choice..veggie samosas..

The town was hectic and the streets thronged, with nearly all the women in black head to toe Muslim dress.  Some of them sensibly decided to pop in for a milkshake too and of course the children they were dragging along with them couldnt take their eyes off us.

After a shower and snooze at our hotel,  we ventured back into the town in search of drinks, not booze, pointless in this town, and immediately got accosted by a very animated Indian who started going on about Islam and Jesus, Moses etc in quite a worked up manner.  His English was excellent, but we hadn’t a clue what he was on about!  We couldn’t make out if he was trying to convert us to Islam or generally barating religion and despite asking him a few questions he never answered, just continued the diatribe.  In the end we thanked him and walked off as he followed us continuing his lecture..

As we head northward the chances to escape to side roads become less as there are lots of bridges, so the next day we had a mixed bag of roadwork infested main road and the occasional respite on the back lanes with palms and beaches.  Some of the roadworks are single lane and you can’t get past a bike safely so we hog the lane, just to deter any efforts.  We get a lot of hoots from the trucks, busses and cars to get out of the way, but ignore them.  I don’t know where they expect us to go to when theres a concrete wall on one side and a ditch on the other, but thats often the mentality of drivers.

Fun on the roads…

We rolled into Mangalore and had to push up a hill it was so steep and then found a vegetarian restaurant for elevenses which was fab. Naturally we were the centre of attention and every few seconds you would hear someone say cycle, or double cycle, this went on for our entire meal!  Again, there are no westerners here that we’ve seen, but our hotel that night seemed targeted at that group.  Very luxurious with an amazing cocktail bar playing Elvis, Johnny Cash and other golden oldies.  We were just about the only people in it and had a fab evening.

posh cocktails

As we leave at 6am we always miss the hotel breakfast. They often start at 7.30am, but our  hotel made us a pack up of what seemed like 2kg of chocolate stuffed inside a croissant then half coated in more chocolate! That should ensure we lose no weight on this trip, but was delicious.  You just don’t get croissants etc here so it was a very welcome, if somewhat sickly, treat.

We were back to the coast for the whole of the next day, being half heartedly  chased by a few packs of dogs and stopped by numerous people for selfies, including another journalist for the local paper. Perhaps all those people in the restaurants we’ve heard saying ‘cycle’ had seen us in a previous newspaper report and gossiping about how knackered we look in real life!

Everyone wants a selfie with the knackered ‘foreigners’


  1. Cocktail bar 🍸 with Elvis and Johnny Cash sounds fab! 👌

  2. Love reading about your journeys, amazing experiences. We are currently in the middle of a field in 40mph winds and rain just outside Holt! But it’s very cosy in our campervan Doris. We are doing it in a smaller version than your beast. But in style, like you, all mod cons! Keep safe and watch that creaking body Jon 🤣 David & Mary xx

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