India was somewhere I always wanted to go to but never thought Id have the opportunity. THEN, I found a VERY cheap flight from the UK to Goa (350 return!)
and so,Carpe diem and all that. I was going to India !
Next ,began the search for the perfect accommodation there. The resorts looked horrible:
ugly hotels and places that looked like Blackpool on acid. Mmm, would I ever find the place of my dreams? Well, fortunately, I discovered http://www.i-escape.com,a rather wonderful travel site based in the UK. It was here that I discovered Elsewhere in Goa (http://www.aseascape.com/). . It just looked too perfect. Could it be true?
We (girlfriend and I) booked 7 nights there through Iescape in The Bakery house. Before leaving we kept looking at the photos: WOW! We were excited.
Eventually, it was time to set off. After a 10 hour rather, uncomfortable, tiring flight we arrived at Goa Airport to be met, as promised by Elsewhere, by a very friendly taxi driver who talked incessantly about British football. Our first drive through Goa was thrilling: a kaleidoscope
of colours and noises. They do love beeping their horns over there!
At the end of the 45 minute taxi ride driving deeper into rural Goa, we took a turn off into a tiny hamlet: lovely coloured houses with piglets running wild. Was THIS Elsewhere? No, its across the river, we were told and lo and behold ahead of us was the river with a rather rickety looking (but safe) wooden bridge spanning it.
On crossing we were indeed Elsewhere. We were met by the lovely Vinod, given a coconut drink (the coconuts picked from the HIGH trees in front of us by a very agile guy) and sat drinking
In the restaurant shack, surrounded by palm trees.
Then we were escorted through the trees to our Bakery. We had a lovely BIG bed, air conditioning (needed with temperatures in the 90s), a filled fridge, kettle and a great bathroom in vibrant blue with a good shower.
Within minutes of arriving we were sitting outside the bakery looking out to the Indian Ocean 2minute walk to reach the shore.
WOW! The photos didnt lie. Immediately we were relaxed, chilled out,de-stressed,
hanging loose etc etc.
There was no one else in sight: all the houses on Elsewhere are separated so well you feel youre there alone. Soon, we were walking down to the Ocean and after feeling the warmth we were in the Indian Ocean smiling our little faces off! Elsewhere has its own private huge stretch of beach where over the next week we hardly saw anyone else.
Over the next week, we relaxed, walked, became friends with the local dogs, went out with a fisherman to see the dolphins, and ate mostly at the Shack: wonderful fresh food from the lovely staff there. At night, we would sit out in the dark looking out to the horizon and watching the glimmering distant lights of the fishing boats returning to port along the coast.
When we wanted to explore Goa a bit, it was SO easy. Vinod would arrange a car and driver for about 10 for the whole day. We would feel guilty, as our driver would wait hours for us when we went out for trips/dinners but were always greeted with a lovely smile. One evening, we went to diner at the Nilaya Hermitage (http://www.nilaya.com/),a drive through the countryside with little boys playing cricket, cows on the road, monkeys in the trees and SO many people. We had tried to book a table the night before only to be told that the Prime Minister had booked it all for a party. The Nilaya is where Armani and Kate Moss stay when in Goa: a rather jet-set place but, once again, we were met with warmth, shown the spectacular bedrooms and had a wonderful 3-course dinner there.
After dinner, we relaxed in the glorious blue dome chill out room: bliss!
Other trips included a visit to a local market and to a nearby fort, reached by ferry
which had amazing hilltop views of the Ocean.
For our last couple of nights, we were told that someone (Jade Jagger) had booked our house so were asked politely if we would mind moving to the Priests House
(Brangelina had just been there): a three bedroom, two bathroom paradise: WOW (again).
Sadly, our week came to a close too fast and it was time to leave. We settled our bill for the week: drinks from the fridge, most breakfasts/lunches/dinners at Elsewhere.
The total? 100 for two!
There were tears in our eyes as we said our farewells to all the lovely staff.
Flying home,we looked out the window and bid farewell to Elsewhere.
We hope to see them all again.