A GREAT TIME TO PRACTICE YOUR… RUSSIAN?
Goa is amazing, a beautiful world of tranquility mixed with positive energy; the perfect environment to recharge your batteries and leave feeling fresh and energised. It is such a stark contrast to the craziness of some of the other cities in India that it really felt like a little piece of paradise to immerse ourselves into. Think never-ending beaches, gorgeous sunsets, delicious food, cute markets, Ayurvedic treatments, daily massages, yoga and a sudden requirement to learn Russian.
HOW WE GOT AROUND
It’s easy to whittle the day away wandering along the serene beaches and keeping cool by ducking into the shade of market stalls and engaging in some friendly banter/extremely brutal haggling with the friendly shop assistants. Walking was our primary mode of travel to see the sights and feast on the delicious smells coming from the myriad of cafes lining the long main beach street. Hiring a scooter is an easy option to get around as well as taxis. Just bear in mind that you will likely have to negotiate a higher price if you want air-conditioning or not!
WHAT WE DID
Banyan Tree Yoga – hands down our favourite accomodation EVER! This beautifully run yoga retreat is run by the friendliest guys; Annu and Chinu, who really make you feel like part of the family. The mud and bamboo huts with the eco friendly outdoor shower and bathroom system are super comfy with a special vibe that even a few night-time bat visits couldn’t ruin!
The homemade food was delicious and plentiful, the daily yoga classes amazing and the massage treatments heavenly.
We met some wonderful people here; there was just an indescribable vibe of feeling right at home. One of these people was the lovely Julie Bladon, a yoga teacher and Lomi Lomi bodyworker from the UK. She runs yoga retreats all around the world! Visit her website at www.juliebladon.com
When we did venture out of our little paradise visiting the nearby beaches of Ashvem, Ashwem and Mandrem are all easily in walking distance. While walking along Ashvem beach we had the privilege of being blessed by a Sadhu, a Hindi holy man.
Markets and cute local shops selling Ayurvedic products are fun to explore. Everyday day we aimed to spend the night on the beach watching the sunset but invariably found ourselves spending hours at our favourite local Ayurvedic spa Holy Basil. Located beachside, run by a lovely local couple we couldn’t get enough of their amazing treatments! Jai even got comfortable with the fact that he was getting a massage from the Indian lookalike of Kanye West…
WHAT WE ATE AND DRANK
Plentiful cafes dotted the main beach road with a great selection of Indian and Nepalese food. We ate momos everyday, almost like a pub crawl of different momo selling shops.. A ‘momo-crawl’ if you like. Momos are a kind of Nepalese dumpling and full of deliciousness. Most of the cafes had decent wifi if that’s what your in to. The food at Banyan Tree Yoga was amazing and suited the vegetarian lifestyle we lived whilst we were away.
What we found bizarre was that everything was written in Russian. The menus, the signs, sidewalk posts, restaurant advertising, everything was Russian. But we were pretty sure we were in India. When we expressed our confusion to our new friend Annu he explained it’s due to the huge influx of Russian tourists who visit Goa and after experiencing the magic of Goa firsthand we can easily see why it’s so popular!
In the rest of India it’s essential to dress modestly and respectful to keep your knees and shoulders covered, however Goa felt more relaxed and although I still kept covered here I did see others walking around in shorts and singlets. Up to you.
CAPTURED ON THE BEACH
PS. Are you thinking of going to North Goa? Have questions? Ask us in the comments section below.
Have you been to North Goa? We would love to hear your travel stories also!