This is the first time I have been Goa though I had at various times tried to make a trip. When I landed in Goa, the first thing I noticed is that it is a replica of Kerala. The greenery, serene atmosphere and the peace looked exactly like Kerala to me, where I have been couple of times. What a similiarity between Kerala and Goa? I got the answer when I learnt that according to Hindu Mythology, the entire Konkan area comprising of Kerala, Goa and coastal Karnataka were created as a result of an arrow shot by Sage Parasurama. Still need to figure out why he shot the arrow to create Konkan area!! So it typically looks the same.
My stay in Goa was at The Kenilworth Beach Resort and Spa, a 5-star property (as claimed by the website) and also part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the world. Good of these hotel guys that they arranged for a pick-up from the Madgaon Railway station. We were picked up along with a couple from Bangalore in their late 40's, with Punjabi surnames. We started chatting with them and it so turned out that they are regular visitors to Goa and they live in Bangalore for many years. Before we embarked on the journey itself, called up people who been there before to find out how you have to be prepared for the trip. During one of these discussions with a friend, we were warned that Goa is difficult place for vegeterians. So we prepared ourselves before we left Chennai mentally. But that is not enough right.. you have to take care of your stomach as well. So went about buying snacks for a small fortune before we left for Goa. Snacks bag was bigger than my travel bag!!
We have planned for a stay of 3 nights and 3 days at this resort and plan to visit places nearby without straining too much. How many times we go to a resort for rest and rejuvenation. My idea is eat, rest and relax. Luckily the hotel where we stayed had a beautiful spread of vegeterian stuff. Thank God...
Have you realised that when you go to hotel and resorts like this, you tend to feel little nervous because what all is going to be charged and what not. We were not sure if the package we have opted for is going to cover all the three meals, how about the charges for usage of recreational facilities etc., So the first thing I did after reaching the hotel and finishing my lunch was to sit with the Guest Relations and got clarified on that front. Even after getting clarified that all meals are part of the package, we still had the doubt that if we would be charged extra.
Kenilworth beach resort is a compact hotel situated on the beach. The rooms are well furnished and I didnt have anything to complain. The housekeeping was good and the service was also quick. The only thing I didnt get was national newspapers. I was given a local English daily where it covers the nook and corner of Goa but very little beyond that. The vegeterian food spread was decent and you had all the options ranging from roti to rice to dhall to vegetable curry. Yeah, Sambar and Rasam were missing!!?
We did manage to go around on a sight seeing tour organised by the hotel which consisted of a visit to Mangeshi Shiva temple, St Francis Xavier Church and a cruise on the Mandovi river during sunset. On the third day, we managed to visit a place called Big Foot and an old Portugese styled mansion. Each one of them requires a para of description so I would leave it to a separate post. Each one of them requires a para of description so I would leave it to a separate post.
We took the flight back from Goa to Bangalore and then to Chennai. While going by train it took good 14 hours to Goa from Bangalore but in flight it hardly took 3 hours to be at Chennai inspite of a 1 hour stop-over at Bangalore. In Bangalore airport, even transit passengers like us were also asked to pay a Airport Usage Fee of Rs260/- per head. Thats a lot of money and everybody was cribbing big time about this.