Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Get Set GOA!

In India, when you say beach, it’s difficult to think beyond GOA.
Goa is on every college going students bucket list. It was on ours for a very long time. 4 years to be precise.
4 years of planning, months of discussion and several obstacles later, our determination to go there overruled everything, and we finally made it to GOA!

With all our bags packed, it was on the fine night of August 10th that we took off. We set foot on Goa on August 11th at 12:30 am. We had a pre booked cab that we boarded and started towards Arambol beach where we had our stay booked. On the way we stopped at petty shop to have a cup of tea. We also had bread-omelet as we were really hungry after the late night flight.
late night tea and bread-omelet
(Day 1)When we reached Arambol we thought it was a bad idea to stay there as the places of interest to us were a minimum 30km from there. So the next morning we shifted to a much more happening beach- Calangute. We hired 2 wheelers to explore Goa and it was indeed very convenient. We found it cheaper to buy alcohol from a local wine store and drink up at the room, than to drink in any of the beach side shacks or restaurants.
Early morning drinkers
So we stocked up the rooms fridge with alcohol and boozed-up whenever we felt like. In evening we went on the beach drank a few beer and watched the sun set.The Party had begun! 
Calangute beach in the setting sun


The Party Begins!

That night we partied at LPK (Love Passion Karma). This place has a beautiful ambience with a lake view. They entry was rs1500 per couple and rs3000 for stag on a weekday. With that entry fee we got unlimited alcohol and danced till we had no energy left.


LPK's entrance

(Day 2)The next day, since half of us had a hangover from the previous night, we couldn’t wake up early. So as soon as we woke up we headed for lunch in Fat Fish on Calangute-Arpora road. There was not one dish that did not satisfy our taste buds. King Fish Tawa fry, Butter Garlic Prawns, Goan style Prawn Chilly, Crumb Fried Chicken, Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, all of these were amazingly appetizing. Special Mention to their Cheese Garlic Naan which had rich oozing cheese, and the very homely Goan speciality, Chicken Xacuti.
Fat Fish

Cheese Garlic Naan

Post lunch we continued to fort Aguada. Beside the entrance of the jail, there is a dinky passage that leads to a rocky piece of land. The view from here is spectacular, the experience here is even better. The waves hit the rocks and water splatters all over, which is a sensational feeling.

Beside Aguada Jail

Next, we went up to the fort, which was nothing great. It was just like any other fort. Of course, the view is artistic. That’s because Goa on the whole is heavenly. 
The light house at Aguda Fort

Succeeding our visit to the old fort, was our visit to the two most famous churches in Goa- Basilica of Bom Jesus and Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church (few scenes from SRK’s Josh was shot here). Both the Churches are graceful, elegant and exquisite. We Prayed and lit candles there. This particular encounter with God was simply divine.
St. Francis Xavier's Relics

Inside Basilica of Bom Jesus

Our Lady of Immaculate Conception

At the end of the day we decided to go to Curlies on Anjuna beach. According to me, this place is over hyped. There is nothing extra ordinary about this place. The ambience was just like any other shack and the food was just ordinary food you get everywhere in Goa. The Fish curry had a homely flavour. Other than that, the Pasta was delicious and the pizza was just above average. After dinner we spent some time sitting on the beach gazing the moon and stars and drinking some beer. This was nothing short of an escapade and was perfectly humbling.
(Day 3)This day was a no-sightseeing, just relax day. We wanted a calm and quiet beach than the populated hubs of Goa- Calangute and Baga. And so the destination was obvious, Arambol. Arambol’s scenic beauty is incredibly captivating. The beach is clean (compared to the other beaches) and not many people go here as it is almost out of Goa, that is, it is on the Goa-Maharashtra border. There is a shack named OM Star on Arambol which serves mouthwatering food at the best possible rates. But this shack gets one negative point for the service, which is extremely slow. Lunch was followed by a plunge into the sea, which is the best thing to do in any beach. After having a good time in the water for about 2 hours, it was time to leave Arambol.

Arambol Beach

Our beach stop that night was Baga. This is definitely not my kind of place. When I am on a vacation I need peace. Baga was just the opposite.This beach is overcrowded, especially on weekends. There is hardly any place to dine, even in the shacks, let alone popular restaurants. With a little searching, we found a place which was less populous. Dinner was less than average. The only thing that stood out was Prawn Pasta in red sauce and pancake with Nutella. We had nothing to do after dinner and we didn’t want to go back. Being typically desi we played a few rounds of antakshari and dumb charades. That was the highlight of the evening and was without a doubt enjoyable.
Baga Beach

(Day 4) This was our last day at Goa. We had just one last stop,the fort that was made famous by one of the best movies on friendship-Dil Chahata Hai. Chapora Fort has the most spectacular view of the famous Vagator beach. 
Vagator Beach from Chapora Fort

There is a mini trekking route that takes you to the fort. 

Way up, to Chapora Fort

The fort is in ruins and frankly speaking there is nothing much to do there other than to adore the wonderful panorama that the fort offers. 
Enjoying the view from the fort.
While at Chapora fort, do indulge in some maggi of different flavours - Veg Maggie, butter Maggie and my personal favourite, Goan Masala maggi at a little cramped up shop. On the way back we stopped at a restaurant named Goan Spice. We were in a hurry as we had a bus to catch. So we just had main course which was not at all impressive compared to any other restaurant we ate at in Goa. We had one ending task- Tattoo’s! We got temporary tattoos done and that was the end of our most awaited trip! 4 years of planning ended in 4 days!

In the bus, on the way out of Goa

Be it off-season or peak season, Goa is always a good idea, and I can vouch for that. Yes, in the off-season there are fewer options, but for a relaxing and a noiseless get away from your everyday routine, this season is the best. Goa gave us infinite memories that none of us will ignore. And yes, I would like to visit Goa again to explore south Goa. I wouldn’t mind Goa even 3 or 4 times a year! 
True that! (Pic. courtesy: Tripoto)

Mesmerizing beaches, cheap alcohol, affordable stay and slightly expensive food is what makes Goa what it is! 
Hail Goa!