My company took all it’s Pune employees to Goa to celebrate the completion of 20 years of operations in Pune. The official trip was scheduled from 22nd January 2016.
In order to get some extra time in GOA a few of us decided to go a day earlier. We took GOA express from Pune to Goa on 20th January. Our train reached Vasco De Gama railway station at around 7:00AM on 21st January.
I have studied in GOA for 4 years and Vasco was the closest town to my institute. I know the town very well. We had planned on purchasing cashew nuts from Vasco. We reached the store at around 7:10AM. A person told us that the store would open at 7:30AM. We decided to have breakfast and return after some time. After a light breakfast at Temptations, we came back to the store and purchased some cashews.
Our plan was to stay at Calungute, so we decided to take the Kadamba shuttle from Vasco to Panjim. The queue at the ticket counter was long but it moved fast and we were in the shuttle in 15 minutes. The Vasco to Panjim shuttle is a highly recommended ride. It offers great scenery all along the route. You need to sit on the left hand side of the bus though or you will miss the view. While travelling in the bus nostalgia hit me as I remembered how many times I had taken this bus during my college days.
Soon we reached Panjim. We took another bus to Calungute. This journey was slow as there was a lot of traffic and stops on the route. Finally our bus stopped at Calungute bus stand. Our plan was to stay at Calungute Residency Annexe. Being a phone addict dumba**, I immediately pulled out my phone and started looking for the hotel in google maps. After a 1Km walk we finally reached the spot marked as Calungute Residency Annexe on google maps only to discover that it was nowhere in sight. After some enquiries we headed back to the bus stop. To our great embarrassment the Hotel was right at the bus stop. If only instead of pulling out my phone I would have looked around, we could have saved a 2Km walk with our luggage. The extra walk allowed us to eat more later so it was fine.
The hotel only had AC double rooms available, so we checked into one. After a quick shower we had lunch and decided to take a nap before heading out to the beach. At around 3:30 we headed to the beach. After taking a dip in the waters we walked the entire stretch of Calungute and Bagha beach. Later we sat down at a shack for some snacks and watched the sun set into the Arabian Sea.
Later we had plans to have dinner at Anjuna. We hired a Dio and rode to Anjuna. Once again using google maps instead of reaching the beach we ended up in Anjuna village. After that we had to ride through a lot dirt roads to reach the beach. On the way we met some guys in a jeep, even they were lost. So they followed us and we finally made it to the beach.
We walked along the beach but the most of the beach felt deserted. Finally when we reached an area where some music was playing, but some guys stopped us. They demanded Rs1000 as a charge to cross over. Finding it too much we walked back. Reaching our scooter, we rode back to Calungute. Unlike day time when the beach was over crowded, the evening atmosphere at Calungute and Bagha was just right. There were several people still on the beach and the place felt way more happening than Anjuna.
Walking along we met another group of our colleagues(Bhau gang) who had also come a day earlier. After talking to them for some time we settled for dinner at a shack. After finishing our dinner and paying our bill. I spotted another group of my colleagues walking along the beach. We joined them and walked with them as they were looking for a place to eat.
We sat with them and joked around for a long time till it was midnight.It was time for the shack to be closed. We walked back to our room and went to sleep.
Our Hotel had arranged several buses to pick up our tour group from the railway station, airport and the Madgaon bus stop. We planned to reach the Madgaon bus stop at around 11:30 and take the 12:15 bus to the hotel. After having breakfast we checked out from our hotel at 9:00AM and took a bus to Panjim. From Panjim we took the shuttle to Madgaon. We reached Madgaon bus stop at 11:00AM which was earlier than we had planned, fortunately the Hotel buses were running late so we boarded the 10:15 bus which was still at the bus stand at 11:00AM. After a short wait in the bus, we started off to the Hotel. Usually people like to dose off in short bus journeys, but I make it a point to look out of the window and see as much of any place as possible.
The short 50 minute ride from Madgaon bus stop to our Hotel was filled with winding hilly roads, small villages and loads of greenery. Finally when we reached the outer wall of our Hotel, I was too excited to get out of the bus, but our Hotel was huge we kept riding along the wall, then we entered the gate and once again we kept riding on the road to reach the lobby area. Finally we arrived at the lobby, as we got down we were welcomed with a nice Kokum drink. After check-in formalities, I was finally given the access card to my room.
After walking through an endless hallway of doors I finally reached my room. Although I have seen my fair share of some great hotel rooms( thanks to my father) this was the best hotel room I had ever stayed in. The room was fairly long and had a balcony. Suddenly I realized that we actually had an option to decide between 2 rooms, thanks to a clerical error. I immediately rushed to the other room to check the view from it’s balcony. I saw that it looked out to a garden, which was great, but I had forgotten to check out the view from the original room so I ran back and opened the balcony to see this. This wasn’t just the garden but also the pool and much more. The decision was made we were staying in 2066.
Throwing our luggage in we ran out to join in the rain dance party, lunch and the flea market which was organized for our tour group. I was already feeling ravenous so I ditched the rain dance and attacked the food first. Then I bought myself a blue T shirt and matching flip flops. After chatting with some of my friends I returned back to my room, it was 3:00PM. A big group had planned on meeting at the beach at around 4. A quick nap later, I put on my board shorts, newly purchased T shirt and flip flops and headed to the beach.
After a long walk through the golf course and lawns inside the Hotel I finally reached the beach. The party had already began as the Bhau gang had already started playing volleyball. I joined them in no time as we played game after game for close to an hour. Post which I entered the water at Rajbaga beach.
The Rajbaga beach is a very strategic location for a resort to be in. On the southern end of the beach is the Talpon river which merges into the sea creating a natural boundary for the beach, on the northern end there is a short hill and some rocks which separate the Rajbaga beach from the Patnem beach. The Lalit Golf Spa and Resort owns all the land along the Rajbaga beach which creates a pseudo private beach for the patrons of the resort.
Coming back to the water, our group had loads of fun as the waves on the beach were comparatively huge and broke very close to the shore offering lots of opportunities for fun. Soon it was 7:00PM and I also wanted to check out the pool before dinner so I rushed from the beach straight to the pool. Just like anything else at The Lalit, the pool was marvelously designed. It has a rough L shape. It has a long stretch of around 35 meters, while the breadth of the pool goes under a wooden bridge, beyond which lies their poolside bar, where you can sip your drinks while you sit on underwater stools. After a very short exploration of the pool, I returned to my room showered and arrived at the location for our dinner and Karaoke party. Since the line for dinner was fairly long I decided to first hit the Karaoke.
I have always liked the idea of singing with a karaoke machine but never got the opportunity. I flipped the book which listed the available songs, unfortunately it didn’t have any of the first 10 or more songs which came to my mind. I was a little disappointed but I kept on running through the list to finally find a song I was excited to sing “Mehbooba Mehbooba from Sholay”. After singing it, I was hooked as I sang song after song “Kyun Aaj kal neend kam”, “O Haseena Zulfon Waali”. I sang songs of my choice, I sang songs of other people’s choice, I sang songs I knew, I sang songs I didn’t know. I had a quick dinner and came back to sing more. I never imagined Karaoke could be so much fun.
It was 11:30 when they closed down the Karaoke and kicked us out. I went to the beach and walked around for some time with some friendss. I finally came to my room at 1:40AM and went to sleep. I had checked that the pool opened at 7:00 in the morning.
Next morning I was at the pool at 7:05. After a short 30 minute swim I headed to the beach, for another session of volleyball. Last evening’s session had brought most us back in touch. Our game reminded me of the beach volleyball scene from top gun, except we were a lot more people. After the game and breakfast we went for a walk to explore the Talmon river end of the beach. It was beautiful just like anything else around that place 🙂 .
After our walk, I returned to my room to take a shower and some rest. Like the previous day we had planned to play volleyball at around 4PM. After a few games, I once again entered the sea for some fun.
Later I decided to take a stroll along the Rajbagh beach and onto Patnem beach. While the Rajbagh beach only had people from our resort and a few others, the Patnem beach was full of people. Walking along to my great surprise I found a batch-mate of mine sitting on the beach. We talked for sometime, I also met some other people from my college who had come to GOA in a group.
Since our company had organized a party in the evening, I had to head back to the Hotel. I also wanted to visit the pool once more. Time was short and there was loads to do and I did it all.
After my swim in the pool I headed back to my room and got dressed quick to reach the venue for the party. We had put up a stage on the beach itself. There were a few cultural programs organized which included some dance performances and a fashion show by our senior leaders.
Soon after we had dinner and then a group of my friends and I walked to along the beach to a quiet area where we chatted for a long time. In the middle of our chit chat I had go and attend to mishap triggered by free alcohol. After helping out I returned to my group. We stayed there till 2 in the night after which I returned to my room. I had to take my tooth brush out and use one of the common rest rooms for most of my activities as the washroom of my room was occupied.
I had planned on getting up early the next morning to once again play volleyball and take a swim, but the sleep deprivation of 3 nights had finally caught up to me, and I overslept. We had breakfast at the hotel after which we completed the checkout formalities. Although we had checked out of our rooms, we still roamed around the resort till 4Pm as our return bus was at night from Madgaon. I enjoyed the bus trip from The Lalit to Madgaon.
Some of us had a light snack at Madgaon, before we got on to our return bus courtesy the superfast VRL . We reached Pune early next morning. One of my most memorable trips had come to an end. Fortunately I have this post and lots of pics to remember it by.