India - Quiet Goan hideaways do exist
Markus had to fly back home after our visit to Agra because of some work related projects. He planned to be at home for 2 weeks before coming back to India. As I was flexible with my work (a laptop is enough to work for me), I had decided to stay in India for a much needed relaxing time. For quite a while I was looking for a beach spot to make nice walks at the beach without being stared at by random men sitting in bushes and doing.... well, if you have read my blogs from Kerala you probably know what I mean. So I decided to come to Goa this year. But where to go in Goa when you need a quiet place without party, without drinking, without beach hawkers. It took me a while till I figured out, Agonda in the south could be a place like this. I found a cheap flight with Air Asia from Delhi to Goa and then another 2 hours to reach my final destination. First of all, I enjoyed the warm sun in the south of India. So great to be back into the tropics.
And Agonda was exactly what I needed. I have to say, I was lucky enough to stay at the far north end of the long white dreamy beach in a place called Duck & Chill. I had a cheap, clean bungalow right on the beach. It was perfect. In bed I could hear the crashing of the waves. There was no party around, just some other travellers looking for the same - a peaceful and chilled time. The WIFI was very good (so I was able to work a bit as well), food was nice, people great. Well, and this beach is simply stunning!!!!!! Endless clean white sand to walk along in your bikini without men staring at you. That is simply paradies! I stayed there 15 days! The first 7 days I did an ayurveda treatment at Bioveda in the middle of the beach in Agonda. The doctor was really competent and knowledgable and the treatment was amazing. So the relaxing started perfectly. Every day I did my morning mediation on the beach followed by a swim. Most of the days I could watch dolphins playing in the sea quite close to the beach. The beach is never full, as Agonda itself has a limited number of accomodation. So you always find plenty of private space. Still there are enough shops and a number of good restaurants to chose from. It was pure bliss.
For 2 days I rented a scooter. That was easy, no-one asked for a licence (which I had left at home), driving with helmet is compulsory, but who does this anyway? On the first day I drove up north. I visited I beautiful Lakshmi-Narayana-Tempel. Further on, driving on the winding roads through the hilly area was a delight although one has to be really careful of the many potholes, cows, pigs and other objects or living beings on the road. Via an offroad track I drove down an adventurous path to Khola Beach. This is a well hidden beach with little hut accomodation and a beautiful lagoon. There were only few people there. It really was beautiful to watch. In some parts there still was this gipsy kind of feeling. Anyway, for some reason the place had a strange energy which I did not like. So I continued further north to Cabo de Rama, an old portuguese fort. That was a very peaceful place but deserted. It felt strange to wander around the really old ruins which are falling apart, on my own. But the views to the sea and the coastline were amazing. I drove a bit further north to Betul, but nothing special to see there. So back I went to Agonda.
My second day on the scooter, I went to Palolem in the south. That is the famous place for backpackers in South Goa. The Lonely Planet calls it a tropic paradies. Whoever was writing this, must have been on drugs! The beach of Palolem must have been very nice without all the huts. But now it is a horrible, filthy, packed place with drunken people - for me a nightmare. Even though they try to keep the beach clean there is garbage all around. There are sandflies galore, not to talk about cockroaches and rats. Some longtime visitors who had come to Palolem for many years told me, that they stopped going there. Many got skin or other health problems because of the bad water quality when taking a shower! The beach is full of shops, bars and beach hawkers trying to get your money. There is non stop music from the bars. Well, I was shocked. If you want to go shopping - ok, there are some nice shops. But that is it. After a quick walk on the beach and the backstreets I quickly left Palolem and drove back to Agonda. On the way I found an alternative cafe which has some organic food and spiritual workshops called "The space cafe". It was really good to relax there with some nice food and an excellent ayurvedic chai. Back in Agonda I was just happy to have found such an amazing and peaceful place to stay. Some might find this boring, but I could stay there for much longer. This peace and the tranquility is so rare in our society today. So I am happy that these spots still do exist. Sometimes one must simply be lucky to find it.
Anyway, as much as I enjoyed my time in Agonda, I have to say that Goa somehow is not India. Sure, it is just another aspect of India, but it mainly lives from the tourists. Sometimes it is even hard to find a pure vegetarian restaurant, but one can have continental breakfast, burgers and pizza everyhwere. Also, what I missed the most was the spiritual life. Of course there are many churches. But, one can hardly enter them. There are only few temples but as a tourist one can only look at the temples but not take part in any ceremony or puja. But maybe away from the beaches we will find this in Goa.....