Clearly I did not live up to my wide eyed and optimistic enthusiasm of earlier this year, this post comes to you from glorious and sunny Punta Del Este in Uruguay.
But back to India…
On the overnight bus from Bangalore to Hampi, we finally got a ‘convenience stop’ (in the bushes by the side of the road) at around 3:30am, being long over my fear of peeing in nature and not to mention busting, I ran headlong into a patch of very vicious thorns. When I eventually found a place with no thorns and suitable cover, Nic, concerned for my welfare (rather than calling into the dark) shined his very bright torch on me, so everyone on the bus who cared to see my shiny white bottom could do so without having to strain their eyes. So when we decided to more on from Hampi rather than go through such a long bus ride (with no toilet) again, we instead made some pretty bad logistical decisions.
We decided to take an overnight train to Goa.
Sadly ‘the overnight train to Goa’ is not one train, rather two, and both travelling in a direction alarmingly away from Goa. In the end our journey was as such; boat, autorickshaw, train, wait at the station, other train, autorickshaw, bus, autorickshaw. The distance ‘as the crow flies’ is around 170km. It took us 16 hours.
We did arrive in the end and were super excited and glad to be in Panaji, as Panaji was at one time a huge Portuguese colony. The town although distinctly Indian, certainly has a bit of a European feel to it, some people still speak portuguese, many of the street names reflect the colonial past, there are also more Catholic Churches here than anywhere else we saw in India. Our hotel was abslolutely beyond great, after so long travelling in such questionable conditions the tightly tucked clean white sheets, immaculate bathroom and hot water on tap were most welcome – thank you Afonso Guesthouse!
From Panaji we boarded a public bus to Mapsa and then on to Anjuna. (I have created a soundcloud account for nicoandemma.com, it includes a short clip of the bus trip to Anjuna along with other parts of the journey that we thought were worth capturing – have a listen!) We were pretty happy to have arrived at the beach and Anjuna is reasonably nice as far as beaches go – shame about the thousands of tacky, cigarette smoking tourists. Anjuna used to be one of the beaches in Goa that was a mecca for hippies in the 60’s and 70’s but sadly since then tourism has really gone a little bit wild so it is very polluted and crowded. The five days we spent in Anjuna was too much, but sometimes when you wake up in a hut on the beach, getting motivated to move on to the next destination is a little bit too taxing.
Excited as we were by our supreme mobility on the public buses, we decided to go to a beach in the south of Goa by bus, well five buses to be exact. It took most of the day but we arrived safely and had spent a sum total of about 150 rupees per person — woo hoo, bargain travel! Arriving at this beach in the south of Goa was like a sigh, this place, in comparison to Anjuna was delightfully empty except for a few contented cows contemplating the ocean. The beach was clean with a modest amount of development, the beach huts that we found were just perfect. We stayed there for three glorious nights, found an excellent place to practice yoga and in the end, were very sad to leave our little hideaway.
Logic did thankfully dictate the final travel leg of this journey – we flew from Goa back to Bangalore. Ahh what a simple way to go… we arrived fresh, clean and smelling sweet and were back in Mysore by 10pm.
Ohmighosh! Only three more days in India!!