14 Nov Goan Adventure
Often mistaken for an island, the Indian state of Goa is somewhere not to be missed; full of character, beautiful beaches, incredible food and welcoming people. A few months ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to a wedding in Goa and so decided to make a holiday out of it, and go out there for a week.
Arriving in Goa and on my way to the hotel, I was instantly struck by how green the surroundings are, palm trees, mango groves and an abundance of other trees and plants I’d never seen before. Driving along the roads, there were a mix of Portuguese mansions and corrugated metal shacks, offering completely diverse living conditions between neighbours, with locals hanging out in brightly coloured clothing, chatting away to each other.
My hotel was in the Porvorim region, slightly north of the capital Panjim and an area that’s not really touristy, but it was walking distance to the family home of the bride, where some of the celebrations were taking place and a meeting point for some of the daily tours put on for guests.
The first couple of days I made the most of visiting a couple of different beaches in the North of Goa, trying some of the Goan cuisine and relaxing in the 35-degree heat, getting over the jetlag before the celebrations started. The one thing I noticed that was different to any other beach.. there were cows wandering around! Definitely something I had never seen before.
After loving the food the first couple of days, on day 3 I decided to book a Goan cooking class, learning four different Goan dishes, ready to test out at a dinner party back home!
The evening of day 3 was the start of the celebrations, which was the ROCE, taking place at the groom’s house. This involved the bride and her bridesmaids, as well as the groom and his groomsmen sitting in a line, where members of the family and friends took it in turns to pour roce (coconut milk and coconut oil)on their heads, to bless them for the wedding. After this had got suitable out of hand, the drinks and dancing continued into the night.
For the next couple of days, the bride had put on some tours for any members of the group that wanted to see some of Goa, and gave us all the chance to see Old Goa with its huge churches and temples, visit a spice farm and learn about the different spices grown there, go to a beach in the south of goa, famous for its white sandy beaches and also experience a hectic Goan market and try our luck at bartering down anything we wanted to buy. After some action packed trips, everyone had a morning to chill the following day, before the wedding began at 4pm.
The wedding itself took place in a big catholic church, at the top of a lot of steps, with views over Sinquerim fishing village, and the reception took place in Reis Magos Fort overlooking the sea, and we all started the evening watching the sunset. After a few drinks, speeches and some food, almost all guests were up on the dancefloor until the end, with a mix of international and traditional songs – I spent a lot of time learning some Indian dance moves!
Overall it was an incredible week, and I would fully recommend a visit – with many things to see and do as well as some picturesque beaches, there is something for everyone.