Leaving behind the city of Mumbai, we drove to its airport to catch an internal flight south, to the beaches of Goa. At last! My chance to tan in the sunshine! I thought. But sadly, skipping off the plane after a quick 90-minute or so flight, I found the complete opposite.
Driving for two hours to reach our hotel, we were followed by pesky dark cloud the whole way – and sadly it was to remain for the duration of my stay in Goa. But thankfully that didn’t ruin the trip.
After settling in to our hotel we walked down to the beach to take in the sights, and we weren’t disappointed. Greeted with rolling pink sand banks and the warm water of the Arabian sea, the weather didn’t really matter as we strolled along in the sea breeze. I had thought there would be a lot more international tourists in Goa than I saw on the rest of the trip, but most of the people on holiday there appeared to be Indians (I am told more international visitors come during high season). This meant more requests for selfies than ever, but we’ve perfected getting everyone to go away by this point…
In the evening we headed to Goa’s main street – a strip similar to what you’d see in Europe’s top party destinations – and took advantage of the two for one happy hour deals (which actually lasted about six hours, which was ideal). I enjoyed what was my final curry in India and the evening finished with another pool party, which was great fun.
We allowed ourselves a lie in on Thursday after the party and Tash and I returned to the beach in the afternoon for a paddle in the sea. But it didn’t take long for the heavens to open and the sky absolutely poured down, in top monsoon style. As we decked it up the beach desperately looking for shelter, I decided to follow the crowd in an emergency and we crammed ourselves alongside some other people under the overhang of a tin shack roof. Not brilliant, but it only took a few minutes to subside.
For our final group meal we went to a restaurant overlooking the beach, so I thought it would be rude to not try some freshly caught fish. I was given a few options but settled on king fish, which I hadn’t tried before, and it was delicious. We said goodbye to everyone, gave our tour guide Mo a giant bottle of whisky as a thank you, and went to bed ready for an early flight back to the UK on Friday morning.
Hopefully by the time you read this I’ll be safely back home in my London flat, as I’m writing this on the plane without internet (or much sleep, if I’m honest). I’m sad to be leaving India already as it truly is an incredible country, and it’s so large I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of exploring it.
On the first day of the tour Mo described India as being “an attack on all five senses” and that description is spot on. Impossible to describe to anyone who hasn’t been, India is full of bizarre sights, vibrant colours, buzzing sounds, delicious spices, smells that hit the back of your throat and the feeling of sand in your hair and red dust on your skin. He also said what he loves about his job is being able to show tourists they can travel around India despite the assumptions it isn’t safe – visitors just need help from an Indian local to grapple with the vastly different culture.
Anyway, I’m off home to have a much-needed shower and sleep, but I’m happy to announce I’ve made it through my India trip with no fewer than:
- A billion requests for selfies
- A million offers for lifts in tuk tuks
- 1,000 sightings of cows (and 1 headbutt)
- 35-degree heat
- 9 beautiful towns, cities and villages visited
- 7 gorgeous temples, forts and palaces explored
- 4 plane journeys (and countless others on every mode of transport possible)
- 2 pool parties
- 1 (politely declined) marriage proposal
And yes – I even managed to avoid the dreaded Delhi Belly!
So what I’m thinking now is, where to next? Watch this space…