"No matter what your dream destinations are, Goa will always find its place on your Wishlist."
Like this quote, a Goa trip is an iconic one which every teenager wants to have with their friends. The classic line ‘Every Goa-plan ever’ also denotes the lower percentage of success in this matter. The term Goa brings the vision of pristine beaches, beachside shacks and excellent drinks, party at the beach. Overall, it’s a promise to have the time of your life.
Goa has been consistently at the top of my Wishlist from the time I left my teenage years. Sadly, like the millions of other youths, the plan of visiting Goa remained unfulfilled, until now. This year, I stopped waiting for my friends to join in and opted for a solo trip to this beach paradise. I had chosen to visit during summer, which was technically an off-season for Goa. Most of the beachside shacks in the typical tourist area were closed this time. Thus, I chose to stay in a slightly off-beat area, in a posh locality.
My Arrival at Goa
The most popular beach areas are located on the northern part of Goa. Baga, Candolim, and Calangute are the most popular beaches for tourists. For my stay, I had selected a beach further North, the beautiful beach of Vagator. It lies north of the famous beach Anjuna.
I reached the city of Goa by train. One of my reasons for choosing this mode of travel was to catch a glimpse of the famous Dudhsagar Falls on the way. Alas, in my bad luck, before the arrival of the Monsoon, the falls were dried up entirely. Just a thin stream of water was coming downhill in the place where gorgeous wide falls used to be.
However, the train reached Vasco Da Gama station four hours later than the scheduled time. Tired and anxious, I was eager to set forth on my journey towards Vagator, which was approximately 44 km away from the Vasco Da Gama Station. The trip was a pleasant one, and I had reached my destination in just over an hour.
My Stay at the Backpacker’s Paradise
I had chosen to stay in the popular upscale hostel called Jungle. It is part of the brand Hostel crowd and very popular amongst the youths. One of the main attractions of this property was its bar, which is located in the charming poolside. The bar offers a wide range of drinks in a very budgeted price. The cost of alcohol is generally low in this state, especially the beers. The popular local brew is less than a dollar in the hostel bar. I had arrived on Saturday night, while the party was in full swing. Sadly, it was to be the last party before the bar closed down for that season. So, my arrival date was perfect in some ways.
A very long journey followed by a late-night party had resulted in a late-rising in the next morning. It was almost noon, just in the nick of time for ending the breakfast hours. The breakfast was served in the bar at poolside, which looked so different from the glittering venue of last night's party. I was relieved to find that the heat of May was tolerable for staying outdoors.
A Visit to Chapora Fort, A Night-Out
I had decided to take the day slowly. So, at a very leisurely pace, I set out to explore the Chapora Fort, which is located just 900 meters from the property. Apart from its historical value and an excellent view, it is an iconic fort for the native Indians. A most famous movie called ‘Dil Chahta Hai’ was filmed in this fort. The film was based on the life of three best friends and how their life changed along with their age. This iconic fort was the backdrop of them finding each other.
The history is Chapora fort is equally compelling. The long line of Portuguese heritage is related to this fort. The famous Mughal Emperor Akbar had used this place as his base camp during his initiative of eliminating the Portuguese rule from Goa. The fort had changed hands several times. Initially, it was built by Mohammed Adil Shah, who built up this fort to evade the attacks of the Hindu raiders.
Nowadays, only the ruin of the fort was left, which demands a bit of an uphill climb. The view of the Arabian Sea was excellent. It also provided a bird’s eye view of the famous Vagator Beach and Ozran Beach. On the other side of the Arabian Ocean, this fort also offered a view of Chapora River, which flows in the foothill of the hill.
A stay in Goa demands a proper night out. After a sunny day out in the middle of Summer, I didn't want to go dancing in a disco. So, my choice for that night was a beachside restaurant named Tomatoes. Located close to Morjim, another famous beach, this restaurant offered dining on the beach. Goa is renowned for its seafood, so I tried baked white snapper with local drink Feni.
Enjoying the Beach with a Refreshing Drink
The scorching hot sun was overrated for a session of sunbathing. I was eager to grab a couple of chilled drinks with the best view of the beach. Fortunately, Vagator Beach had a perfect place for that. The Olive Bar and kitchen was located on the cliff just beside the beach. Its open-air terrace offers an unobscured view of the beach from the cliff. The blue-white décor features a Greek island theme. There were several delicious cocktails from which to choose. I had settled for Sangria.
An entire day dedicated to the sea and beach. So, after a refreshing dip at Vagator Beach, I opted for a yoga session right on the beach. The sunset brought various colors, marking the end of another refreshing day in the beach paradise.
The Lost Kingdom of Portuguese Settlers
The next day was time to bid farewell to the beaches and the charming hostel. It was time to head towards historic Goa, which was mostly spread around the capital Panjim. I was also ready to enjoy a leisurely drive and get a proper view of the entire city, which I had missed due to my very late arrival on the first day. On the way, I had come across Parra Road, the famous coconut tree-lined road which provides an excellent photo opportunity.
The capital town Panjim is based beside Mandovi River. Along with the glittering river cruise, the riverside is surrounded by famous casinos. Moreover, my destination in Panjim was the Latin Quarter Fronteihas. At the first glimpse, it didn't disappoint me at all. The small Portuguese style bungalows project a certain charm. Entering this area, anyone can forget that they are in the Asian continent. The atmosphere projects the magic of a typically European village.
Welcomheritage Panjim Pousada
My reservation was in one of the best hotels here, at Welcomheritage Panjim Pousada. It is part of the famous heritage hotel chain, Panjim Inn. Based on a typical Portuguese style bungalow, this hotel projects an ideal Indo-European style décor. The Panjim Pousada building is situated on the righthand side of the main building, along with the Geetanjali gallery.
At the very entrance of the hotel, stands a charming Hindu-style courtyard. The gallery is spread around this courtyard. There is a small backyard with a wooden swing. The most authentic part of my stay was the typical four-poster bed of my room. Although the room projected a typical heritage feel, it offered the complete luxury of a modern one.
After a heavy dose of Latin heritage in the capital, it was time to say goodbye to this fantastic city. I was gifted with heavy rain during the night, which changed the entire outlook of the town. So, with a feeling of satisfaction yet unfulfilled due to the day's limitations, I had promised Goa, "till the next time."