Edit Blog Post
Published: December 20th 2009
Vanakbara, fishing village. Diu island.
Diu is at the end of the line. This tiny (11 km by 3 km) ex-Portuguese island at the tip of Gujarat has a quirky charm and lends itself to lazy sand- and sunshine-filled days. Not quite a tropical paradise, but very nearly.
Indian, but yet not, Diu has white-washed churches, catholic-saint-filled chapels, and colourful Lisboa streets with gaily painted houses. Our guesthouse is the gorgeous, white-walled Retiro Sao Tome, the five hundred year old St. Thomas' church. From our kitsch-filled mini-appartment with crocheted table covers and "Little Mermaid" curtains we look out over the churches of St. Paul and St. Francis of Asissi to the sea. We can eat breakfast on the roof and even sit right on top of the curved dome to enjoy 360 degree views over the whole island. We're literally on top of the world!
Diu is lush vegetation, palm trees, fine sandy beaches, limestone cliffs and rocky coves. The island has excellent roads and minimum traffic so we've hired a scooter and drive along the coast, sit on the rocks and listen to the sea and stop every so often for a lassi or a great fish meal.
We've wandered around the
Retiro Sao Tome.
Unbelievable, but this is our guesthouse!
port of Vanakbara, a small fishing village at the extreme west of the island. We admired the wooden fishing boats, their prows adorned with garlands of red chilli peppers and marigold flowers, and rainbow coloured flags fluttering in the breeze. A hive of activity, fish were strung up to dry on washing lines of string, intermingled with clothes or clipped onto bamboo A-frames on the decks of the boats. Men hacked at huge blocks of ice with pick axes and heavy wooden sticks, unravelled and mended fishing nets, and some just sat on deck chewing the fat, after a hard day's night.
We've wandered around the imposing fort built by the Portuguese in 1535 and strolled along the ramparts - cannons still pointing out to sea ready to blast non-existent enemies to smithereens. In odd places cannon balls still litter the ground.
We've met the amazing Captain Devibhai Vira Fulbaria - an ex-merchant-navy captain with a passion for sea shells. For over fifty years he's collected shells from all over the world and now he runs a small shell musuem near Nagoa Beach. 'I like the colour and the shapes' he told me. He had no schooling until
Once impregnable, now crumbling.
the age of 14, and failed his exams for second mate, first mate, ships captain - eight, ten, twelve times. What makes a person keep going in these circumstances? He told us proudly -'I'm not only a captain, I'm a band master'. He taught himself to play the bagpipes using a cassette tape a Danish tourist once gave him (!) and now he leads and teaches a youth band in town. Extraordinary!
Diu has not inspired such tenacity or ambition in us, but it has given us a chance to really relax, a real holiday experience. A shoes off, gone fishin... kind of feeling.
Tot: 2.628s; Tpl: 0.058s; cc: 16; qc: 87; dbt: 0.0545s; 2; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.5mb