A Goa Adventure
Sun, sand and beaches have always been my go-to place to gain some perspective, break the daily monotony, and rediscover myself. My three days in Goa were a retreat from the routine.
An overnight drive from Pune, sleeping through the troughs and turns tracing the plains and Ghats of southern India, my friends and I embraced the palm trees and the sultry weather of Goa. Bargaining for an affordable ride, the three of us set off on the two bikes that we had hired.
Unfamiliar routes, untraced paths and unseen faces welcomed us to Goa. As we drove through lanes searching for the way to Anjuna, following GPS and road signs, white churches, dainty houses, antique shacks, and mysterious ways gave us company.
A few bends and turns later, we arrived at our destination – The Roadhouse Hostels, off Anjuna beach. The place was hidden in a corner, but nonetheless the vibes were vibrant. Grabbing a quick bite at the next door ‘Mango Shade’, we breakfasted on avocado toast, eggs, bacon, cinnamon pancakes, and Turkish coffee. Satiated, we walked our way to the beach for the first look of the soothing waters. Anjuna being a rocky beach, the waves weren’t high but the unexplored shacks were fascinating. With the calming sea in sight and a King’s beer in hand, contentment came cheap. We sat by the shack called ‘Five’ and grabbed our first bite of chili prawns as a starter. Exploring the nooks and corners along the shore line, we enjoyed a first dip in the sea.
We dashed for Thalassa on our bikes, three fearless women raring to go on the empty streets of a town we had only started to get familiar with.
After a hearty lunch, our rested souls returned to the hostel. As we readied for the next adventure, we asked the guy at the hostel for recommendations. We skipped Calangute and Baga beaches as he suggested, as we considered them too ‘commercial’. Instead, we headed to Chapora Fort and Vagator beach. A walk up a muddy hill, Chapora fort is a set of ruinous walls with spectacular views. As the sun dipped, we took photos and basked in the glory of the mesmerizing views below us. On our way back downhill, we headed for Vagator beach.
There, we played in the mammoth waves, gazing at the beautiful sunset on the vast horizon. As the sun kissed the pristine waters, we dipped, dived, soaked and replenished our tainted souls. Goa by the night was reclusive, both spunky and spooky. We dashed for Thalassa on our bikes, three fearless women raring to go on the empty streets of a town we had only started to get familiar with.
Welcoming us to the town was a sign etched in bold white: ‘Thalassa’. We chose to dine on Goan cuisine at the Om Rose Garden. The seating was relaxed seating on cane chairs, with melodious music playing in the background. There was little else we needed to make us happy. Our sober selves were tucked safely into bed by midnight, breaking all Goan stereotypes.
On day two, we headed to Morjim beach and spent a good 6 hours there, hanging out in the shacks and in the water. Playing throw-ball in the water, wave-riding, swimming in the sea – we did it all. When we returned to the sunbeds in the shade, it was either for food or drinks, enjoying pomfret fish, fruit salad with ice-cream and a fresh lime soda.
Later, we drove to Arambol beach. We walked the entire stretch of the beach, crossing stalls selling junk jewellery and clothes, and halting at beachside shacks overlooking blue waters. The much-anticipated sweet water lake was more than a little disappointing. So much fuss had been made about a lake that looked more like a pond laced with green algae.
The Goan vibes had spread their charm despite the bruises that were the hallmark of the trip.
The drive back to our hostel in Arambol was a long 18 km. After chatting with some people at the hostel, we headed to the Saturday night flea market. This was an eclectic mix of colourful stalls and live music. It was crowded and diverse, with a range of arts, flavours, sounds, and people. With no fixed plans for the night, we scouted the nooks and corners bargaining for trinkets and junk jewellery.
Little did we know then what the night had in store for us. A couple of our friends staying in Baga joined us at the market. Just as we drove our scooter around a corner, our bike skid through a patch of mud. Being the pillion rider, not only did this come as a shock to me but I also ended up getting a little hurt. We headed back to our hostel with our bruises and scratches, and after some first-aid, cleaned ourselves up. The rest of the evening we just hung out in the hostel with a British guy who had, accidentally, ended up shooting an ad in Goa. We chatted the night away and looked forward to a fresh start the next day.
Laid-back and relaxed, Sunday served its purpose well. We had a filling breakfast at Michele’s Garden, with a chic-sleek decor in pinks and whites and a Persian cat for company. A no-rush day, we spent it chilling at Anjuna Beach, walking distance from where we were staying. The remaining day was spent in the shacks along the beach. The less hyped ones turned out to be better than those on the must-do lists, with better views, more shade, and hip music. The Goan vibes had spread their charm despite the bruises that were the hallmark of the trip.
Bidding goodbyes and hopeful see-yous to our new friends at the hostel, the three of us zoomed our way back along the beautiful roads, ending our Goa adventure.