India? a very popular destination and yet many give up discouraged by the geographical distance or by small children in tow. Yet a plane ticket, if booked in advance and taking advantage of the offers on flights, can? be accessible. They can also be found for less than 500 euros round trip. Furthermore, once on site, the costs of room and board are really negligible. During my trips to India I have seen many families with happy children, what does it matter? choose the right place to stay why? it is a gigantic country. In this travelogue I want to tell you about Goa, a small state comparable to a hippie paradise within everyone's reach, a destination suitable for young people, adults and even families. Nothing to do with the chaos and noise of the cities.
First trip to India. Arrive in Goa in the middle of the night,? February and it's hot, yet at the exit of the small airport c '? a crowd of people and it seems to be in broad daylight. A couple of friends staying in Goa sent a trusted taxi driver to pick up me and her travel companion. I'm excited, ? a strange feeling to be in India, cos? far from home, I feel the warm air on my skin and stretches of palm trees unfold in front of my eyes. It seems that they greet us from the sides of the deserted streets. The driver, who immediately turns out to be a nice chatterbox, drops us directly at the guesthouse on the beach that our friends, with great care, have booked for us, in Candolim.
We wake up very late and bruised, the beds are very hard, and we find a note under the door. Our friends invite us to join them on the beach, at the nearby shack, a small hut near the sea. Later we will discover that in these places you can? drink and order food, even fresh salads which? best avoided in other areas, for a few rupees. There are beach beds available and whoever wants to can? book an Ayurvedic massage! We greet our friends with joy and spend precious time with them.
Candolim strikes me for its large beach and the few people,? a regenerating place, ideal for recharging the batteries. There? an area of Candolim, near the sports field, frequented by Russian tourists who like to hang out and stay late but I prefer to stay in the more? quiet, the one that is located in a small portion of the silent jungle, populated by meditators, artists, holistic therapists. There are majestic banyan trees, fragrant mangoes, and bougainvillea cascades. I find that in Goa many women have Portuguese names, due to the Spanish colonization and so on. the neighborhoods. Mine is called Escrivao Vaddo.
We go to the market of nearby Calangute with our friend, taking the bus which costs us about 5 rupees, squashed like sardines with the Indians. I am amused by this new experience and it all seems like this to me? strange, curious and fascinating. We are the only westerners and the vendors have everything from fruit, to spices, to fresh fish, to flowers. I dive into this sensory journey, open to welcome the new that unfolds before my eyes.
After the market we go to change the money in a small office (at the airport it is better to change only 50 euros because it is not convenient) and then in a place frequented by the locals to eat idli for breakfast, a specialty? Indiana. It is a kind of steamed dough that can be enjoyed with a sauce. After having brushed everything from our plates, even the crumbs, the waiter brings us a saucer with fennel seeds and colored sugar to freshen the mouth. Shall we go back to Candolim with the risci? motor, paying 100 rupees in three.
Our friend comes home, a small house overlooking the palm trees and the sea. There? a living room, kitchen, bedroom and obviously all the necessary comforts. Travelers as a couple or with children in tow, rent the colorful Portuguese houses typical of Goa to have all the comforts? and save further. ? great to have a kitchen to prepare food. Solo travelers also rent shared homes and the result is small communities. of tenants from all over the world.
We take the taxi and go to the Flea Market, the Anjuna market held every Wednesday, renowned in the 60s and 70s for being frequented by hippies from all over the world. You can find colorful fabrics, jingle jewelry and fragrant spices. Bargaining (go down over half of the proposed price) with traders? a must, as in all places in India. I am fascinated by the stalls and try to avoid the sticky ear cleaners that attack tourists! Buy a few things why? I get tired of bargaining all the time but I take a lot of photographs. Indian women are beautiful in their colorful saris and the Rajasthani saleswomen catch my eye with their flamboyant dresses and large nose rings. I love India!
Every night I fall asleep terrified with the roar of the ocean waves that seem to come upon me while every morning I wake up happy at the idea of being in India. Palm trees peek out from the window of the spartan room we rented to save money and a riot of flowers teases the view every time I go out to the beach. Not ? it is rare to see cows rummaging through small heaps of garbage or to see Indian women picking up plastic bottles at the side of the road to resell them. Goa? a tropical paradise, the one I've always dreamed of, and my breakfasts are based on tasty fruit and pineapple juices. Bananas have a different taste from those we usually eat in Italy and so? coconut, papaya, avocados. I discover the true flavor of these fruits! I enjoy the beach, friends and the ideal climate for my body.
Let's go on a trip! Among the many tours sponsored by the nearby agency I choose the boat tour to go and see the dolphins. We are accompanied in the car by an employee directly to the place of departure, a small port, and we get on a boat with other tourists. I feel happy but after a while, due to reckless driving, I start getting seasick, and I'm not the only one. The tour costs 1000 rupees, around 14 euros that year, including unlimited drinks on board and lunch on a delightful beach.
Unfortunately I do not feel respect for dolphins, every time we spot one the boat heads noisy in that direction causing its escape. When we go down to Cocco Beach for lunch, I breathe a sigh of relief and finally relax. ? the typical postcard tropical beach, with long, slightly curved palm trunks and crystal clear water. The lunch ? abundant but mainly consisting of fish-based courses ... and I'm a vegetarian. When we leave I can't wait to go back to the beach in Candolim, I love that place! Maybe I should have chosen the tour that would take me to visit the spice plantation ...
Another awakening in Goa and immediately on the beach to taste tropical fruit and enjoy the sea! This, except some areas more? revelers,? the place also suitable for families, safe, meditative, quiet ... Obviously? it is always better to take precautions as in any place in the world and move with respect towards the place you visit. Every morning on the beach c '? a yoga session of laughter, definitely contagious even for those who participate from afar.
In the evening we decide to take a taxi and go to the famous Arpora Saturday Night Market.
It is a night market held every Saturday and spreads over a large area. There? to lose your head for the wonders for sale. Buy, among other things, colored pants for a few rupees and a backpack with mirrors. L? by chance we meet a musician from Salento with his banquet, how? small world! We have dinner, we listen to music, we wander around, we are happy. I would never want to leave that place. We go home by taxi.
Today we go to Arambol, known for being the most popular destination. coveted by hippies around the world since the 60s. For me who dreamed of Goa as a teenager while browsing my mom's hippies magazines? a dream that becomes reality.
We arrive in the morning with our trusted taxi driver, we intend to stop until sunset.
Arambol? an open-air bazaar, full of stalls and shops selling colorful and psychedelic clothes, jewelry, incense ... I would like to buy everything! After negotiating properly and buying clothing at very low prices, we go to the beach. ? beautiful, spacious and the sea greets us through the roar of its waves. We eat our breakfast at German Bakery, which is part of a very popular chain in India, and then take a long walk. We cross a sort of tunnel made up of fabrics and from one side to the other there are other stalls. What? making we arrive at the freshwater lake, a secluded and enchanting place.
But? at sunset that Arambol comes to life. Right on the opposite side of the pond, at 18.00 pm, colorful neo-western hippies create banquets on the beach with artifacts they created well arranged on top. Others play the percussion in a circle while improvised dancers move freely to the rhythm of the music. There? even those who meditate, those who practice acro-yoga or tai-chi. Everyone chooses his personal way to greet the sun.
Maybe ? better to get to Goa at the end of a trip to India why? the temptation to stop there? ? Too strong. However, our friends suggest us, as the next stop on our month-long journey, to go to Hampi, Karnataka and help us get the ticket at the agency in Calangute. We book two bus tickets, sleeper class no ac. To be clear, berth (we choose the double) without air conditioning (at night there will be enough drafts and we do not intend to freeze).
"There you will know the real India", they tell us before greeting us. Let's go on an adventure! We will return to Goa towards the end of the trip, after having also visited Tamil Nadu, to stay a few more days with our friends and resume the flight ...