Day 148: Looking back to Portugal from Goa

Many warned us about the zigs and zags of visiting India. However, when it came to Goa opinions were unanimous: “oh… Goa, you’re gonna love Goa”.

So we had pretty high expectations for this last leg of our trip. We are more “nature” than “city” travellers. We love never ending beaches, clear waters to snorkel, mountains to climb, waterfalls to dive in, deserts to walk. So we had been suffering a bit in these last few days in Mumbai, Jaipur and Agra. And, despite the undoubtful beauties of the Red Fort, the Taj Mahal or the Hawa Mahal, the intensity of these cities was taking its toll, and we were in much need of a calmer spot. And Goa did not disappoint.

We were welcomed with a warm breeze and a beautiful view of the Indian sea, inviting us to its warmth.

The landscape is dramatically different from what we had seen so far in India. It is green and luxuriant, and there’s traces of the former Portuguese colony everywhere, from the architecture of the houses and churches to the unexpected comfort of meeting numerous ‘Sousas’ and ‘Pereiras’.

In 1498, Vasco da Gama discovered the maritime route to India, opening centuries of prosperity for Portugal and bringing together distant civilizations. Goa was a Portuguese colony from 1510 to 1961, when it was reunited with the rest of the Indian Republic. During these 450 years Goa developed a mixed identity that perfectly combines Portuguese cuisine with Indian spices, catholic religion with Indian diversity, and brings out the same welcoming smiles that you’ll find in both countries.

In Goa we did what we didn’t dare to do before in India: rent a scooter and travel the roads, discovering Goa from north to south, seeing the sea peeking from every corner, and bathing on those unbelievably warm waters at every chance. It is a place full of history, nice cuisine and welcoming people, a perfect ending for this amazing 160 days trip.

Overall, our visit to India had its ups and downs, but no round-the-world trip would ever be complete without it. It is tempting to remember it mostly as a destitute place, but that would be terribly unfair. India, together with China, have overcome uncountable hurdles to snatch close to 700 million people from living with less than a dollar per day. Many millions continue to do so, but the world is indeed a better place today.

Heading back to Lisbon now, with the certainty that it won’t be long until we put our backpacks back on!


8 thoughts on “Day 148: Looking back to Portugal from Goa

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