Boasting beautiful beaches, dynamic nightlife, vibrant Portuguese influences, and the buzzing street markets, it is no surprise that Goa is one of the most sought after vacation destinations in India. No matter where you visit, the crowd is inevitable. This is why it is very unusual to say that I had experienced one of the most peaceful days of my life here, beyond the beaches.
The semester was over, and my parents decided to surprise my sister and me with a trip to Goa. As much as I was enthralled to enjoy the pristine blue water and the golden sand—I couldn’t imagine anything other than these beaches. But this trip exceeded all my expectations—I was in for a treat!
Instead of conventional lodging in a resort, we rented a traditional house in North Goa. The owners were a very kind-hearted couple who treated us with a variety of Goan-Portuguese delicacies. I had never felt so comfortable and homely on holiday. The next day was a hurry, as we woke up before dawn to get ready and visit each and every tourist site. We rushed through the different heritage sites, including the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Fort of Aguada, Mangeshi Temple, and many more. These places were divine, but I felt a sense of rush to go around to see all the spots in the small state. We came back to the house completely worn out. Instead of winding down and reflecting back to the day’s events, we started searching for more places to visit. This brought a sense of discontent in me. I felt like a travel journalist who has to visit every site and do her job.
Job—this is what my journey was beginning to feel like. A couple of days passed, and we went to each and every beach possible. In complete honesty, all that I remembered was getting into a car and rushing to the next beach location. The boiling weather, combined with the hectic travel, was beginning to take a toll on me, and I soon fell sick. We understood that maybe taking a step back should be the way going. So, on the last day, we ditched the car and went for a walk to look at the different houses here. The Goan-Portuguese structures were a gorgeous sight to behold. The hippie culture and the vibrant colours made me so happy and content. It just felt like finding the missing puzzle piece of the holiday. We spent the entire day walking under the sun and exploring the streets. I also bought a bunch of souvenirs and gifts for my family. It was the most fun I had in the past week.
As the sun submitted to the night light, the roads took us to a relatively empty beach. While my parents went to a nearby restaurant for dinner, my sister and I walked through the shore. We gazed to the sky, as the sun drowned in the sea—radiating different shades of orange and blue (Also, the beaches at late night are very underrated!). We sat on the sand and reminisced our memories of the vacation. The cool breeze was kissing my skin, and I felt serene.
It was then I realised that the essence of Goa is not just defined by the crowded beaches and parties, but is engrossed in the people and the streets. There is always something for everyone here, it is up to your soul to find its happy place.
—Written by Alankriti Singh for MTTN
— Graphics by Yashovardhan Parekh
— Images by Aditi Desai
—Image source: Google Images