After an exhausting three-day journey from Pushkar we finally arrived in Goa - at the beach at last! We found our Bulgarian friends here. Vita, who we met in the mountains in India, lives here since 7 years with her family and even had made kindergarten and restaurant in a wonderful a garden with palms in Arambol. Around them was a real Bulgarian colony and we met so many Bulgarians as we have not seen the whole trip. Even the next day there was a Bulgarian wedding in Indian style here. We enjoyed real Bulgarian dishes and even drinks and cheese brought from Bulgaria. What an unexpected surprise - Bulgaria in India. We felt like at home and we even tried to make Bulgarian cheese with milk from Indian sacred cow.
|Church in Arambol|
|sunset on Arambol beach|
Goa - a symbol of the hippie dreams in the 70s now seems not so hippie. Most tourists are Russians or families with children. Now music outdoors after 22:00 was forbidden and we the non-stopping trance parties were not anymore. From time to time someone dared to organize a party after 10 pm after paying police the modest sum of 150 euros per hour. Of course we found the last hippies in Goa, some of which stay here since for 70s in complete timelessness. Every day we are sending the sun with drums and dancing on the beach and I even took part in the small beach bazaar for handmade things. In Anjuna there is a huge flea market where every Wednesday traders from all over Goa rush to sell their goods. It was started illegally by travelers and hippies exchanging their possessions in the 70s . Goa government quickly realized the need for such a market and expanded it to what it is now. We hitch-hiked to there and we got two bikes - Royal Enfields of course.
We met many friends from before - travelers and locals. Everybody was moving from the Himalayas to South India for the winter. Goa is the smallest and one of the wealthiest states of India and everything is a bit more expensive. Locals are also quite different. Goa was a Portuguese colony and most people are Christians, some do not even speak Hindi. Instead of Shiva and Krishna we see crosses and churches along the way. Another new India for us.
|Palm Sunset in Goa|
|besides Catholic Churches, there are also Hindu Temples and Krishna Boats :)|
|church in Goa|
|плажовете на Гокарна|
After a week relaxing at the beach we decided to go even further south by hitch-hiking. We left our big backpacks in our Bulgarian friends and we headed for Karnataka in search of a little more wild beaches. The hitch-hiking was more than good. We quickly met many well-intentioned Indians and had a lot of fun. Most people here speak English and it is easy to make good conversations. We reached Gokarna in the dark and just when we were wandering where to go we met some friends from Israel, organizing a walking festival here - Walk About Love - 40 days walking along the south-western India. We went with them on the bikes to Kudli beach and we set up our tent on the beach. In the morning we were woke up by a few cows and a dog. Here cows regularly visit the beach and sometimes are even more numerous than people. They even try to enter the restaurants. Otherwise, the beaches were relatively empty and we managed to pitch our tent in the evening.
|Cows are sometimes more than people on the beach|
|our home on Kudli Beach|
|sunset on Paradise beach|
Gokarna is a sacred city for Hindus and is full of temples and a sacred lake. Some ashrams give prasad for lunch, and at one of the ashrams has healing holy water. The water is really tasty and we regularly fill 10 liters from there. We decided to walk to the southest beach here - Paradise beach. We took sufficient amount of food and water, because we knew there was nothing on this beach. It was paradise. Only two weeks ago the forest rangers had destroyed all the bungalows in the palm grove with the explanation that it is not leagal to build in the forest. There were just the remainings - broken fridge, pieces of bamboo and palm leaves. It was a great chance for us to camp in peace and to prepare to fire. At the other beaches we had to collect the tent every morning. We stayed three wonderful days alone on the beach and without being bothered by nobody. Once a day a village farmer came with fruit and biscuits on his head. With a sincere smile he told us that these used to be his bungalows...but now they are gone and he seemed to accept what happened with a sense of humor. From time to time other people came to see the beach and went away, but no one thought of sleeping in a place without restaurant and shower. Apparently hippies are really disappearing here :)
|our tent on the place of the destroyed bungalows|
|Returning from Paradise Beach. We saw two snakes, one of which was surely Cobra.|
|we also slept one night on this wonderful meadow|
From Gokarna we decided to visit Hampi - an ancient inland town of Karnataka. Catching the night bus was cheap and empty but they dropзed us at 1 am at the bus station in Hospet - 15 km before Hampi. It was smelling and dirty and as we were the only tourists all people surrounded us offering hotels and taxis, rickshaws and motor bikes. The first bus was at 6 in the morning and five hours of waiting here was out of the question. We decided to walk as far as we get. But right after we started walking we managed to hitch-hike one truck for the next village. Hitching in the night is not the wisest thing to do, but in this case was exactly what we needed. Walking through the city at night was not a good option too. He left us in the village, but soon he returned to take us a few more kilometers to the junction of Hampi. There we decided to pitch the tent and to continue last 5 km to Hampi the next morning. Unfortunately the night surprised us with cold and rain and we did not take the second layer of the tent. We did not expect that in the dry season in southern India we will need a rain cover, so we brought only the first layer- which is like a net. In the morning we were soaked and it was still raining. We packed quickly and we caught the first bus Hampi. We found a cheap shelter, we dried our stuff and stayed a week.
|on the streets of Gokarna|
|keep the cows safe!|
|bookstore in Gokarna|
|пейзаж около Хампи|
Hampi is ancient town, old capital of Vijayanagara Empire that ruled from 1336 to 1565, but it has been inhabited since 1ce. There are countless ancient temples and ruins, the most impressive of which is the Virupaksha Temple, 49 meters high. and somehow reminding of the temples at Angkor, but much older (7c). The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and over the centuries has never lost its importance. Even more amazing for us was Hampi's landscape. We were feeling like in a Flintstones movie in the Stone Age. Large and small rocks were scattered everywhere and ancient stone temples were perched on on the hills. You can walk in any direction and find fabulous places, ruins, caves, and enjoy there on your own. For boulder climbers this is paradise. There is a river that has no bridge and people have to pay for a boat to transport them to the other side. We lived across the river and did not want to pay for a boat every time we go to the center, so we found a shallow place to cross the river by walking in waist-deep water. Again we met old friends from the mountains and exchanged stories - where we have been and what we have done until now. We walked to some villages and temples around, watching the sunset over the rocks and we refused to believe that this paradise will be soon over. A few days left until the end of our visa and we knew that our ways separate from here. I was going to Indonesia. Evgeni had no more money for visas and tickets so he was returning to Bulgaria.
|садута в Хампи|
|Besides all kinds of babas in Hampi you can see алсо rabbis serving тхе numerous Israeli population here|
|Evgeni - a giant man for local people|
|Monkey Temple, Hampi|
|laundry in the river|
|every day on the river...|
|even the youngest girls take part in the laundry|
|crossing the river- free and fun|
|kids in a box|
We went back to Arambol by night bus and we found the Bulgarian family even bigger. Everyone stops over at Vita's place and fun never stops here. The kindergarten was full of kids and even I had the opportunity to teach for a few days. It was time to say good-bye to our tent that was our lovely home for the last years, but it was already too broken. We left it to the children to finish it.
Our last days together we spent in Goa. Here we enjoyed the full lunar eclipse on the beach. Last Goa sunset, last tali, last Hello To The Queen for goodbye. The six months in India slipped away so quickly... But every end is a new beginning. For me, I am starting a whole new adventure - traveling alone and Evgeni is already considering new destinations.