North Goa is renowned for its crowded beaches, upbeat nightlife, beach shacks and incredible food. I stayed at Charleston Beach Resort, located on the sweeping bay of Calangute Beach and it was the prime location to soak up the suns rays against the backdrop of stunning greenery. The hotel restaurant overlooks the beach and the quality of the food served was exceptional. Some of my favourite dishes include the Bhindi Masala, Masala Fry, Masala Mondal and the Chana Chaat Masala. Charleston beach resort is a peaceful escape, away from the hustle and bustle of Calangute village and I felt completely at ease during my stay, thanks to the helpful and friendly staff.
On my first day I made my way down to Baga beach. The coastline has a line of shacks, which overlook rows of sun beds and I spent the day at ‘Love Shack’ and recuperated in the shade under an umbrella. Behind the beautiful beaches there are unfinished roads, cows, whole families on scooters, countless shops and streets full of life, energy and colours.
On my second day I went to Sahakari Spice farm, which is an attraction filled with spices, fruits and herbs. This gave me an insight into the many flavours found in India such as allspice, cinnamon, ginger and turmeric. Later, I had a guided tour and visited St Francis Xavier church, located in Old Goa. I visited Shantadurga Temple in Panjim, which is mesmerising in its exterior and interior. On Wednesday I went to Anjuna Flea Market, which take places, every Wednesday from 8am – 7pm. It has many colourful craft stalls and it is a fantastic place to stroll around. In the afternoon I went to Ashwem beach, which is tucked away from the crowds. Ashwem is a wide and secluded bay and is a place of beauty and solitude.
Towards the end of the week, I woke up early one morning, to attend a Yoga session at Cyril’s Yoga Class in Calangute. The session with Cyril was a great taster of energetic and relaxing stretches, along with various breathing techniques. He even showed me how to do a headstand! After yoga I went to Morjim beach and ate lunch at the ‘Goldeneye Shack.’
On Saturday I went to Mandrem beach. Behind the beach is a beautiful wooden bridge, which depicts a picture of paradise. I had an Ayurvedic massage, in a shack on the beach and relaxed listening to the sound of the sea. In the evening I went to Arpora, which has a market that takes places every Saturday night. The market had a vibrant atmosphere, incredible authentic food and live music. My final day was spent on Baga beach at ‘ Buckingham Shack.’
I was amazed at the contrast of the peaceful and idiyllic beaches to the poverty and noise happening behind them. It appears that as you reach the sanctuary of the beaches you almost become separated from what is happening behind them. The people that I met during my trip were noticeably happy, friendly and welcoming. They may not necessarily have lots of material things but seem happy regardless. I think this is one of the most important things I will remember about my trip. The people in Goa live a basic lifestyle but this seems to make them happier.