Monday, January 5, 2009

19-20 December – Panaji to Palolem, Goa, India

We celebrated our arrival to Goa with a nice lunch at Hospedaria Venite in Panaji, the capital of Goa. After that we went to the Main Post Office to check on our Poste Restante. We were very happy to find five large envelopes with letters and gifts. Many thanks!

That night we had great difficulties to find a place to camp. In the end we simply set camp on a small street in the middle of Panaji. It was one of the oddest places we have slept in so far.
The following morning we were supposed to look for a garage/workshop which could help us to change the gearbox. We had ordered a new gearbox from the UK and it should arrive by air freight in one or two weeks. However, we were now told that 19 December is a very important national holiday since it marks the day when, in 1961, Goa became independent from Portugal after being a colony for more than 400 years. So we went directly towards Palolem Beach instead. From what we had read and heard, this would be an ideal beach for us during grandmother’s visit.

The countryside in Goa is very beautiful, with rice paddies, jungle, palm trees, spice plantations, rolling hills, Portuguese colonial architecture, Hindu temples, white churches and a wonderful coastline with sandy beaches. A few kilometers from Palolem, in the south of Goa, we took a detour to Agonda Beach to try to find a camp site on the beach which we had heard rumors about. That turned out to be a bad idea. You should not relax until you have crossed the finish line.

We ended up having to make a u-turn on a very narrow and steep road. We did not have a reverse gear, and the road was too steep to push the car. So we had to build bridges for the wheels to take us across a deep ditch. Just as we had crossed our improvised bridges they collapsed. But the car was now standing firmly on the road again! Relief.
Time to go to Palolem. No more detours. We found a nice hotel in Palolem and settled in. We went to the beach and found it to be a real paradise beach with white sand, coconut palm trees, clear and clean water, nice restaurants and a friendly atmosphere. Now we were prepared for the arrival of grandmother.

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