After a rushed week in India in order to get to Hampi for Holi festival a few relaxing days on the beach in Goa was what we had to look forward to! A 10 hours train journey with plenty of Chai tea, thalis, snacks and drinks from the numerous men walking up and down the train kept us going. We arrived at our guest house the Secret Garden. It was only a few metres from the beach and consisted of several huts sitting in a beautiful garden. There was a shared bathroom which housed a cute frog! We headed to the beach for sunset and enjoyed a few beers and lovely Goan Fish curry. We realised we have stumbled along a locals expat pub rich with cockney accents and old pals having a few beers together.
The next 3 days were spent enjoying the beaches of the area, we went to Palolem beach, Patnem beach and finally turtle beach – three days of bliss for Lucy whilst Tom had to be bribed with Kingfishers to keep him occupied. They were all endless stretches of beautiful beach, Palolem and Patnem were lined with bars and sun loungers whereas Turtle Beach had nothing but a few food shacks set back from the beach. We had originally only booked for 3 nights but ended up extending to 5 as we’d been too relaxed to plan our onward journey. We finally settled down to a morning of hardcore planning only to find that there was an area wide power cut as pre-monsoon maintenance work had to be carried out on some of the electricity pylons nearby. Not to worry though as Nazir and Monica from the Secret Garden were there to help plan our trip – we ended up with a more tailored plan that we could have mustered between us even with full power! After what had been an intense morning by Goan standards, we headed to the beach for a well deserved beer, with a coconut feni (a local spirt which tasted really sweet at first, with a watered down vodka aftertaste).
Goa couldn’t all be beaches though as we headed over to our own apartment in Betalbatim, near Colva beach. We stocked up for a nighttime meal that consisted of all the veg we could find with pasta – a meal severely lacking ghee, but a well overdue shot of vitamins and nutrients that our bodies were craving. The next two days were spent exploring nearby Panji and Ponda. Panji is the capital of the state of Goa, but still has a lovely relaxed feel about it and beautiful Latin inspired area. We visited a spice farm in Ponda which was set in a serene woodland area. We had a tour of all of the different spices and how they grow which was very interesting! Also learning that a plant on a palm tree is used by the locals to get high! After a relaxing time in Goa it was now ready to prepare ourselves for the madness of Mumbai.