A long awaited birthday and a long awaited trip!!
The enthusiasm for celebrating my birthday this year was on a high and I wanted to celebrate my birthday doing something different than most of birthday’s earlier. I have had wonderful birthday’s before but the urge to do celebrate it differently started a month before the day and culminated in me deciding to have a solo trip to Goa. Solo travel is an experience like none other. It allows you to enjoy a place on your own terms – without the distractions or schedule of others. A solo trip offers: Independence, Your own time table, No need to compromise, You get to do what you want to do, You don’t have to do what you don’t want to do, but it can also mean more. Solo travel can be the answer to the unique challenges experienced at different times of life…
The thought of a solo trip quite struck to me and I decided that was the way my birthday was gonna be celebrated and so thus started the wonderful trip to the pristine beaches and state of Goa. I had been to Goa twice before but on both the occasions had been only to North Goa covering the wonderful beaches of Calangute,Anjuna, Baga as well as city of Panjim and churches of Old Goa. This time around through I decided on only visiting South Goa. My initial plan was to visit Palolem, Agonda, Benaulim, Majorda, Dona Paula, Colva, Betul and Vasco. Ofcourse the initial plan was not materialized and that was the best part, because the whole duration of the trip went completely unplanned.
So thus started the journey on the 15th from Bangalore to Goa. I had booked the tickets in advance to avoid any last minute disappointments but had kept the plan a secret from most of my friends and family. Only a close friend of mine and family knew that I would be celebrating the birthday alone in Goa. I didn’t feel the need to inform too many people about it because I definitely felt that many would think I am crazy, lost my mind, depressed and what not. The simplest thing to do thus was not to inform too many people 🙂
On my arrival on 16th at Madgaon in the morning, I set out to find someone who could rent my all time favorite bike – Bullet 500CC classic. However, after much searching around, it was quite hard to find one and I settled for the next best option – the “Feel Like God” bike – Bajaj Avenger 200 CC. I had all the intentions of travelling around quite a bit and hence had made sure I carried minimal luggage with me for trip. The road trip from Madgaon to Palolem was wonderful amidst beautiful surroundings and being on cruiser bike, I made sure to enjoy the pleasantries along the ride. I reached Palolem beach around 12.30 and firstly set out to find some accommodation for the night before the places go full. A look at the Palolem Beach just blew me away. This was one the most beautiful beaches I have seen thus far. The beach is approx about 1.6 kms long from the northern to southern tip and is in perfect crescent shape. For those who are fans of the Bourne series, the initial scenes from Bourne Supremacy were shot here. That would give an idea of how wonderful this beach is. I was at the loss of words looking at beautiful, clean, unpolluted, uncrowded beach and least expected it especially after having visited Calangute and other beaches earlier. The accommodation here is available in beach side huts which are seasonal in operation. The huts are pulled down during the monsoon seasons and are rebuilt during the October – November season. Most of the huts here offer beautiful sea facing view and you get to have a wonderful sleep in the night with nothing but the sound of sea waves to hear. After spending sometime around the hut, I decided to have my lunch at Cocktails & Dreams, a renowned Cocktail bar at this place. The hospitality at this place was wonderful and the cocktails served were amazing. After a sumptuous lunch, I had some rest at the beach hut before heading out for some water sports at the beach. After some fun with Kayaking, Banana rides, Dolphin Sighting and other activities, I headed out to the butterfly island and monkey island nearby to the beach. Returning from there, I reached Palolem Beach just in time to view the beautiful Sunset. Something that gives the sunset here a different flavor is that unlike other beaches, the sun set perfectly in between an hillock island and beach. As the sun set, the beach wore the look of carnival with all the fancy lighting and seating arrangements for each and every shack available at the beach. Walking along the sea edge for the entire 2 km stretch was quite relaxing and soothing with just the sound of the sea on one side and the beautiful shack lighting on the other. After a 3-4 rounds of walk around the entire length of the beach, I settled down at Cafe Del Mar for dinner.
The next day, I was up and ready to explore more places and though I felt enjoying the Palolem Beach, the urge to explore other places kept me moving ahead. Next up on the list was the Agonda Beach, I reached the beach at around 11 AM and was surprised to see the beach was occupied only by foreign citizens. There were absolutely no Indian citizen enjoying at the beach. A wonderful breakfast by the sea shore was followed up with relaxation on one of the sea beds put out by the restaurant owners. About a couple of hours later, I was off to explore the Cabo De Rama fort. The fort providing wonderful view of the coastline and even though most of the fort was in ruins, it was quite fun to explore the place and visit the church of Santo Antonio located inside the fort. While at the fort, I met a group of youngsters who had arrived there after visiting the place where the famous Dhoom movie climax was shot. I instantly started off to find the route to the place and to my surprise it was quite near, infact just a 10 minute ride from the fort 🙂
After clicking few more pics at the shoot location, the drive resumed on way to the Colva Beach. I reached Colva Beach at around 4 in the evening and one look at the beach and it immediately struck as complete different experience to Palolem. While the Palolem beach was quite deserted and was mostly visited by Foreign citizens, the Colva beach was a crowded and had a local flavor to it. I suppose their were over 5000 people at the beach on the day. Being a non-crowd and peace loving person, I walked down to the southern part of the beach which was quite serene and had very few people. This South Colva Beach was much similar to the Palolem Beach in terms of crowd and peace. Finding accommodation in Colva was quite a challenge due to large crowd.I ended up spending close to 2 hours hopping from one place to another trying to find an accommodation for the night and finally found one at the Colva Beach Resort which was slightly expensive option to my liking but the only option available. A sumptuous dinner followed at the Brazilian cuisine – Brazilia Restaurant & Bar. This was the first time I was having Brazilian cuisine and though the options for veg were quite few, the food was awesome. After dinner, I headed back to the lodge with some pastries and beer to celebrate the birthday. As the clock struck 12, the pastry was cut with a beer in hand to celebrate what had been a wonderful birthday holiday thus far.
The birthday morning, I woke up quite late after having celebrated late into the night and decided to have a dry day by not visiting any beaches 😛 . So the journey started off to Mormugao harbor and Goa shipyard to view the majestic docks and shipyards. After spending some time at the docks, I hopped on for a boat trip to Dona Paula. Dona Paula is quite famous locations amongst bollywood directors. Some of the big bollywood movies such as Singham, Ek Duje Ke Liye etc were shot here. After visiting the location and surrounding places, I started back to Madgaon where I was supposed to hand over the bike back to the dealer. The journey back to Madgaon was quite tiring as there was huge traffic pileup due to a road accident along a narrow stretch of the road. It took me about 2 hours to reach from Vasco to Madgaon due to the traffic and I was quite exhausted by the end of it. Having very less time to board the train back to Bangalore, I decided to head to the railway station directly after handing over the bike. The return journey was quite relaxing as the train was surprisingly quite empty with only few seats in the AC Tier occupied.
Arriving at Bangalore, I had already started to miss the fun and relaxation I had in Goa and yearned for more such trips in future. The next destination in my mind is Rajasthan. I hope that I can visit the State of Rajasthan sometime later this year or early next year. Till then, adios to yet another memorable journey and experience 🙂