By IANSlife Features
New Delhi, Nov 8 (IANSlife) With all domestic travel restrictions lifted, it’s the season to be in Goa. Widely known for its vast swathes of white-sand beaches, hip cafes and nightlife, Goa also has its own distinct culture and history.
A few days in the sunshine state can give you a fantastic insight into the real Goa. From restaurants designed in the colonial times to homes with spectacular architecture, this guide to Goa curtesy Airbnb will showcase a different, reminding you that it isn’t only a paradise of beaches but also one for those who truly enjoy history.
A HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Luxurious 5BHK Villa, Vagator
What was Goa like in the year 1629? That’s how far back this Airbnb Casa goes, where along with the original Portuguese architecture, little pieces of original furniture serve as subtle reminders of a time gone by. Close to the most ‘happening’ places around town, Casa Tina quietly contradicts the humdrum of travelers, weaving its tales of a long-forgotten period. But don’t expect an age-old refuge for the weary visitor. This 5-bedroom villa can be a luxurious destination in itself. A lap pool, a lush spread of lawns, and large sit-out areas are just some of the lavish amenities the Casa offers.
One of the many places that have managed to remain hidden, Zoloft chooses to bring the vibe of travel inside the house. Inspired by the bohemian as well as minimalist design philosophies, this North Goan home has embodied art into every space. The dining chairs, walls, and rugs are chosen as if to deliberately soothe the soul and change the way an inner space can be experienced. Also, you can spend time in the beautiful garden, take a dive in the pool, or relax under the lush palm trees.
The Pop Art Suite, Siolim
From the name, it is quite evident that this Airbnb Suite spurts out elements of artistic surprise in every detail. The influence of greats like Andy Warhol is apparent, even in the refurbished furniture. Ironically, the forest view could also be mistaken for a painting. A tribute to the hosts’ artistic spirit, this is a great place to get your creative juices flowing, and it’s up to you whether you choose to work from home or simply absorb the aesthetics to rejuvenate your mind.
Saxofon Villa, Vagator
Is it possible to be within the most popular places in Goa and still have a quiet place of your own? The answer is yes if you’re at Airbnb’s Saxofon villa. Situated close to both Vagator and Anjuna, this carefully designed home offers plenty of activities to stay in. A well-equipped library, plenty of board games, and of course a private pool to soak up Goa’s spirit.
Escape to Divar Island – E Bike Tours
Divar, one of Goa’s seven unique islands, lies on the bank of the Mandovi river and transports you to a time before the Portuguese. The cycling tour takes you through the green scapes of Divar to explore its rich local culture. Lined by charming old Goan homes, the tour travels from ancient temples to baroque churches and even includes insights into the village’s main occupation – fishing. This e-bike tour is a must-do for the nomadic spirit.
Put on your walking shoes to dive deep into the culture and history of Goa and learn what makes it truly unique. From exploring its musical background, including Fado, Latin, Folk, and Portuguese music, to learning about the beautiful buildings around Panjim Inn, Portuguese Foundation, and Galerie Gitanjali, this walk covers it all. A visit to the famous old 31st January Bakery is also included, a walk by the St. Sebastian Church, the Post Office as well as the Latin Quarters. You can expect lots of fascinating insights, trivia, and historical anecdotes.
Brought in by the Portuguese Caravels
Discover the how and why of Goa’s kitchen staples with Airbnb host, author, and critic, Odette through this sweet and salty food trail. Through a combination of demos and tastings, she showcases how food shaped the state’s history and, conversely, how history was responsible for the flavors distinctly known as Goan. Known as the Culinary Queen of Goa and every foodie’s delight, Odette tastefully explores the recipes passed down through generations.
Dream Catcher Making Workshop
Take some time out to learn how to weave a web of positive energy for yourself. A tradition learned from native Americans, dream catchers have caught on quickly and are known to stave off bad dreams. It is believed that only good dreams slide down the feathers, while the bad dreams remain trapped in the crafty web. With a one-on-one session, you can learn to wrap hoops, weave the web, decorate the catchers with ornaments as well as learn the aesthetics of color and design.
This excursion into the backwaters could be one of the most fulfilling experiences you can have in Goa. Not only would you learn the skill of navigating the narrow waterway, but you could also spot birds like the kingfisher, cormorant, lapwing, and the heron to name just a few. Otters are also known to show up sometimes. If you’re a nature lover, then the cashew, bamboo, and mango trees around will surely be a captivating sight.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN GOA
While retaining the original charisma of its Portuguese architecture and history, this restaurant has a very warm and comfortable look and feel about it. If you love seafood, this is an absolute must-visit. Each item on offer is a celebration of local flavours. On the menu, you will find delicious curries, mouthwatering fish and prawns creations as well as a large selection of cocktails to go perfectly with your order.
Tastefully decorated, Black Market offers private booths as well as large spaces around the bar. While artworks adorn the walls, the offerings on the menu are no less than works of art themselves. With comforting music, you can savor the flavors of their continental lineup as well as the seafood. While the most popular items could be debatable, the lemon tart for dessert seems to be a unanimous choice. For drinks, you choose from a range of wines and local craft beers.
While being popular for its South Indian spread, Gunpowder is equally famous for its charming décor. You can choose your little booth or sit in the large sit-out area. While the colors and décor will fill your heart with delight, going with an empty stomach to enjoy the large spread is advised. Some of the more popular requests are the Kerala mutton curry, Malabar prawn curry, Egg appam, Curd rice, Sol kadi, and Chicken curry but you will find an order of their Masala Potatoes on almost every table, a must-try.
While Mughlai and Goan food are quite popular, Jamun is also a great place to try Bengali and Parsi cuisines. Needless to say, the many hues of purple will surprise you. You can choose to enjoy your meal indoors as well as out in the open yard. If you’re looking for a little quiet, then this is the perfect place to spend an entire evening.
Visit the Lazy Goose for a Goan experience in its true essence. With simple décor and a riverside view, the restaurant embodies the laid back spirit of Goa. A boat on the ceiling, along with rafters and oars, gives a shoutout to its bustling sea world and fisherfolk. A live band sets the vibe just right. On offer is a good mix of vegetarian and non-vegetarian fare.
(IANSlife Features can be contacted at [email protected])