A man named Deepak dropped me on his bike from Panaji to German Bakery in Anjuna for Rs. 350. This kind of a transporter is called a 'pilot' in Goa. Right next to the German Bakery was Roadhouse - the hostel I had read about just a week ago on Facebook. With a smartly managed FB page, the content had succeeded in making the hostel my choice for a short 3-day stay in Goa. The place turned out to be good enough for me to call in sick at work and extend my stay by a couple of days.
I was greeted by a cat resting on a bean bag just outside the entrance and a picture of Jim Morrison on the wall to the right of the reception table. A man wearing shorts, a shirt and spectacles welcomed me asking me my name. I gave it to him and learnt that he was Uday, the person I have been speaking with over the phone. Fortunately, despite my online booking not working out, there was exactly one bed available and it turned out I was just on time. He asked me to wait for a bit while my bed was cleared. I relaxed in the lobby listening to music and a few minutes later, Nelson the manager of the hostel informed me that my bed was ready and Raj, the helper will escort me.
The hostel room was as I had imagined it to be. 6 beds with clothes, towels, mobile chargers, books lying around and yet not shabby or stinky. Shashank from Bangalore was the only one there getting ready to leave for the Hilltop festival. The bathroom was clean and spacious and contrary to my pre-conceived notion, did not smell bad at all.
A few minutes later after I got myself acquainted with the place, I met Ben from Australia, Benny from Germany and Marshall from Canada – my other roomies. I had a quick shower and went back to the reception where Uday told me about Mango shade – a really cool, inexpensive restaurant right next to the hostel. I walked up to this place and saw around 8 travelers from my hostel sitting together at a table. There wasn’t any space there so I was reluctant to join them. A quiet meal and a few hours later, I was friends with all of them.
The hostel front yard had bean bags where people chilled with pints of beer when they had nothing else to do. This is also where most people from the hostel met each other for the first time. Here is where I met Rose from Australia, Judith from Hungary, Natalie and Elsa from Luxemberg, Sjouna from New York, Kat and Taz from England, Kunal from Delhi, Mr. Tonston from Germany, Dove and Zaza from France, Vishnu from Mangalore, Santosh from Hyderabad, Tim, Will, and Charlie from Manchester, and Hannah and Elaine from Sweden.
I wanted to rent a geared motorbike but there was none available due to the busy Goa carnival. Nelson helped to get me a scooter which was my ride for the next 4 days. Uday, who is like an encyclopedia on Goa and things to do here, came up with several activities for everyone staying at the hostel in the days to come. It started with all of us taking a ride to the Arpora night market which was a night full of drinking, dancing and a whole lot of fun. The next day was a beer war between hostels in the vicinity at Heidi’s beer garden. The war included hogging a hotdog full of chillies, chugging beer, and identifying types of beer. The night concluded with the whole group meeting at Curlies for dinner and then dancing till the wee hours of the morning. Then came the Goa carnival which also included triple seat rides to Mapusa and then to Vagator for the sunset followed by a snack on the beach and a huge meal back at German Bakery with an entertaining Mumbai Vs Delhi war between Kunal and me. Amidst all this, there were notes being exchanged between the travelers on their countries, cultures, travel plans and much more. Also, each one of us often took off on our own to explore Goa and met later at night to tell our tales of the day. I will never forget Rose's magnificent dance moves and exceptional bag packing skills.. and Hannah's unique, zestful, hilarious, hysterical renditions of even the most boring stories! All this made it much more difficult for me to leave for Mumbai the next day but Elsa told me something that keeps every traveler going - "You have to leave here to get somewhere else!"
The Roadhouse hostel is a great example of why one should stay in a hostel while traveling. Clean beds, great location, helpful and cheerful staff, affordable price, great places around to eat and party, positive vibes and a cool, travelicious ambiance where people from all over the world can meet, bond, inspire and learn from each other – these are the things that make Roadhouse your perfect abode when you are in North Goa.
954 Grande Peddem, Off Flea Market Road
Next to German Bakery
Anjuna, Bardez 403509
No. of beds:
Rs. 500 per night