Welcome to Goa, ladies and gentlemen. The local time is 4.30 am and the temperature is 28 degrees. Happy New Year! The pilot announced over the tannoy as the plane bumped down on to the tarmac at Dabolim Airport. We were back in the place we loved and, despite a tedious twenty-three hour journey, were already bursting with excitement at having 31 days of no plans whatsoever ahead.
Our first stop was Benaulim, a Catholic fishing village in South Goa. We rented a room at family-run Palmira's for the first few nights, basic but quiet, clean and comfortable and great value at £5 a night.
The antics of the family pig and her handsome feline companion kept us amused for hours.
As our pasty Northern European skin hadn't seen the light of day since last Summer we took it easy with the sun worshipping at first, avoiding the beach until later in the day for a sunset swim.
Mornings were spent our favourite way, wandering around aimlessly and getting hopelessly lost, following paths and well-trodden trails to discover every inch of the area. One day we ended up in nearby Colva, stumbling across Our Lady of Merces, a Portuguese era Catholic church originally built in 1640.
Despite visiting Goa for over 16 years this is the first cemetery we'd ever come across. We weren't sure what the etiquette was but saw a local lady leaving and she indicated that it was perfectly fine to take a look around. We definitely wouldn't have entertained the idea if there was a burial taking place or any sign of grieving relatives.
The cemetery appeared to be divided into several parts, this gated area contained the family burial vaults and plots.
The Portuguese were kicked out in 1961 but their legacy, in the form of the names taken by Goan Hindus forced to convert to Catholicism, lives on.
The niches in the compound wall housed hundreds of engraved marble tributes.
I loved this Azulejo tile.
This area was filled with more simple graves with wooden cross markers.
Floral displays commemorating the first year anniversary.
These graves were inside an Indo-Portuguese building with a vaulted ceiling and an altar. We were reluctant to enter, choosing to stand outside and take a few photos from a respectful distance.
Again, these graves were mostly marked with simple wooden crosses.
A moment or two of peace amid the frenzy of touristy Colva.
|Paddy fields, Benaulim|
After five days in Benaulim it was time to repack our bags, hail a tuk tuk and move on.
We got back yesterday morning but I'm not quite sure if our brains are still in India. This blog post has taken me most of the day to write. We took almost 1000 photos (more from our first few days HERE) so be warned there's a danger that I'll be blathering about this trip for months.
|Benaulim villager taking a break|
See you soon!
Linking to Patti's Visible Monday.