Susegad means a contented form of life. Its a concept associated with Goa and its laid back peaceful existence, unhurried allowing one to enjoy every moment of life. And after working the Mumbai life it was the much needed break in between jobs. And who else better to have as company- Fantastic Mr. Fox!
A getaway to Goa it was. My biggest criteria for the trip was to stay at a place that had a beach that I could step out on. Not take a 10 minute walk to or a scooter ride but roll out of bed onto beautiful soft sands. After researching at least 20 different resorts all recommendations from various friends and reading the Lonely Planet guide on Goa, I decided to follow up on my friend Anjalika's recommendation. She lives on the neighboring beach and swore by its beauty. She recommended the Riva Beach Resort, Mandrem Goa which also fit our price range.
I looked up the place and it had mixed reviews. So I called them and chatted with them about their facilities. They were friendly, open and very eager to prove that they are a lovely place to stay. There was an earnestness that convinced me. So I booked a cottage by the beach.
We arrived in Goa on Saturday morning by an overnight bus from Bangalore which mostly smelt of fish. Mr. Fox despite his mad chase to catch the bus was full of energy and wonderful company. The people at Riva sent a cab to pick us up from Panjim (yes they do things like that). It was almost a 45 minute drive up north.
We were welcomed by a beautiful stone sign set in a water fountain. A thatched hut for a reception, a small restaurant called the Buddha Grill and two lines of cottages and some luxury rooms in a building closer to the beach. It was simple and beautiful. Even though we had the choice of picking a luxury room, the fact that it did not face the sea directly deterred us and we took one of the beach facing cottages. The little cottage was a one room with an attached bathroom and a lovely balcony that faced the sea. The room had dark wood interiors and a super comfy bed. Overall it was neat, cozy and functional- air- conditioned of course. The bathroom was small but clean (so important). I told Mr. Fox this is how I like to camp with the luxuries and comfort and yet a minute away from the most beautiful outdoors. (Ok I can rough it out).
The beach itself was heavenly. It was not crowded. The sand was soft and as I like to call it virgin. Our hotel had deck chairs laid out. There were rows and rows of shacks that we could go try out food at. We were looking for good Goan food- fish curry, prawns, calamari, Goan Sausages, Pork vindaloo. We found it all in the shack next to Riva. The owner of the shack was kind enough to spike our orange juice with rum despite it being a dry day.
We probably did not move from the beach the two days were there except for our incredible dinner at the La Plage. How can two days ever be enough. We tried the Buddha grill for breakfast - which was OK. Scrambled egg and toast. Coffee. I like to have bacon and sausages and hash browns when I'm on vacation. So that was disappointing.We tried the chicken Cafreal one evening which showed the place had potential. The biggest problem with the Buddha Grill was the location. If it could be moved up to the beach front instead the road side, I would not have bothered with the shacks. I would have ordered everything from them and charged it to the room so I did not have to worry taking money with me to the beach.
We spent late evenings lounging on the deck chairs by the water with sounds of the waves and the light from the half moon. We spent afternoons napping under shade provided for the deck chairs, lunch time eating at the shacks and later sleeping in on the super comfy bed in our cottage. The hotel staff was incredibly nice and friendly. I want to thank Savio for looking after us.
Susegard! Suddenly made complete sense. Romantic. Soul nourishing. Refreshing. All the ingredients for a perfect weekend getaway!
We both secretly think Miley is fun. And actually love her cover of this song.