Thursday, September 27, 2012

To Mayem Lake and Back

I had taken a bike ride to Bicholim last month for a Viva Goa story on the artist Zilu Harmalkar. The route I had taken avoided all the major highways and was truly scenic given the rains. It wasn't hard to convince The Wife to take the ride with me. Now, if only we could get the time.

The two days I got off for Ganesh seemed like the right break. This time of course, I did not intend to head to Bicholim, but rather stop at Mayem Lake, which comes much before.

Before we started though, the tank needed to be filled and our otherwise trusty petrol pump was closed half day for Ganesh. We had to detour to get the petrol and ended up officially starting the ride after tanking up at the petrol pump near Terry's.

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Link to the Map:

With a full tank, we headed out! Its not long before you've left the houses behind and are greeted with lush green fields. The watering holes there seemed to have 'fishers' with high-tech fishing rods and of course, the more low-tech and more local versions.

Go Fish!

With the rains all but gone, the fields are still green and the sky has a most beautiful shade of blue with just the right dose of lazy clouds. Wish I had carried my polariser though...

Green grass, blue skies!

Along the way, we were greeted by some magnificent trees, which are recorded in the next few photos...
The Banyan Tree Grove

Perhaps the strangest was the next picture... The canopy of the trees was so thick, the shade they cast was really dark, that too in bright sunshine. And mysteriously, all the old branches that were dead still clung to the tree.

The woods are dark and deep...

But the grand-daddy of all the trees we saw that day was this Banyan tree...Its multiple trunks covered the entire plot it stood in (and right in the centre too)... The Wife said it looked like it was right out of Avataar.

The grand old tree

A path runs through it!

The strange flowers that bloomed all around the tree

Continuing forward, there were some more fields. It seems that on the route we took, you were never more than 5-10 minutes away from vast expanses of greenery!

Until finally we reached Aldona. Here's the famous Aldona Church with the cable-stayed bridge visible as well.

We stopped at the Church for some quick photos before heading out.

Aldona Church in the evening

View from Aldona Church

The cemetery had some imposing monuments and the low, orange sunshine gave them an otherworldly look.

The Gathering

The Solitary Angel

The Church yard had interesting statues that played well against the dark skies...

Christ the King

The Old Rugged Cross

Leaving the Church, we carried on and were met with what I call the mini version of the Bandra-Worli Sea link...

In my hurry to make it to Mayem lake, I almost blasted right past this forgotten beauty, but The Wife, with her keen eyes, spotted it and then there was another quick stop.
Corjuem Fort exterior

Entering the fort, it looked really small. I didn't dare venture past the entrance given the grass and other shrubbery and my fear of snakes lurking in them.

Corjuem Fort interior

The fort looked all but abandoned given its overgrowth until we turned around and spotted this well-used grotto.

Now, we headed straight for Mayem Lake and reached there eventually. To be honest, I hadn't researched the destination, and while I was expecting a small scenic lake, I wasn't expecting a small scenic lake with infrastructure! We were quite pumped about getting a boat ride around the lake, only to be told at the entrance that we had missed the 'last call.' (the last boat rentals are at 6pm as the facility closes by 7pm.

You have to pay a Rs 10 entrance fee to enter the 'garden' which is actually quite beautiful with quite a few plants I've not seen before. Shot a few quick photos before heading out.

The Wife

A random beautiful plant...

The ride back was a bit rushed as I wanted to cover as much ground as I could before the big light in the sky went down. We stopped for some munchies, but most of the stores and restaurants were closed. We reached home finally at around 8pm. Another great ride.

The following are actually two pictures I took from the previous time I was down that road.

Shoot the Sun

The Rainbow Bridge

Friday, July 13, 2012

Down by the riverside...

After missing the GEARs ride last Sunday because of work, I was determined for a nice Sunday cruising. After pestering The Wife, she agreed for the ride. The destination was St Jacinto's Island and then the Old Ferry Road on the other side of the river bank.

View St Jacinto's Island Trip in a larger map

Since we started off from Panjim around lunch time, our ride actually began with the lunch break. We stopped at Bonny's Bar & Restaurant for lunch which came in the form of prawns fry and a fish curry plate

Mushrooms outside Bonny's. These were not on the menu

Stuffed, it was time to hit the road. The Road from Bonny's to St Jacinto's Island (is the same road that goes on the Vasco) is wide and smooth... but not without its obstacles...

Yup, cows...
There's major ship yards and ship building yards along this road. An interesting sight was a 'slice' of a ship.

Yummy ship slices

And then you finally spot St Jacinto's Island. Its most prominent and visible landmarks are the bridge and the church.

Ok, I cheated, this is the view from the Vasco side of the road

A quick hop over the bridge and you are greeted to a magnificient view of the Zuari river. The dull, overcast conditions don't help, but we'll probably drop by this place again to check it out against bright blue skies and white clouds, instead of the all grey look the sky was sporting that day.

The Zuari Bridge in the distance

The St Jacinto's Island Church
The Church was closed, but before we could look for an alternate way in, we spotted a pup. I had some biscuits in the backpack so The Wife gave the pup some. Suddenly two more pups and a mum appeared and wanted the biscuits. All the biscuits were over before they were satisfied. They hung around a while before vanishing into the surroundings...

Snapped a couple of photos before heading out...

The bridge across the Zuari leading to the Island (Shot from the Island side)

The Church as it appears from the 'Panjim' side of the road.

Next, it was time to cross the Zuari and a ride down the Old Ferry Road, which had its own interesting sights...

Zuari Bridge from the other side

The church in the distance

Twosomes and Threesomes

The mysterious abandoned room

Fluffy dog

Puppies! You just have to shoot them :-)

And some more 'puppies at play'

So we rode back and were greeted by this strange sight.

Spot the odd one out

Here, the drinks are not on me...

Notice the yellow beer can hanging next to the cross?

Thankfully, there were no rains so we didn't hesitate to take the camera out. In fact, it got downright hot at some points, but thanks to the monsoon weather, a ride in the afternoon is actually possible. We stopped off at the CCD near GMC for a break before making our way to Panjim.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A flower in bloom

And this little fellow has finally bloomed in the front yard. Grabbed The Wife's old camera and tried out the 'wedding glow' 'magic filter' that's a preset on the camera.

 A flower in bloom - Whole - N

A flower in bloom - Close-up - N

A flower in bloom - whole - W

A flower in bloom - close-up - W