We had a good sleep last night. Woke up around 7 am and immediately started to pack. The hotel was situated in the city centre and we could hear the hustling and bustling of the people outside. The normal workings of the city had begun.
After we got fresh, we headed straight towards the top floor where breakfast was being served. The time was 7:45 am and still all the items were not available at the counter. It was a buffet breakfast. At around, 8 am we started feasting on this tasty south Indian breakfast, one of my favorites. Being born in this state, how could I possibly not love this food. We had Idli, Vada (2 types), Bananas, Upma and a specially made ginger chutney. This was the breakfast I was dying for since we had entered south India. I really ate more than my usual capacity and I really loved that ginger chutney.
There was some shopping left to do in this state. One of my friends had told me that Vijaywada is famous for some tasty pickles (not to mention Gongura Pachadi) and specifically one sweet item called “Pootharekulu” (A wafer like sweet.)
MOURYA Inn: I would definitely recommend this hotel. If, by any chance you happen to halt here or come here to visit then, this is the place to be. Our total cost was: 3420rs for 2 big rooms for the night with breakfast.
The roads were butter smooth till Vijaywada, which was around 120 kms from Ongole. The traffic was also less.
As we were crossing through the city of Vijaywada, we decided to visit few places which were famous though we intended to not spent much time. We found a bridge (Prakasam Barrage) which was highly famous along with a temple (Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla).
We diverted from the highway in order to reach the bridge. The time was around 11:45 am when we reached at the mouth of the bridge. It took exactly 3 hrs of us to reach this place from Ongole covering 120 kms, with an average speed of 60 kms.
The weather was cloudy and also it was humid. The moment we got off from our bikes we started to sweat heavily. But, there was no other option. We clicked some pics at the bridge and spent some time there before moving on towards the temple. The temple was nearby only. We could see it from the bridge.
We had completely forgotten that it was ‘Navaratri’ time and being Sunday, there was a huge crowd which was seen flocking the temple. The temple was atop a small hill, but the line of people stretched till the main road below. Moreover, since we were carrying luggage on the bike, it was going to be difficult visiting the temple. To add to that, the weather was beating down us and there was heavy traffic of people as well as the vehicles. If we had stayed, we would have lost considerable amount of time knowing that it was already noon. We still had some shopping left to do and 357 kms to Visakhapattnam.
At one end, I was getting frustrated with this kind of traffic while at the other end, I was super excited to visit my birthplace, Visakhapatnam. A place, which I was going to revisit after a gap of 26 yrs. Though, I have a very faint memory of my life in Visakhapatnam, I still had the curiosity of the happenings of the city. I just wanted to get soaked into the atmosphere and breathe its air!
We routed the Google map to our end destination, Visakhapatnam. We had to, for some time bear the brunt of the traffic till we eased out of the city. At one point, we again had to reroute our maps since it was impossible to cut through the traffic.
Before we exited the city, we still had the shopping part left. Along the way, we were searching for sweet shop where I could get that famous sweet. We drove for almost 7-8 kms away from the city and towards our destination but, no luck. At one traffic junction, I noticed a sweet shop located on the other side of the road and once we got the green signal, we directed our bikes there.
To our luck, they were also selling pickles and we all took whatever we found best.
The Location of the shop can be found above.
We had entered the shop named ‘Sweet Magic’. We tasted the sweet there itself and the rest was packed along with pickles. The time was around 1:25 pm. Just outside the city of Vijaywada, near Ampapuram, we halted for lunch.
After we rode for some kms, we diverted from the main road and followed the directions which Google Maps was telling us. I was taking the lead since I had the map ON. The moment we diverted from the main road, we entered village roads and with that came pot holed filled roads. This came after a very long time and we already had a premonition that we would face such roads sooner or later. We just gave into the roads and just tried to avoid contact with huge potholes which could do some serious damage if overlooked.
The good thing about riding on the village roads was that the scenery was just mind blowing. With paddy fields all around and toddy trees along the boundaries. It was lush green everywhere, very soothing for the eyes. Sometimes, we were riding along the river canals and the sunshine reflecting off the waters just made it look like so dreamy.
The bad road continued right up to the city of Rajahmundry following which we re-entered the highway again. Somewhere, we all felt guilty of leaving the main highway and following the Google instead. The village roads were single laned and it consumed our much time and by the time we reached Rajahmundry, the time was around 6:30 pm. The good thing which we all experienced was to drive over the Rajahmundry bridge over the mighty Godavari river. The expanse of the river was so huge that we had to cross a series of 3 bridges to get over to the other side. I felt it like a never ending thing. All the scenery around was soaked in by eyes and I am sorry that we could not take a pic of it, since we were little pressed against time. By hook or crook, we had to reach Visakhapatnam.
Just outside Rajahmundry, we stopped for our last tea break of the day before it got dark. The time was around 6:30 pm and we still had 200 kms to go. Luckily, we came to know that the road conditions were good and with this we felt some relief inside.
I had a friend in Visakhapatnam who was going to help us with the accommodation in the city but, somehow he was not reachable when we were on our way to the city. He stays in Hyderabad but had assured us that some kind of arrangements will be done. And now that the option was gone, we had to resort to the same tactic we had done for the other cities.
We rode almost non-stop since the distance was huge. We faced light to moderate traffic due to road work going on at some places. We really missed the scenery around as we were riding in the dark.
I had mentioned my Stay query in one of my WhatsApp group which have a mix of people from all over India. Its a group specifically made to help riding friends travelling to different cities and look for any kind of help. I had mentioned in the group that I would be touching Visakhapatnam and had got quick reply from 2-3 friends who happened to be locals. They had told that they would help us getting a decent accommodation.
After riding for hours, we finally reached the city at around 11:30 pm. The air was humid and the city was sparkling with all those port lights from the cranes. Our friends, earlier had sent 2-3 links of OYO hotels following which we had booked one of them when we had taken a break somewhere along the way.
Upon reaching the hotel, we were left disappointed as the owner told that they no longer accepted the OYO booking and also said that their room was full and so we were left stranded in front of the hotel in the middle of the night. In all this drama, the local friends also came to meet us since they were tracking my location. They tried to help but it was getting too late for the night. We already had driven 12+ hrs today. We were in dire need of bed and the only thing which was running in our minds that time was getting a sound sleep.
We decided to check in another hotel and found a good one nearby to our location. The hotel name was “Hotel Rockdale Clarks Inn Suites”. We found the rooms to be quite spacious and comfy through the photos. The rate was little on the upper side but we had no other option. We took 2 rooms at a price of 3400 rs per night but later on, our rooms got upgraded automatically since the booked one were not available.
We parked our bikes and the hotel staff helped in moving our luggage to our rooms. Once all the things were moved in, we got fresh and it was time for dinner. The time was past midnight and we were really hungry. This time we didn’t had to look for food outside since the restaurant run by the hotel was still open. We ordered the food and in the mean time checked and reflected on our today’s journey.
We had been given adjacent rooms and the best things which I liked was that both the rooms were interconnected to each other via a door from the inside. This was really unique which I had seen till date of my experience of hotel stays. It was convenient to move too and fro between the rooms and not having to step outside of the main door.
In the meanwhile, till the food arrived, we ate from our own home brought snacks. In this journey, we had packed our own home food and it was only now that we got time to open and taste it. Finally, the food arrived and we finished it off quickly. The time was approaching 1 am and we had to get up very early in the morning to witness the sunrise.
We were on the east coast now and the things here run quite early than the west coast. We checked the sun rise time and it was showing to us around 05:47 am while at the same time back home it was showing us as 06:29 am.
We were not going to miss this at any cost. We knew at the back of our minds that it was going to be worth it for the pain we were going to endure by waking up early. After all, It was my birthplace and I wanted to see more of it with the very little time we had in our hands. We were really tired from the last days ride and here were were getting only 4 hrs of sleep until we start out next day.
We put the alarm on our mobiles and slept immediately.