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Goa off the beaten path, Whole Goa in One Day!

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Usually when we talk about Goa we refer to warm sea, pristine beaches, clear and sunny sky and lots of tourists from around the world relaxing and enjoying together with their family or loved ones. However, this time when I was in Goa for nearly two weeks, my Russian friend came up with an idea to further explore Goa in one day away from the beaches. She came across one Russian travel agency operating in Goa “tvoy Goa” and there we saw a tour package of Complete Goa in one day. In no time, we booked with the agency.

Their office was in Candolim, where we stayed. The place is a mini Russia in itself. The office was also giving a complete feel of a Russian office. Everything was written in Russian; receptionist, managers and all employees were Russian. It was strange and funny that to see India, I was with a Russian tour agency with my friend and her mother. They were accepting fees in US Dollars but I am glad that for me they accepted Indian Rupees as well.

Whole Goa in One Day!

The Complete Goa in One day package included a visit to Temple of Sri Mahalasa, Dudhsagar Falls, Spice plantation garden, Lunch, and Old Goa in the respective order.

Our Russian guide greeted us as soon as our trip started. After 2-3 minutes of talking, she realized I am a non-Russian and her quick question was “vse govarit po russky?” (Does everyone speak in Russian?) We all responded with yes, and she was surprised with my presence and my Russian language. Throughout the way, she was introducing the group to Indian culture, some common myths and beliefs about the Indian society and I was there to help if she needed clarification. The bus became a platform for intellectual discussion on Indian culture with everyone participating and asking questions out of their curiosity and observations.

Passing through the serene roads accompanied by the green trees and zigzagging through the Goan territory, we reached Sri Mahalasa temple. It was like seeking blessing of the goddess Mahalasa, Mohini avatar of Vishnu, before continuing with journey. The temple was shifted from the Velha conquistas (Saxty/salcette) to avoid destruction during the forcible Christianisation of Salcette, Goa.  The temple boasts a magnificent deepastambha and a holy pond. Visitors cannot go with swimsuits inside and need to cover their sleeves up to the half-length and legs up to the knees. Footwear need to be removed outside the temple. Taking picture of the front view of the temple is not allowed. However, you can take pictures in the other areas of the temple.

mahalasa-temple Whole Goa in One Day

deepastambha mahalasa-temple Whole Goa in One Day

The next stop in our trip was of course, Doodhsagar falls. I would say this was the main highlight of the trip, and it is not in Goa, :P but in the adjacent state of Karnataka. Last time I came here when I was studying in Bangalore. We trekked along the railway tracks and the view was much better from there. You could actually see the fall very close on a height! The name Doodhsagar came from Sanskrit. It is made up of two words, Doodh (milk) and sagar (sea) so you can guess why it is called so.

Private vehicles cannot go up to the waterfall. We had to get down and take a safari jeep provided by the administration whose fees was included in the tour package. As soon as you get down from the bus, number of local people will come to sell bananas and tomatoes to you for feeding the monkeys. I have fed monkeys a lot, it is quite dangerous and I do not find it exciting anymore. However, I bought it because my friend wanted to. I was unaware of the fact that feeding monkeys was illegal there and we cannot take any eatables inside. At the entrance of the protected area, government officials started checking our bags, though they were not so strict. They were asking politely and as polite was the response from all the fellow Russian tourists, “no, we do not have any bananas.”

From that point, it took another 45 minutes to reach the falls through unmetalled roads and crossing rivers that filled water up to our feet in the jeep. As soon as we got down, I was surprised to see everyone taking out bananas and feeding the monkeys. I was laughing because I thought only Indians do such things, breaking the rules! Probably it is the effect of extra freedom, which Russians enjoy now, after the 74 years long strict soviet rule!

After getting down from the jeep we still had to make our way to the fall, which required crossing fast-flowing mountainous rivers with the help of the rope and climbing small rocks. It was not as difficult as it sounds; people belonging to all age groups were doing it smoothly. Helping my friend and her mom cross all the hurdles, I started helping fellow tourists to cross whether I knew them or not. Girls, boys, men, women, babushki (grannys) and kids, I cannot remember how many people I pulled and guided or lifted to make them reach safe place. It was a bit strange for me, as men in Russia have to serve the army compulsory for one year; I assumed that it would be very easy for them, but I felt as if it was something new for them, and I had to guide them and pull them the same way.

Doodhsagar-fall The next stop in our trip was of course, Doodhsagar falls. I would say this was the main highlight of the trip, and it is not in Goa, :P but in the adjacent state of Karnataka. Last time I came here when I was studying in Bangalore. We trekked along the railway tracks and the view was much better from there. You could actually see the fall very close on a height! The name Doodhsagar came from Sanskrit. It is made up of two words, Doodh (milk) and sagar (sea) so you can guess why it is called so.  Private vehicles cannot go up to the waterfall. We had to get down and take a safari jeep provided by the administration whose fees was included in the tour package. As soon as you get down from the bus, number of local people will come to sell bananas and tomatoes to you for feeding the monkeys. I have fed monkeys a lot, it is quite dangerous and I do not find it exciting anymore. However, I bought it because my friend wanted to. I was unaware of the fact that feeding monkeys was illegal there and we cannot take any eatables inside. At the entrance of the protected area, government officials started checking our bags, though they were not so strict. They were asking politely and as polite was the response from all the fellow Russian tourists, “no, we do not have any bananas.”  From that point, it took another 45 minutes to reach the falls through unmetalled roads and crossing rivers that filled water up to our feet in the jeep. As soon as we got down, I was surprised to see everyone taking out bananas and feeding the monkeys. I was laughing because I thought only Indians do such things, breaking the rules! Probably it is the effect of extra freedom, which Russians enjoy now, after the 74 years long strict soviet rule!  After getting down from the jeep we still had to make our way to the fall, which required crossing fast-flowing mountainous rivers with the help of the rope and climbing small rocks. It was not as difficult as it sounds; people belonging to all age groups were doing it smoothly. Helping my friend and her mom cross all the hurdles, I started helping fellow tourists to cross whether I knew them or not. Girls, boys, men, women, babushki (grannys) and kids, I cannot remember how many people I pulled and guided or lifted to make them reach safe place. It was a bit strange for me, as men in Russia have to serve the army compulsory for one year; I assumed that it would be very easy for them, but I felt as if it was something new for them, and I had to guide them and pull them the same way.

This day gave me an unforgettable moment as I lost my slippers in an attempt to support my friend and save my mobile while crossing the river with the help of the rope. From that point, I walked barefoot throughout the trip: in the jungle, in the garden, on the streets and in the church. The result was red feet due to excessive acupressure by mother earth!

Our next stop was spice plantation garden. It was like a forest where you could see spices growing. It is an interesting place if you want to know a little more about the common spices that you include in your food daily. However, for an Indian there is not anything new. :) Nevertheless, it is a good concept to introduce foreign tourists to Indian spices and their richness. We were provided lunch in traditional Indian style on Banana leaf; tea and Goan feni (local alcohol) was served right on the table. I was having a friendly conversation with the guide when a group of girls came and occupied seats next to me, everyone was curious to know what was there on their plate. It was interesting to see that whenever we had free time, the conversation took a spiritual and intellectual turn. No matter if you visit Goa or Varanasi, if you came to India you will not go without taking some spiritual lessons from this ancient country.

spice-plantation-garden-goa This day gave me an unforgettable moment as I lost my slippers in an attempt to support my friend and save my mobile while crossing the river with the help of the rope. From that point, I walked barefoot throughout the trip: in the jungle, in the garden, on the streets and in the church. The result was red feet due to excessive acupressure by mother earth!  Our next stop was spice plantation garden. It was like a forest where you could see spices growing. It is an interesting place if you want to know a little more about the common spices that you include in your food daily. However, for an Indian there is not anything new. :) Nevertheless, it is a good concept to introduce foreign tourists to Indian spices and their richness. We were provided lunch in traditional Indian style on Banana leaf; tea and Goan feni (local alcohol) was served right on the table. I was having a friendly conversation with the guide when a group of girls came and occupied seats next to me, everyone was curious to know what was there on their plate. It was interesting to see that whenever we had free time, the conversation took a spiritual and intellectual turn. No matter if you visit Goa or Varanasi, if you came to India you will not go without taking some spiritual lessons from this ancient country.

In the spice garden you can see elephants, ride on them or bath with them as elephants splash water on you from their trunks. Interesting, isn’t it? My friend and I decided to take a ride on the elephant. It was for 600 rupees each (not included in the package) for a quiet small ride.

Our last stop was Old Goa where we visited some of the most magnificent churches of Goa and Asia. Cathedral of St. Catherine is the biggest church in Asia. The cathedral is known for its Golden bell, which is biggest in Goa and one of the best in the world. Once sounded, the vibration of the bell can be heard as far as 14 Km! The church belongs to 16th century, which was the time when Europeans started forced Christianisation of India. We also visited Basilica of Bom Jesus, which has the relics of the Apostle of India, St. Francisco Xavier. He is known as the most successful catholic missionary in the world in the history of Christianity.

cathedral-of-st.-catherine-goa In the spice garden you can see elephants, ride on them or bath with them as elephants splash water on you from their trunks. Interesting, isn’t it? My friend and I decided to take a ride on the elephant. It was for 600 rupees each (not included in the package) for a quiet small ride.  Our last stop was Old Goa where we visited some of the most magnificent churches of Goa and Asia. Cathedral of St. Catherine is the biggest church in Asia. The cathedral is known for its Golden bell, which is biggest in Goa and one of the best in the world. Once sounded, the vibration of the bell can be heard as far as 14 Km! The church belongs to 16th century, which was the time when Europeans started forced Christianisation of India. We also visited Basilica of Bom Jesus, which has the relics of the Apostle of India, St. Francisco Xavier. He is known as the most successful catholic missionary in the world in the history of Christianity.

It was evening already and our guide gave us options whether if we want to visit a museum or want to go back home. All of us were filled with excitement and emotions, but we were tired. We decided to return, my feet were red, with impressions of stones and rough surfaces of forest, roads and grasses. Nevertheless, I did not care, as I was lost in the bliss that Goa gave. Our guide on the way home was telling more about Indian mythology and I was lost somewhere. My friend was cutely sleeping with her head resting on the window and her mom was smiling. There was silence in the bus, not because we were tired, but we were saving the memories of the day. Thanks to Goa, thanks to tvoy goa and thanks to the guide Elena for making the day perfect!

Tvoy goa (Your Goa) is a Russian tour agency operating in Goa. Eh! you would be thinking that I am crazy. Nevertheless, the rates were reasonable, probably because it was not a British company! You can get further 5% discount if you book from their website. Children get additional 50% discount and payment can be done after the trip. Tourists, whether they have been to India or not, often have some myths about Indian culture, Indian society and religion; here is the list of top ten myths about India compiled by our Russian journalist from St. Petersburg. It is our personal recommendation for you and clear your doubts about India. :)

Your Turn!

Have you ever been to goa? Where did you go and what did you do? Share your experience, your views and tips in the comments below. Our team of international journalists would love to have discussion with you. And do not forget to share and follow us on your favourite social networking site :)

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Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.

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Yacht charter in Barcelona, the comfort and privacy you can’t get on land

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Traveling the coast of Barcelona in a luxury yacht is an unforgettable experience that everyone should experience sometime in their lives. It is the perfect trip for those who want to get away from the city and its noises, to relax in a peaceful atmosphere that can only be reached at sea.

Barcelona, located on the northeast coast of the Mediterranean Sea, is one of the most visited cities in Spain, even in Europe. It is the perfect place to enjoy the architectural, artistic, cultural and gastronomic diversity of the country, making it one of the favorite tourist destinations for millions of people around the world.

Among all the many attributes that the city of Barcelona has, one of the most outstanding is its beaches. Years ago the American magazine National Geographic named Barcelona as the best coastal city in the world.

There are 4 kilometers of sand in the Catalan capital available for the fans of maritime landscapes, finding beaches for any activity you could wish for during your holidays, either to relax, practice water sports and more. 

Among all the activities that have been on the rise in this paradise is the rental of luxury yachts. And nothing can compare to sailing along the beautiful coasts of Barcelona in one of these majestic vessels, which are at your disposal to discover the most beautiful landscapes.

Undoubtedly, touring these paradisiacal landscapes aboard Barcelona charters is the best way to get away from the noise of the city and just enjoy the feeling of freedom and calm that can only be achieved on the high seas.

Imagine living the pleasure of riding on a modern motor yacht with capacity for a dozen people traveling at speeds up to 25 knots; it would be, without a doubt, a unique experience! 

In the city of Barcelona there are prestigious agencies that rent these fast and elegant luxury boats for periods ranging from one hour to the whole day and even the weekend. 

These services are aimed at VIP clients and can be used for all kinds of events, such as corporate events, meetings and romantic dinners, including unforgettable tours along the coast of Barcelona and the Maresme. There is also the option of buying drinks on the boat and catering service. There are a lot of possibilities, and companies will always provide alternatives to suit the client’s needs.

Learn a little more about these boats

Luxury yachts fascinate those who seek privacy and comfort in its maximum expression, which is sometimes difficult to achieve on land. It is a pleasant way to get away from the world.

These boats can be quite amazing in terms of all the luxury features they offer. Specialized blogs have even made rankings of the 10 most expensive yachts in the world, which are a privilege that is only reserved for a very exclusive elite.

These yachts are considered by many as titans of floating vehicles. They are jewels of engineering equipped with the latest technology and elements for maximum comfort. 

The top 10 most expensive yachts are as follows: 

1.- History Supreme ($4.8 billion).

2.- Eclipse ($1.5 billion).

3.- Streets of Monaco (1.1 billion dollars).

4.- Topaz (527 million dollars).

5.- Motor Yacht A ($440 million).

6.- Dubai (350 million dollars).

Sailing Yacht A (US$323 million).

8.- Al Said (300 million dollars).

9.- Dilbar (256 million dollars).

10.- Lady Moura (210 million dollars).

We encourage you to review the features of these amazing vessels in specialized portals, among which we can mention, heated swimming pools, heliports, basketball courts, concert halls and more. The wealthy owners of these “mega yachts” spare no expenses to make these vehicles with all the comforts that anyone could imagine.

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Planning to Travel? Here Are the Do’s to Observe

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Air travel

Traveling abroad isn’t just a matter of packing and leaving; there several significant aspects of your journey that you need to be on top of before you embark on your journey. For a safe, peaceful, and enjoyable stay at your travel destination, your health should top the list from your travel plans.

It would be best to consider a thorough health checkup for vital health concerns like vaccination, blood test, malaria, urine test, and dental checkup.

Why Is a Dental Checkup Important?

If you plan to have an extended stay, you should tend to broken fillings, decayed teeth, or any dental issues to minimize dental emergencies. It’s prudent to also have the necessary treatment before leaving.

The standards of dental care worldwide vary widely and the certainty of getting dental supplies from a trusted and certified dental supplier isn’t assured. The cost may also become cumbersome given that your destination of choice may not have dental care coverage for kids.

Depending on where you’re traveling, either in developing, developed, or remote areas, leaving your dental health to chance can be uncomfortable if not dangerous. Your chosen destination may lack the resources, dental supplies, and equipment to cater to your dental needs.

Air travel causes specific pressure changes, affecting your root canal, causing pain and potential infections. Therefore, it’s advisable to ensure that you complete all your treatment before traveling or consider paste filling to minimize the risks.

Pericoronitis is an infection caused by food trapped through the flesh covering your teeth. The condition can spread to parts of your neck and head; to avoid this outcome, consider removing lower wisdom teeth that are partially exposed.

The other thing you should look out for is if you have gum (periodontal) disease, it’s essential to have your teeth cleaned by a hygienist or a dentist.

Checklist Before Travel

As stated earlier, the most vital thing is you and your health, so here are some things you should consider.

Travel Insurance

Probably, the health care insurance coverage that you have at the moment will not cover the scope of international travel. After you’ve assessed the situation keenly, consider opting for emergency medical insurance and medical evacuation.

The majority of options and plans offered by travel insurance providers occasionally cover trip cancellation, lost luggage, plus medical emergency and evacuation.

Get the Right Visa

Do thorough research on the kind of visa you need. This is a critical but overlooked aspect by many travelers. Any mixup can turn your trip into a disaster, as this little mistake could mean you’ll get turned away from the said country.

To make matters worse, you won’t even be allowed to leave the airport, which should serve as a motivation to be extra keen. Find out the visa you qualify for and apply early in advance.

Pre-Book Accommodations

You wouldn’t want to deal with the stressors involved in getting an instant spot without prior arrangements. Start on the right foot by booking a one-night accommodation in advance, ensuring you aren’t anxious through your journey.

You can have a fun-filled day exploring the area after a comfortable night’s sleep. To prepare for any eventualities, ensure that you also have a hard copy of your accommodation reservation besides having a soft copy.

Travel Advisory

Before you decide your destination, it’s vital to cross-reference through the government state department website to see if the country you wish to travel to poses a threat (short or long term) to travelers. You’ll find a list of countries with a travel warning. This is critical because travel insurance does not cover countries under a travel warning.

Vaccination

Scour through to find the health information of the country you’ll be traveling to and whether you’ll need to be vaccinated. Finding out nations that pose a risk to your health are highlighted on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

This mainly applies if you’re traveling to third-world countries and the vaccination may vary, including yellow fever, Zika virus, malaria, cholera, etc. Also, get enough supplements to last you the entire trip if you aren’t sure you’ll be able to supplement your fill abroad.

To avoid security hiccups, find out which drug prescriptions are not illegal in your destination or countries you’ll pass through. It’s essential to bring along photocopies of your prescription and always carry the medicine in its prescribed bottle.

Suppose your medical condition requires you to have syringes, relay the information before security checks. Take your vaccination six weeks before departure, as vaccines take a couple of weeks before they can kick in.

Enjoy Your Stay

We didn’t delve deeper into aspects including culture shock, travel deals, packaging, payment methods, etc., adhering to those mentioned above essential will keep your mind at ease. What remains is to enjoy your exploration.

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Staying Safe While You’re Abroad

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Travelling family memories

Going on holiday is a thrilling experience, there’s so much to see, discover, and feel, but you need to make sure that you’re safe while you’re away. Being so far from home can leave you vulnerable to a lot of different dangers, and you’re not going to be able to resolve them in the way that you usually would. You need to know how to look after yourself in the event that something should happen, and that way you can ensure that your time away ends as a positive experience. There’s a lot to explore, but new experiences can sometimes bring about a risk to your health and safety.

Keep your important belongings close to you

No matter where you’re going, if it’s somewhere that requires you to have important documents and money with you at all times, you should make sure you have a way to prevent that from getting lost or stolen. There are many ways you can do it, but finding a way to keep those important belongings close to you, without the chance of them going missing is very important. Some people even go the extra distance to bring extras of those documents, and it can ensure that it doesn’t hinder their ability to have a good time while they’re away. The last thing you want is to lose your passport when you need to get home.

Make sure to take medication

If you’re going somewhere where you’re at risk of getting a disease, you must find out about it before you get there. Being able to prepare the proper medication and prevent those diseases can be a real life-saver. Going to another country means exposing yourself to new elements, making you much more vulnerable to health risks. Knowing how to do things like preventing Malaria, or warding off bugs is important! You never know what might happen while you’re out there, but if you’re prepared you at least know that you’re safe.

Know how to avoid getting lost

If you’re going somewhere far from home, it’s only expected that you’re not going to know where you are at all times, especially if you’re not going with a group. If you are out and about exploring, you’re going to want to know how you can make sure finding your way home is possible. Being able to communicate with the locals can be very helpful when you need to ask for directions. Now, learning a whole other language for a vacation isn’t realistic, but there are words and phrases you can learn to take you that little bit further.

You should also consider buying a map of the area that you go to before you set out. It’s great to explore, but a map can mean that you avoid getting lost. You’re likely going to have to rely on yourself whenever you get into trouble, so knowing how to read a map and navigate is going to make all the difference. It’s an adventure, but your safety should be your top priority.

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