Hampi and Goa in late 2018
We had packed minimal food for our journey on the CSMT-Gadag express, which we boarded at Dadar post dinner, as we were due for a late lunch at Hampi the next day. The AC coach attendant said we could get breakfast at Vijaypura (old Bijapur). This was at about 730 and the train was on time at that point. Hot idlis from a casserole, three numbers and reasonable Upma with onions and some tomatoes. Watery chatni, but adequate. The train passes through Basava territory, Basavana Bagewadi and Kudalasangama Road.
The train has plenty of slack in its running time and despite some delays on the single line, we reached Gadag a few minutes early. Had some cold but still tasty more-appams, also called kuli-paniharams at the station stall, with a mix of two chatnis for accompaniment. Just one plate, with judicious restraint. Picked up some boras at a seller outside and set off by road to Hampi.
After a very good three days at Hampi, return journey started early in the morning from Hospet station (now called Hosapete). Packed sandwiches in goodly quantities from Hampi and reached the station well in time. Too early to eat anything significant at that hour, but we still managed a plate of medu Wada with good pudina chatni, to set the ball rolling. We continued the good start to the day with the packed sandwiches no sooner had the train started. Straightforward cucumber and tomato sandwiches but well buttered, which makes all the difference. The slightly sweet bread that one gets in bakeries in Karnataka. At Hubli station, we picked up hot masala dosa with layered chatni - not quite Mysore masala, but with chatni on the inside. Quite acceptable.
The initial plan was to have lunch at our destination in Goa, but the train was late to start with and continued getting later so we took an early call to just eat what we could find on the way. This was a wise decision. Once the train left Hubli (now called Hubballi), we picked up South Western Railways’ catered lunch, a packet of lemon rice being the only option we could spot. Packed at Hubli, a bit dry, but with sufficient groundnuts, kadipatta and udad dal. One small packet of pickle for accompaniment, but we made do. Some bananas for company. Also Mishra’s Dharwad pedha for afters. We also had some khajur pak and some groundnut chikki from Mumbai, so we had an excellent lunch, overall. Some bhel at Castle Rock, consumed while waiting for the Dudhasagar falls and a few cups of tea and coffee completed our train food festivities for this part of the trip.
The last part of the triad of train journeys was the Madgaon Rajdhani. We had splurged on AC1 for the 8 hour journey to Panvel and enjoyed it thoroughly. The welcome drink was tetra pack mango juice. We had worked up a good appetite due to early breakfast in order to get to Madgaon in time. Was happy to see soup served soon after twelve noon. I’ve observed that the gap between the soup course and the main meal is a little longer than what appears to be optimal. This was so on this occasion as well. The meal was standard, but still good. Parathas, paneer gravy subji, dal, jeera rice, curd, with small add ons. Ice cream for dessert. I polished off everything at a slow and steady pace, as we watched the Konkan scenery go by. Still green and inviting, a few months after the rains. The tea was welcome after the post lunch nap! Unusual part of the tea was caramel pop corn, then some spicy kaju, and a samosa. On-time arrival at Panvel for a satisfying return to Mumbai metro area.