Being a resident of Mangalore, a trip to Goa is a quarterly ritual for me. In fact, whether it was the first trip or the twentieth, with or without friends, Goa has never failed to amaze me with its charm! The state has always had a special place in my heart. So when Goa first opened its borders to tourists after months of lockdown, the traveller in me was dancing with joy, all set to come out of the confinement to take this much-needed vacation.
Although Goa was welcoming tourists, there were certain guidelines to be followed with respect to COVID testing and stay. So as soon as I obtained my COVID-19 negative certificate, I booked my flight to Goa. I also looked up for government-approved hotels online, called up a couple of them to inquire about their safety protocols, and once satisfied, I booked one at an unbelievably cheap tariff!
The never-seen-before Goa
I landed at Dabolim airport early in the morning and booked a cab to my hotel. Driving through the Goan roads, the first thing I noticed was its deserted beaches! No kidding, I could barely see any living soul in the long stretches of the shore. The water was perfectly calm – there were no sunbeds, watersports, and not one hawker in sight! Even in the low season, I had never seen Goa at peace.
As we drove towards the resort, I realized that the city had never looked greener, more pristine, and beautiful! While humans were locked up at home, nature, it seemed, was always at work, taking this time to heal, recover, and bloom.
After a contactless check-in to my room, I decided to book my ride for the next two days. Since I wanted this trip to be a relaxed one, without having to worry about driving, I hired a safe and sanitized car rental in Goa with an experienced driver.
As soon as the cab arrived, we headed towards the famous Aguada Fort making a stop at the Sinquerim beach. Owing to no crowd at the beach, I could distinctly hear the mellow sound of waves crashing the shore. Extremely relaxed and at peace, I spent around an hour by the sea, soaked in all the fresh air, and clicked a few pictures of the spectacular surroundings. It was almost like time flew!
While I had travelled solo to Goa multiple times, this was my first time in Aguada without friends. And boy! It was a whole new experience! I walked around and captured every picturesque corner of the isolated fort on my Nikon. The panoramic view of the Arabian Sea gave me goosebumps! It felt almost like I was a part of a beautiful postcard. I spent hours in solitude, listening to the birds chirping and the soul-satisfying sound of the waves. The evening was picture-perfect!
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Churches and Museums
The next morning I headed towards Panjim to visit the churches and archaeological museums. While most of them were closed, they made for some of the most stunning Instagram-able moments. I clicked to my heart’s content. Next, to satiate my gastronomic cravings, I visited my favorite restaurant in Panjim, that is, Viva, and had a hearty meal of their famous Rawa kingfish, pork ribs, and caramel custard. Driving around the deserted lanes of Panjim, I witnessed Goa at its vibrant best!
Nightclubs and Discotheques
A trip to Goa is incomplete without dancing away and losing yourself in its electrifying nightlife. However, the majority of nightclubs had not opened after the lockdown. Nor were any schedules of the upcoming beach parties put up. This was probably my only dull moment in Goa. But I decided to make the best of it and spent my evenings chilling at the private beach of my resort. A couple of bears and some delicious seafood – and I was all set for reveling in the freedom I experienced after staying locked up for months at home!
It’s amazing what a small trip after prolonged confinement (given you strictly abide by the safety guidelines of your destination) can do to your mental health and well-being. This visit to Goa went down as one of the most memorable trips I had ever taken in my lifetime.