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The Only Olive, Aldona, Goa

 

Enjoy Goa like the Goans...live
life simply...

Overview

The Only Olive is a Portuguese style house set in the village of Aldona, in Goa. The house gets its name from the century-old olive tree that is in front and thought to be as old as the house itself. The house is set on a hillock and gives a good view of its surroundings from its balcony or bolcao. The peace and quiet will ensure that you wake up well rested each morning. The pleasures of staying in The Only Olive are the simple ones – go for a walk around the village, admire the famous Khorjeum Bridge, nod and smile at all the neighbours, get fresh poyee for breakfast, soak in the broad smiles of Santosh, Supriya and their brood...


What we've planned for you...

“We believe the best way to enjoy a true Goan holiday is to live life like the Goans do – Simply” – Adrian Pinto

While staying at The Only Olive, plan to relax completely. Sit in the bolcao with a book and watch the birds. Go down to the river and let a fishing rod dangle in the water. Walk around the village of Aldona and spend some time in its centuries old St Thomas church. Help with the garden. Write that book. Paint that painting. Complete that embroidery piece. Understand what Goan susegad is all about by doing it.

And if you still want to go to where the “action” is, head for the beaches. Nothing is more than 30 minutes away. You could hire a taxi or a self-drive car or two-wheeler to help you explore the state.

There is much more to Goa than its beaches. So once you have had enough of being jostled by the crowds there, head away from them.

Most people who visit Goa don’t understand that it is a state, albeit India’s smallest. It is also India’s richest state in terms of GDP and in terms of the sheer variety it packs into its small area.

Are you interested in history? Goa has this amazing mix of history with influences from the Hindu kingdoms in the north, King Ashoka and the Mauryas from the east, the Portuguese from the west and the Bahmani kings and the Vijaynagar kings from the south. This is reflected in their daily life in their food, their customs and the way their land is managed. Hand written records going back 400 years still exist in Goa and govern how the yield from the land is divided.

The Portuguese have left behind a rich heritage in Old Goa with the Church of our Lady of Rosary, the Rachol Seminary, the Church of St Francis of Assisi and the Se Cathedral and Basilica of Bom Jesus. All the major towns in Goa such as Panjim or Panaji and Madgaon show the Portuguese heritage in their buildings.

Some of the older temples such as the Shanta Durga Temple, the Mangueshi Temple or the Mahalasa Temple, also reflect the Portuguese influence. It is fascinating to see the varied influence on these temples, each with its own history arising from the strong faith of its believers. While foreigners are not allowed into these temples, Indians should visit them to understand how multi-cultural Goa has remained over the centuries.

For nature lovers, Goa offers 1512 species of plants, over 275 species of birds, 48 kinds of animals and over 60 types of reptiles. You can chose to enjoy nature sitting in your hammock in The Only Olive or go out to one of the many National Parks – The Salim Ali bird Sanctuary on the Chorao Island, or the Bondla, Molem, Cotigao, Madei, Netravati or Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuaries.

Not very popular yet is crocodile watching in the village of Cambarjua. Make sure you go with trained guides for this activity as it is very risky.

The two main rivers in Goa are the Mandovi and Zuari. They provide not just water but are major means of transportation as well. The Dudhsagar falls and the Arvalem waterfalls are beautiful during the monsoons and tourist attractions around the year.

When...

Aldona is a round-the-year destination with something to offer at all times. Summer, between March and May, may be warm for some. The monsoons are between June and September when it really pelts down and is enjoyed by many people as it is the “off season” in Aldona. From October to February is when Aldona parties!
Tongue Teasers…

Breakfast is cooked by Santosh, the ever cheerful caretaker. He can get you fresh poyee and cook some eggs to go with it or anything else that you fancy. For lunch and dinner, there are a number of small restaurants all around or Santosh can dish up something very typically Goan for you.

Bunk in...

The Only Olive is an old house with three bedrooms. One bedroom has an attached bathroom while the other two bedrooms share a bathroom. The solar water heater ensures a continuous supply of really hot water. The large dining table can easily seat 10 or you can sit out in the balcao or the verandah in the back. The living room is serious and the perfect place to read or play board games.

Bunk in...

Built in the early 20th century, The Green Hotel was once a palace built for two Wodeyar princesses. The Chittaranjan Palace, as it was called, has been revamped into a green hotel, ecologically sustainable, comfortable and charming. You can choose from the five palace rooms named Princess’ Room, Rose Room, the Marigold Suite, the Honeymoon Suite and the Writer’s Room. There are the Bollywood deluxe and smaller Bollywood rooms on the ground floor of the palace. While there are 12 travellers’ rooms, they are simple and nice. In all there are 14 Travellers Rooms, 4 Suite Rooms, 4 Deluxe Rooms and 2 Semi-Deluxe Rooms. None of the rooms have air conditioning, televisions or generators. The pleasant-all-year-round weather makes up for the absence of air conditioners.

How to get there?

Aldona is 13 kms from the nearest railway station at Thivim and 30 kms from the Dabolim airport. Both Thivim and Dabolim are well-connected with the rest of the country. Pick up from the airport, railway station or bus stand can be organised at an additional cost on request.
 
Memories you can take with you...    
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Holiday with a difference...

Adrian Pinto was the typical Goan tourist – partied all night and slept all day. Till he couldn’t get a hotel room one Christmas. A friend invited him to stay in their house and that was when he saw the other side of Goa and decided to get back to his roots.

He bought The Only Olive for the number of seeming coincidences that surrounded it and later discovered that his forefathers lived in a house just a 100 m away!

Before him, the Parish Priest, Fr G B Pinto lived there for over two decades. He had with him Santosh’s parents to take care of the house and land. So Santosh, the present caretaker, grew up on this land. When Adrian was renovating the house, Santosh approached him to be the caretaker and Adrian and his family agreed on the condition that Santosh educate his growing brood of daughters. And that is why you get authentic Goan food here.

Santosh is a tree climber by occupation and so he is very busy with mango plucking in the summer. Which works fine for The Only Olive since that is the off season for guests.

The house was in shambles when they decided to buy it. Rather than raze it to the ground and rebuild it, it has been lovingly restored even if that took time. The shell windows were expensive to replace, but in keeping with the ethos of the house even that was done.

The well was revived since it is the only one in the area to give sweet water. Guests are discouraged from buying bottled water and instead indulging in this gift of nature. In front of the house is the olive tree that gives it its name. During the renovation, Adrian was advised to cut it down as it is not lucky for the house. So he went to Mapusa to meet with the Director of Horticulture to request for permission. The Director requested him not to cut it down as it was the only olive tree in the whole of Goa. There was some research being carried out as to how this Mediterranean tree was found here. And thus the name, The Only Olive.

A branch of the tree fell a few years ago and from it the bed in the Poster bedroom was made.

The furniture has been restored rather than bough new. The large dining table was made from a single rosewood tree by Adrian’s grandfather.

Santosh grows most of the vegetables that are served to you right there and fish is procured from local fisherfolk. Guests are also encouraged to go in for local forms of entertainment such as fishing and crab potting which also results in an additional income to local people.

The effort is to restore and retain as much of the original way of life as possible.

How much

The rates mentioned below are for each of the 3 bedrooms:
The Master (with the attached bathroom) – Rs.4500/Night
Olive Bedroom (has the olive tree right outside) – Rs.4000/Night
Poster Bedroom – Rs.4000/Night

Special rates apply from the 15th December 2010 – 15th January 2011. It varies depending on length of stay

Minimum Stay Requirements:
Low season (1/Apr to 30/Sep): 2 nights
High season (1/Oct to 31/Mar excluding peak season): 3 nights
Peak season (15/Dec to 15/Jan): 7 nights

In addition to the list prices shown above, The Only Olive offers discounts for both Long Stay and Last Minute bookings. If you stay for a week, you pay for 5 nights.
Extra bed – not available
Children below 12 – free
Between 12 & 18 – Rs.500 per night
Check-in 12 noon and Check-out time 10 am

Cancellation Policy

Low and High Season:
14 days before – 1 night’s charges apply
7 days before – no refund

Peak Season:
30 days before – 1 night’s charges apply
14 days before – no refund
Price includes:
Stay in the room for which payment has been made
Breakfast
Taxes Included

Price excludes:
Anything not specifically mentioned in inclusions above
An honesty bar is in the dining room. Please write down in the note book if you take anything from the bar and pay for it when you leave.
100% payment is needed at least 7 days before reaching to confirm the booking.
Prices are valid till 31 March 2013.
 
Guestspeak...

I reached The Only Olive at around 3:00 pm in the afternoon to be welcomed by Santosh. I was very tired and thought I would lie down for a bit. The next thing I knew was it was around 5:00 pm and it was absolutely quiet all around! I woke up guiltily and went outside to find Santosh’s wife, Supriya who promptly offered me a huge mug of tea. Then I decided to wander around Aldona. As I walked down the road, almost everyone I met smiled at me and greeted me. The friendliness extended to the market where I was curious and asked about everything. By the time I came back to The Only Olive I had fallen totally in love with Aldona. The next morning Santosh cooked me an amazing plate of scrambled eggs served with fresh poyee. I tucked in while he hung around in the background and worried that I wasn’t eating enough! Santosh did not speak much, but his smile said volumes. The silence in the balcao drew me repeatedly to sit there – first with the newspaper and then with my book.

What I liked about The Only Olive are the simple things – the drinking water from the well is so tasty, I kept drinking water rather than ask for a hot drink! The sheet they had on the bed to cover myself is soft and multi-layered. It was perfect for the monsoon weather when it was not warm but with the fan on, demanded some covering. The fact that I was left alone added to the charm of the place for me. I knew that if I went to the backyard, I could sit and chat away with Santosh and Supriya in Hindi, so I didn’t feel lonely either. I know I will go back to The Only Olive if only to get some more of that quiet. Feel free to join in.

Gouthami
August 2012
 
 
                   
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'The traveller sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.' 
- G.K. Chesterton

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