The organised trip ended in Goa where we were booked into a hotel near the Calangute beach. This is also known as the Costa Del Sol of Goa and it really is true. I felt like I could have been in Spain. There were so many tourists and white people- quite a shock after being the only ones for so long. The beach was just a mass of people and street vendors everywhere.
As we were booked in the hotel for a few nights, we decided to make the best of it before going to look for nicer beaches. A trip into old Goa, showed some beautiful churches- one of which holds the body of St Francis Xavier. Amazingly his body never decayed until they started hacking it to pieces to distribute parts of the sacred body to other Churches. However, parts of his body (mainly bones) are on display in old Goa. Lovely.
Finally saying goodbye to the people with whom I had spent the last 37 days, I headed with a select few to the northern beaches. Two bus rides and a tuk tuk later we arrived at Asvem beach -a completely empty beach, with white sand and beach huts along its edge. It seemed like heaven. We rented beach huts on stilts and surrounded by palm trees, with balconies looking out to the sea. Whilst they were basic huts it was perfect (and only 3 pounds a night!!). The only problem being our huts were situated in between 2 shops who decided to use us for turf warfare. Every time we ventured out we were made to promise that we would visit their shop/only see them for a manicure/only ever speak to them etc etc.
Days consisted of sunbathing and playing in the strong waves before showering ready for cocktails on the beach to watch the sunset and then dinner. You really could not go wrong -except to visit Anjuna Market - a bad mistake. Not only was it extremely hot and humid but the store venders were completely mad. They grabbed your arm, would pull you into their stall, or would just constantly talk at you. I seriously lost the will to live after an hour. Our shopping prowresses deserted us, so we retreated back to the beach for cocktails.
By this time I had gone from a group of 12, to a group of 4, and was now about to go to just me and Louise. Our last meal with everyone was extremely sad but nevertheless it was time to move on.
Wanting to see more of Goa, we headed down to Candolim/Fort Aguada beaches. Perhaps we should have realised that when the guide book said it was mainly for charter tourists this meant the lowest of the low British tourists!!! These lovely (!) creatures enjoyed showing off white, fat bodies to all and sundry and every restaurant had a British menu, advertising a whole variety of roasts!
Joining in the spirit, I was delighted to find a restaurant called 'The Yorkshireman', that had posters of the great county and showing how to make proper Yorkshire pudding. Clearly we had to eat here. I had proper fish and chips with mushy peas (and yes I asked for sugar) whilst Louise sampled the delight of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. The Indians did do quite a good job. Apparently the restaurant had been opened by a Yorkshire man who then disappeared. The new owner kept the style on including learning the ways of British cooking!
We did see the Fort but to be honest there is not a lot to write about it besides the invasion of a group of Indian men. For some unknown reason they decided to whoop and holler around the Fort as if they were being invaded - completely mad.
This was Louise's last day before she left me to follow her own plans back to Mumbai. I had one more night here before getting the plane back to Delhi to carry on my trip into the Himalayas. After a sad goodbye I was on my own for the first time in over a month. It was odd having to sort accomodation out myself and eating alone but it gave me time to prepare for the next part of my Indian adventure. Next stop the mountains.