Sis's exams get over on 7th June, and long before that we were planning a vacation for a family trip. We had one last year (aurangabad) after ages and so decided to keep doing it every year.
This time we wanted to go to Goa....but we knew like last year...rains will play spoil sport. Till the last minute we were undecided but then thought of giving it a shot. And it was a wonderful shot...we didnt feel the summer heat...nor did we face heavy rains!
10th June was a day full of packing and booking travel...getting extra battery for the cam...and other stuff required...that ended with a nice meal at Kalyani Veg. That restaurant's food has become too good. I remember eating it once before and not liking it...but now..its food is awesome!
11th June we planned to leave at 5:30 am for a 12 hour long drive. Our driver being a duffer that he was, got us an hour and a half late, but anyway our spirits were not dampened. As soon as we started we were alive singing and rocking with the songs (after all that cd was my compilation..thanku thanku :) Can you believe that it was 6:30 and we were so alive, wonder if we could get up that early when we had to go to work/college :D
It was drizzling and the atmosphere was fresh and cool. Mist covered mountains like a necklace. Everything was so beautiful with the rain that we kept wide awake till atleast 8am. After that we started taking naps only to wake up for a slight snack at Kolhapur, before the ghat. Our driver, though not rash was rather dumb most of the times and spent a long time even in kolhapur finding the way to the ghat. Then after crossing the border to find the RTO. crap..I wonder how they become drivers if they lack basic skills of knowing or atleast finding roads! But we had another 4 days to spend with him..God save us!
We reached our place of stay called Gabriels Guest House, at Calangute, by 4pm I think.Gabriel is supposedly an angel, but this ange's house was crappy man! At first we didnt see much as we were tired and wanted to have something and rush to the beach, just 2 minutes walk from the house. We ordered simple omelette bread and guess what..we were surprised that someone can make food without salt! I mean not even a pinch of salt! We knew we are going to have to hunt for food outside, all the days!
We gobbled the food and made our way to the beach. All the beaches had been closed for swimming, understood as the sea is rough in the monsoons. I was glad to see lifeguards on the beach. When we went to the beach it was low tide, but yes we could wet our feet. We 3 sisters and mom were holding hands and luring the waves towards us and yelling when a strong one washed us off our feet. It felt so nice to see mom enjoy like a kid all over again :) Was the best feeling of the trip :)
It feels so peaceful when you look at godzilla like waves coming to gulp you down. Anyone knows why is it so?
After the beach we washed up and were ready with a giant appetite for goan food. We went to a nearby restaurant called Tulip. It had a TV showing the football game and some foreigners sitting there drinking and smoking while enjoying the match. I wonder how people can smoke while others are eating! Anyway, we just realised that since rains are setting in we won't get fish that much. But nevertheless we had nice chicken and prawns made goan style. It was yummy! We slept peacefully that night with dreams of South Goa the next day!
12th June, we had a tour booked for South Goa. We were to report at 8:30 sharp at the pick up point. We selected a nearby restaurant that was open for breakfast. The food there was good, and the manager there was a former manager at Banjara Hills at Pune. We made his acquaintance which was helpful later on :). We had our breakfast fatafat and reached our pickup point only to be waiting for 30 minutes for the bus to arrive. Anyhow, the tour did not disappoint us and so the 30 minutes wait was not a problem. During the tour we made another acquaintance, foreigners they were from USofA. The couple stayed in Pune now, and the guys mother had come down to visit them. It was nice listening to them and observing the way they carry themselves and comparing that with the behavior of other typical Indians who think making their way by pushing others is the best. I was wondering why we only pick up bad customs and fail to pick up other good things like sophistication when we ape the west! Anyway, let philosophy take another post :) The trip included the whole of South Goa. We started with Miramar, then a fish aquarium which was nicely maintained. Mom even held a giant crab! Creepy!
next we went to a house made in Portuguese times. Most of the stuff they used then are the things we use even now. The way everything was maintained was rather impressive. We wouldn't have found out about these places hadn't we taken a tour. We then went to Colva, which is the second longest beach in Asia.
After lunch, we then moved on to two temples and then Se cathedral which is very huge and peaceful church. The basilica of Bom Jesus, famous for the non-decomposing body of Father St. Xavier was closed for some renovation so we couldn't go there. We then proceeded to a cruise, over the river Mandovi! My first ever cruise! It was an awesome experience. We went as close to 500-700 metres from the point where Mandovi meets the Arabian Sea. It was evening, the wind was blowing hard, the waves were strong and the feeling of being in the middle of it all was even greater :)
After that awesome tour, we proceeded home after dinner at a not so good place called 'The taste of India". I'd say the food was pathetic!
13th June, was a sunday and we had planned it to be our rest and shopping day ;) We had a nice time exploring the places. We started at Mapusa then Panjim also stopped at Dona Paula. It was raining a little, not very heavy not too light and not continuous which was rather nice. We then went to Margao and we were continuosuly shopping this or that :) We even luckily found a nice bakery in a small stinking market, which had yummy stuff and also some Goan sweetdishes. After exploring south side, we came back with heavy bags wondering where to pack them now :P We had food at a veg restaurant nearby. The food there is good (remember the one where we had breakfast the day before) but the service that day was pathetic. And as the manager knew us, when we raised our voice a little he came to our rescue and taught the staff a lesson. That day he held open the door of the restaurant to lead us, felt nice!
14th June, we were to explore North Goa. We first headed to fort Aguada where it started raining rather heavily. But it was enjoyable at a height. Next we went to beach Candolim, then Baga which has a gentle slope after all the beaches we saw elsewhere. Then Anjuna, Vagator which is only rocks and no beach as such. We then proceeded to Chapora fort. The fort is not maintained, its just the fort boundary that is there. I have a hunch that is where DCH was shot. The view from the fort there is awesome. One side is land and all the other sides show you the sea and its vast and never ending expanse. We then proceeded to Calangute market had lunch and then came back home. We came home early to go to Calangute and get wet for the last time before we head back to Pune. Today, the rough and the lifegurad came to call us back outside the water :) We said our goodbyes to Goa and then headed back to the guest house to complete our packing before we went out for dinner and then slept peacefully for an early start the next day.
15th June, we started for Pune at around 5:30 am with a slight drizzle. one road was blocked due to a tree that had fallen but rest of the journey was smooth. We reached home by 6pm after taking home some food and milk.
One observation about the city we visited. There are no traffic signals there, but the traffis is smooth. We didnt encounter a single traffic jam there. There were however, 2 chowks where traffic policemen were directing traffic with their colourful sticks (red and green lights). Wonder why we can't have that discipline here in Pune.