Palolem – South Goa – February 9th-12th
Waking to another power cut, our first day in Goa was simultaneously for us both our first Delhi belly scenario after our bargain curry the night before… loaded up on Imodium however we decided to brave our stomachs and explore Panjim! (Later this became a budgeting mantra – ‘if we don’t have diarrhoea in the morning, we spent too much on dinner last night’). Luckily the effects were minimal and we made it up through provancale-esq. streets (the European influence was very clear here) to this beautiful hilltop art gallery and cafe! Who knew there would be so much art in India!
Panjim however was much more lively at night so we decided that it was time to find a beach and grabbed a cab (playing Justin Beiber on loop) to take us to our second hostel – the roadhouse in Palolem. Bright yellow and adorned in bunting, lanterns and fairy lights we unpacked in our little four bed mixed dorm and headed down to the beach. Our walk followed cows trucks and bikes through packed market stalls and plenty of street sellers and restaurants. The beach wasn’t entirely a contrast still filled with things to look at – beautiful wooden boats and buzzing cafes, more cows strolling about and unfortunately for Sara slightly hidden piles of dog poo….. we settled ourselves, feet thoroughly washed, at a beach side cafe to snack on crisp vegetable tempura and soft paneer pakoras.
As the sun set we began to see just how much of an old hippie crowd was here and had been coming for the last 40/50 years. We met a couple who had named the stray dogs on the beach and a lady who split her time between Goa and Canada every year- how dreamy! I have to say I hadn’t put masses of thought into what to expect from Goa but it was definitely different as we are without a doubt the youngest here! Strolling back through the market at night we bought (on loan as we’d spent all our cash) beautiful anklet sets each and jingled our way to bed.
We woke early finally having settled into India time (And to the sound of someone vomiting outside) and headed to a beautiful vegan/veggie cafe that wouldn’t be out of place in London menu wise – aside from the cows walking past and sunshine and palm trees surrounding the building. Piles of herby mushrooms on toast, gorgeously presented granola and strong coffee later we headed out to the beach for some sun.
A stroll down the coast later, Sara and I found a beautiful secluded and empty stretch of beach to rest in – no doubt kept that way by the minefield of tiny beach crabs that had to be navigated around to reach it! Later, tired from the sun we decided to do a spot of silver ring shopping – on advice from Sara’s yogi friends we purchased toe rings to back up our appearance as married women to supposedly ward of stares from local men! That night we found Ciaran’s bar for our best meal yet and some beautiful acoustic live music! We did admittedly start slightly from our veggie mantra and had fish tikka which was so tender and so delicious – maybe pescetarianism is the way!
The next morning we were woken at 6am by not only the mysterious morning vomiter but the most UNBELIEVABLY loud snores I have EVER experienced. I’ve known load snorers (shout out to my dad and sister) but WOW! If I can find a way to attach a clip to this blog I will because it was phenomenal. As a consequence we packed up very quickly and headed out pretty much immediately to the Little World Cafe for some early morning chai – our first cup and as I write this four days later – definitely the best to date – so spicy and so delish!
Our next activity on our schedule was a Yoga class with Krishna – a man we sort of stumbled on and sort of found in a lonely planet guide but as all we knew was to find his house at 9am which seemed rather deserted I began to thing my Yogi dreams would not come true in Goa! I was very wrong however as Krishna found us wandering about and led us up to his roof for the most amazing and sweatiness class I have ever had! Inexperienced as I was/still am, I had so much fun and felt totally exhilarated leaving the roof – Krishna even complimented by flexible toes so that is definitely something I reckon! We headed downstairs with the four other students to chat and were given cups of chai, sweet porridge with bananas and puréed papaya! So delish!
We talked about Ayurveda a lot and as my aunts mary had courtly predicted Krishna told Sara and I that we were vada-pitta in body type so a mix of fire and water – this he said because we were chubby but strong – I think I’m cool with that! He also explained that this meant no pineapple and no potato but wine was definitely okay so I think I can work with that – vada-pitta life will definitely work for me!
We left Krishna hours later as we really were out of cash and had to find an ATM as the beach side money exchanges made us lose so much money each time! Our taxi driver took us to three different ones – only one of which accepted Sara’s card and none still as I write have accepted mine (fingers crossed I’ll have more luck when I go to try after I post this!).
Feeling a little defeated by banks we went back to he gorgeous Little World Cafe for some chickpea sandwiches and spicy omlettes which made EVERYTHING okay again! We followed this with a second trip to our spot on the rocks and a sweet cup of wine to watch the sunset which was perfect! To escape the snorer we switched hostels and treated ourselves to a private room so that evening snuggled up to sleep in peace!
Palolem – South Goa – February 9th-12th