India – Mumbai and Goa

Mumbai

It was really nice to have a lie in for once! We went out for a dosa breakfast, bit embarrassing that we hadn’t had one yet but we really enjoyed them.

We then did a walk around all the cultural and heritage sites in Colaba; Gateway of India – where the last Brits left from when India became independent, the Maharashtra police HQ, Asiatic Library, CST Train Station, Bombay High Court, Rajabai Clock Tower and the Cathedral of the Holy Name. If I’m completely honest, only the gateway and maybe the train station are worth seeing. All the buildings look very British which isn’t surprising I guess!

It did feel nice to be in a city again though. We even had a Starbucks! I know, I know, basic bitch, right? But after 2 hours of walking, I had earned my frappuccino. I was also getting hangry with the lack of sugar so, really, getting me one was the right call for everyone. We chilled in the hostel for the afternoon and then went out for some dinner – I actually put on a dress and make-up for the first time in 2 weeks!

We went to a place called the Goose and Gridiron. It was a nice enough place with an astroturfed outside area and some fairy lights. We had our first (and only) Bombay Sapphire in Bombay – not that there is actually any relation.

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Bombay in Bombay

The next morning we got up early to check out and go on a slum tour. We had a great breakfast at a cafe called Theobroma – my first mocha in India. We got an Uber to the train station where we were supposed to meet our tour guide. We waited and waited but the guy was a no-show. When we eventually got through to the hostel (after an hour of waiting) they said that there was heavy rain to the guy wasn’t going to make it… well thanks for letting us know! I was a bit gutted because I really wanted to go but never-mind.

Instead, we headed over to Dhobi Ghats – the largest place in the world for washing clothes. They hold the Guinness record for most amount of people washing clothes at one time. It was pretty impressive to see, not particularly a place I’d like to get my clothes washed or work in, however. What’s concerning is that this is where all the hospitals and hotels get their linen washed! There was a sort of ‘section’ for all the ‘waste’ that comes out of the hospitals but these guys were scrubbing the clothes with intense chemicals with bare hands – I can only imagine what it must be doing to their skin.

After that, we went to Marine Drive to walk along the beach. It was a disgusting beach. It was full of rubbish and the walk was hot and sweaty. Our long walk was rewarded with a Baskin and Robbins ice cream at the end which took me straight back to my childhood.

That evening we got the overnight train to Goa. The train actually left on time and although it arrived a little late, it was really no bother at all and I quite enjoyed it – I slept most of the way anyway!

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Goa – Agonda

We got a taxi from the train to station our hotel in Agonda (about an hour south or Margoa). Our hotel, Cinnamon, consisted of about 20 beach huts and a nearly-there restaurant. It was rustic but cute, the only real downside was that there were SO many mosquitos! Luckily the bed had a mosquito net. Agonda is really quiet most of the time and was in all honesty, completely dead when we were there (who comes to the beach during monsoon season anyways!?)

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We still managed made the best of it though. We had a small terrace outside our hut so bought some beers, played cards and read our books. We ended up just eating in the hostel as it was chucking it down and no other restaurants were open!

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I woke up starving the next day and luckily the hotel had a free breakfast of eggs, toast, and coffee which did me perfectly. We chilled for a while by our hut as it rain but then Lewis started to get antsy so we hired a bike and drove to the nearest town with any life at all – Palolem.

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We managed to just miss the rain the whole ride! When we did arrive (about a 20 min drive) things were actually open! A huge improvement from the boarded-up shops and tarp-covered beach huts that littered Agonda.

We stopped into a cafe called the Bombay Duck for a spot of lunch and a beer (well I had a beer because Lewis was driving). Lewis wasn’t feeling great so we went back to the hotel and he slept for a bit while I read my book. Later in the evening, we drove back to Palolem for dinner. We went to a beachfront restaurant called Dropadi. We had a really nice meal apart from I ordered a curry that was way too hot for me! That’s what I get for being cocky.

On our drive home we encountered a few problems:

  1. Our bike lights didn’t work, which meant I was holding a torch over Lewis’s shoulder off into the vast blackness which constitutes the Goan countryside
  2. We ran out of petrol about halfway home

Okay, it might have been slightly my fault. Lewis did ask if we should get petrol before we left (our petrol gauge didn’t work) and I said no, we’ll be fine! And you know what, we were fine in the end… We only had to push the bike for 5 minutes before someone stopped to help.

Goa – Varca

YAY! The time had finally come that we were going to a real hotel. We woke up and had a quick breakfast before getting a taxi straight to Caravela Beach Resort in Varca, about an hour north of Agonda. I couldn’t even contain my excitement when we arrived – there was actually a driveway, bel boys, welcome drinks – I was ecstatic.

Once we’d checked in (and we’d been upgraded!), by some miracle the sun was actually shining. We headed straight to the pool. Of course, I needed a margarita as soon as we arrived and the one from the pool-bar wasn’t half bad. We spent the rest of the day working on our tans until we realized that I was actually so burnt already. Why am I so white?

We went back to the room so that I could get out of the sun and to get ready for dinner. The only downer was that Lewis wasn’t feeling well so wasn’t up for much of a drink but despite this, we had a really lovely evening.

The next morning we went for breakfast and it was phenomenal! Like a real hotel buffet breakfast with an eggs station, a pancake and waffle station, obviously every pastry you could think of and decent coffee – I was in my element. As you might have guessed, all we did in Caravela was eat, drink and tan and that suited me just fine.

Goa to Delhi

The day started off well. We chilled in the room after breakfast until check out. Then tanned by the pool, had some lunch and got our taxi to the airport. The airport and flight itself went off without a hitch things only started to go downhill when we got to Delhi (surprise, surprise).

First of all, it’s 11pm, we are tired and crabby and just wanted to sleep before our flight home tomorrow. Two different Ubers canceled on us, so we decided to get a tuk-tuk, then this guy couldn’t find our hotel and tried to get more money out of us ‘for the long journey’, no thank you.

THEN we go to check in and our booking had been canceled and now the hotel was fully booked. Um, excuse me!? We hadn’t been told by the hotel or booking.com that it had been canceled, they claimed it was because we arrived after 8pm – absolute rubbish, their site even claims 24hour reception! Anyways, I may have lost my head a bit at this, Lewis remained calm but he’s a slow burner, so by the time we found another hotel, checked in and made it to the room he was fuming but I was calm again. The hotel we checked into was grosser than the one we booked but it had a bed, provided breakfast and was near the airport so I was happy.

Delhi to Edinburgh

The day had finally come, we were going home! Luckily we both woke up in better moods than the night before! The hotel breakfast was actually decent and getting to the airport was easy. The flight home was long but as expected and it felt good to walk out into the crisp air once we’d got to Edinburgh airport.

India was a fantastic experience and I’m so glad I did it with Lewis. I had a great time (despite everything!) and I can’t really believe how much we saw and experienced in just under a month. Looking back, we really did enjoy our time there and it is definitely a once in a lifetime experience, probably because we now know what India stands for: I’m Never Doing It Again.

If you’re planning on going to India and want any tips or suggestions please get in touch!

This is going to be the last blog post for a while as I’ve now started my masters and unfortunately can’t just swan around the world anymore on a permanent holiday – so this is Backbackbradie singing out! (For now).

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