A Mesmerizing Thanksgiving Holiday With Friends In Goa
It was last year that the idea was seeded in my head by an extremely cool friend of mine. She loved the thought of getting up in a nest by the beach and watching the sunrise from the window… I thought of Maldives at first and imagined how amazing it would be if we could actually be there and do that. The truth is that none of us had actually seen the ocean and only imagining the vast horizon where sky melts down in the magnanimous ocean was giving me chills.
Fast forward six months, I am talking to Sumit one of the founding members of tripoclan who at the time was planning a trip to Goa during Thanksgiving holidays (for those of you who don’t know “thanksgiving” it’s celebrated in U.S. and it’s the fourth Thursday & Friday in November so in total we will have 4 days in hand)… yeah, most of us work for MNCs.
We left Delhi in the morning of 23rd November at around 3AM and after 2.5 hrs of air travel we landed at Dabolim Airport and what caught my attention were the fighter and cargo planes at the Airport… I did a little research and found that Dabolim is also Air Station for the Indian Navy Air Wing.
The agenda was to behold most of the Goa in the limited time we had so as planned we received keys to our Bikes outside the airport. Helmets on, we were all set and geared up to explore the beautiful beaches of Goa.
After getting our tanks fueled up, it was time to put some fuel in our bodies. We revved up our engines on NH566 and then on unpaved gravel roads leading through the beautiful green landscape with a backdrop of coconut trees which took us to Bogmalo Beach. It was around 9:30 in the morning and the beautiful sandy beach was a new experience for my eyes… for the first time, I heard the sound of the ocean… it was meditative and enchanting which stimulated the inner joy and made me wanna seize the moment. After having some light breakfast and spending about 40 minutes on the beach, we set our Google navigator to our apartment in Calangute.
We spent some time in Panjim and by the time we reached our Airbnb apartment in Calangute it was already 12:00… a nice shower after the exhausting drive was very refreshing and we decided to have lunch at Britto’s on Baga Beach.
Britto’s is a beautiful restaurant with delicious cuisines, ambient music and fun crowd… by the time our order was served, we enjoyed watching tourists on the beach some basking in the sun while others playing around in water and enjoying various adventure activities. It’s a great place to enjoy exotic drinks and feast on delicious seafood.
Our next stop was Harmal Beach at Arambol Goa, it’s one of the best-secluded beaches of North Goa which is popular among foreign tourists. This sun-kissed beach has golden sand and is very attractive. We reached there around 4PM, I couldn’t help myself and walked barefoot to feel the wet sand, the water softly touching my feet, making my nerves stand on end, and leaving me feel more alive then usual.
Goa and it’s tranquilizing vibes are erogenous – it leaves you laid-back, carefree and romantic at the same time – however cliche it sound but there – Love is in the Air. NO I didn’t become a Casanova but I did miss the girl who deserved to be there with me.
We saw people paragliding from the cliffs which would have been about a mile towards Sweet Lake. Sweet lake is situated at about 1 km on the North of Arambol Beach and is accessible through an unpaved street with is full of really colorful shops and small restaurants on both sides – it’s a must to visit for the ones planing to visit Arambol.
Sumit took out another wild card by announcing that today we were going to Cruise on the Goan sea. We reached Panjim by 9:00 and by 9:30 we are by the shore waiting for the boat and shooting through our DSLRs to capture some beautiful Goa moments with new friends.
We on-boarded the boat around 10:20 with other fellow passengers that included honeymooners, families and one more gang of guys like us.The Cruise Package included snacks, soft drinks, beers and I would highly recommend it for a budget trip as it’s well balanced fun trip without burning a hole in pocket.
The first experience that caused anxiousness and excitement was to look for Dolphins… it took us sometime but we finally found them… and soon after we realized that it had been almost 20 minutes and we are in the middle of ocean where “water” was the only element visible to eyes and I was searching hard to look for a peace of land… truly it was little frighting for a second because in a physical sense I’ve never felt so outlandish before. We knew something better was about to come so we decided to go on the upper deck and it was so much better there.. beautiful sun, chilled beer and with some bollywood beats playing loud on the boat – we were having our private party on the deck.
Soon we passed by Fort Aguada’s famous lighthouse and after about 50 minutes finally stopped and were asked to get ready for our activities which included swimming in the ocean more like body surfing as everybody has to wear a lifejacket as a standard protocol, then you can go Kayaking, Snorkeling and also take a ride on the speed boat. It was a good 2 hrs session that can leave you exhausted and refreshing at the same time, afterwords we did some fishing and had our lunch served right before the end of the ride.
We were all set to our next adventure for the day which was Parachute ride at Calangute that happens until 5:30 so we reached there by 4:45… our camera kit soaked some water while quickly trying to get onto the speed boat as we didn’t notice the big wave which splashed water on all of us. Luckily the camera was still working, way to go Canon.
Our boat took us to a bigger boat which has the whole setup for parachute ride on it and there were dozens of such boats on the water… after a little struggle and lots of caution we were finally on the bigger boat.. and all of us had our bird eye view experience of this trip
After this short adrenaline pumping adventure surf we headed towards the Calangute beach and stayed on the shoreline watching the sunset and waves on the shore. It was getting dark but we so wanted to be there so we decided to stay there for couple of more hours. It got dark and beautiful as all the shacks were lit up with colorful lanterns creating their own version of festival of lights. We spent next 2 hours dancing, drinking, eating and cheering the festive spirit that night.
Places Covered: Candolim & Calangute Beach and a day full of adventure.
For those of us who like to ride their bikes, today was the day to cover nearly 200 kilometers in Goa, for those who don’t, Well! they didn’t have a choice.
We left around 8:30 and were off to long stretch on NH 66 and as we entered more into South Goa the landscape changed dramatically. We were swirling our way onto snake roads, bikes were putting last bit of horsepower when going uphill and after 3 hours of ride which include we killing 20-30 minutes due to a minor accident on our way, we reached Cabo-De-Rama fort at 11:30. You can read it’s wiki page to find it’s history but one thing that’s clear is it looked old, damn old.
The fort houses a historical Church and we saw some devotees offering prayers, white paint on church walls was providing a picturesque contrast against old dark walls of the fort. We headed towards west apparently following the trail that took us through the woods (too many old trees all around, spider webs and what not) but the view on the other side was amazing, it was panoramic with hills against the ocean. There was an exit point to venture into the steep drop down the hill from the fort, with stairs averaging almost 1 feel, it was enough to test our physical strength however once I sat on the rocks, letting the water touch my feet, watching the guys fooling around and having fun with and everyone gripping a cold bud. Our faces said it all, it was worth the rid – even for those who did’t enjoy two wheels.
We had decided not to spend much time at the fort as our main stop for the day was up next but since it’s a huge fort with many spots for some breathtaking click we finally managed to get back on the road by 1:15 and now our next stop is my personal favourite “Palolem” beach and boy the ride to Palolem was full of winding roads with great contrast in landscape I mean we found long stretch of plane road with what looked like dry hey on both side of road to the road swirling through green hills however by 1:55 we had reached “Palolem.”
“Honeymoon Beach and Butterfly Island”are two main attraction at Palolem and it took us 20 minutes to reach Honeymoon Beach by boat. Calling it an island is a marketing trick as it’s connected to main land however can’t be accessed through any vehicle and one will have to hike for hours to get to the beach so boat ride is the best option. We didn’t see many tourists on this islandish beach, it felt more like a place where you can arrange a private party – now you know why they call it honeymoon beach.. 🙂
I’ve seen rocks on the beach but here I saw Giant Rocks, they were so big that you can use the shade to hide from the sun – they made us question where they came from? There was a feeling of excitement to get inside the water as it was so perfect for a small group like ours. We stayed there for about 90 minutes letting ourselves lose in the enchanting vibes of this place and got some great shots enough to pull us back into these moments at any point n out lives.
We went back to Palolem around 4PM, Palolem is one of the most picturesque beaches of Goa, it’s sandy stretch goes for good one mile. I saw people enjoying the scenic view of this southern beach and it was so cute to see some toddlers playing in sand with their parents, that’s how safe this beach felt. The quality of sand was amazing so was the slope of water, we went quite far in the water as it was shallow in comparison to other beaches we had been to. The sunset here is mesmerizing with Island on the right and a great looking shoreline with lots of palm/coconut trees on left and the saffron sun melting middle to touch down the ocean making it a worth experiencing while in Goa. We felt completely splendid and all the travel that day was completely worth it as it was turning out to be the best day so far.
We made it back by 9:30 and left for Saturday Night Market in Arpora Goa, it’s a vibrant place with good music and grove. We enjoyed Live performances, Street Food, Shops selling antiques, handicrafts and wide variety of items. There was option to try Mexican, Chinese, French and other international cuisines as many shops were run by native tourists from these countries. All in all its a good place to grab some souvenirs. It’s open from 7PM to 2AM and after some bargain we got ourselves good deals.
Places Covered: Cabo De Rama Fort, Palolem Beach, Honeymoon Beach, Saturday Night Market in Arpora
We need to leave for Delhi tonight so we kept it close to Calangute to save time and energy – our first spot for the day was Chapora Fort and we reached their by noon. Sun was harsh and on top of that there is a steep climb of a few hundred meters which is enough to make you break the sweat so by the time we reached the fort we were all drenched. It was some old walls form the outside and inside also it was pretty much same except the the view from the top is nice as you can look at vagator beach and watch Goa to gain a different yet beautiful perspective…afterwords we headed to Anjuna beach to grab a bite and drink some light.
Anjuna beach is beautiful, little rocky compared to other beaches that we saw during our trip so mostly we stayed outside water and enjoyed watching people clicking and posting on the rocky bed which could very well be a reef during high tide I guess, after having some light buds and lunch we headed towards Aguada Fort.
We had seen it from the sea on day 2 while enjoying our Adventuring Cruise but today was the day when we actually were going to see the inside of this place. It’s a lighthouse and we expected to see something different so we reached their by 5:30 but couldn’t enter – why? Because visitors are not allowed after 5:30 it’s their closing time now that’s a real bummer so on day 4 we climbed Chapora Fort and almost had a sunstroke, stayed out of water on a rocky beach and now topping that all we can’t enter the lighthouse… quite a fun for the last day isn’t it. But we did manage to go to the sunset point at Agunda and clicked some memorable pics.
Around 6:30 we headed back to our rooms, stuffed our bags with some Goan Kaju, Candies, Feni and left for the Airport on our Bikes.
We had asked our Bike vendor to arrange our bikes to be picked from the Airport and the gentleman did so – we shook hands, bid farewell and kissed this mystical night a good bye until we come again.