What are the top three things women do when they embark on a new chapter of their lives? They get inked, colour their hair bright, and solo travel. My sister – Tina, who was about to start a new job in Mumbai, wanted more than just a tattoo or a new fiery hair colour. Hence, in a flash, we decided to avail Savaari’s Goa car rental service one-way from Pune to Goa. This nominal deed – done without a second thought – had filled us with a sense of euphoria. Mainly because – one, we were finally making up for all our failed College Goa Trip plans, and two, this was going to be our first trip as a duo.
Ah, Goa! In the spring, when the beaches are without the scorching sun, yet pleasant enough for a sunbath. Our musings of this tiny emerald land’s natural beauty had me enthralled in the course of our 8-hour drive. Their courteous chauffeur made sure we reached Benaulim safely and comfortably. We checked into a hotel close to the beach. Now, we were all set to explore the “Pearl of the Orient” in the next few days!
Our Savaari chauffeur had told us that North Goa and South Goa, both had their distinct flavours. While North Goa beaches have an electrifying vibe and host extravagant parties, South Goa is famed for its peaceful secluded beaches and Portuguese heritage attractions. We knew we made the right choice opting for a tranquil getaway at South Goa. Tina and I needed some time to hang-loose and unwind before going back to the hustle.
Benaulim welcomed us warmly. It is quiet and undisturbed from the large, noisy crowd one may associate with Goa. With its long, clean stretches of smooth white-silvery sand and sunset at the horizon, spreading its largesse into a grateful sky – this beach is a paradise on earth. Hence, we spent our first day in Goa, observing the magnificence and divinity of this sunset.
The next day, after wholeheartedly savouring super fresh seafood in a makeshift shack, we directed ourselves to book Savaari’s cab service in Goa for our daily tours. It helped us explore this fishing village and more at our own pace. Our first stop was Colva Beach which is famous for its peaceful shore and shacks. We visited Our Lady of Mercy Church after a short stroll along the shore. Our chauffeur suggested we try their famous restaurant called Fisherman Wharf and it did serve us the best seafood. By the evening the beach was lit up for the night market which filled our bags with a lot of souvenirs.
After this extended session of retail therapy, it was time to discover a few other parts of this sunshine state. There was so much planned to do and yet alas! So little time to explore! Our first goal was to take a tour of ancient heritage sites. Hence, we headed to the sleepy town of Chandor, which is significant for its collection of Portuguese architecture. The cool spring breeze along the smooth roads of Western Ghats made our ride unforgettable. We first explored Fernandes House – an old mansion – it was a charming guide to the past. And then Archies Art Gallery which stood out for its location in this quaint town.
Our chauffeur informed us about the treasure trove for history buffs – Loutolim – an unhurried village. From the whitewashed Salvador do Mundo Church and Casa Araujo Alvares to the BigFoot Museum and Sant Mirabai sculpture, these sites showcasing the glorious past of this region had us spellbound.
We pit-stopped for the evening at Majorda beach shacks. Its delicate cookies and cakes, and priceless sunset made sure our hearts and tummies were both full.
We wanted our last day in Goa to be full of rich savouries and sunbathes before we boarded a flight home. So, we asked our cab to head towards Bogmalo beach, Vasco da Gama, as it was conveniently close to the airport. This beach is a splendid combination of serenity and commercialism. After a dip in the waters, indulging in exquisite Goan dishes was a must as this secluded spot boasts some cosy local eateries and stalls. The sunset drew closer, and so did our time to leave. I devoured my eyes – the sky blue waters of the Arabian Sea hugging the shoreline. We had drenched ourselves in nature, and now going back to the city was hard. But this much-needed self-gratification had rekindled our inner spirit. It had rejuvenated Tina and boosted my self-esteem. As I watched my last Goan sunset of this trip, tears of pure joy and delight glistened at the corner of my eyes.