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Paul & Luiza´s World Tour

India 2018 - Delhi and Goa

INDIA | Friday, 2 November 2018 | Views [47]

India - Delhi & Goa - New Delhi, Palolem, Agonda, Galgibag, Calangute, Baga, Candolim & Anjuna Beach - Back in Paradise after 8 years too long

On the 1st of November, we fly out of Porto to Istanbul and then to New Delhi, India. This trip is to celebrate our Silver Anniversary, yes, 25 years of love, happiness and travels, lived in 3 continents and travelled to over 70 countries, and counting! So, we arrive in Delhi early morning and our friend is not there to pick us up, so after a lot of confusion, we manage to talk to him and they arrive. We go to their flat and catch up after a long 8 year gap. They live in a suburb with nice, high rise flats and have just opened a cafe near their home. We spend the first day catching up with them and on the second day we go for a wander around Old Delhi, the Red Fort, the Mosque and surroundings, just trying to get acquainted with India again. At the end of the day, we feel younger and more adventurous, yes, India does that to you. We also navigate the Delhi metro system like pros. On our third and last day in Delhi, Paul goes to the kitchen at the cafe to show them how to make falafels and other vegetarian meals. We have a great time together but now, it’s time for Goa.

We take the metro and then a rickshaw to Delhi station followed by a 36 hour train ride to Goa. The ride is long but nice, we share our 2AC cabin with a young couple going to spend Diwali with their families. We decided to have our meals on the train, all vegetarian as the toilet facilities aren’t exactly five stars. We arrive in Madgao in the evening and take a prepaid taxi to Palolem where we’ve rented our AirB &B flat. It’s a nice, new, clean studio with all mod cons just 2 kms away from Palolem Beach for 10 Euros a day. We also organise a scooter for the days wer’e staying so we can move around freely. We go out for a masala dosa and milk coffee for breakfast and get right into the swing of things. When we get to Palolem Beach the first day, after 8 years, we are very moved to see that nothing has changed. It’s so gorgeous and well preserved, not having become the built up, overtouristy place that we were afraid of. I even get a bit teary-eyed, I confess. Our favourite beach bar, the Nest is is still there, so are the lovely food and the faultless G&Ts. We eat, we drink, we catch up with old friends, swim, go for long walks, it’s just perfect. We also revisit beautiful Agonda beach and the incredible Galgibag, an almost deserted beach reserve for marine turtles, where we eat at the same lovely beach shack we went to 8 years ago, the best fried chilly chicken this side of Beijing!

Everywhere, the food is even better than we remember, the tourists are, in general, pretty chilled and even when the Police stop us and give us a fine we manage to negotiate the fine (not carrying a drivers licence) down from 200 to 100 Rupees (only in Goa). Also, families of monkey come to visit us on our balcony everyday at sunset, they are as curious about us as we are about them but we can’t definitely leave anything on the clothesline at dusk as they would love a souvenir.

Another highlight of Goa is that the booze is extremely cheap. For between 2 to 3 euros you can buy a bottle of a very decent Indian rum, gin or whiskey, tell me more about perfection… As there are very low taxes on alcohol, thanks to an agreement between the Portuguese people and the new Indian government taking control of the state, we’re able to enjoy a lovely glass of G&T at every sunset. We also take the opportunity to buy 4 take away bottles of gin to enjoy during the next few stops as, it’s not only the price that’s a problem but some cities are absolutely DRY! Actually, in some cities, there’s no alcohol, others are smoke free, some are strictly vegetarian and other are all of the above, so make sure you plan ahead before you come. .

After 12 idyllic days in Palolem, we take a local bus to Madgao and another to Panjim and then a rickshaw to Calangute, North Goa where we’ll be staying for 10 days with an old friend from Australia at his lovely villa in the heart of the village. Calangute is much bigger and more developed than Palolem, however, it’s cheaper and you’re spoilt rotten for food choices and quality. We revisit Anjuna markets, go for long walks to both Baga and Candolim beaches, have wonderful meals all over the place and have fabulous sunset G&Ts at our friend’s villas, somehow, sunsets in Goa last for 5 or 6 hours… after 22 absolutely fantastic days, our time in Goa’s come to an end and we leave, kicking and screaming, to begin the second part of our trip. Ciao, Goa, hope to see you again very soon.

PS: As far as restaurant recommendations go, in Palolem, on the beach, we recommend The Nest and a little bit further off, right in the middle of town, Baba Italy is your best bet, fantastic, affordable food, try the mixed kebab platter for two or the best chicken balchao ever. In Baga, walking distance from Calangute, we recommend Relish, very authentic, seriously spicy food and great service. They also offer cooking classes.

 

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