Once you have been on a holiday to Goa the majority of people return year after year. This is certainly true of one of our customers who always send us a copy of their Goa holiday diary so that we can publish it on our travel blog. If you are a regular to Goa or thinking of going on holdiay to Goa for the first time the diary makes fascinating reading. The diary of a holdiay to Goa is published below. Hope you enjoy it.
This was our 12th visit. I will give a quick report on our impressions.
Firstly our usual hotel had really gone downhill. Have done hotel report on this. Our usual taxi driver never stopped moaning about the traffic, I told him he should try the M62/M621 out of Leeds every day of his life at 5:00 p.m. he would know what a traffic jam was then. He also made a few sarcastic comments about the tips we gave him which annoyed me as we do tip him well overall as we do stay out quite late at night. We have used him for quite a few years with no problem and we have a taxi every evening and quite often in the day too to go to other beaches in the north and south so he does make a lot of money out of us over the course of 3 weeks.
I don’t know whether the problems was because we were going to a lot of the better restaurants and he suddenly thought we were rich and wanted a bigger share of our money. Anyway it is to his detriment as we will have a change next year. I did think the resort seemed a bit cleaner this year. We actually saw the garbage collectors picking rubbish up from the surrounding area but I have to say I think most of the rubbish is left on the beach by domestic tourists, it was quite common to see them dropping litter as they walked along the beach.
Things on the beach this year were horrendous as far as sunbeds were concerned. We couldn’t use our normal shack as the law about 10 sunbeds to a shack is now very strictly adhered to which seems ridiculous as the shacks are losing out on business big time. Some people hardly spend anything in the shacks so if they are stuck with this kind of customer they don’t make much money. I can see them all charging for sunbeds in the future.
I did think there were far less English tourists out there this year and lots more domestic tourists. We did have a trip to Agonda for 3 days which we loved and hopefully in the future we will spend a week down there. We didn’t find things any dearer this year as the exchange rate was so much better this year so this compensated for any price increases.
We did hear of more serious crime this year, e.g. a fight between staff at Bobbies shack and Big Banana, first reports were that someone had been killed, then it changed to someone getting their arm chopped off with a machete, then it was just a big fight which resulted in both shacks being closed for a couple of days. But customers ending up screaming and running off down the beach. Also a couple of hotels were broken into with safe deposit boxes being wiped out. Here goes but I do warn you we do a lot of sunbathing and eating…
10.12.11 – Saturday
We arrived at our hotel in Calangute early so after unpacking, getting safety deposit box and freshening up we headed for Valerie’s Travels at the top of the road to change some TC. We spent half an hour in there catching up with the gossip and then headed off to do some shopping at Johhny’s Chemist for malaria tablets and other bits and pieces also stocked up on drinks for the room at the supermarket. Once back at the hotel we unloaded and headed for the beach for lunch. We went to the local shack, Beach Queen, and had a chicken and a prawn biriani. As it was Saturday and football day we ate locally at the Melting Pot in Calangute where we had fantastic Chinese food. Pat, our friend who went out with us, went back to the hotel for an early nigh and Liz and I headed off to the Sportsman’s Bar in Calangute to watch the ManU/Wolves game. It was great to catch up with everyone in there.
11.12.11 – Sunday
Because of the 10 bed sunbed situation we went off to Bobby’s Shack today where we were inundated with beach sellers as it was Sunday and no police around. We don’t mind the beach sellers usually but on this particular day we were very tired and just wanted to sleep. The usual girls we see understood this and left us alone as they knew we would see them on the market. We settled for fruit salad for lunch. In the evening we went to Seashell Inn and then onto Jambalaya to be entertained by Blues and have a dance. We also met up with the Dragons, WellOutofIt, Lin B and Thornhill Lass & OH. Another late night.
12.12.11 – Monday
When we got up we found that the toilet was leaking so we had to have a new toilet fitted and we were given a different room to use whilst the work was going on. This morning was dentist day so after visiting the dentist in Candolim we went to Chocolati for coffee and cake. We walked back to Calangute along the beach and called in at the Domat Shack for lunch of mixed seafood and slept it off on a sunbed for a while. When we got back to the hotel we went to the new room for a shower but didn’t sleep in that room as it was very damp and musty – again see hotel report. In the evening we ate at Tony’s in Candolim.
13.12.11 – Tuesday
Today we had our room back complete with new toilet. We made another visit to the money exchange. On the way we past the fur shop and went in to look at sheepskin coats. Liz and I ended up putting a deposit on one each in preparation for another lousy winter at home. After the money exchange we went to the post office to post some cards. We also went to the opticians for glasses and contact lenses. On the way back Liz bought a lovely red handbag and Pat also bought a black bag. We then went to the Beach Queen Shack for fruit salad for lunch. It was a hazy, humid day. In the evening we went to Mermaid restaurant in Candolim. It was the quietest we have ever seen it, I think the portion of steamed mussels was much smaller this year though. We met a lovely waiter who is a very big ManU fan and even has his e-mail address as Nani17……………@ etc. We promised to take him some ManU stuff out later in the week. We always bring programmes, yearbooks etc. out for the lads in Goa so had plenty to go around.
14.12.11 – Wednesday
Today Liz had to go back to the dentist so Pat and I headed for the Beach Queen Shack. The weather was back to normal today, the sky was clear but it was very hot. In the evening we went to the Carvery for the meet up where we met up with the Dragons and Lin B and her friends. There was someone singing in there this year which did change the atmosphere a bit but we still had a good night.
15.12.11 – Thursday
Liz hadn’t been very well in the night, she had been really sick. I think it must have been as a result of the anaesthetic at the dentist and drinking the night before, perhaps she shouldn’t have been drinking after the anaesthetic – must have been Ram’s strong home made Baileys, she enjoyed it though, that’s all that mattered. We went to collect our new coats (they cost us £70 each – a real bargain) and he packed them really well for us so we could put them in our cases although we did think we would just take them over our arms due to weight restrictions. Went to change some more money and then Beach Queen shack for the day. On the way back to the hotel after the beach Sangitta our massage girl came running up to us as her daughter had seen us walking up from the beach, she was now living just on the corner near the hotel. We have known her for 12 years and seen her children grow up and have seen her go through some really hard times so it was nice to see they were all doing quite well. She was housekeeper to a Swiss lady who lets her live in the house with her two children, she is hardly ever there and is very kind to her, she has know her longer than us. We arranged to meet up with her at Peter’s Shack where she works in the day for our massages. In the evening we sent to After 7 which seemed busier than last year.
16.12.11 – Friday
Today we went to Mapusa market for the first time ever. On the way we went to Children Walking Tall to take out some shirts, shorts, etc. from Liz’s employer, Puma, some donated and some we bought with Liz’s staff discount and also stationary items for school from a friend who runs a stationary company. Pat also took out some clothing and stationary items that she had brought out. As Pat had never been before we were taken round again and saw all the wrapped up presents waiting to be given out. There was no pantomime this year and there didn’t seem to be any European volunteers around this time. Steven our taxi driver took us around Mapusa market while he did some shopping and we bought some spices, nuts and drinks. We went to Buckingham’s Shack for lunch in Calangute/Baga and then in the afternoon we visited Candolim Boys Home where we dropped off similar items to CWT and chatted with the boys who were enjoying a game of football so they were pleased to have all the football shirts. Pat wasn’t feeling too well today and after trying her best to get ready for the evening she decided to opt out and have an early night so Liz and I went to sublime for the first time, it was a lovely setting and the other clientele looked quite well heeled and the food was good although a bit more expensive than the norm. We also had another visit to the money exchange and chemist today. We do seem to be going through the money but who cares, we are on holiday and that is what we brought it for.
17.12.11 – Saturday
Today we went to Ashwen Beach where our previous taxi driver of our first 8 visits to Goa has now got a shack – Cool Place. We sunbathed all morning and had a long lunch chatting and then went for a walk up the beach. We called into La Plage but after sitting there for about 15 mins and being unable to get served we left and went back to Cool Place and sunbathed for another hour and left about 6 pm. In the evening we went to All Spice in Apora which has changed somewhat from our first visit some years ago, no longer the little shack on the side of the road but the food still good.
18.12.11 – Sunday
We did some washing today before heading off to Peter’s Shack to see Sangitta and have our massages. After the day there we went to Bomras in the evening for suckling pig. On the way to Bomras we went back to the Mermaid to give the waiter the ManU stuff, we gave him the yearbook and a ManU keyring, and we left him really happy. (I don’t want any comments from all you Man City and Liverpool fans). We then went to Top Nosh to book Christmas Dinner. We like Bomras but the constant traffic noise does spoil it somewhat and it is expensive. We then walked up the road to Jambalaya’s for another dancing evening, we met up with the usual crowd in there – Thornhill Lass & OH, the Dragons, Lin B and at last we met Badgerland the Meerkat.
19.12.11 – Monday
Today we went to Arambol although the taxi driver seemed reluctant to go there for some reason and wanted to take us to Mandrem. We insisted on Arambol though as we love it here. We walked round to the lake and sat and had ginger and lemon tea in the shack there, so cheap. We then walked back to the beach and lounged around for the rest of the day. We ate far too much at lunch time as it was so cheap which spoiled our meal at I95 in the evening even though we didn’t eat until after 9. This is the first time we have been to I95 and we loved it here. I had Beef Wellington and the pastry was amazing which was why I was so upset that I couldn’t manage to eat it all and neither could I sample the lovely deserts. We will definitely go back next year.
20.12.11 – Tuesday
Back to the opticians today to pick up Liz’s glasses, they cost £87 from Dangui in Calangute, this was for varifocal/photocromic, etc., my contact lenses weren’t in yet. Back to money exchange and chemist to restock on rehydration salts. Split and OH told us last year they have a glass of rehydration salts every morning and when they come off the beach so we have done the same this year. Back to Peters Shack for our massage. Sangitta had invited us for dinner tonight as she usually does. She always gives us enough for 6 not 3 and the food was lovely as usual. After a few hours with her and the children we called into the Mirabai for a mojitos and on our way out we were nicely ‘accosted’ by Debs & Paul from TA who were staying in our hotel.
21.12.11 – Wednesday
Today we went to Queen Beach shack and had a manicure and pedicure. We also telephoned Palacio Do Deao in the south to confirm our visit and arrange lunch. Meet up night again so I went with the taxi to pick up our friends who had just arrived from their hotel in Apora – Resort Rio. A fantastic hotel but a bit out of the way for me. We then all squashed into the taxi and went too the Carvery. On Chilly’s recommendation I tried the meat pie tonight and it was brilliant, thoroughly recommended if you are curried out, will definitely have again. Met up with Split and OH, the Dragons and Lin B and friends. Took lots of great photos which we were drooling over last night.
22.12.11 – Thursday
We left for Agonda with our friends from Apora at 9 am for our 3 day trip. On the way down we visited Palacio Do Deao www.palaciododeao.com. This place is an absolute must to visit. The man who owns it was responsible for restoring the Taj Tiracol Fort and he used to run it for a number of years but as he now has a young family he decided to take the risk and buy this place for himself and do it up so it is also his family home. If you ring in advance you can book to eat there. It is a lovely setting on the terrace and the meal is absolutely amazing, there are so many courses we thought the food would never stop coming out, all cooked by his wife and for only 650rps each plus drinks. He just leaves you to enjoy the place. The gardens are beautifully laid out too. We arrived at Agonda at approx 3.15 pm We stayed at Shanti Huts which was lovely. They are owned by Bobby who was a head chef for many years at various Taj hotels and the Holiday Inn. He would cook anything you want even if it wasn’t on the menu. We had requested huts on the beach which were lovely and clean with a bathroom which was open to the sky which was lovely. After settling in and chatting to Bobby we had a very meagre dinner in the evening as we were still so full and after a few cocktails we went to bed around midnight.
23.12.11 – Friday
We slept well and woke to the sound of the sea and us 4 women went for an early morning walk and left the solitary male in bed. We came back to breakfast and sunbathed until lunchtime then ate again and more sunbathing. We then went for a late afternoon walk and went into Dersey’s Shack where we had a drink and watched the sunset. We were very lucky to see the dolphins too which came very near to the shore, it was a lovely sight. After cold showers which I can put up with in such a lovely setting we then had dinner and drinks till late again.
24.12.11 – Saturday
Up early again for another walk. Pat wasn’t feeling too good again so she stayed behind and Liz and I went off on our own. Laid on the beach and then packed up and moved out of the hut by 12. Had lunch then sunbathed until 3 pm when we left for Calangute. We had a good drive back with not much traffic on the coast road. We went to E’n’E for Xmas Eve dinner which was 5 courses which included lamb, pork and chicken. Very good value and a lovely meal in a family run restaurant.
25.12.11 – Sunday
Xmas day although I had forgotten this until someone mentioned it at breakfast. Normal day for us, Peters shack for massage, light lunch of fruit salad so we could enjoy Christmas dinner at Top Nosh. We had a fantastic evening, it was a buffet meal with usual Christmas fare, the starters having an Indian twist. Throughout the meal there was a singer on and then later his son took over and did a fantastic bangra disco with all the waiters and kitchen staff starting off the proceedings. We got some great photos and didn’t want to leave when the taxi came for us. Will definitely go back next year.
26.12.11 – Monday
Liz had her final visit to the dentist for her crown fitting (scale and polish and crown for £120) while I went to collect my contact lenses from the optician and I also took Liz’s watch in for a new battery. He said there was nothing wrong with the battery but the watch mechanism was broken. He put in a complete new mechanism which was probably worth more than the watch and it only cost 450 rps. It is still going strong. I did some more general shopping and went to the money exchange on the way back. On my way down to the beach I called into Sangita’s house to collect some bracelets she had bought for my nieces for us. She said she could get them cheaper than us. Left the beach early to go to Thalassa in Vagator which is a must to pre-book if you want to get in. Went early to see the sunset, well worth it. We went to this restaurant last year and the service was horrendous and we vowed we wouldn’t go back again but Pat had never been and it is a lovely place so we decided to give it another go. This visit was much more successful and the food was lovely although we did go overboard with the starters as they gave us such large portions and we didn’t have much room left for the main course. When we left we went to the Sportsman’s bar in Calangute to watch the ManU/Wigan game, great result 5-0, although I think watching football was a bit of a trial for Pat as she just doesn’t get it. Perhaps next time she will opt for an early night!
27.12.11 – Tuesday
We headed for Beach Queen shack and more sunbathing but it wasn’t to be as due to the 10 bed rule there was no room so we headed to Bonny’s shack. Went to J&A Little Italy in the evening, had a lovely meal. We haven’t been here for quite a few years and I do think it is a bit overpriced but as I say we had a good meal. Went to Mirabai for a late Mojito.
28.12.11 – Wednesday
Anjuna market today but did some packing first. After lots of shopping in the market and our usual samosa and beer stop we went to Sea Breeze for lunch but after waiting for over an hour for lunch we left as the taxi was due. It was a shame as we like it in there, the band were good though. We saw the usual girls we buy from and also bought too Yak fur hats to go with our new coats, 500 rps each, a great bargain. As its forecast freezing cold weather this weekend we are going to try out our new coats and hats. Money exchange again after spending up in the market then off for a manicure then to Casa Portuguese. We always have a good night here catching up with Francisco, always a late night and feeling worse for wear from his home made port.
29.12.11 – Thursday
Peters shack for our last massage. There was beach bed fiasco today with people being turfed off their sunbeds when the police came down the beach. Really a ridiculous situation, don’t think they want tourists. Upgraded for our flight home, got premium seats for £100 in typical Indian fashion. We haggled over the price, they wanted £135, the notice board the week before had said they were £79 then they offered them to us for £120 but we said we wouldn’t pay more than £100 so he said he would ask his manager and get back to us. He rang straight back and said ok. This was mainly an excess luggage thing rather than any comfort factor. We decided it would be as cheap to upgrade and get free drinks rather than pay excess and pay for all our drinks. I would never pay the normal asking price though as I don’t think it was worth it. I didn’t think the leg room was all that much different from the normal seats. Arranged with Steven to take us to the airport on Saturday morning. Went to Fiesta in the evening and had a lovely meal, lovely atmosphere, very busy. Have been surprised how busy the more expensive restaurants have been this year.
30.12.11 – Friday
Up early to finish packing, early to beach only to find sunbeds had been reserved from the previous day so had to go to another shack, went to Bonnies shack again. Took leftover shampoos, etc over to Sangittas and then went to the Melting Pot for dinner as we wanted an early night. Had a useless waiter tonight who didn’t seem to take any notice of what we were saying to him and we had to ask for everything twice, think he was too busy promoting himself. It was annoying as we had gone local so that we could have an early night but it didn’t end up that way and spoilt our last night.
31.12.11 – Saturday
Alarm went off very early morning or late at night whichever way you want to look at it and we left for the airport at 3.15 a.m. A bit early but we didn’t want to risk the traffic as last year we had a real panic attack with the traffic. We were glad though as we were at the front of the queue and got through everything relatively easy.
AND here we are back home and have booked again to stay at Highland Beach in Candolim for December 2012 for 3 weeks. Hope it will be okay as it has cost us £400 more each this time, some of that is because we are going a week later. We have details of costs of all meals that we went to if anyone wants to know anymore about the restaurants we visited.