We might just decide that we will spend every Diwali in Goa henceforth. Considering we don’t have any religious affinity for the festival and are not a big fan of the pollution created by the fire crackers, it seems like a splendid decision.
We’ve been to Goa many times now. I feel like I’ve travelled to Goa through different stages of my life – with my extended paternal and maternal families when I was a kid, with my college friends when we went on a study trip, with my colleagues when we earned our first pay checks, with my boyfriend when we were dating, with our married friends, with cousins, and now, when my daughter turned six months old, and now with friend who had kids as well. Well, make that one more family and two extremely feisty daughters. Diwali seemed like the best time to go, since the rains are supposed to have receded by then, and the December tourists haven’t crammed up the place yet.
But we were surprised by two things when we landed:
- The rains weren’t done with Goa yet and there was a forecast of a cyclone kind of storm for the first two days of our four day trip
- Apparently a lot of families with kids choose to go to Goa during the Diwali vacations and we weren’t the only clever ones.. 😀
When we landed, we were really disappointed to see the lashing rain welcoming us. But we were tired and the kids were tired and hungry and we had been on the road in Goa for more than two hours, stuck in traffic due to the rains and some construction work and all the excitement of a magical sunny holiday had sort of died down. But then, we checked into the hotel, (we had booked Hyatt at Candolim), we started to feel a little better. But I won’t recommend that hotel now, since its over priced and doesnt have a view. Maybe their breakfast buffet was the only saving grace. Try our cheaper resorts like the Sea Shell resort, which at least has a direct access to the sea and a good open view and much better service.
Nevertheless, we got adjoining rooms which had a connecting door, so we had kept the connecting door open and let the girls play and watch TV in one of the rooms, when we were cooped in, while the adults could eat, drink, and be merry in the other room. Once we were a few drinks down and the kids had eaten some fries and had their milkshakes, all the worry about rains and the weather had been long forgotten. The first night, we just chilled in the hotel room and went out for dinner to a nearby restaurant called Firsherman’s Cove, and enjoyed a romantic evening of live music, delicious seafood, refreshing drinks and relaxed conversations. The rain poured outside, but that hadn’t stopped people from filling up the place. My friend and I got to dance with our daughters and it was a super fun end to the first day.
The weather forecast said it would be another rainy day the next day as well, but like the rest of the spirited travelers, we couldn’t care less, and jumped into the cold swimming pool in the hotel after a long breakfast. Right after the pool session, we headed out for lunch at another new place I hadn’t been to – The Lazy Goose, which the hotel concierge had highly recommended for authentic Goan food. And we absolutely loved it! It was perfect for a rainy day, since it was over looking the river and well covered so the rains wouldn’t bother us. The service, the presentation of the food and the food itself was absolutely amazing and I would recommend everyone to try this place out. The kids had crayons to colour, music to dance to and street dogs to play with. It was another lazy Goa day 🙂
We headed back to the hotel post lunch, since my daughter still needs her naps. Evenings were spent indoors and then we drove to Brittos at Baga for dinner. I wasn’t too impressed with the food or service that night though, because of the storm and the rains, the shacks had covered up the view to the beach, so that was a bit of a disappointment. Though nothing that a few pints of beer can’t solve 😉
Finally, on the third day, there was sunshine at last!!! And we couldn’t believe our luck! We didn’t want to waste a minute of it, so after breakfast, we drove down to Candolim beach with kids, hats and beach toys in tow. The little patch of beach was full of people already, even that early in the day, but it was super fun, trying to catch the waves and making sand castles with our kids. I don’t think the kids ever wanted to leave, so we had to bribe them with food and screen-time to be able to get them to a nearby beach shack. We had another lazy lunch afternoon, once we had freshened up, at the shack overlooking the roaring sea.
That evening, my friend and I ventured out to see the streets near our hotel and came upon a Mario Miranda shop!! What luck! If you haven’t checked out his art, then he is a very popular cartoonist, from Goa and I just love his work. We spent a lot of money buying his cartoon books and some coasters with his art and other knick knacks from the shop, and got ready to head out for dinner. It started raining again in the evening and the kids were tired from all the sun and play and wanted to stay indoors. But we managed to drag them out with the promise of ice cream later. We stopped by at ‘Fat Fish‘ and had to wait for 20 minutes before we could get a table, it was so crowded and so popular!
On the final day, we headed out to little Vagator and climbed down the the secret little beach alcove with its black sand and gushing waters. There was one shack open, overlooking the sea and we got out sunbeds sorted and played in the water for eternity. My daughter was so tired, that she drank two glasses of fresh orange juice that the shack had, some french fries and promptly dozed off on me. I drank beer after beer, lying down on my sun bed, reading my book, with the soft body of my daughter cuddling me, watching the sun set slowly over the hours, listening to the soft and soothing whoosh of the waves. I felt I was as close to heaven at that moment, as I could get. We stayed on the beach till evening and although none of us wanted to leave, we made ourselves get up, and went back to the hotel, after a treat of ice cream. That night we didn’t step out anymore, being tired from all that lazying about – unbelievable isn’t it?
And that was the end of our Diwali in Goa trip. The sun was out and shining on the day we checked out and headed back to the airport, and the mood of the entire party was the absolute opposite- the parents and the kids was pretty much the same – major Goa holiday hangover was going to happen and had started already.
There’s just something about the air in Goa I think. I am from the eastern part of the country and although I’ve lived and traveled to many beaches across India and around the world, Goa is always where my heart lies. It never disappoints. Until the next Goa trip then.. 🙂