Paddy fields, vast meadows, traditional Portuguese homes, quaint churches along Mapusa river… the unassuming, sleepy village of Aldona, in Bardez, breaks the tourist myth that south Goa is the place for serenity and natural beauty, while north Goa is only about booze, parties and for history buffs—monuments. Aldona retains the authentic Goan charm. The traditional poi (Goan bread) bakery here, uses an earthen oven, built in the wall. It rolls out fresh batches of bread every morning (4.30 am) and evening (4.30 pm). The pao walla delivers it across the entire village on a bicycle. Another delightful discovery–the village has backwaters! A local family gives kayaks and speed boats on rent. If you’re up for pure indulgence ask about their luxury yatch–Lady M. There are various lodging options in Aldona, but for a truely local experience try their traditional homestay, a 500-year-old villa–Cancio’s House. Ambling around the uneven terrain, visit St Thomas Church (Aldona’s main church and important local, cultural space) and the ruins of Corjuem Fort across Mapusa river. Look out and lose yourself to uninterrupted views of the landscape.