For dinner, we headed to Vagator as Thalassa (11kms away from hotel) was on my list for quite some time. As romantic as restaurants go, you could not ask for more, probably a slightly better music collection. But still that music, that location, add to that a vibrant crowd made that a must-visit place. Set right at the beach, you need to get there by 5 to catch a place near the edge of the hotel to have that uninhibited view of the sea engulfing the sun. Greek cuisine dominate the menu with dishes high in cheese and mushrooms (two things me and my wife love!!). As the sun slowly set in the background, its light was replaced by miniature suns kept on each table that just added to the ambiance. Slightly heavy on the pocket, this place is a must if you are with that special one or your friends that mean the world to you.
Day 3 and we had a long list Old Goa monuments on our list.
- First up Chapel of our lady of the Mount, 25 kms away from Anjuna but located slight atop a hill giving you a lush-green view of surrounding chapels and nature at its best and mind you this was summer. This place would be a treat in December, not to mention monsoon. A winding road leads you to the chapel with staircases filled with nature’s carpet that give this place a warm feel.
- Next up lying in wait for us for Church of St. Catejan, just 5 mins away, this one is architecture at its very best. The ivory-white church surrounded by lush green and colorful garden with classic roman interiors makes this church on top of your visit-list. I understand Basicila of Bom Jesus and Se Cathedral to have more relevance and importance from a religious point of view but solely from a tourist point of view the Church of St. Catejan takes the cake.
- Right next to it is the Viceroy’s arch, known to be the entrance to Goa in its heyday. Another old architecture reminding us of the history that Goa holds.
- You then have the Se Cathedral nearby with its distinctive statue of Jesus with a curved tree that just makes you wonder at nature and its originality. (Tip: You could park your car in front of Se Cathedral and cover St Catejan and Viceroy’s arch together)
- A short drive to the other side of St. Catejan and you can visit Chapel of St. Francis Asisi and Basilica of Bom Jesus. The former has a quaint little garden with Church of Catherine and collection of grinding stones kept for display.
- Basilica of Bom Jesus stands tall and firm and is a sight to behold with its rustic exterior and that woody feel. Apart from being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it contains the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier along with the usual church interiors you will find across Goa.
- Last up on our visit to Old Goa was the ruins of St. Augustine church, built in 1602 and abandoned in 1835. All I can say that it gave me the chills.
- At Panaji, we then came to the famous and most often seen sight in Bollywood movies, Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. Got a great picture of the pristine white church with clear spotless blue sky in the background.
- A random turn from there took us into Fountainhas, old colorful streets and pathways resembling tiny streets of Portugal, still preserved and still hold that time that has passed the rest of the world. We were quite lucky to see this part of Goa. I truly believe, that there are no wrong turns when you are exploring something new.
Dinner on the 3rd and last night took an unexpected turn as while trying to find a specific hotel, we landed at La Plage on Ashvem beach. This place put Thalassa on the backseat in terms of ambience, location and a strong loving vibe that you receive from the people there. Run by a French lady and her partner, this place is known for its French cuisine and Chocolate Thali (yes, you heard me right!), But more than the food, its location which is right on the beach along with décor which is simplistic and minimalist yet efficient, makes this one of our favorite restaurants to visit. The best feeling is to lose your footwear and let your feet relax in the naturally therapeutic sand with the hymns of the waves crashing on the stony shore nearby. (Just heard recently that it is temporarily closed, wonder why?)