Hidden gems of Goa : Palolem and beyond

Nestled at the southernmost end of Sunapranta or the “Golden Land” as the state of Goa is often called, is Palolem with its gilded beach and emerald sea. This pristine beach has gained popularity in the last ten years. It doesn’t boast of fancy resorts with swimming pools for a holiday but has only wooden makeshift huts on the beach with the the clear sea just waiting for you to dive into!



The ART RESORT as the name signifies is very unique resort designed and managed by a German girl with the idea of showcasing various forms of Indian art, a beautiful blend of the East and the West in an artsy way. The perfect place for a girlie getaway with my friend Julie to celebrate her last bank holiday weekend in India.


The brightly painted cottages with white curtains are just a stone’s throw from the beach. The interior ones have a cosy terrace attached or hammocks in front to read a book underneath the shade of the palm trees.



The trendy restaurant and bar area facing the waterfront serves really good food and drinks so its the perfect place to laze around with a book, watching the lashing waves.Well this was definitely the agenda I had in mind when I planned this trip with my friend Julie…. to enjoy the sun, sea, sand, some great food, a few drinks and a lot of laughs …..


They have a local artist here who offers art classes, an Ayurvedic massage spa and some Yoga classes on the beach as well. So its really the perfect setting for an idyllic getaway. As the night approaches the whole beach lights up and a leisurely stroll down the sandy shore led us to discover Ciarans, the restaurant which has the best local food, view, music and ambience. After dinner we walked some more, the night was so peaceful and the sound of the waves so soothing !


On Day 2 we set off the explore the neighbouring beach of Patnem on a curious trail of signboards from “Alice in wonderland “…follow the rabbit …to LaLa Land …Whats that you may wonder ? A prisitine resort overlooking Colomb Bay. We decided that this is the place to come back for lunch and went ahead to Patnem beach for a dip in the warm blue waters. The beach was pretty much deserted and we cooled down at the beachfront shack with a drink.


The afternoon heat was really sweltering, yet it didn’t dampen our fervour to wander and discover some more surprises just around the corner. Graffiti, if you please! and the aroma of cinnamon rolls wafting from Karma cafe and bakery reminding me that “somewhere in my youth or childhood I must have done something good.” Mango smoothies with a twist to beat the heat.



Heading back to Palolem, via LaLa Land at Colomb Bay for a lazy late lunch. They claim its the most magical place to stay and I’m sure I was intrigued enough to like to confirm that next time I’m here on a holiday.



We were back to Palolem by evening and the aquamarine waters were just beckoning us for a cooling evening dip and then a candlelight dinner on the beach



A view like this to wake up to ….if only we had nothing else to do but all the time to stand and stare at the clear blue sky and waters.


“You can shake the sand from your shoes, but it will never leave your soul.”


No trip to Goa would be complete without a meal at Martin’s Corner and I couldn’t possible let my friend leave the country without having tasted the best of Goan seafood here. Prawn vindaloo is just the starter, many more scrumptious dishes coming up before we make a dash for the flight!31693067_10216903994858649_2223934435235987456_n.jpg31743682_10216915857675212_3374072663596072960_o.jpg31723288_10216903996138681_2688226636226101248_n.jpg

Footnotes :

  • The beach huts here are dismantled at the advent on the monsoon season by mid May and reassembled again in October. Hence this experience can only be enjoyed from November to April
  • Scuba diving is possible, especially with a very experienced Hungarian instructor but the water is a bit murky as you can see…31599846_10216915818394230_1611699246761771008_o


Photocredits : Julie Till-Dowling ….Nomad…Beach comber, Himalayan Dreamer, Lover of Life in the air, below the seas and on the earth 🐠….and so much more !!!



















Croatia calling !

Chances are you’ve heard a bit about Croatia, either as all Instagrammers consider this as their new ‘Vacay Spot’, or as a stop on the Adriatic cruises. Croatia’s tourism industry is booming especially after the famous series ‘Game of Thrones’ was shot here. It is “the” destination now on any East Europe tour packages, mostly because of the affordable prices, gorgeous national parks, cobbled streets, and miles of coastline.
So obviously when I had to choose my summer holiday destination I added  Croatia on my list. I travelled to Croatia with my parents, sister, and husband and not to forget my little munchkin – 2 yr old daughter.
As soon as we landed in Croatia we all agreed that it was one of the prettiest places we had ever visited. My first pit-stop destination was the gorgeous – Dubrovnik. Known as the Pearl of the Adriatic, Dubrovnik is the most populated by tourists. Here you’ll find your large chain hotels in addition to boutique hotels and guesthouses. But there’s plenty to be seen here, especially for the Game of Thrones fans.
With a population of just under 50,000 it’s actually a much smaller town than you might think. Despite being such a popular tourist draw, I urge you not to miss out on a visit to this historical spot especially if you’ve never been before. It is visually truly beautiful, the old town being like something straight off of a movie set. Immaculately cobbled streets and magnificent stone buildings ooze life in the hustle and bustle of the local restaurants, cafes and bars that spill gloriously out all around you.
Take the cable car to the top of the mountain for an unparlled view before walking the smooth, stone pedestrian streets lined with shops and restaurants. After the cable car ride we walked down to start a walking tour of the old town of Dubrovnik. The series of defensive stone walls that surround the old town are considered one of the best fortification systems in Europe. Proving impossible to breach, this impressive defensive structure successfully protected the citizens of Dubrovnik for thousands of years and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and rightly so.
If you have a small kid with you it is highly advisable that you carry a pram along as the long tiresome walks inside the town are bound to exhaust your kid and you eventually. To beat the summer heat, we helped ourselves to their tongue swirling ice-creams and decided to step into one of the many cozy cafes that lined the street. Being a vegetarian, we had loads of apprehensions about eating outside but I must admit that the heavenly Italian cuisine is definitely not to be missed.
Moving on with our journey we reached the Plitvice National Park, which is somewhere on the way from Split to Zagreb. Lush waterfalls, verdant greenery, and pools that change from turquoise to teal to aquamarine — the Plitvice Lakes are one of the most famous sights in Croatia. Classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the stunning Plitvice Lakes National Park was the absolute highlight of my visit to Croatia on this East Europe tour package. I spent around 3 hours exploring the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Croatia’s largest national park is divided into Lower and Upper Lakes and offers different options in terms of sightseeing programs.
The first thing to bear in mind on a visit to Plitvice is the need to bring sensible shoes. While you can get a panoramic view of the waterfalls and lakes without walking much (or at all), the park’s beauty is without doubt best explored along its many paths. The network of boardwalks is impressive and beyond these are another set of lesser-used paths that offer an escape from the crowds.
What I absolutely loved about the Plitvice Lakes National Park is how insanely clear the waters of the lake were. We could see so many meters down, the fishes, and sometimes even the actual bed of the lake! It was incredible. Each individual lake got clearer and clearer, to the point we couldn’t quite believe our eyes. It really shows how clean and how well maintained the whole park is. The park was definitely the best thing of my trip.
The last leg of my Croatian journey on this East Europe tour package,  ended at the capital city, Zagreb. Our first destination was the huge Ban Jelacic Square where we got an obstructed view of the magnificent features of Zagreb. While Zagreb isn’t crawling with attractions, there are plenty of noteworthy sights that lend ample photogenic flair to any trip. St Mark’s Church, with its colourful tiled rooftop, is perhaps one of Zagreb’s most recognizable spots, but you also shouldn’t miss the epic view from Lotrščak Tower‬, where you get to admire the city’s red rooftops from above.
While many travellers dream about sipping espressos in Milan or cafe dwelling in Paris, it’s a lesser known fact that Croatians are also masters of an excellent brew. In Zagreb especially, the café culture manifests in not just tasty coffee, but a wide range of beautiful cafes decked in drool worthy décor. If you like yummy and colourful places to see in Zagreb then Dolac Market is the place to come. It is definitely worth a wander even if you don’t need to buy anything. This food market is brightly coloured and a great place to people watch. Another great thing to do in Zagreb is to visit the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This 1899 cathedral is visible from a fair distance around thanks to high twin spires. It felt like it was calling us so off we went. We were actually surprised by just how beautiful this big cathedral is on the inside.
And thus ended our mesmerizing journey to Croatia and we took back home with us loads of memories and happiness galore.