Palolem – the Place to Goa

We had a few days from our time in Kerala before meeting up with my parents in North Goa so we decided we would check out the South of the sunny state. We were also lucky that our itinerary aligned with Mish and Hamish’s so we had two great partners in crime for some relaxing days by the beach. I was excited to head to Palolem because it was famous for its relaxed backpacker vibe and its beach front coco-huts but when we arrived we found out we were a week behind the peak season (again) and they weren’t built yet. We settled for a little room as close to the beach as we could and went to explore.

As we wandered down the beach and discovered it was a little bay with palm trees leaning towards the sun, bars and restaurants lining the beach and of course just to remind us where we were a herd of cows wandering the waterfront. We had a day before the others arrived so we spent it checking out the place which mostly included relaxing on the beach, taking shelter from the sun in a beach side bar followed by a bit more relaxing on the beach.

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At the end of a very hard day we headed back to our tiny room to freshen up before dinner and we realised being as close to the beach in super cheap accommodation (£2 a night) wasn’t what it cracked up to be. There where plenty of mozzies sharing our room with no mosquito net to fend them off and a centrepede hanging out in our shower. If this wildlife wasn’t enough after we checked out our very stained bed and mattress we found what looked sucpisciously like bed bugs. Needless to say that was enough for us and half an hour later our bags were packed, we’d hiked along the beach with them and settled into a gorgeous guest house that was a bit more expensive ( a massice £6 a night) but much cleaner and much more welcoming. With that stress out of the way we made our way to find food and we realised we where tucked right behind the main drag – an even better reason to be closer to town and away from the beach.

The next morning we were very well rested before heading out to see more of Palolem. Even though it is pretty relaxed and chilled out it is also very touristy and therefore has many restaurants that cater towards English tourists. So for breakfast I treated myself to Heinz Baked Beans on toast and a cup of Tetley Tea. It was heaven! The rest of the day was spent with more time at the beach before Mish and Hamish arrived. Once they arrived it was time for a drink and dinner and we found a place with tables in the sand so we could eat while listening to the sound of the waves. We all ate meals with fresh seafood picked from a tray and drank and ate while we caught up on each others travels from when we had seen them last.

We did break our relaxing routine the next morning when Mish, James and I headed to a drop in yoga class. I’ve done a few yoga moves in a class here or there but never a dedicated class and it was James’s first time too so we where not quite sure how we would go. Our instructor Kishnan was as hippy as you could be with long hair and baggy clothes and he took us up to the rooftop of his house where we layed out mats and waited for the rest of the class. People arrived slowly and there would have been about 15 of us with all different experiences in the class. As we went through all the movements I was enjoying the class because it seemed like a good stretch out and a pretty relaxing way to start the morning. We then started on a few harder moves that us as novices couldn’t really do and yoga started to seem a lot harder then I had originally thought and since we where in the front row Kishnan could easily come along and adjust it so it was right and therefore harder. Overall I really enjoyed the class and will probably try again but I have certainly changed my view of it as a good ‘ol stretch.

Yoga was followed by brunch, and then of course the beach and then mandatory drink at our favourite bar in the midafternoon. To keep with our active morning we had an active afternoon as we decided to rent canoes and paddle across to a little island on the end of the bay. James and my canoing is about as good as our rowing in Pokhara and there were a few times we steered off course but in the end we made it out to the island. We jumped out and had a swim as all that canoing was hard work! We had aimed to be out there for sunset and it was slowly setting behind the island. Unfortunately our canoeing rental time didn’t allow for us to hang around so we paddled back and watched the sunset while we swam in the water instead.

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The next morning was both our last day in Palolem but luckily for James and I we had ten relaxing days in North Goa ahead of us. We were up bright and early but thankfully not for a bus or train but for a dolphin watching boat ride. We were promised that if we didn’t see dolphins we didn’t pay so we where pretty confident we would see one and we where right! We saw four dolphins swimming along trying to catch soe fish from the schols of sardines we saw. At first they where pretty far away and our glimpse was brief but our boat drive tracked them down and we saw them pretty close up for a few minutes. We where then take on a tour of different beaches on the islands before heading back to shore. Even though it was am early start it was a great way to begin the day.

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We had a delicious brunch before all jumping on a local bus up to the train station where we said farewell to Mish and Hamish and continued on to Calangute. If the rest of our experience in Goa is as good as our days in Palolem we will have a fantastic 10 days!

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