This morning we say goodbye to beautiful Mandrem beach, and take a 45 min ride to Candolim Beach. The beach here is different, as it is free from any beachfront resorts. We drive in through the town, and it is a perfect mix of peaceful and chaotic. And cows wandering the streets.
The hotel we choose is about 10 min walk from the beach and of course we get lost trying to find the beach. The locals tell us to turn left on the road and then walk straight and we’ll hit it. But there are very specific pathways to the beach; this was the issue. Luckily, we have drinks in hand!
Once we get there, it seems completely deserted and quiet. I think during peak season there are more tents and kiosks set up, and more restaurants open. For now, we love the solitude and settle in to relax.
And then that comes to an end when a couple of hawkers spot us. After telling them no numerous times, I lose my shit for the first time. I actually stand up and yell at them to go away. Lol. Not something I’d usually do, but this is the last straw. One thing I was looking forward to seeing here is the River Princess, a shipwreck that has been stuck at these shores for 15 years. But they have finally cleared it out. Much better for the environment and safety of others I guess. We’re getting hungry and thirsty again, so we walk up to this cute beachfront place called the Prince of Tides beach shack. The vibe there is great; a few people and of course a lot of local dogs.
We stay to watch the sunset that was slightly marred by clouds. As we are walking back from the shack, we run into Josh and Sarah, who are from the Intrepid tour I did a couple weeks ago. We go for dinner at this cute place called Jazz Cafe. The entertainment is an Asian dude playing guitar and singing songs with a karaoke machine. We enjoy some Indian cuisine, a glass of Feni and share stories of our time in India.
The next morning we hire a cab that takes us up to Aguada Fort.
It is located high on a hill, overlooking the vast waters of the Arabian Sea and was used by the Portuguese for defense against invaders. Aguada means water, and it got this name because the fort provided water supply to ships that would pass by. Man, it’s hot up here.
We walk along the inner walls admiring the views and the structure of the Fort. Then it’s back into town for a wander and a bit of last minute shopping.
There’s a church in the middle of the road, and cows on the street.
The hotel has a pool, so we skip the sandy beach this afternoon. Back to the Prince of Tides for drinks and another cloudy sunset.
This time Kim brings treats for the local dogs, and we are surrounded. We name all of them. Grumpy is old and when she gets the treat, she guards us and growls at any other dogs that get too close. Grumpy falls asleep fast, so the others can come closer. Diggy takes the treats and buries them for later. But then Stealy follows behind him and digs up the treats for himself!
Blondie is a sweet golden boy…he’d nudge his nose under your arm or paw you so you’d pat him. Spock hangs around Kim..her big floppy ears are so expressive.
We leave the shack and find a place for dinner, our last meal in India. My last chance to have authentic Gulab Jamun…the sweet dough balls. Yum!
Kim leaves to catch her flight around midnight, and I have a portion of the next day before I have to leave. I walk down to the beach again; it’s such a beautiful day. The locals shout out good morning as I pass, the birds sing songs in the trees.
Awesome! I gather up some Candolim sand for my collection, and wander back to the hotel to start my long journey back to Canada. At times, India was overwhelming. At times, I’d had enough and wanted to go home. But the experiences I’ve had and the amazing places I’ve seen…..it was all worth it!