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Reviewed 14 October 2011

I was turning 35 and I wanted this birthday to be extra special. While surfing the net I came across ‘The Only Olive’. I must confess I fell in love with name before the place. A few phone calls, tickets booked and I was off to Go-aaaaaah. As a die-hard hippie, Goa has usually been about the beach, parties, seafood, backpacker rooms whose decor was mostly a blur. This time it was going to be different.

I was going to stay in a fancy bungalow, in a quaint village called Aldona. The owner Adrian, sounded quite friendly on the phone and gave me the address of a local bar and recommended the food there. For me, it was perfect – I was going to explore a hidden Goa, find little tucked away local haunts. The words authentic, charming, experiential and real floated in my head.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t disappointed. The villa was beautiful. White, with a lovely intense green Olive Tree in front, it was postcard perfect. The first evening, I just sat on the armchair overlooking a lawn, stared at the guava, chikoo, mango trees. Said hello to the zillions of little birds with different coloured breast, who sat unafraid on electric wires and branches, viewing me with a friendly curiosity and sipped my beer.

The sun slowly set and sounds from the village prettily drifted through the air. There was a rooster who didn’t know time, sweet old ladies who smiled brightly as they walked past, the stars were blazing in the sky (Anybody who lives in Bombay, will miss stars) and the Olive Tree quietly kept me company, bringing in a gentle peace. The man Friday, Santosh made me dinner. Coconut prawn curry, rice and beans. Delicious, simple and fresh, it was like I had gone back to how life was meant to be lived.

The villa is filled with warm, earthy hues. Rusted red, bright yellows, browns, reflections of wood and my room contained similar shades. For me personally, there is something intensely soothing about these colours and my sleep that night was filled with beautiful dreams, which of course, I didn’t remember.

The next day I woke up happy. Truly happy and then after a breakfast of omelette, the Goan bun and a pot of tea I set out. The local church had the most beautiful gravestones. I stared at them a long time, trying to figure out the stories of their life from the presence of their death. A quick hello to God and then I decided to walk wherever my feet took me.

I went through many charming lanes filled with interesting houses. Some old, decrepit but with character, a few modern ghastly ones – all of them had people sitting out watching the world go by. Most of them waved out to me, asked me questions, called me in. Their curiosity was flavoured with old world hospitality and charm – of having lived a fairly innocent life. (I have a feeling I am romanticising them, but that’s how it felt).

For lunch I went to Tony’s place. A small local bar and restaurant. Tony is an ex marine engineer, friendly and typically Goan, he immediately took it upon himself to be kind to me. Placed in a little corner table, I sipped some of his Cashew feni (Specially made with spices). Trust me, it has been the smoothest feni I have ever had – the single malt of fenis. I asked him to choose my lunch and he recommended the beef roast. Tender, succulent, its yumminess still lingers in my palate memories.

Much satisfied, I went back to the villa and had another evening of sunsets, birds and Santosh’s home delicacies. For those of you who are reading this and have never experienced the Goan village life, I’d urge you to come here.

This place will pamper your body and soul and wrap you in a happiness bubble, which will linger around you, long after you’ve said goodbye.

VK Arathi Menon

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank arthmenon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
itsadrian, Manager at The Only Olive, responded to this reviewResponded 22 November 2011

Arthi ,
Waiting for you to get back . Birds , Bees and All are missing you .

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC