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Wednesday, 6 May 2009


2nd – 6th May

Leg 23 – Alleppey to Varkala
Distance – 126kms
Time – 3.5 hours

Average Speed – 36km/h
Road – 2 lane highway, lots of traffic.

Our last leg was a short ride even further south from Alleppey. Lots of traffic made the going slow, but there highway was in good condition. We rode carefully – very conscious that this could be our last leg of the journey if we sold the bike in Varkala. We reached the turn off for Varkala and headed towards the coast and our finish line.

Varkala lies on the Keralan coast and is split from the sea by spectacular cliffs, towering high about the beach. The strip of golden sand is surrounded by bounded by the cliff, with all the bars, restaurants and hotels precariously perched along the edge. It was nice to arrive by the sea again, and we checked into a cliffside hotel and set out to explore the sands.

The popularity of Varkala with Indian tourists has lead the council to place tourist police on the beach in order to control the steady stream o
f Indian men walking along the beach with the sole purpose of standing and staring at bikini clad westerners. In practice, this segregation meant that around a fifth of the beaches length was out of bounds to the locals, with whistles blown and sticks waved if any group of men decided to try and stroll too close to the westerners. It was a strange arrangement, but we are embarrassed to say it was a welcome one, as the constant attention that Sam was getting from Indian men was becoming a little tiring.

We had arranged to meet a South African traveller, Jim, in Varkala, with a view to him buying our motorbike. He arrived the day after us and after a test ride and a visit to the mechanic, a deal was done. It was a very sad day for us, saying goodbye to our wheels – from now on we would be at the mercy of the tuk tuk mafia, and other public transport! We did get to have one last short ride on the bike when we went to dinner with Jim and another Enfield rider – on the way home Ady was extra careful as this was surely going to be our last time on the bike!

From Varkala, we took the train north back to Goa, where we would spend the last few weeks of our epic adventure. You can probably guess that it would involve relaxing on the beach, and mentally preparing for the step back to reality that the UK will bring!

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