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Stumbling Along After a few years or travelling and then a couple years of settling down in Sweden, I'm back on the road. 7 mths or maybe forever, in South Africa, the Seychelles, India, Nepal, SE Asia...

Some much needed R&R in Palolem,Goa

INDIA | Tuesday, 11 March 2014 | Views [1791]

After 16 hectic days traveling around Rajasthan in Northwestern India and 5 expensive days in Mumbai waiting for the next train south, we finally made it to Goa. And, for the past 7 days, we have been trying our best to do as little as possible, just relaxing in our beach-side bungalow, listening to the waves and taking a much needed break before embarking on our trip around southern India.

After weeks of searching with no luck, we finally found a train ticket out of Mumbai to Margao in southern Goa. It left at 5:25 am, but despite the early wake up, the views of the sun setting out of the train windows made the trip bearable. Eight hours later we arrived in Margao, a fairly uninspiring town that acts as the main transit center for south Goa. We grabbed a rickshaw to the bus station, and were hit with a bit of luck when we found a bus heading to Palolem in five minutes.

The bus, though full with seated passengers when we left the station, filled quickly with people as we made stop after stop on the way south. The ride was cramped and hot, but cheap and lasted only about an hour.

We had chosen Palolem, because we were told it was a nice relaxed beach devoid of the crowds, parties and Russians that dominated Goa's northern beaches. But, when we stepped down off the bus, we were a bit disappointed at how touristy the town seamed to be. An Estonian guy who was on the bus with us, pointed us to the Beach and we walked down the small sand road, crowded with shops selling the standard spices, scarves, hippy-wear, leather sandals, etc and small restaurants while tauts followed us offering over-priced AC rooms and beach front bungalows. Knowing that it was coming into low season and prices were negotiable, I turned to the tauts and said if anyone has a room for 400 rupees, let us know or else we weren't interested. Most backed off, but one said he could get us a bamboo hut with attached bathroom for 400. We followed him about 100 meters down the beach from the main road and he led us to a shaded cluster of decent looking beach huts about 100 meters from the edge of the water.

We hadn't seen any other beaches in Goa but had heard that Palolem was one of the nicest, and in this we weren't disappointed. Golden sands stretch along the kilometer or so long beach rimmed with palm trees, beach-side restaurants, bamboo huts and brightly colored, stilted bungalows. There were more people than we had hoped, but it had a laid-back atmosphere and you could see it was a 'couple beers after dinner' sort of place. The view at sunset clenched it for us, and we decided to stay there for a couple extra days (we had originally thought to stay 5 days) to recharge our batteries and plan the next step of the trip.

Our first night we were approached by a guy selling sunrise dolphin watching tours the next day. The price was decent at 600 rupees each (about 9 dollars), and he said that if we didn't see dolphins we would have to pay a cent. Mikko had never seen dolphins, and I can't ever get enough of them, so we figured why not.

The next day we woke up early to be at the meeting point on the beach at 7:00am. The sun was rising and the beach was almost empty. The boat was a wooden boat, typical for fisherman in the region, shaped like a giant canoe with a long wooden runner sticking out from its right side. We (meaning the boatsmen and Mikko, since someone had to stay back and film it all :) ) pushed the boat into the water and hopped in. The sea was calm and beautiful with an opaque silvery shine that was flecked with gold where the rising sun hit it. The sky was slowly turning from pink to violet to blue as we motored out around the small island, Monkey Island, that jets out at the end of the beach. On the back side we went past another beach and then all of a sudden the boat driver points and says 'dolphins'. Sure enough three dolphins were swimming along occasionally slicing the waters surface with their fins to get a gulp of air. Then they would disappear for a while and someone would spot them or another small group of dolphins a few meters away. This carried on for about 20 minutes always keeping out eyes out for the next dolphin sighting. Then, we were dropped off on the nearby Honeymoon Beach to look around for 10 minutes before heading back to Puntam.

The rest of the time in Palolem we spent, laying on the beach, playing in the calm, warm waters and eating delicious meals at the beach-side restaurants. We even found a restaurant showing the latest Hobbit movie (which we had just missed out on in Mumbai and were instead forced to see the new 300). The quality of the projection wasn't great, but it was better than seeing it on our 14 inch laptops.

We were happy to stay relax there for the rest of our time in Goa, until after 3 days we stumbled on a real hidden gem!

Tags: beaches, dolphins, goa, palolem, sunsets


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