It is a truth universally acknowledged that the ultimate symbol of friendship is a trip taken with your girls to Goa. It was this spirit, our ever-evolving wanderlust and the approaching vacation that compelled us to zero-in upon Goa as our holiday destination. It was a huge leap from our usual annual getaways, since Goa is all across the country from Delhi. We had our tickets, hotel bookings, itinerary, and most importantly, a declaration stating the conditions of this trip all ready two months prior to our departure. Only the devilish DU semester end exams stood between our ultimate happiness and us. The fervour for the trip was uncontrollable and we breezed past those days and nights of serious study dreaming of what would be. The exams ended and we flew to Karnataka enroute the JSW township, from where we had planned to drive down to Goa. A 10 hour road trip seemed like a nightmare to me, but I soon realised that, it couldn’t get more ‘Dil-Chahta-Hai’ than this. Our week-long sojourn with the sea had FINALLY begun!
As dusk dawned upon us, we entered the smallest state of the country; and I soon realised that never before had I experienced such effervescence. Not even in the national capital. An instant attraction was the Mandovi River that was flooded with the blazing lights of cruises and casinos. We had divided our stay at Goa into three hotels at different locations so as to cover the maximum in the limited amount of time that we had. We first checked into Sandalwood Hotel and Retreat which is in Dona Paula , bang on the Vainguinim Beach. The hotel was well equipped, with a swimming pool, gym, huge lawns and several other recreational activities. But with the beach only at a stone's throw away, lazing in bed and sleeping through the morning was not an option at all; we raced each other to the pristine beach waters at 5 in the morning. The cool seawater lap lapping around our ankle, we stood still, breathing the fresh salty sea breeze. Soon the sun rose and it seemed as if all the gods in heaven were showering rays of blessings on the early risers. For hostellers like us, the highpoint of the hotel was its mouth-watering array at breakfast. We visited Dona Paula and bravely motivated each other to try the speed boating. Once in, none of us wanted the experience to end. Ever.
At Panjim we stayed at the Varanda Do Mar which had a breathtaking 180 degree view of the Miramir Beach. Witnessing the sunset, comfortably tucked in bed was simply spectacular. The hotel’s convenient location in the heart of the city enabled us to explore the area and devour local cuisine. We picked up a treasure of memorabilia from the tiny boutiques and shops. The cruise down the Mandovi river made our evening perfect. We danced with the traditional troupe and sang along with them to Goan songs. The Churches at Old Goa satiated our thirst for reliving the art, culture, and history of that place. We visited the Basallica of Bom Jesus, Church of Saint Cajeato and Church of Saint Francis of Asisi; the art galleries within these Churches provided us an interesting insight on how French and Portugese traditions have fused to influence Goan culture.
We then headed to Baga Beach, which is abundant in a myriad of water adventure sports. Determined to try out each and every ride, we courageously headed towards the Banana Boat ride, unaware of the extremity of this sport. Under the blazing fire of the burning sun, we crashed into humungous waves as we made our way further into the ocean; thrown several times into the salty sea water, so much so that getting back up on the boat became a task in itself. Relentlessly fighting the waves, utterly exhausted we abandoned the boat and swam back to the shore. The zeal to try all water sports took a serious backseat.
(Side note: Do not let the sea intimidate you, go ahead and experience each thrilling ride!)
We gave up and headed to what was to be the most luxurious part of our trip. La Cabana Spa and Resort, located far from the bustle of the northern beach strip. It felt like an alternate world altogether. A private beach, tents replacing the usual, closed hotel rooms and beach beds sprawled all across the shore. With a state-of-the-art spa and exotic menu, La Cabana is an ideal getaway destination. It is indeed the stuff that dreams are made of! To top it all, the glitz and glamour of an entire Bollywood entourage kept us enchanted as they had chosen the resort as a locale for a forthcoming film.
A super-relaxing holiday destination is how I would describe Goa. Next time you are looking for a break.... Go Goa, I say.