Part 1 - Around Goa in 72 hours

Others would ask, “Goa jaake peeya nhi toh kya kiya?”. I, on the other hand would ask, “Goa jaake ghuma nhi toh kya kiya?” Now one would tell you that churches, beaches, drinking and clubbing are the only things to go for in Goa. But that isn’t the case at all. There sure is a lot more to do than just sit in your room or laze around the beach. Especially when you’ve driven 14 hours to reach your destination. Phew.

So what did I do? I took the car (and then scooty; with a GA registration) and drove full North Goa to South Goa. Out of the 1314kms that we drove, 100kms happened within the state in 3 days.

Day 1 we went to Baga beach in the morning but since neither I nor my dad had any plans of getting wet that morning, we headed to Fort Aguada, past Sinquerim beach for some sightseeing.

 This place is around 10kms (30mins) from Baga. It’s up on a mountain/hill and is a famous tourist spot. How’d I know? The number of cars were a lot and it felt like half of the family tourist crowd came to visit this place. Plus there was a small boating point just before the turn to the fort road. Fort Aguada is well maintained and the view of the water is amazing and relaxing. Parking outside (or for that matter anywhere in Goa) is Rs.100. There isn’t any entry fee so you can just park your car out on the road if you want provided the parking boys don’t come and shoo you away.

Also, there are a lot of vendors selling hats and caps just outside but I guess they don’t bring down the price, because someone else if not you would buy it from them. Better to buy it from the local stalls away from tourist places. Come prepared with sun protection gear from home.

Fort Aguada is very well maintained and has a lighthouse which is closed and basement which is sealed. Other than looking at the view, clicking fake candids and getting scorched in the sun, there isn’t much to see there.

One of the best decisions I made while in Goa was to rent an Activa. There are a lot of Hire vehicle people out on the roads every 500mtrs. Depending on how old the bike is and what make, prices are charged differently. You can take it at whatever time you want but must return it the next day by 10am. Rates are anywhere around Rs250- Rs.400 for scooties (Activa, Vespa, Fascino, Dio). The bike comes with half a litre petrol and you need to fill how much you want. This time petrol was Rs.64/ltr. If there isn’t any petrol pump near you, you can buy 1ltr bottles at Rs.80 from anyone selling it on the road.

In the evening, I took my mom on the Activa (with the GA number plate) and went to the Friday Mapusa Market (10kms). The roads are beautiful with fields all around you right up until you reach the main junction. Wandering is really the best thing you can do in Goa. Mapusa market is super crowded and like a maze. You get everything there ranging from breads, poi, sannas, shoes, bags, mangoes, spices, clothes (but don’t buy them), kokam, sausages, cashew nuts and bakery products (Simona’s is the best).

 Again, GPS is the boss so make sure to follow her blindly. Also, remember to be patient when in Goa because everyone is quite chilled out and in absolutely no hurry so a horn isn’t an oftenly used gadget there. Secondly, make sure you’re not travelling alone during the evening because Goa ke gallis don’t  have any street lights and its normally lights off when the sun goes down. Also, everything looks pretty much the same. On our return, GPS told us to take another route which had no lights on and hardly any vehicles. After about 15mins it connected us to the main junction and then we knew where we were.

Also, here, time is calculated differently. In Mumbai, 15mins may get you only through three signals, and 4kms with tons of traffic. It isn’t like that on Goa roads. There are hardly any signals. The first one that I saw was in Panjim. So if there is any traffic it will only be because some car has had a breakdown or some live wire has fallen on the road.

Night time I had made up my mind to see the beach again (this time hopefully with more people and lights) so we walked down the Baga lanes trying to find the shortest route to our destination. One very good thing about Goa is their road connectivity. There are lanes and bylanes coming out from nowhere every 200mtrs which makes almost everything walkable distance. Also, there are a lot of one way lanes so that way you don’t have to worry about crash banging into somthing when someone is flashing their lights at you while being honked at from behind. Goa really makes you enjoy a susegaad holiday.


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