The fascinating Capri!

“The beauty is majestic, changing skies are magical, The faraglioni rock formations are miraculous, you look fascinating when those ships dot you all over!

Hey Capri, I yearn for every moment I left you, my eyes long to see you, my mind dreams of you every moment and my heart beats for you! You have so much of charm in itself.”

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Capri Visit – I visited Italy last year & loved Capri and Anacapri at first sight. A chance to visit the Faraglioni Rocks via boat/ship and witnessing Blue Grotto, a spell binding nature’s phenomenon will leave you abundant praise for the Nature.

How to reach Capri from India:

  1. Flight from India to Rome
  2. Rome to Naples via Train- Approx. 1 – 1:30
  3. Naples to Capri via Ship/ferry – 1-1:30hour

Total Time –

The only way to reach Capri is via Ship/ferry, which we took from Naples. It is worth a walk visiting those beautiful floral lanes leaving you awe struck at the beauty of blue sea. It also showcases exclusive grand clothing/ interior shopping streets[frequently visited by the richest], along with numerous eateries. Seems it could be the costliest Real estate:).

To Stay – Suggested for Budget travellers, stay at Naples and make a full day visit to Capri/Anacapri! Last ferry back to Naples is post 8pm, so you can witness amazing sunset on the sea as well having some yummy food by the side.

 

Capri Travel

Faraglioni Rock formations

Capri

Amazing Floral lanes!

Add Capri to your Must visit list!

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Exploration of rest of North GOA!! A great “Safar”

Part III

Here comes a complete “Grantha” on rest of North Goan Beaches explored the next day –

After a complete warm up session last day, this morning cool breeze welcomed us …Just gazing at the beautiful sky hovered over with long trees ,sitting besides the pool ,actually made me think of some poetic lines –

“O Mother ..mother earth ,

This nature seems to be so romantic..

This morning breeze seems to be so bliss..

Beneath the clouds playing peek-a-boo with golden sunrays

& The tiny droplets touching my face ..

The world seems so lost to me ,My life feels so worth to me ,

The tranquillity I feel is so amaze ,far away from the city gaze ..

The calmness within me astounds ..

& provokes to forget my past …Stand up & shout in your hands ,O mother earth”

Well !! Broken up by hearing my kids shout 😉 I ran to my room to again enjoy a” together time” & head for the yummy aloo –parantha’s waiting for us J

Full of vigour, we planned to go through our routes & explore some of the gentle beaches – Morjim ,Manderim ,Ashwem ,Arambol & Vagator for the day!

Here we started our bikes ,enjoying the route ,praying to God to somehow get a glimpse of the “Olive ridley sea turtles” as soon as we landed at the “Little Russia” of GOA (due to numerous immigrants ). Surprised to see many Russian sign boards but could relate when I came to knew of this “Little Russia”. Not only is it famous for Russian Trance parties ,but it is an important site for Olive ridley sea turtles,with the nesting sites as well for this endangered species.

Morjim beach is quite unique, the sand specifically is quite different (shiny blackish) ,fully absorbed with sea water… Numerous beautiful ,orange purple colored shells ,very clean beach ,& few locals there made me aware of the breeding seasons of sea turtles & their presence on the beach during Oct –Dec . (Even heard story of how this specie was not declared endangered some 20-25 years back & how locals used to see & even destroy the eggs laid by them)


Although facilities are limited ,less restaurant’s to provide good food ,this beach can be a stopover for close to an hour to just chill ,relax & keep the search button on for sea turtles (Oct –Dec) or have a party there ,but it is a must visit.

Moving ahead to Manderim , Clear blue sea water ,le’ss of crowd ,crystal clear white sand ,very large & clean beach..to have a beach walk!! Even the waves are not that high , so enjoy in water ,relax at the sea beds ,have some amazing food & drinks at few shacks available there. I did hear that many Health therapies are conducted here (of course during seasons) . This beach is just to sit , relax ,drink under the nature ,in front of beautiful clean sea & chill !!

The next stopover had to be Ashvem, which is actually connected to Manderim, but has an altogether different aura. For budget friendly people like us ,Ashvem has turned out to be a “Party Beach” (for people not preferring Baga/Calangute) .With plenty beach side huts & club houses ,it seems to be a perfect party place. South side of this beach is also a nesting site for sea turtles & security has been stepped up in the past to save this specie.

“La Plage” is a lovely place to have some French food amidst unwinding leisurely!!

From Ashvem ,we finally moved to cover up the last beach on that route –Arambol ,the route well trailing from mid of Arambol village with narrow lanes which led to the shores of this pretty beach. Being less commercialized compared to Baga & Calangute ,this beach is divided in 2 parts ,the southern stretch with ample sea beds to relax often termed as Harmal or Aramnbol & the Northern stretch generally known as “Kalacha Beach” , which can be accessed by 15-20 minutes of amazing & scintillating beach walk .As soon as we reached Arambol taking the path to kalacha ,we could spot many fisherman releasing entangled crabs ,fishes (lucky enough to catch glimpse of Hammer head also)to sell off to many eateries around serving Fresh sea food.(Also ,Fishing is the major occupation of this village)

As we kept on walking in the search of so called “Sweet water lake / lagoon”( A local at Morjim informed us to not to miss) ,this walk made us fall in love with GOA once again.. Lovely rocky formations along with sand ,covered by cliffs on both the side, & as we came near the rather secluded part ,spotting few stalls selling handicrafts & jewellery ,we were simply stunned to see the nature at its best there..It was such a lovely tiny beach & a fresh water lagoon perfect for swimming, which extends along the valley into the jungle. So unlike & uncommon was this tiny beach, far away from the crowdy places ,a juncture perfect for everyone. Even the cliffs surrounding are considered one of the best for paragliding & dolpinn watching as well. This beach is certainly not to be missed & to experience divinity of nature .

Cons : Not so equipped with professional hotels or restaurant ,so restrict your visit for 1-2 hours to simply relax & adore the place.

The first half of the day had been almost stunning exploring & we did deserve some break for Lunch & a tight sleep..

Pretty fresh, we planned to have spend few hours just on Vagator Beach ,very close to our accommodation but yet not touchedJ

So a very broad beach with many red cliffs & rocks ,Vagator is bifurcated into two two main beaches by a mid seaside headland wherein there are lots of stalls for drinks & snacks ,footwears & clothes . The top of this land gives a magnificent view of the rocky sea, surrounded by long palm trees & gazing at the waves splashing across the rocks. Sitting on the rocks ,keep your camera ready for few lovely sights being offered & then move down to the North Vagator .

With handful of people at 6pm, we could easily see fisherman packing their nets calling it a day…But with a broad base to walk & relax along, we were lucky enough to have a glimpse of a beautiful sunset . It was indeed a lazy evening with an hour of beach walk & pictures clicking ,we ensured that next &the last day we had to be there enjoying & playing amongst the waves .

Vagator houses few amazing dinning places ,the most famous one being ,Thalassa ,with authentic greek food (but it remains shut from June –Sep) ,but not just greek food ,this open air restaurant is famous for the sunset views along the beach. So ,we could just plan for another place – “Waters ,an amazing restaurant /club again with lovely sea side view conducting many parties. Enjoying the place, we had some Pizza’s & drinks .

Imp Point : The way to Waters from the main road is too dark with very few lights that too in a staggered manner ,one even has to cross grassland (it felt so) to reach the place ,so be cautious while driving .(Although sign boards make it simple).

Walking down the lanes back to the hotel ,this was a brilliant day ,heading towards the last day….

The Play of last day!!!

Saddened enough to think of this day being the last one ..Terrified to return back to that noisy crowded place…We vowed to enjoy it to the fullest …

Morning sunrays welcomed us to the pool ,with an hour of chatting & swimming with our besties to freshen up every move ,which was followed by quick breakfast as we had to head for Vagator !

Those 2-2:30 hours were full of fun ,thrill ..Well, what best could we have done with 2 little kids?? Guess…We got a bed-sheet ,disc ,ball ,all food items for kids along…spreaden the bed sheet ,made our kids sleep on the beach & looking at full safety on the beach ,we had a great play in the sea.. little inside.. more…more ..well 3/4th within the sea ,hand in hand ,playing ,running ,splashing waters on each other ,freaking ,shouting with joy ….It was absolutely stunning !! With no people around ,kids deep in sleep ,lovely weather (with no sun above) ,we enjoyed to the fullest .

Refreshing we returned back to our nest;) to play some beach volley ball ,disc ,till then few people had started approaching vagator . Little later with kids waking up ,it was a family affair ,to walk in the sea with kids ,make them touch water ,get them close to the nature..

Indeed it was such a thrilling end on so close & very less crowded beach.


Facts of Vagator:

  • Located in the North with apprx. 1hr travel from the Dabolim airport ,this beach is more occupied by Western Backpackers ,as it has ample places organizing trance parties .
  • In 2013, one of the most famous “Sunburn festival” shifted from Candolim to Vagator which made it more famous.
  • Many restaurant’s offering sumptuous food along with sea side view.

Returning from the Vagator at around 12pm ,saw us packing our bags & then leaving for a walk close to Anjuna Market to have”Coconut Water ,Bhutta’s” followed by Lunch .

Yes ,I was lucky enough to spot Cashew & Almond tress & just disclosing here..I did pluck few of them hanging from the tress out of curiosityJ

Returning back to Hotel ,it was time to bid adieu ,catch flight back to Delhi & face the “Honky Morning” ,far away from the pleasant ,calm & cozy mornings of past 5 days!!

Check out exclusive pics at –

https://jhilmilbhansali.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/crabs-crabs-starfishes/

https://jhilmilbhansali.wordpress.com/2015/08/09/nature-sea-sand-beauty-thats-called-goa/

 

Goa –Part II :: Way to Sinq ,Candolim ,Calangute !!

Morning sunshine hidden in the clouds, Massive dark clouds sprawling over the skies, partially hidden with huge swaying palm trees …Sitting besides the calm waters ,I felt blessed with such a serene morning..So calm, so placid..Amazed at the tranquillity which filled me with an energetic auraJ

Yes ,trip with 2 infants had to somewhat different & this day made us travel all through from our Hotel to Mapusa (To visit Child Care) ,but that ride of approx. An hour was itself a kick ,to see dramatic change in the lifestyle from the outskirts of the very awe-inspiring ,calm Goa to somewhat hustle bustle of city life (@Mapusa) ,a similar story –Kids boarding buses from schools ,people shopping / running for their daily chores ,but still it was far away from the crowd ,noisy ,polluted cities i had encountered & was living in .People were so friendly ,so warm at every step ,which made us fall in love with GOA once again not just for its beauty but then for housing charming GoansJ

So ,post quick visit ,we turned from Mapusa to the most scintillating ,Sinquerim ,Candolim & Calangute Beaches ,all in one side.

The path leading to those beaches were incredible & weather playing a “big cupid” 😉 ,Lush green grasslands ,it felt so on one side & huge palms ,swaying with all windy forces on the other …Riding at a speed of close to 80kmph ,both hands swaying along & I couldn’t resist to sing “Khamoshiyaan..Ehsaas hai…” & my kid really enjoying (I think he too was amazed) ,giggling & excited enough for these terrific trails J

Singing & dancing & shouting we first hit @Sinquerim, to have an initial look from Fort Aguada (& feeling jealous from residents of Taj Village just overlooking beach & gigantic massive sea). Exclaiming, WOW!!! Simply amazed..Cool breeze blowing off my hair, hitting my face hard to have a look at the stunning mighty waves hitting across the rocks & splashing water all around. Indeed, it can be certainly claimed that SInq is one of the magnificent beaches in Goa (It does have International level facilities for Para sailing, Scuba Diving, Wind surfing …but none in our plate due to off seasonL,Don’t pity on us ,next “ON-Season” trip would be soon coming up;))

Walking along the beach following into Candolim was a “Showery affair” ,sudden rain hit us hard & made us run a Km to the only shelter(a Restraunt) available close by…Restraunt owner rejoicing looking at the boost of his Fish Curry sale;) ,But “short of words” to express the strong thunderstorm & the striking look of the sea in front… Gazing at the droplets running down on one side & brawny downpour hitting the sea..Simply amazed, this day made worth of all “Off season tag”. God’s grace, in next 30 minutes, weather had normalized & we re-instated our beach & sea walk, hand in hand.. Those shells, numerous star fishes, fluorescent crabs amidst the waves & a gracious sunset to explore..It was the best ever moment & memoir to remain for in our lives..We continued our walk even when the night fell in, but by 8pm, we then decided to leave for the hotel .But yes, a wish remained in my heart, to explore the starry night, counting on stars, locating Mars, constellations & explore the galaxy along the beachJ .

On the way we did drop in @Calangute, yes it gives a feel of a royal beach looking at the crowd ,ample of eateries (even in the way along),count of hotels few big ones & few small but with great artifacts, many showrooms..But the beach is not the best of all. Although it was an off season ,yet it had maximum crowd ,ample shacks close to one another .Beach was not clean, even absence of swaying palm trees made me feel that it actually isn’t “Queen of all beaches” . Truly speaking, we felt that Baga & Calangute have been more exaggerated, due to shacks & many other facilities around them, but the crowd, cleanliness do make these beaches on a downside in my list. But a plus point, many Dolphin trips & water activities are conducted here in the season times..so head towards them ,get your adrenaline rush high with these activities & spend a pleasant & cool time @Sinq J & other beaches.

GOAN ardour-Off season…Offseason…Offseason!

PART I 

Air Asia..Launching Services …Pre-Booking opens…Limited seats left…July –Aug –Quick decision ..Tickets Booked..GOAJ -The FINAL Destination!!

So hurriedly had we decided to make Goa an “On beat” heart throb in this Off Beat Monsoon season by booking the tickets this April in a span of just few hours..But as the saying goes, never regret the decision once made, indeed alarmed by the “Offseason Tag” in these months, we decided to have a prolific stay & make this trip a chronicle in the chapter of our lives with our 11month kid.

So tagged as “Last minute Managers” ,all the readiness ranging from booking of the hotel to planning the itinerary ,was made in last 3 days ,yet being very un-certain about the roam around plan ,but since it was a trip with our best couple (also having same aged Kid) ,it had to be something electrifying &indeed it turned out to be.

Bags Packed –Catching the flight –”On the Time” – Here we started in night, traversed 2hrs & landed in GOA(Dabolim Airport)at approx.10:30 PM .

Cold shrill breeze welcomed us, as fresh rains had just poured over making the land soggy, full of fresh aroma, the first look even at the night was so unsullied, far away from that of Delhi.

Taking a cab to our hotel “La Spazio” in North Goa took some 1.30 hr from the airport & with all clamouring over of both the kids (rather their excitement ;)), reaching the destination to have a luxurious dinner at 12 midnight along with sipping some fresh aromatic coffee under the dark starry sky was completely un-thought off ..As said ,it was a brilliant start!

Slept over a comfortable night (even by the kids, post being tired of past day’s continuous events), again rainy morning welcomed us..But it was for hardly 30 minutes post which decent sunshine broke out..Relaxing beside the pool, making kids aware of “an altered but cool life” by getting them dipped in the pool water, seeing them enjoy really made all the eyes sparkle & smiles gleamed all over ..Post having a sun cum Pool bath, it was time to have a breakfast & ponder upon our Day1 to make it a good start.

Having thought off ,to let kids experience so called “Thrill” ,we planned to roam around the city ,catch some amazing beaches at our time by 2-wheeler –Activa.

Hiring two of them, here the sojourn began ,with “WE” the drives as well as riders ,making the passersby our GPS (& yes boards all over were actually a great help ,especially during late evenings/night) –

So the first halt had to be beach closest to us ,which was Anjuna Beach
,highly Rocky & a very small one but the very first look at the waves gushing over those rocks & splashing water all over made it so pleasant ,to add on look at those “Red Rocky Crabs” added an amazing flavour & excitement to begin with ..Holding Boiled Yummy “Bhutta’s” & struggling to capture those crabs took first 15-20 minutes ,post which I was ordered to click some good pics of the family in line;)


Facts of Anjuna :

  • Part of 30km stretch of Arabian Coastline ,it encompasses “Anjuna Village”
  • A small & lovely but red-black rocky beach with swaying palm trees, also famous for Trance parties during tourist season.
  • It also has Saturday night market to enjoy & re-fill the bags;)

Having lunch on ample eateries close to Anjuna beach, the menu being, (All Veg.) Biryani, Chilli Manchurian & fried rice & Breezer, first experience of Goan food was perfect .Since evening was setting in ,we planned to drive quickly to the most heard off –”Baga Beach” & enjoy on the shacks there .

With a ride of approx. An hour (tracing the roads, with the help of passersby & sign boards),it was actually a smooth drive all over ,seeing the vehicles at parking ,we knew it would be a mad rush & yes upon entering the beach ,it actually had a mad..Very entertaining crowd..All sorts of crowd ,& not just human’s ,I could rather complete “Animal Kingdom” having a water bath there;) ,Without any discrimination ,Dogs ,cows ,crows & Humans ,all were playing hand in hand;) . Agree the first such look was not loved by us, but both the kids rolled over with their laughter on seeing them play ,catching ,running in the water & coming all over …


Well, that’s an advice to the regulatory bodies of Goa, but we did relax at the shacks, getting our head massages done ,sipping drinks & lavishing on some Hot pakora’s till night fell on! Later post sunset the beach became a lovely place (no more signs of Animal kingdom), few beach lovers playing beach volley ball & some families playing in the water & yes we rolling in the sand after our lil kids ,for whom digging up the beach sand had become fun;)

Post lovely sunset, night was falling in when we decided to start back & drop on “The Mango Tree” restraunt, a very famous one with sumptuous food & drinks..A super yummy veg.sizzler ,followed by Cappuccino ,Pasta , Spring Rolls & Pizza..Ah!! Our tongue was protruding from tummies at the amazing taste of all.. So filled were we that even standing up from the chairs was becoming difficult..But it was close to 11:30Pm & with kids along, we had to return back to Hotel !

Facts of Baga :

  • Baga is a part of 30Km stretch of Beach coastline which starts at Aguada & ends at Chapora .
  • This beach is quite famous for Parasailing ,Banana Rides & even Dolphin cruises (although we couldn’t experience as all water sports are closed during these May –Aug/Sep)
  • Compared to Calangute ,this beach is quieter & with ample of shacks
    Deeply engrossed… Well read on part II