People travel for myriad reasons- sometimes to soak in the culture, sometimes to unwind from their daily grind, sometimes to celebrate occ...

The Goan Sojourn

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People travel for myriad reasons- sometimes to soak in the culture, sometimes to unwind from their daily grind, sometimes to celebrate occasions, and sometimes just to see what's out there. The trip I undertook to Goa earlier this year is a testimony to the fact that if the reason to travel does not align amongst the travel companions, the sojourn could end up being a disaster.

Every coin has two sides they say. Goa, on one side, for me, ended up being a synonym for perfectly lush green paddy fields, quaint Portuguese homesteads, idyllic beaches, and heart-melting hospitality. But, on the other, became a reminder of squabbles between my companions for every damn thing! Take my advice folks: always align the reason for travel before taking the plunge.

Anyway, the reason I am writing this post is to document the bright side of the moon, which is- my journey to and the adventures in the charmer called Goa, back in January! Yes, I am that quick.


Getting There

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Given the fact that there are regular trains from every major city and frequent flights offered by domestic airlines from the metros, reaching Goa is not at all a tough task; all it takes is a bit of planning to bag the best deal. Now, I have to admit that our booking had zero planning involved- we simply booked tickets on the train which showed available seats for the chosen date. It was only later that we discovered that the train we bagged the tickets for- the Mandovi Express- is infamous for usually running super late! Miraculously, we did not have to experience it first-hand as the train reached Thivim on time.  

Sleeping There

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If you are on a tight schedule as we were, the only thing you will be needing an accommodation for is to crash at night. Thankfully, Goa has stay options suited for every budget. Unknowingly, we ended up at a Homestay boasting of a beach in its backyard! The cost? Only Rs.1000/- per night on a triple sharing basis! Quite a win-win, eh? My only regret is not sampling the fantastic hostels and the beach huts down extreme south or up extreme north. But hey, gotta save some things for the next time, right?

Exploring There

Day 1

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Arriving late evening the previous day did have a drawback- we were billed for a full day in spite of occupying the room only for a few hours. But, it ensured that we were rested enough to take on our first day in Goa with full spirit. Still, the 'non-aligned reasons' ensured that all we did that day was laze at Baga beach. Thankfully, by the time evening rolled out, I managed to convince my trip-mates for Chapora Fort. Promising a 360-degree view of the beaches, distant hill-tops, and glistening waters, it is one of the best places in Goa to witness a sunset. 

Day 2

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After an action lacking Day 1 and mates who had made up their mind to sleep till 11 AM, I decided to venture out on my own. And as I cannot drive, I decided to make the most of the beach in the backyard- Calangute Beach. By the time my trip-mates rose from their slumber, I had had a gala time splashing around. A filling brunch later, we were on our way to Arambol Beach. Honestly, the drive was every bit mesmerising as we zoomed past quaint churches, artful Portuguese-style houses, lush paddy fields and narrow roads lined with coconut trees. The festive vibe at Arambol beach, thanks to the Arambol Drum Circle and the makeshift flea market, was like a cherry on the icing.

Day 3

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With a train to catch at 5:30 PM from Thivim, the luxury of having a susegad day was out of the question. I was fixated on the idea of getting the most out of the last day, hence, ensued an early morning drive in the quest to reach Fort Aguada. Erring, we landed at Lower Fort Aguada, where we ended up sighting a baby dolphin in the waters! The drive to the proper Fort Aguada had another surprise for us: a peacock sighting! These two surprises paired with the panoramic view from the Fort Aguada is the highlight of my Day 3 in Goa.  

Tip 

Renting a vehicle is the of utmost importance- it gives you the freedom to hop between tourist attractions effortlessly and an opportunity to explore the offbeat gems. As we were three people, with only one having a driver's license, we rented a car.  

Eating There

I so want to complain here about the unwillingness of my travel companions to move beyond the usual north-Indian fare, but I shall try to be positive and tell you all about eating in Goa. Firstly, you have to have authentic Goan cuisine at least once during your stay there. Secondly, Anjuna and Arambol are a foodie paradise- I absolutely loved GURU at Anjuna beach and a raw ice-cream place at Arambol beach.

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Frankly, this trip to Goa left a lot to be desired and is way far from being perfect, yet what made it great was the only souvenir I brought back with me- warm Goan hospitality.


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P.S. If you want to want an ultimate guide to Goa or want to know about the offbeat things to do in Goa, please check out my articles. I am sure it will send you backpacking to Goa.


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