10.02.2015 - 10.03.2015 34 °C
One of the universal truths in life is to be confident in knowing what you like, what you don’t like and acting immediately to alleviate whatever it is that is beyond irritating. Initially, we were as keen as mustard to travel through Nepal after spending two months touring around Northern India but we needed a break. Many of you know that travelling independently in developing nations on a budget for weeks and weeks at a time can be rewarding but very exhausting, especially when you are significantly older than the backpacker crowd. So, it was tough to recognize that we did need a break and that Nepal could simply wait. It isn’t going anywhere. Thank goodness we made the decision to come to the cruisy, hassle free South of India.
Aside from our short break to Hampi, there really isn’t a lot to do or see in Goa except for exploring tropical beaches. We stuck to the south and now have a great knowledge of Colva through to Palolem.
Colva and Benaulim are certainly dull places but fairly pretty all the same. Most of the tourists here are retired Europeans trying to eek out every Euro or Pound they have from their pensions – fairly easy to do too considering a self catering apartment not too far from the beach is only 15 pounds a night and food is even cheaper. From our point of view, it was nice to relax here for a few days but we decided that it is rather boring and really, who wants to turn themselves into a walking piece of leather day after day after day.
Palolem on the other hand is absolutely gorgeous. The beach is a stunning crescent of sand, calm waters and leaning coconut palms. The restaurants are plentiful and the food on offer is considerably nicer than Benaulim. Not only that but there is a lovely vitality here that contrasts with the aged vibe 30kms north. The downside is the cost. Guesthouses, coco huts and hotels cost nearly twice as much as further north but it is worth it. In the end, we spent a week at Palolem following a routine of breakfast at Little World, pack for the beach, swim at the beach, shower and then out for dinner at any of the lovely beachfront restaurants, although Tapas was a definite favourite.
One of the best features of Goa is the appeal of hiring a scooter and spending a day or so winding through the palm groves and discovering hidden tropical gems as well as admiring the stunning albeit dilapidated Portuguese mansions. On one such day, we scootered up and down undulating hills peppered with palm groves to Cabo de Rama, a Portugese hill fort. The views from the bastion were stunning as were the views from the seashore. Further on, we spent a couple of hours at Cola lounging on the beach and taking a dip in the emerald, fresh water lagoon.
Nearing the end of our trip in Goa we thought it would be wise to spend time in Panajim and Old Goa. We checked into a beautiful Portuguese guesthouse/posada and spent two days wandering the very hot streets in search of historic Portuguese homes and whitewashed churches. Old Goa and the suburb of Fontainhas didn’t disappoint. At times, we felt as if we were wandering a street in Merida Mexico or even Portugal itself. Another delight was stumbling across three lovely eateries that served brownie that tasted like brownie and one had roast pork!
Overall, we really enjoyed our month in Goa but we both admit it is time to shake things up and head back North to take in the sights of Agra, Gwalior, Khajuraho, Varanasi, Kolkata and the Northern states of Darjeeling and Sikkim.