I don’t like novels that are ‘one time reads’, movies that are ‘one time watch’ and places that are ‘one time visits’. I love when one time is just not enough. I want books that can be read until the pages are tattered, scenes that can be watched until you can recite all dialog, and cities that can be visited until you can call it your home.
So, when I was sitting at my balcony in Malvan, feeling lonely and a bit homesick, I realized I am just 150 kilometers away from what’s known to be the ‘Beach capital’ of India but is actually much more than that.
Figuring out how to reach and finding a budget home-stay for a couple of days was easy. I was excited to board the train on Konkan line which is known to be one of the most beautiful railway tracks in India. Though it was late by 2 hours and I had started doubting my decision to leave for Goa, I was amazed by the views from window seat the moment train left the station. It was so scenic that I did not want the journey to end. I was secretly wishing that it slows down for the rest of the distance when we reached the 1st station of Goa, but was equally pleased that mine was the last stop and took as many pictures as I could.
I did not have a list of places to visit or things to do once I reach but somehow I knew I’ll be glad. It started with my hosts picking me up from railway station when I told them I am alone and ended with an extremely helpful Auto-Rickshaw driver dropping me to the bus stop. Here’s what I did in between and visiting a beach or a casino is not there.
- Coffee over beer – While you get the alcohol cheap here, as low as INR 30, it does not refresh you the way coffee does. So the afternoon I reached, after an extra spicy lunch at a place which I would never have gone to, if I wasn’t super hungry and/or if it wasn’t the nearest option, I allowed myself to be high on caffeine staying indoors while it poured outside all evening.
- Long rainy drives – I knew it’s going to rain again when I was renting out the scooter and it did. I drove amidst the green fields of Goa which were blooming in monsoon, took random turns, got drenched, lost my way and finally came to the rescue of google maps to come back.
- Visited a Portuguese home – This one, along with an adjoining museum was suggested by my host. Though I did not enjoy the museum much, which was more of an artificial ancestral village; I quite liked the home and all the furniture, antiques still placed there, known to have once been used by the Portuguese family.
- Tried local food – I bumped upon a few restaurants while I was aimlessly wandering around the lanes of South Goa – around Salcete, Majorda and Colva to be precise. An interesting name and remarkable wall art made me stop at Fishka and hog on the Goan prawns. I also tried Dal-roti from a roadside dhaba just to see how it tastes different from what we get in North India.
- Read by the beach – When I had no other plans and I did not want to get drenched again, I came and sat on a beach side table at a nearby café. The cool breeze, chilled beer and a good book worked together to leave me with a memorable afternoon.
Goa has much more to offer on solo drives. There’s a church on every street that fascinated me enough to stop and see the architecture. There are colorful villas, painted in red, green, blue or yellow that made me cheerful when the roads got lonely.
I did not try to see all and be everywhere because I had just two days. I strongly believe that I’ll be back soon. Because when nothing helps, Goa still does.
Did you do something extra-ordinary in Goa? Let me know in comments below.
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