Goa (Mormugao), India

Goa has always been known as the Jewel of India, a land of incredible contrasts, known for its pure. white stretched of beach, dense forested areas, a very warm climate and a place to grow spices used liberally in Indian cuisine. Goa is perhaps best described by a single word from the native Konkani language . . . “Kenna”. It simply means “sometimes” and it really encapsulates what a day in Goa is like. Sometimes it’s loud . . . Sometimes it’s quiet . . . Sometimes it’s relaxing . . . Sometimes it’s chaotic. But a day here is always filled with stunning contrasts.

The Portugese conquered this area and after 400 years of Portugese rule, they left a heritage of Christianity and Portugese cuisine combined with Hindu origins. This dazzling port features fresh seafood, combined with local, organic fruits, such as guava, pineapple, cashew plantations. Goa’s favourite spice is “Peri-Peri” a fiery chili.

We took a guided tour of a working spice plantation, followed by a sumptuous organic lunch. We had an opportunity to pick fresh nutmeg, bay leaves, jack fruit and ginger. This plantation also brewed “Feni”, a local favourite spirit with an alcohol content of 47%.

In the afternoon, we visited the temple to the Goddess Durga whose idle was once hidden to avoid destruction by enemies.

This was a wonderful bus tour experience in a modern, air-conditioned bus.

Next port of call is New Mangalore, a city with perfectly temperate waters and aromatic Indian coffee.