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Published: February 7th 2014
Panjim was where I met Terry 26 years ago on the last night of the Festival of Ganesh and was keen to see if I could remember anything about it. It’s a long time in any city’s life and I am sure no different in this one. Then train does not go into the city but stops about 40 kilometers outside at a place called Vasco and we took a taxi into town. The terrain was now hilly with coconut covered hills and water in rivers and lakes. I saw a kingfisher and was thrilled by its colours. I was happy with the little hotel we had booked called Hosperdaria Abrigo De Botelho it looks as lovely as the pictures and that is what Toni and I are always on about when regards the Backpack do the pictures do our place justice and do we disappoint or shape up to our customers expectations. There are only 8 rooms, the floor was tiled in Victorian tiles white washed walls a large wooden staircase and lovely antique furniture. No clutter at all. We dumped our bags as it was already sunset time and meandered towards the river. This old area was filled with
Hospedaria Agrigo De Botelho
Our great little hotel on Rua De Natal
beautiful houses the streets names in Portugese tiles on the houses walls shops tucked into nooks and crannies. The river was being switched on with lights from ferries, sunset cruise boats and also about 4 big casino boats that were moored either in the middle of the Manjovie river along its banks. There was a ferry filled with people going to who knows where and Terry said lets get on. I was nervous as we had no tickets but he said no worries we will either pay on the boat or on the other side. When we got there, there were no ticket booths but straight ahead was a bar and restaurant called Terry’s !!! we headed straight for the verandah and ordered a large strong Kingfisher beer but had to wait till 7 pm as they are not allowed to sell alcohol before that.
It was magical watching the boats ply up and down you could see the dance floor on the cruise boats with people dancing away. We ordered masala papad my new favorite snack. Papadums topped with a salad of onions, tomato, sometimes peppers, coriander a bit of chilli and lime so very yummy. What a
lovely introduction back to this city.
After breakfast in the garden we hired a taxi and went to see Old Goa and its churches. I remember we had seen the body of St. Francis Xavier but not much else. I was astounded by how much more there was. The ruined old church on the hill and the many down below. We went and had a look at St. Francis still lying there. He goes walkabout every 10 years so in December of this year 2014 he will once again be carried through the streets of Old Goa if anyone wants to come my advice is Book early!!! The museum of Christian art was interesting with some beautiful pieces of silver used during services and bishops robes that were made with gold thread and other precious materials. At the Archaeological Museum there was a portrait gallery of previous viceroys painted in all their finery. I couldn’t help but think about the plundering they did. They all looked a bit fierce. But enough is enough and after our fill but for sure not everything available to see we headed back to Panjim in time to see a bit of street life
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Herein lies the remains of St Francis Xavier
and find the café where we met. Even though it was still there it was closed what a pity as it had a great view of the river and good place to watch the sunset. We found instead another place to enjoy the river and a few kingfisher beers and eat a tasty tandoori grill.
We had chosen Palolem Beach as Vagator up north where we had stayed was not easily accessible due to a taxi strike. I just wanted to go and see it but hey you cant always get to and sometimes its better to just have the good memories. I had booked a place called Camp San Francisco as it said right on the beach. They were not lying it was but was horrified at the state of the room and the price we were paying. Luckily we only booked 3 nights. The best thing about this place was the staff and our balcony. We then found many other places nicer and cheaper and so we are moving around. We booked a night at Cieren’ s where we are today for one night. This is much more my style as it has style. One has to
St Francis Xavier
Still lying in state for all to see
remember it s no easy thing to have place here. Every 6 months from April/May everything gets pulled down and the natural jungle has to rejuvenate. This is during the monsoon period. That means all the restaurants and huts and pathways and everything gets dismantled. Where it all goes to get stored I have no idea as yet. They build around the coconut trees so you might even find a trunk in your bedroom. Back to Cieren’s firstly its has solar power hot water and electricity, The bed has a mosquito net, they have big black tiles on the floor and the place is spotless. Our verandah whilst not on the sea has a sea view and the gardens around us are lush. This is a bit of heaven. The walls of our room are wood and jute as is the bathroom. All wonderful clean and well maintained. You will be happy to know I did mention the owner of the previous place what a shithole I thought he had and what a rip off for the price. The mouldy bathroom, leaking tap that he refused to fix, the rickety floor that I felt I was going to fall through.
Great little shop
I am sure it had EVERYTHING in it
All he could say was well I am going to knock it all down in a couple of months so why should I fix it. ‘Cuase I am going to give you a crappy review and less people are going to come and stay with you!!! But as he gets bookings online he does not care. Oh well I am happy now in my new place. One of the nice things was the little shop that he sublet to a pretty young Indian woman called Annalaxmi from near Hampi with her 2 young children. She has a good command of the English language the word Super used for most things expressive. Today I went to the town of Chaudi with her as she was going to do her shopping there to be continued...........
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