Saturday, 21 February 2015

Viva Goa! Adventures In Goa & Beyond


The lotus lake
As a collective sigh of relief is heard throughout Blogland, after a fortnight spent exploring Karnataka, we returned to our beloved Goa for the final leg of our trip.

Main road, Benaulim. 
There's a lot of negativity towards Goa and, I'll admit, that there are places we aren't keen on, over-developed, touristy, brash & dirty; but Goa is a state, not a city, and if you do your homework you'll find a spot perfect for you. Chatting to a Canadian at Delhi airport, about to tour India for the first time, she told me that Goa was the place she was least excited about but, as visiting India was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, felt she had to experience it. Wait and see, I told her, Goa, will get under your skin, don't write it off just yet. 

Dressing up in my friend, Laxmi's traditional Lamani clothing.
After the 13.5 hour journey back up the coast we reached Margao railway station late in the evening, jumped in an auto rickshaw to nearby Benaulim and found ourselves a basic room for a night just so we could shower, dump our bags and go for dinner. Early the following morning we strolled through the village eventually finding ourselves a £5-a-night room in a private house in one of Benaulim's outlying fishing vaddos. From our balcony, village housewives cooked on open fires while their husbands chopped wood or repaired their nets. Parakeets, drongos, bee eaters, kingfishers, bubuls and, at dusk, tiny Indian owls & bats flitted between the trees whilst mongooses and squirrels shimmied up the coco palms.


Firmly on the tourist map, Benaulim is popular with Westerners and Indians alike, but still manages to retain its old-world village charm and the pace of life is relaxed and wonderfully laid back. You'll find all the familiar comforts if you need them but its possible to avoid the trappings altogether if, like us, fancy hotels, swimming pools and continental breakfasts aren't your thing.

Jon leads the way to our place, the butter-coloured house in the distance.
Our lavish balcony
Benaulim bird life - a pond egret
We walk past the shacks and the rows of sunbeds thronging the main entrance to the beach and have the powdery, white sands virtually to ourselves. With our usual picnic of samosas or sweet buns, finger bananas and juicy oranges, we'll laze around on our beach blanket until sunset, undisturbed.



A short walk away from the Kashmiri tourist emporiums, cycle hire shops, cafes & market stalls thronging the main street you'll find shady lanes dotted with exquisite Portuguese-era villas and lush gardens.


Peeping through the windows of this grand house we saw rooms untouched by time, black and white family photographs lining the walls, ornate carved doorways, dusty crystal chandeliers and fine, antique colonial furniture.



The lady owner of this gorgeous 150 year old ancestral house overheard us admiring her home and invited us in to take a look around. She told her that her passion in life was gardening. Can you tell?


That's her maid helping out with the watering.


While tourists gather in cafes to use WiFi, just yards away are acres of emerald green paddy fields, still ploughed by ox carts.


Wandering around the wonderfully tranquil lotus lake is a great way to walk off our pav bhaji breakfast.


Remember me mentioning a chance meeting in a bar in Coorg which led to us visiting a coffee plantation? Not only were they the only Westerners we'd seen in days but one of them used to date a woman from Walsall & was a regular at a pub we know well. To further add to the freaky coincidence, just after we'd taken these photos we bumped into him again, 305 miles away from where we'd first met. Although we'd swapped emails none of us and discussed where we were heading next.


And the Canadian? Walking along the beach on our last day in Benaulim, I felt a tap on my shoulder and yes, it was her. You were right, she said, I loved India especially Goa, it really is magical. I'm coming back for a month next winter, I've already booked my accommodation. I'll see you next year.



You certainly will, love!

Aboard the epic Goa-Bombay-Delhi-Birmingham flight home
That's the end of our travels for another year. Its back to business as usual, we'll be selling our wares at Moseley tomorrow and have already ransacked the Black Country chazzas...see you soon!

If you can stand it, you'll find all our Goa photos HERE.

70 comments:

  1. Amazing photos, and omg you look stunning in a bikini.

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  2. Gorgeous photos, you both look so happy and chilled. It amazes me that whenever you travel around the world you always meet someone with a connection to the area you live in. It still happens to us and we live in a tiny village small world indeed.
    Twiggy

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  3. Yet more lovely photos. Hehe, that cat looks so annoyed!
    That balcony is incredible as is the lovely bird, I love seeing wildlife from other countries, especially birds!
    Doesn't that lady have a gorgeous garden xxx

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  4. No! I don't want the tour to end! I've loved seeing your amazing adventure. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. You guys are gorgeous! have a perfect weekend xx

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  5. I've loved your tour and I seriously mean it when I say you've fired up the traveller in me who's been dormant for a bit too long! I love the photos and the colour and the fact that you two look so bloody happy and gorgeous.
    Yep. A small world indeed.
    Have a great weekend.
    Loves ya.
    xxxxx

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  6. What amazing photos, and freaky coincidences too! I'm sure Goa is like any area which has been developed for tourism - some places are nicer than others, and you just have to seek out the right spot for you. You and Jon know exactly what you want, and sure enough, you find it, and enjoy it to the full.
    Ahh well, back to reality - the chilly temperatures of the UK, and the joys of chazzing! Good luck at your first fair of the year tomorrow, love you! xxx

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  7. I can only imagine your reluctance to return from your travels. I feel really fortunate to have seen India through your eyes. I have doubts I'll ever see it firsthand and am confident I've seen exactly what I would hope to see if I went myself.

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  8. I feel like I traveled with you thanks to your detailed descriptions and wonderful photographs. I have been to India but never to Goa. Your posts made me want to go there one day.

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  9. Please do one more post that is just a photo dump! I'd love to see like a million more photos. I've quit Facebook so I can't see those! Then it can be back to business as usual :) glad you had such a wonderful trip!

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  10. beautiful pics! two wonderful, happy people, magic india impressions....
    good luck for the "first" sale!!!!!
    xxxxxxx

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  11. That grand balcony portrait of you and Jon belongs in a suitably important frame...or perhaps this is the snap that lives in your wallet throughout the coming year, reminding you why you both work so hard back in the Black Country?

    For myself, it would have been worth the 27 hour round trip to simply sit on that balcony and watch the birds. Tiny owls, you say?!

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  12. I'd have wanted to sleep out on that balcony. In fact I think I want to live on it!! x

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  13. Oh Vix, I enjoyed your trip so much, to see India through your eyes was such a treat, like no travel guide could ever do, when you have your television show you must do a travel segment, you know, the television show that I always tell you you are destined for, thanks so much for sharing with us all,

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  14. It looks like you and Jon found paradise. Who could care about wi-fi when the scenery and people are so amazing?
    I can't thank you enough for sharing your adventure. I've been imagining sunshine while avoiding the sub-zero temperatures outside.

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  15. you've got to stop photo shopping your head onto the body of 20 year olds! Damn, girl, you look amazing!

    I enjoy all the photos

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  16. You look so incredibly gorgeous!!! I love how you've run into the same people---so fun <3

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  17. What a wonderful journey! Thank you for sharing it all with us Vix. I now feel like I have 'traveled' to India! :)

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  18. Just gorgeous! Love all the photos, and esp the photo of you and J. Thanks for the beautiful warming ride, Vix.

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  19. What a great trip - thanks for bringing us along with the pictures!

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  20. Hottie tottie in a red bikini! Look at those stomach muscles! You look amazing woman!

    That is so funny how you met up with the same people several times.

    Loved your vacation recap.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  21. what a great travel post...I love your fist outfit... The dress you're wearing on that wonderful balcony is fabulous as well....

    However, the star is you in that red knit bikini! so toned! you're smoking hot!

    http://modaodaradosti.blogspot.com/

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  22. btw that cat is so cute...funny how cats acts exactly the same everywhere.

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  23. Loved 'Our Vix in Goa' it's so nice to see places off the beaten track and your love and enthusiasm for the place is palpable. Such a treat too to see vibrant colours especially Laxmi's clothes, after the long grey skies of our British winter. What a wonderful time you had, even worth the marathon three sector flight home. xxx

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  24. Welcome back - I've enjoyed reading about your travels immensely.
    xx

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  25. "If you can stand it ..." - you've got to be joking! You are a fab photographer and the colours and your descriptions truly bring the places you visit alive. Fantastic balcony shot! You'd never get that on a package tour. As much as I hate it when you're away, I love it when you come back because of all the pics and information.

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  26. I actually want to see more!! More please!! I have LOVED seeing your adventures, and have felt really inspired by them. Such wonderful images, and I love your little stories about the people you met along the way.

    And that red bikini - smoking hot!

    x

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  27. I'm so happy to see you happy, Vix! In India, you and Jon look your happiest - most relaxed. I read your adventures in beloved land with a great interest and pleasure. But even though it all sounds very fun, romantic and wonderful, unlike others, it does not make me want to repeat your travel. The greatest lesson I learn from you, my dear adorable friend, is to dive in whatever I am passionate about - and I am already diving in, but you do what you love and choose to do in life it with such enthusiasm and joy - it's the best reminder to everyone just to be ourselves and live our own unique lives 100% true to ourselves. And for that reminder, I'm so grateful. With love xxxx

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  28. When I was a flight attendant and used to fly to India pretty regularly I would sometimes see this lovely blonde English lady all sari ed up and we would smile and say Hello. One day I ran into her at the brass market and we started chatting and I asked how she came to live there and she told me that she was on the garment business and had to make many trips to Delhi and one day she just decided to stay. I think that may happen to you and Jon some day. If it weren't for the kitties waiting patiently for your return I'll bet you'd never come back.

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  29. As usual your photographs are fabulous. You and Jon both look like you're in fantastic shape. I love all the colours used in the fabrics there. Everything in your photos looks interesting - the polished floor on your lavish balcony, the architecture, at the pond egret, the foliage, the sandy beach - it looks like you and Jon had wonderful adventures. I'll bet the food there was delicious too.
    Welcome back, and best of luck at Moseley tomorrow.

    http://www.full-brief-panties.blogspot.com/

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  30. oooooh what a tale you tell.... the thing about Goa is.....there's no place like Goa!!!x

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  31. Your adventures are much too short! How fantastic and I swear you look better in your bikini every year!! xxx

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  32. What Bedford Gypsy said! It all looks wonderful but that 13.5 hour journey? Ugh! xxx

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  33. Another fabulous trip. It looks magical and you both look like you're having an amazing time xx

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  34. It's just amazing how going on holiday seems to throw people coincidences at you like that.

    That's one seriously grumpy cat!

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  35. I've loved it all, every pic, each is just brilliant and perfect in it's own right - good luck tomorrow in Mosely x x x

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  36. Hi Vix, I have been reading your blog for ages and so enjoy it. I have loved your latest travel posts! I am a traveller myself and find it so refreshing to read of your adventures. Thanks for sharing :) xx

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  37. I enjoy reading about your trip. You have such a gift when it comes to telling of your adventures. Thanks for sharing.

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  38. Vix, I reckon that the Goa Ministry of Tourism should be subsidizing your travels. I love reading about your adventures - and you always look so amazing!

    It's minus 30 degrees Celcius where I live, and your blog lightens my day.

    looking forward to your next post

    P.S. You have a FAB body!!

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  39. Glad to hear that you had a wonderful vacation, you could be a tour guide for India! :)

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  40. How beautiful everything is there, I loved that picture of you with friend trying on her dresses and the accommodation you found - what a balcony! Thanks for sharing - can't wait for your next trip. Betty

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  41. I am almost sad that the tour is over. You have shown me a part of the world I may never get to but totally get why you go there. The photos are gorgeous and only show 'the tip of the iceberg' as the saying goes! The beaches look glorious, and you two look so chilled out.

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  42. Thanks for sharing your travels. That house looks an amazing place to stay with a fantastic garden and what a balcony. India looks a fabulous place to recharge your batteries xx

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  43. Beautiful:-)

    Namaste Vix & John

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  44. Have really enjoyed these write ups, the photographs are wonderful. Thank you so much.

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  45. Fabulous trip! And I wish my bod were as good as yours (though perhaps laying off the pies would be a start...) Thank you for sharing this trip, it's been lovely and really made me see Goa in a different way.

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  46. Brilliant! the animals are so beautiful, and the scenery so lush. And the best of all seems to be your joy at being there! xox

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  47. Fabulous pictures Vix , it is such a interesting post ,and you look gorgeous !!!Best wishes xxx

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  48. It is all so luscious! The fabrics in Laxmi's shop are delicious, how I would love to get some.

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  49. How totally fecking gloriarse!
    Benaulim looks right up my alley!
    O, yes, they say India gets to you, and I know it will for me one day!
    Love Helga XXX

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  50. Vix, you look radiant in these pictures. I have never had a desire to go to India. After seeing your pictures of Goa, it changed my mind.

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  51. What heart-warming coincidences along the way.
    And your sense of adventure and curiosity is always sooo inspiring.

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  52. I can't get over what a small world it is sometimes!!
    What a great trip ... but now back to reality :0(
    xx

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  53. Gorgeous, gorgeous photos. I've really enjoyed reading through your travels - it sounds like you had a brilliant time! x

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  54. Wow stunning pics and stunning Vix , I really enjoy your blog it is so interesting ,Bright and colourful , And Goa looks amazing , Good Luck for your new trading yaer ahead, I cant wait for the updates of your finds xxx

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  55. What a wonderful trip you and Jon had, I've enjoyed reading all about it. I hope going back to work wasn't too painful! x

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  56. have loved all the photos and stories from your trip~its a dream of mine to travel in india: better stop dreaming and get the hell on with it! thanks for the inspiration,
    namaste
    s

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  57. I loved your India travel last year and this year is no different. How beautiful it all is.

    You have the body of Cameron Diaz!

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  58. SO wonderful! I've loved reading about your travels, I'm almost sad that they're over but I'm looking forward to seeing some amazing vintage again too!

    I love the costume you are wearing with your friend, so beautiful. How funny that you met someone so closely connected to home! I stayed in a cave in rural Spain some years ago, there are virtually no tourists in the town but somehow the people next door to us where from my hometown in Cornwall, bizarre! X

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  59. I'm finally catching up a bit, Lovely Vix.
    I have to admit ... I sometimes skim over some vacation pic-blogs because I'm frankly and shamefully envious. We can't get away, and the only thing on my/our bucket list is some serious travel, and seeing other people's travels just makes me feel lousy sometimes. But yours is SO good, thoughtfully presented,well photographed and completely interesting and unusual I really look forward to your travels in Goa.
    Just perfect ... and of course you look fabulous and happy in every shot!

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  60. :dreamy sigh: I love it all. We're totally going to go now. I've never been overseas, ever but when I do, I'm going India baby.

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  61. I look forward to your adventures in Goa! The photos, your commentary and the happiness that you exude during the time that you spend there. You have introduced me to an enticing part of the world! Thanks Vix!

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  62. It must be a bit difficult to come back to cold and damp weather after that. It looks like a lovely trip and I agree with you that it is so much nicer to avoid the touristy spots if you can. The butter yellow house looks like an amazing place to stay and YOU look stunning in a bikini. How you manage to be so tanned and not look like leather I will never know. You look amazing and like you couldn't possibly eat samosas. Thanks for sharing the delightful stories and pics of your trip! xoxoxo

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  63. Amazing! I love when you go to India! Everything is so bright and colourful through your camera lens. None of the nasty scary stories about India can be believed when i read these posts

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  64. Oh, is that the end already? Well, I've loved every minute of it. I'm so glad to hear that there are still lovely places to visit in Goa and I hope they will be there for a while yet, so I can get my backside over there. If I ever make it, I will be clinging on to your every word and following in your footsteps. You look lovely in that birthday top, the colour looks fab on you and that is such a sweet photo of you and Laxmi. It's just all perfect. Xxxxxx

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  65. I thought I had commented on this post, but apparently that was only in my head. Perhaps it was the shot of you looking all babe-alicious in that red bikini that distracted me?

    I so enjoy your vacation photos - it's a virtual holiday for me and a window into a part of the world I will most likely never see in person. The coincidences you had are quite mind-blowing. I did run into someone I used to volunteer with at a AIDS organization here in London in a pastry shop in Paris France, which freaked me out.

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  66. Just stunning! You both look so happy and relaxed... with good reason :-)

    Sad it's the end of my laptop travels to India with you for a while...

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  67. Your trip looks absolutely amazing!!!

    (May have just given myself serious travel envy by reading all of your India posts in one go.)

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  68. Have thoroughly enjoyed all your stories. Please don't apologise.
    You both exude happiness to be in India.
    The world is full of strange coincidences isn't it?
    The owner of our supermarket in N Z ran into our cousins when on holidays in Bali...and recognised our name! Lovely to live in a small town.
    All the best getting back down to earth in the grey. But your clothes will soon brighten the world up again! xo Jazzy Jack

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  69. Thank you Vix, I haven't read you blog in a while but I've been catching up today and I am so pleased to read this post as my Mum & dad flew to Goa on saturday for 2 weeks as their holiday of a lifetime, as my Mum is going through breast cancer and I can almost feel like I am there with them looking through your pictures.

    Blessings xx

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Don't be shy, if you enjoyed your visit leave a comment, I can come and visit your blog if you do.
Love from Vix
xxx