. After negotiating our way out of the village, we found the main highway again and endured 10 miles of punchy uphill – not a good start. We were really glad the day remained overcast, but it was incredibly humid and we sweated buckets. Wemade brief stops for drinks, but a great breakfast and tons of food on our day off kept us going strong for 22 miles to Margao where we found an air-conditioned bakery with SANDWICHES to have for lunch! So exciting, we had three sandwiches, 2 mini chicken pizzas, mushroom samosas and a chicken chilly puff – excellent. Even better they had Christmas decorations on the door, reminding us again that it really is December. The town had a busy Friday market which many tourists on package holidays from Colva/Benaulim beach had been bussed in to explore. It was sad to watch them strutting around the town in tiny sundresses and high heels – not surprising misunderstandings occur. On our way out of town we saw a warehouse selling Christmas trees and decorations – I dragged Mikey in, and we now have suitably Christmassy bikes. He had to drag me out of there, I wanted everything! We are still looking for some tinsel to wrap around the handlebars. The traffic was reasonably quite for the last 20 miles, the only miss-hap being puncture number 10 which became evident on the bridge over the Zuari River (sorry Jojo + Shep!). At least the views over the river were beautiful as we pumped it up enough to get us to the town and up the enormous hill before it. Negotiating crazy traffic/drivers getting into the capital of the state, was as predicted hectic, but arriving at Café Paradiso, it was worth it
. Lovely management made us really welcome –the girl finding it hilarious that I had cycled as well, she thought we only had one bike. She had a good laugh at my stupid looking glove tan lines then told me I needed a shower- how rude! We did though, and a lovely clean bathroom to ourselves felt especially luxurious after the shared bathroom 20m from our co-co hut last night. Panaji is a beautiful old town, remarkably clean with gorgeous old Portuguese buildings. We had a spectacular meal which included crisp, cold white wine and spicy sausages – neither of which we have had since we left Europe. SO GOOD. Hotel Vinite was fabulously decorated and we sat in a tiny window balcony and watched the town below before heading home via 'Nescafe’ where we bought takeaway hot chocolates and donuts to eat in our room watching HBO. A great end to a day’s cycle.
Once again we forgot to turn off the alarm so by the time I had battled my way out of the mosquito net to switch it off, I was fully awake at 6.45.Nevermind - I spent a lovely hour reading on the balcony overlooking the sea and wishing we could stay another day. Mikey dragged himself out of bed at 8 and we woke ourselves up properly with a refreshing swim and then hot shower. Today's breakfast was muesli with banana and honey for me and baked beans on toast with a portion of chips for porky Neville. Reluctant to leave we lingered in the restaurant drinking pots of coffee, then hot chocolate as the day turned from overcast to torrential rain –oh dear. Our hut neighbours Martin and Lee-at thought we should stay another day (and so did we), but Bombay calls and so we got packing. As we did so the rain stopped and an English chap came up from the beach to interrogate us about our trip and get very excited about it, which is always nice. It turned out he was from Brighton and loves Kingly Vale – we miss it too