Land corridor in New Mangalore

09:00 am: We start our self-organized excursion

Since we have not booked an excursion with AIDA, but once again want to start on our own discovery tour, we leave the ship with the previously researched info not to be impressed by cab and tuktuk drivers in the port itself, but to leave the port first. This is done quickly, because unlike in Mumbai, we don’t need a shuttle here, but are walking from the berth and the ID and shore leave card checks to the port gate in about 3 minutes. New Mangalore is an industrial city, which among other things is considered a good location for coal mining – this is also proven by the countless high mountains of black coal, which are processed and loaded onto ships directly next to and opposite our still snow-white AIDA with the red kissing mouth. On the other hand, New Mangalore also stands for education, the fourth best university in the country according to current rankings is located here, the cab driver tells us. As promised in countless other travel reports, we found him right at the harbor gate. The starting price for a tour outside the harbor is 40 dollars, which is 10 dollars less than the price of the driver directly at the ship.

New Mangalore: Pilikula Nisargadhama (a park) and Ullal Beach, approx. 4h for 30 dollars

We bargain down another 10 dollars and are highly disinterested in everything that belongs to the standard repertoire of sightseeing for New Mangalore. Somehow, after the exciting days in the hustle and bustle of Mumbai, our heads are more in the mood for rest and relaxation than for another sightseeing tour with short stops to get out, walk around, take a few camera shots and then shoo-shoo off to the next stop. Possible here again would be temples, markets, a shopping mall, beautiful buildings (one of which is supposed to be modeled on St. Peter’s Basilica) and spice farms. In fact, an official AIDA excursion also goes where the pepper grows. However, we only give our cab driver two destinations: a park about a 20-minute drive from the port, and a beach.

13:00: Local food at the street stalls is hard to find at lunchtime

As arranged, at a little after one our driver comes back to the drop-off point at the beach and picks us up. We ask him to stop at a street stall on the way back to the ship so we can try dosa, an Indian specialty for the region. Unfortunately, we do not succeed, because probably everyone is having lunch and the street stalls, according to the information, will only appear everywhere around afternoon. We have to emphasize a few times that we don’t want to eat at Subway or Domino’s, but prefer local food. At some point, the driver finds a kind of drive-in for us. This is quite curious, because you simply park on the intersection in front of the restaurant and one of the employees then takes your order from the car. We decide on many small delicacies, which the driver recommends to us in conversation with the employee. Two times full makes in the case with a drink 120 rupees, thus scarcely 2 euro. The individual prices, which were posted, would have been more expensive for us, but perhaps there was an economy menu here that we didn’t notice. By the way, payment is always made after the meal in India, also here, when so many people, sitting in the car, would have the chance to just drive away. We arrive around 14:30 back at the ship and look again in the small store at the port, where the owner gives me in return for a small purchase his WLAN password in the cell phone. For the price of a Christmas tree ball as a souvenir, I surf the net a bit before boarding the ship.

5:58 p.m. On excursions organized by AIDA, there is a wait for latecomers before departure. Otherwise, no!

The last guests come back on board after an excursion that arrived late. Provided they are excursions organized by AIDA, the ship whose scheduled departure time was actually 18:00 is waiting. Presumably, somewhere a sacred cow stood on the road and caused a traffic jam. In a moment, Enya’s “Sail Away” will sound everywhere on board, as it does every time the ship leaves a port, to put all the cruisers in the right mood for discovering the world and to whet their appetites for the next port. Then it’s “Cast off” and set course for Mormugao in Goa. It is 181 nm (335 km) to get there. With a speed of 15.5 knots (29 km/h), we will probably be at the pilot station tomorrow at 6:00 am, so we will dock around 7:00 am. Depending on the country’s requirements, the respective pilot must also have undergone captain training and is very familiar with the fairway, tides and other imponderables of the respective area around the home port. Almost every time, such a pilot comes on board to guide the AIDAaura safely to its berth.

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