It took us just three days to cycle the 310km from Hampi back to Karnataka’s coast to the small town of Gokarna. The ride was reasonably uneventful and if I’m honest, not at all enjoyable for me. After spending three hours fixing my puncture in Hampi, the gear levers on my bike snapped leaving me unable to change gears. Unfortunately for me, the Western Ghats mountain range sits between Hampi and the coast so I was left pushing my bike at the slightest incline thanks to my now failing knees.
Shortly after my gears gave up on me, I stopped to take a public pee at the side of the road. As I was finding a suitable spot I impaled my foot on a thorn and screamed in agony onto the floor. Hugo came to the rescue but neither of us could pull it out. The thorns are lethal over here and can easily puncture our bike tyres along with our shoes. It was a fair ordeal and left me unable to move my toes or walk on my swollen foot for a few days. Alas, I’m a survivor, don’t worry.
Gokarna, also known as Gokarn, was never on our route but we decided to check it out after hearing about it from others we’ve met on the way. The ride into Gokarna was beautiful and I was excited to be making a beeline for the only hostel ‘Zostel’ and socialise after a few days in the ‘wilderness’. Much to my disappointment the place was deserted but it did mean I had a dorm all to myself – yippee!
There’s a strong religious feel in town, with plenty of holy men walking about, some even western. What I find odd is that these holy men or devotees, are either ridiculously skinny or have the most ginormous belly, there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. Baffling.
Delicious Banana Buns, a bread/pancake thing made with banana, seems to be the signature local breakfast dish, one that I have yet to find elsewhere. After breakfast and trying to tackle my never-ending pile of laundry, I headed straight for Om Beach, the beach everyone had been talking about.
It was around a 30 minute walk from the town and maybe midday wasn’t the wisest time to go, but I made it. I was the only westerner and woman on the beach at this time of day so didn’t feel overly comfortable getting the bikini out and took shelter in Dolphin Cafe, where I was joined by two charming older ladies from England.
I must have picked a good spot because Hugo walked through the door looking for a place to eat, not knowing I was there. My expensive grilled King Fish was pretty shoddy but as a few backpackers have said about India “you win some you loose some”. I couldn’t agree more. Om Beach is beautiful and pretty ‘happening’ in peak season so I hear. Kudle Beach had a lot more rubbish as did Gokarna Beach, so I recommend staying on Om Beach if you’re not too fussed about being close to the town.
A relaxing day on the beach is just what I needed. Moments like this makes me wonder why I consider going back to the “real world” at all. I was born to blog by the sea! What makes matters worse, my poor knees had another 100km on single speed to our next stop – Goa!