In historical Goa, once the colony of the Portuguese, the past & the present coalesce in harmonious wonder. Lazy, languid lifestyles intersperse with hard-driven tourists aiming to grab their share of sun-dappled beach-life. Worn-away forts, whitewashed Churches, vibrant Temples stand witness to Goa’s amazing dichtomy, offering you a rich tapestry of experiences.
Mitaroy Suites Goa, a 200-year-old Portuguese bunglow restored with care, embellished by a touch of Spanish flair, offers 4-designer suitesand is located in the UNESCO Heritage zone of Fontainhas.
DAY – 1 :
Welcome to Goa : Land in Dabolim Airport, arrive in Fontainhas, a 40-minute drive away (Rs 800) and be accorded a traditional welcome by Jack, your caretaker, into this quaint bunglow – the water-body at the entrance, the tiled, red-oxide ‘balcao’ where you can spend many hours whiling away the time of the day or night just like the locals do (imbibing a fiery feni or a really-chilled beer, with our best compliments) into a large lounge with a high-high tiled-roof. Your personal dwellings ( ground or first floor) consist of a large lounge room, an equally large aiconditioned bedroom with an antique bed, a large modern toilet. Equipped with your own fully-stocked fridge ( beers, juices, water, ice, wine) and furnished lovingly, your ‘home’ in Goa will make you feel at home !
Heritage Walkabout : In the evening, just before sundown, take a ramble around your ‘home’. Fontainhas, your neighbourhood, is a UNESCO heritage Walkabout zone, attracting all history-loving tourists. Fontainhas. (fountain in Porto) replete with period, tile-roofed cottages, narrow byelanes, a 400-year-old Chapel, a canal running alongside and some delightful eating-drinking places. You’ll be transported to another time, another era – stop by at 31 january Bakery to buy scrumptous ‘bebbinca’ or ‘dodhol’, both traditional savouries of the Goan. End your walkabout with dinner at our very-own Linda’s Viva Panjim – try out her squid reshaad and prawn-curry-rice with a home-made feni to wash it down.
DAY – 2 :
Fortified – Fort Aguada & Jail : Truly refreshed after a night’s rest, drive down about 30 mts to the Aguada Fort, a magnificient laterite structure that offers a stunning view of the confluence of the river and the sea, about 100 ft above sea-level. We’ll pack a picnic basket and that will include a couple of beers / juices, courtesy of the house. A few centuries ago, this also housed the inmates of the now-defunct Jail, but glimpses of the past always remain in these ramparts, bearing rich testimony to the many invaders of this pretty land. Check out the mysterious underground tunnels, the moats and the far-as-the-eye-can-sea view with the odd ocean-liner, iron-ore barges, colourful bobbing fiashing-boats and swank sail-boats. Stop by at O’Coquero restaurant, whose excellent Goan-Continental cuisine became the downfall of the notorious Vietnamese-born French-national, serial-murderer, dubbed ‘bikini-killer’ preying on unsuspecting foreign travellers by ‘drugging’ & robbing them. Charles Sobhraj, the man, spent an inordinate time ‘planning’ and enjoying the food hereabouts until the police swooped down and caught him in their net; he still languishes in jail awaiting trial. O’Coquero is a nice, open-faced eatery serving authentic Goan cuisine at very reasonable prices (meal for 2 Rs 800).
Afloat on the river : The Mandovi Bridge, not unlike the Kwai, has collapsed more than once, but forms the life-line to North Goa. Take the free-ferry (man & vehicle jostle for space) across the river to the other side (fish-market) and walk down a bit to see the lovely layout-by-the-river of world-renowned Goan architect Charles Correa, who has done a building at MIT Boston too. Charles, a frail old man who lives there when in Goa has also created wonderful spaces in our very own Kala Academy at Campal-Miramar, als worth a visit at sunset. Take an evening carnival-ferry that floats upstream & downstream for 2 solid hours, offering a view of the twinkling lights of Panjim city at sundown, a stunning sunset at the confluence and an array of dances & songs, Goan & Hindi – choose the sober lower-deck or the action-packed upper-deck to dance in gay abandon. This is compliments of the house and Jack will be happy to ‘ferry’ you to the jetty, a 5-minute walk from your ‘home’. Stop by at Venite, a quaint restaurant – drink a (local) Kings beer and enjoy the continental food and don’t miss the graffiti (even on the roof !).
DAY – 3 :
Indulge in bird-watching – Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary : Wake up early and take a short drive down to the bird sanctuary, named after India’s most famous ornitholgist, to sight some colourful & rare species of birds. Again our picnic basket will help you on your way.
Travel through time – Old Goa : About 5 kms away from Panjim, is a Church that houses the mortal remains of the patron saint of Goa, St Francis Xavier, in a silver casket. The simple-yet-imposing laterite-stone edifice is open to all to worship the saint. The exposition of St Francis Xavier’s body in the enclosed casket, happens once in 4 years, in the first week of December, which is the saint’s birthday. The Se Cathedral, on the other side of the highway, is also an imposing structure. Nearby is the Museum, definately worth a visit, nay, an hour at least, to understand the byegone era.
St Sebastian’s Chapel : Drop in for evening vespers at this 400-year-old chapel and discover the silence of the area in close proximity to the Almighty. Having paid your obesience to your maker, get a bit more earth ‘Down The Road’, a pub-by-the-canal offering live music and enjoy the evening eating, drinking, dancing and being merry, cause tomorrow you’re gone !!!
Beachcoming – North Goa : Goa is famous for its sun-kissed beaches, secluded coves, cool, blue waters amidst the refreshing greenfields & whitewashed Churches. Each whiff of salty-spray revives your soul, every grain of sand brings its own joi-de-vivre, something found only in Goa, inexplicably so. Walk the sea, splash in the waves, explore the water-world by snorkelling in the shallow parts of the beach at Candolim, Baga or Anjuna, all a 30-minute drive away. Applaud the daring fishhermen with their catch by having freshest of sea-food done right under-your-nose in those wonderful thatched ‘shacks’ right on the beach as you while away the hours of the day, drinking chilled beer, unwinding. Get a rub-down by any of the many ‘masseurs’ who float by. A whole day on the beach to do just nothing, except stare at the horizon and day-dreaming of all the things-to-do-before-I-die ! The nicest way to end a visit to Goa, is to watch the sun set over the watery horizon, in a semi-stupor, and get prepared to say goodbye to the land of freedon, as you dine under the stars.
Lazy-days. Get up late, as you’ve done all through your stay. Allow yourself to indulge in a late, late brekker of a variety of fruit-juices, locally-made fresh-pav (unleavened breads), potato & channa (lentils) bhaji, ham, backon, cheeses, home-made jam & marmalade, boiled eggs and more from a buffet served to you at-any-time as-you-like-it. Late check-outs are welcomed, so don’t worry about a late flight or train. Like hopefully, you’ve been pampered, and feel relaxed & refreshed to go back to your routine lifestyle…until you choose to come back for more sosegaad!
5 Day 4 Night Heritage Package: Rs. 29,000