Thursday, 23 February 2017

Viva Goa - Travels To Goa and Beyond




As always I wore every piece of clothing I'd taken to India with me .... over and over and over again.



Unlike Jon, who packed his charity shop finds without trying them on first, only to get to Goa and realise his bargain shorts were two sizes too big.




Not that they went to waste. There's one charity shop in the entire state and, as luck would have it, it's less than a hour's walk from our final destination of the trip, the village of Benaulim in South Goa. So the shorts got re-donated, we got our daily beach walk and I managed to pick up a few bargains (three glass bangles and two printing blocks.)


More importantly was that we did our bit for the street/beach animals of South Goa. The Goa Animal Welfare Trust (GAWT) are a wonderful charity who not only treat and neuter strays but also hold weekly immunisation & adoption clinics and run educational programmes - this week they're highlighting the dangers of littering by taking a orphaned calf , who's mother died from ingesting a plastic bag, around the local schools . If you see an animal with a chunk missing from their ear you'll know that they've been neutered by the organisation.


Although Benaulim has developed quite a lot since we first visited over a decade ago, away from the main street it still retains a traditional Goan village feel.


The beach is still very much a work place for the local fishermen.


...and water buffalo graze on the banks of the village's numerous lotus lakes.


The bird watching opportunities are pretty special.


And the local women still dress in the traditional Portuguese way.


Walk past the sunbeds and shacks thronging the entrance to the beach and you've pretty much got the sand to yourself, all 25 kilometres of it. Yes, that is a bull being taken for a walk - Benaulim is the only place in all Goa where you can see the ancient sport of Kadamba (bull racing).


The area surrounding Benaulim is not only littered with old ancestral homes (which I've written about HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE) but there's also some decent museums, too. Ashok's Vintage Car World (admission £1, open daily) was a short tuk tuk ride away and, as we'd never been, thought we'd have a look.


The burgundy car in the top photo was driven by Roger Moore in The Sea Wolves. Apparently all the vehicles can be hired out - although we wouldn't recommend tackling the Goan roads unless you've got a death wish.



We stayed at Caphina, a family-run guesthouse on the main beach road. Rooms cost £6 a night.



 Ever wondered about the type of people we meet when we stay in rock bottom budget places...stoners, teenagers on a gap year, scruffy backpackers? You might be surprised. Our neighbours included psychiatrist Barbara, originally from upstate New York but practicing in Paris and Dr George, an eminent archaeologist with a heap of books to his name. Not everyone wants wi-fi, room service and a pool even if they can afford it.


We only ever eat Indian food when we're away - pav bhaji or masala dosa for breakfast, locally grown fruit and cashews for lunch and curry & rice for dinner. Occasionally we'll indulge in our favourite sunset street snack - Mumbai-style Bhelpuri (available between 4 - 9pm) straight off a cart on the walk back to our room.


After almost twenty years we don't bother much with shopping - clothes-wise Jon bought two block printed, hand loom shirts (the black and the blue collarless shirts in the collage) and I bought five (!) block printed maxi skirts a shopkeeper friend had found for me. We stocked up on Himalaya heel balm (£1), ayurvedic licorice-flavoured tooth paste (60p), coconut body oil (£1.35) and turmeric face wash (20p) as well as dried chillies and some Goan dry spice mixes. I'd regretted not buying a peacock feather fan when I saw them in Mumbai last year so was excited to see a street hawker selling them at the bus station when we went to Margao. The tin ware is from an elderly gent with a market stall in the covered market in Margao - he recycles other people's junk into useful household goods and I'd probably buy the lot if I had a bigger bag - there's a letter box (£3.50), a money box (60p), an tiny oil can (40p) and a kerosene lamp  (50p).



And that was India! Thanks so much for reading and for indulging me, writing about our trip helps extend the adventure that bit longer.....and makes the grim reality of a knackered internet connection (less than 2 hours access in the last 72 - how's a woman supposed to run a website?!) and the crap weather a whole lot more bearable.

Normal service of charity shop finds, outfits and the usual chit chat should be resumed next week (depending on whether Talk Talk get their arses in gear). See you soon!

More photos can be seen HERE.

77 comments:

  1. You are giving me serious wanderlust! x

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  2. Both looking great. Love all the gorgeous photos. Thank you for sharing your journey with us xx

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    1. Thanks, Yvonne and thank you so much for reading! xxx

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  3. Amazing photos, love the animal organisation taking care of those strays, those exotic wild birds are beautiful and your new block printed skirts are fab! xxx

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  4. Have seriously enjoyed reading about your travels in India, especially as I have great memories of the place myself. Loved your beach and wildlife pics and reckon you chose well with the shopping. Turmeric face wash and liquorice toothpaste sound especially interesting. You're still rocking the bikini! xx

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    1. Thanks, Fiona! You should do a return trip one of these days. The liquorice toothpaste tastes great - not keen on minty toothpastes and the turmeric stuff is fab, I was a bit wary in case it turned our faces yellow. xxx

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  5. I enjoy your trips to India! The beautiful weather certainly helps!

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    1. Thank you, Tana! Sunshine definitely makes most places look beautiful. xxx

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  6. Wow. May be one day our paths will cross in India :D

    ❥ tanvii.com

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    1. Hi Tanvi! One day, one day! xxx

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  7. Coming home to trouble with the internet is a painful way to remove the rose-tinted glasses you wore on Goa's beautiful beaches, Vix. As you pointed out, your co-lodgers, the psychiatrist and the archaeologist, were also refugees from the world of WiFi. (Feeling empathetic as I've just paid a young geek to make a house call to connect all my devices.)

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    1. Gah, I can live without it in India - there's so many other things to see and do. Here it's a blinking nightmare when it goes wrong. Hope the geek's made life easier for you! xxx

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  8. You have genuinely inspired me to travel to India. I love the cotton wrap skirts.I've bought some off ebay and they're great to dress up or down and as a bonus they are very forgiving with weight gain or loss.

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    1. Hello Violetlene, I'm thrilled that you're considering a trip to India. I agree, those wrap skirts are fantastic and a lot easier than messing with a sarong after a day on the beach. xxx

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  9. Getting back to reality after such an awesome vacation is never easy.

    You both look utterly relaxed here. Bravo for rocking those super sexy bikinis! You are my bikini hero!

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. It's a proper downer, this coming home after a month away.
      I'd wear a bikini all the time if I could. xxxx

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  10. Thank you, what wonderful views you share : )

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  11. It's so nice to read about your travels, so good to see the real and not the tourist bits.
    Spring is coming so the weather will improve soon (keeping everything crossed!)

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    1. Thank you, Hazel! I do hope Spring isn't too far away, yesterday was atrocious but at least the mornings are light when I get up now. xxx

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  12. The street food looks delicious and the last place you stayed fabuous - who needs wifi and a chlorinated pool when you have so much going on right outside your door to get involved in! the recycled stall looks interesting, I would probably have bought the lot too. But this can't be the last installment? I am going to get withdrawal symptoms - please think about putting this stuff into a book..

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    1. Indian street food is truly wonderful, so tasty and cheap!
      It won't be the last you'll hear of India this year, Betty - that's a promise! x

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  13. it's always delightful to see your pictures, it's like going with you through the whole experience!, really amazing!. I love that relaxed atmosphere, the colors, the food, and your fabulous smiles on that beautiful background!
    besos & gracias

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    1. Thanks, Monica! I'm so glad I don't bore my blog friends blathering on for weeks afterwards! xxx

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  14. Heh, last night I had a very bizarre dream in which you made a book of your Goa trips and lent it to me so I could show my husband. (Good book, that.) I do like seeing your travels.

    We've been looking at taking a trip to Kolkata, and all the high-end hotels look so faceless - exactly the sort of place we try to avoid on holiday. We have found a good-looking guesthouse, though. Who wants to stay somewhere that could be anywhere in the world? Where's the memory in that? The places you stay look much nicer.

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    1. Hehe! Never say never!!
      We always seem to meet like-minded, interesting people in the places we stay. There's some really interesting looking places in Kolkata. Did you watch Who Do You Think You Are? on Wednesday night? Well worth a catch-up! xxx

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    2. I saw a bit of it. It looks like a fascinating place.

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  15. beautiful pictures of goa and you both!
    and it was an interesting reading too! excited to read about GAWT - as westeners use to think that nobody does anything good to animals in the 3.world..... five fab skirts!!
    xxxxx

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    1. Yes! The Goans love animals, they just needed educating about how to look after them. I don't think I've ever stayed with a family who didn't have a colony of well-fed cats living with them. xxx

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  16. That last photo of you and Jon sums it up - you love India, and it shows!
    Jon's over-large shorts made me laugh - he obviously doesn't prepare as thoroughly as you... You look gorgeous in all your combinations, now that's a capsule wardrobe I can get behind!
    The food, the beaches, the wildlife, the people - it all makes me sigh with delight, and a little bit of envy...
    So back to life, back to reality - but Goa will be waiting for you next year.
    Love you! xxx

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    1. He's so naughty. Every year I ask if he's tried everything on as, without fail, he'll bring at least one thing that doesn't fit.
      It really is a fabulous place, it definitely breaks up Winter a bit even if it's taken us a fortnight to catch up with all the telly I missed. xxxx

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  17. I need some advice on Goa for my Brother I will message you!

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  18. I have enjoyed every single word, and laugh at Jon not trying the clothes before taking them.
    It is such a pleasure to see you both enjoy the life you have chosen to live to the full.
    Much love

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  19. Just the thing I needed, to feel inspired to plan a trip, and get my but in gear and do it. I think there is a lot to gain form being off the beaten path as your fellow travelers have found.

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    1. Thanks, Sam! It requires a bit of effort but it's so rewarding not to follow the herd. xxx

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  20. I don't understand why people travel to distant lands only to stay at an American style hotel/resort and eat the same food they get at home. My nephew and his wife are travel back to California after a year working in New Zealand. Right now they're in Greece, ending up in Oslo. Yeah, the long way around. Step outside your bubble and explore

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    1. I know, it makes no sense to hang around with your fellow countrymen, eat poor imitations of what you'd eat at home, go on organised excursions and the only contact you have with the locals is when they're serving you dinner. Funny way of seeing the world!
      Bet your neice and nephew are having the time of their lives! xxx

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  21. Oh those birds! How beautiful! I adore seeing birds from different places ❤

    Cars too! You're spoiling me! That burgundy Mercedes is a beauty. Feel free to share any other car photos you may have xxx

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    1. The birds are so colourful! It's funny to see parrots flitting about - too speedy to photograph, sadly!
      Can you believe you can borrow those cars and drive around Goa in them? Madness! xxx

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  22. I do envy you the bird watching opportunities! You seem to have had a fabulous trip and what a marvellous place Goa is. I loved all your outfits; your block printed maxis are wonderful and what great bargains you picked up. It was lovely to have some beach and strong sunshine on these cold, dark and gloomy days.

    We had tree uprooted at the bottom of our street yesterday in the wind - luckily it fell away from the pavement towards a car park wall...

    Have a great weekend.

    xxx

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    1. Every year we say we'll buy an Indian bird book so we know what some of the species are - the wildlife is incredible!
      Blimey, sounds like you had a good old battering by Doris. Driving back from the chazzas yesterday a skylight flew off the roof of a trendy warehouse development and narrowly missed us. It's a lot more settled today. xxx

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  23. What perfect packing, every outfit was great. Shame about Jon's shorts :). The Goa blog series has been like a slice of summer, I've enjoyed every one of them, so many interesting photos and what made it special is that you take the road less travelled xxx

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    1. Hi Sally! So pleased that you enjoyed the travelogue. People often dismiss Goa as being too touristy but you don't have to travel to far to experience proper Goan village life. xxx

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  24. Had a bit of a chuckle at the story of Jon's shorts! Isn't it typical. I always plan ahead and really think about what I'm taking, and Jos chucks everything in at the last moment. It's good that you were able to re-donate them, and that you did your bit for animal welfare. Love the fishing boat photo, the wonderful birdlife and how amazing does that guest house look? I very much loved reading your India travel posts. xxx

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    1. Jos and Jon, peas in a pod, eh? Honestly!
      The colour of the guesthouse is fantastic, isn't it? Our bedroom walls were lime green, it was like the sun was shining even at night! xxx

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  25. Caphina looks lovely with its jade green walls and by the way, Dr George wasn't from Herefordshire was he as he sounds like someone I used to know.
    The Triumph Herald and Bug are gorgeous...was Jon tempted?
    By the way, you both might like this programme I found on BBC iplayer recently (if you haven't seen it before) - its about the Maharajahs' love of Rolls Royces. Totally fascinating xxx
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00j4c2s/the-maharajas-motor-car-the-story-of-rollsroyce-in-india

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    1. He still rues the day that he sold his Triumph Herald! We saw that programme years ago but I'd love to watch it again. Thanks for the link. x

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  26. Beautiful pictures- colourful and vibrant. My son goes out to Bangladesh for a 10 week voluntary stint raising money for Y care international in May. I am so looking forward to seeing his photos.
    Arilx

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    1. Bangladesh sounds wonderful and looked stunning on Who Do You Think You Are on Wednesday night! x

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  27. Thank you for another sunshine injection!! You are so rockin' the bikinis. I hope you've booked a few more treats to look forward to now you're home, we all need something to get us through these dark months. Spring was in the air today, but it was freezing, a few more weeks I think. xx

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    1. We haven't scored Glasto tickets this year so a trip somewhere should be on the cards, I think!! xxx

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  28. It's awesome that you and Jon have such lovely memories and something to look forward to and save for all year. Xxx

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    1. Having a favourite place to travel to is a real incentive to save money so we can go back! x

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  29. I've read your last few posts as though reading a book - and now, the journey is over...thanks heaps for the stories, history, colour... xx

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    1. Thanks for reading my posts, Elizabeth! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed them. xxx

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  30. Your posts are making me want to go on holiday! It looks like you had a wonderful trip x

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    1. We certainly did - as always! xxx

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  31. Fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful trip with us.

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    1. Thank you, it was my pleasure! xxx

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  32. I'm sorry to see your trip end too, as I get to see India through your eyes and it's always so fascinating and beautiful! Thanks Vix! :)

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  33. The guest house looks lovely and the wildlife looks amazing. I so want to visit India!Hope you get the internet sorted.

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    1. I hope you do get to visit India, Ceri. I'm sure you'll love it as much as we do. xxx

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  34. Thank you so much for sharing your India adventures!

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  35. Looking gorgeous in all those outfits! I am surprised there are charity shops in India! I love south Indian food but it is way too spicy for me - though my mouth can bear it my stomach can't. Thanks for all the interesting stories and amazing photos!

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    1. Oh no! I adore South Indian food, those spices! xxx

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  36. All those skirts you got! Love them!! I hope me and my husband will look as cool as you guys if, no WHEN we go! Hee hee!

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    1. I couldn't chose a favourite so I bought the lot! You two will look even better - you guys are used to all that heat and humidity! xxx

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  37. I know I have already said it but honestly you two this has been the best travel journal yet. Don't know how you are going to top it next year but I look forward to it
    Much love Lynn and the wandering welder xxx

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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