With the excitement of tasting a fulfilling vacation, you don’t mind travelling in train for long (I mean, even with Indian Railways). For us, it was again a budget call. We took Duronto Express to reach Mumbai in the shortest possible train-time, being better off than flight in pricing (I had my 2 younger kids of 4 years who travelled for free). It took a little more than 24 hours, but convenient timing. The journey was pleasant and being the beginning, was not tiring at all. Reaching Goa from Mumbai, again flight is a time saving and preferred option, but we were in no hurry. It was family vacation after all.
The moment we stepped out of our home, it was all fun. We reached Mumbai around 10.30 in the morning. The best part was, I did our booking of AC retiring room for 12Hours at the time of ticketing. It was extremely, extremely, extremely cheap in pricing and 200% worth it – good enough for a rejuvenating halt. We had to catch the overnight train for Goa, hence had our lunch and a sound sleep. Evening, we had time for Marine Drive and Dinner outside, a few pics and some bit of Mumbai to grasp. We had all of it. By then our luggage was in cloak room, hence we were free bird, night hoppers at Mumbai till late evening, when we boarded Mangalore Express for Goa.
I had been to Goa previously as well – both South, North and whosoever has been there know, it seems like visiting two different countries. The plan this time was to give that feeler to my family.
We chose to be in South Goa first. Agonda beach possibly was the best option. We took a punt and chose to stay in a beach-hut than the more trusted five stars. However, I had to do extensive research to ensure family friendliness of the property we stay in, more because of my kids. ‘Mariposa Beach Grove’ came up as an excellent option.
All I had to do was to be an early bird while booking and do enough negotiation with the owner to get a better per night rate. Mr. Dattjeet NaikGauncar, the owner, turned out to be very accommodative and we being the first buyer of the season, got a good deal. Mariposa is right on Agonda beach with some 7 semi-luxurious huts, spacious, all furnished with fabulous King Beds and spotless Open Bathroom, with modern amenities. It was AAAWESOME. Open the door and its all SEA. A serene beach with very few footfalls, I could spend light-years there with family and food……Oh yes!! Shacks were at stone throw, we tried two-three, and all were good. Specially the seafood, tandoor, sandwiches, pasta and of course beer. Off beach, there was a slim road, through coco-grove and local village. We took a stroll. The local market was ready to sell the famous Goa fashions. Try good bargain on unique beach-wears, you’ll neither find a better price nor a better market than Goa, anywhere in India. Our 3 Night stay was superbly fulfilling. It was much better than any other beaches I had been in South Goa, including the most sought Palolem.
The timing was just right. Nice weather, at the nick of the peak season to start, not too many tourists hence, especially in South Goa. We could find ample cabs ready to take us to North Goa, the fourth day, morning. Demand being low, cost turned low too. Though we thought of catching train otherwise, but with kids, on road was amazing. We reached the hustle-bustle North Goa in two and a half hours flat. Had a guest house booking near Candolim beach, it was evening and Goa was full of life. Compared to Baga-Calangute, Candolim is normally less crowded but charming. We had three days and nights to spend, still felt short of time to enjoy food, music, fun to the fullest. Major shacks on beach were waiting for season to come, but roadside restaurants were all up with beats and drums. Fried pomfret, squid, prawn, we left no seafood unturned. Panjim, Basilica of Bom Jesus, Spice Garden we covered the major sightseeing in a day. Rest, it were all beaches and off-beaches.
Beer for sure, but don’t miss cocktails in the shack-a-like-restaurants there (even mocktails are great), else you’re not in Goa!! And let me assure you, you may still keep the nightclubs and casinos aside and not miss Goa nightlife, that’s the beauty of this place.
Not only tourists, in every thick and thin you find people from different parts of the world, who came and got settled here for generations and we Indians with all our virtues, have been serving them. Life in Goa leaves you with questions no self-help book can answer. It’s rejuvenating, refreshing and more importantly like going back to school with no books at all.