Ahh Goa. State with countless beaches. Where travellers come for a little break and are mixed with package holidayers and Indian men who come to take photos of girls in bikinis. Kind of raunchy but great all the same. I got sucked into Goa for three weeks and I loved it.
Remember the trainride toGoa? (read about it here)
After arriving in Arambol, one of the Northern beaches of the state, things slowed down, a lot. Arambol is a really small beach town, with live music every night at least at two venues and often there’s other parties going on as well, although they may die down quite early. Lots of (selfproclaimed) hippies and Russians on the beach. A lot of the hippies come back here for several months each year, so they know everyone else that goes there on a regular basis. The Russians are definitely the package holidayers of Arambol. Two weeks of beach inIndia? Not the first country I would think of for just a beach holiday, although I must admit that I intensely enjoyed the slower pace, not moving around so much and lugging my bag with me. I arrived in Arambol, the mission for a room began. Close to New Years a lot of guest houses double their prices (or more), simpy because they can. After viewing a tent that I’d have to pay 800R for, I walked into Alois’ Nest guest house. The lady gave us a good deal and promised not to raise the price for New Years. I stayed there a week, and got adopted into a group of crazy Israelis. Let me explain, the guest house is actually the owner’s house, they live on the ground floor, except for two rooms which are for rent. And upstairs (stair case on the outside!) there are another six rooms. Me and Tom in one up there, Italian party-animal “Beppe” our nextdoor neighbour, and the other rooms were all full with (at least) two Israelis. They all knew each other kind of, one way or another from home and met up while travelling. There’s a communal area upstairs, and during that week, there was lots of playing music, playing cards and just talking. Going to the beach actually became difficult because to organize such a massive group is a challenge in itself.
New Years started off with dinner, a little game of King’s Cup and then off to the beach. Where there were ridiculous amounts of Indian men. It was really just our little group and them. A really weird sensation. But after lighting some fireworks, some dancing, back to the guest house and on to another bar. It was a great night!! After a late night chocolate indulgence it was time for bed and the New Year officially started off with a bang.
After New Years, I stayed a couple more days but it was time to move on. Still withinGoa, I wanted to go to Palolem (one of the Southern most beaches). But that would either be a very expensive taxi ride, a difficult train ride or four changes on the bus. So I decided to stop in the middle. Panjim isGoa’s capital. It’s not much special, expensive!, and just a city, really. But in that, a friendly city to wonder around, with a park and a riverside and a big cinema!! Stayed for two nights and went to the cinema both nights. Loved it! The second day we went to Old Goa. The ancient capital, where the influence of the Portuguese is very visible in the many churches and basilicas. Outstanding buildings and it’s good to realize that lots of Indians are tourists in their own country. School trips of kids learning about their own history, families, they all came to the little town as well! It makes me feel like less of a touristy-tourist. Indians want to see the treasures of their country too. Alright, two days in Panjim was really enough. On to…
A meet up with some of the Israelis, lazing beach days and a meet up with Lucy!! Palolem was great. Less live music than Arambol, but a very nice beach, lots of activities to do like a boat trip or kayaking. Other beaches are only a short walk away. A beautiful little island just off the beach that you can walk or swim to. I think I’d left a little sooner if I wasn’t waiting for Lucy, but it was so great to see her again, after a year and a half almost. We celebrated in style, had a jam session with a yogi (yoga teacher) who had completed his course in theHimalayas. And then going on to a silent disco that lasted a lot longer than I expected. And so did we, haha. The next day we just lazed in one of the beach places and enjoyed the sun set from a beautiful place where you climb some rocks in order to see the sun sinking into the sea.
All in all Goawas pretty amazing. A good place to start Indiawith. To pace down a bit after moving around in South East Asiaso much, and a place to get used to Indian madness within the safety of a tourist place. Next up is Hampi. A stunning place for scenery, and old temples. Although after Angkor Wat, temples of only 500 years old don’t seem that ancient……