#24: Put One Trip
Hello dear Reader,
Since I’ve written to you last, I’ve done some major, and when I say major, I mean major adulting. I finally went on a trip to Goa alone with my friends! It was all sorts of wild. This particular trip was with my college friends - my school friends and I have a group, “Put one trip” and we still haven’t, not even to Mahabalipuram! Fret not, put one more trip I shall. In retrospect, I genuinely learnt plenty of things traveling and exploring, to us, an initially foreign place which we eventually figured our own little way around!
Most of my batchmates from college, about a hundred of us, traveled to Goa. My friends and I were feverish(not the Covid kind) with excitement just to step foot into the airport after more than two long years. So, documenting every step was the way. You have got to see the amount of pictures we have of just clouds from our window seat. One short layover at Pune later where we met someone from Goa who was enthusiastically informing us about various places to visit, we planted our feet on Goan soil. We made our way to our family friend’s house and stayed with them that night. They were the sweetest and made us feel right at home - we clicked with them instantly and had a wonderful time.
We saw the likes of the Panaji Church first thing, adorned with multicoloured lights and walked through the busy streets, thronging with people and shops alike, in search of the most delicious cheesecake at Confeitaria 31 De Janeiro. The Goan terrain is filled with ups and downs and we’d built up quite an appetite trying to locate this bakery. We kept walking in circles until we realized that we’d passed the place two times already. Put two out of three directionally challenged girls and what do you get? The bakery was as quaint as it can get, with bougainvillea falling on to a park bench and a guitar aptly placed next to it. The cheesecake was absolutely divine, it did not disappoint one bit.
After a hearty breakfast the next morning, we joined the rest of our batchmates and checked into the hotel. Now, we were fully aware that this was a budget trip and were mentally prepared regarding the adjustments to be made. Long story short, we should have had even lower expectations of the place. I won’t get into the details, all I’ll say is that we were very much elated to get back to the bathrooms back home. Our next stop under the sweltering afternoon sun was Aguada Fort. Equipped with a moat and a lighthouse, the fort was originally constructed as a guard against the Dutch. Armed with sunscreen and hats and umbrellas we walked around the fort and took some comfort in the momentary shade, spending some time taking in our surroundings.
Post lunch, we decided to journey on a twenty minute walk to Baga beach. Goa looks just like Kerala, alike in the greenery and presence of numerous glistening water bodies. Baga was entirely different from our Marina or Besant Nagar. There was a line of restaurants along the entrance of the beach which stretched throughout its length. We stepped in via a small walkway filled with teensy stores and wandered into the sand where we saw a multitude of those lounge chairs placed all over. We walked along the shore, spending time taking pictures, noticing all the cute crabs scuttling along sideways and marvelling at how the sand doesn’t stick to your feet! The sunset we witnessed was beautiful beyond words with cotton candy skies shifting from orange-yellow to pink-purple in a few minutes. As we wanted to do some light shopping, we were trying to figure out where the lounge chairs which we kept as a landmark were. It was futile, because little did we know that those chairs would be replaced by dining chairs and tables after sunset - the restaurants were slowly inching onto the sand. We must’ve walked along the length of Baga two times at least until we found an exit. This reminded me of the casino in the Percy Jackson books, where once you go in, you’re forced to stay and cannot, for the life of you, get out of there. We ended up eating dinner at one of the shacks and walked back to the hotel with a couple of our batchmates.
Struggling to wake up bright and early, just a few hours after the sun, we filled our tummies and left for the Harvalem waterfalls. The weather was beyond perfect - clear skies with a cool breeze sweeping through. The one hour’s worth of travel to reach the waterfalls was replete with Kerela-esque trees leaning onto the roads from either side and green fields as far as the eye can see. We reached the falls, spent some time there - one of my friends lost one of his sandals to the current, and he successfully completed the mission of retrieving it from the other end!
That sunset found us setting sail on a cruise with the Mandovi River beneath us. With a light drizzle upon us, we saw the city lighting up with the many casinos-on-ships around us. After a nice, chill sit down dinner and a game of intriguing questions amongst friends, we retired for the (rest of) the night. The following day was an early check out during which I conveniently lost the keys to my luggage lock after my suitcase was locked. Twenty frantic minutes of searching was all in vain. My friend with her quick thinking somehow broke the lock and all was well. But, that was the first in a long line of unexpected events occurring that day. A couple of people fell sick so we had to take a detour to a doctor’s clinic, after which it started pouring like there was no tomorrow so we had to take a long halt sitting in the bus.
That evening we returned to our family friend’s house to spend one last day in Goa. The next morning, since our flight got delayed, we had ample time to visit the ever famous Basilica of Bom Jesus, another beach, and do some serious shopping and bargaining. We were fascinated by the number of bridges in Goa, especially one which is in construction and planning to have a restaurant at its peak!
Reluctantly, we had to say goodbye to our wonderful hosts whom we became close to in a matter of days. I definitely learnt so much on this trip, things about traveling alone, managing and handling unforeseen situations and making the best out of what’s handed to you. You’ll be seeing me soon Goa, once the restaurant on the top of the bridge is open for service!
Remembering my cat Amber, who died a few days ago. I’ll always miss her half-meows and her getting annoyed whenever we show our love to her <3.
Links you’ll love
All Espresso Drinks Explained - I brand myself obsessed with coffee and yet I just learnt all this!
Leaving you all with this, see you in two weeks