Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Faded Splendour - Travels To Goa & Beyond


Who'd have thought it? Almost twenty years after we first visited Goa and there's still places we haven't seen.     


Ten miles inland from South Goa's principal city of Margao, along pot-holed roads lined with lush paddy fields, dense coconut plantations and farms still ploughed by yoked bullock lies the dusty village of Chandor where you'll find the ancestral home of the Fernades family.


An air of charismatic decay hangs over Fernades House, built over 500 years ago and still home to the descendants of the original family. 


Open daily all year round, visitors simply turn up, ring the bell and, for an expected donation of around £1, a member of the family will give an informal guided tour. Sara Fernandes, at 85 years old the family matriarch, is the regular guide but sadly, when we visited, she was in bed with a cold, so her charming son, Rajeev, escorted both us and a couple from The Netherlands around instead. 


The Fernades Family were high class Brahmins but converted to Catholicism following the Portuguese Occupation and subsequent Inquisition. Rajeev showed us secret tunnels in the basement leading to the nearby river where the occupants could flee by boat to safety if the house ever came under attack. The bullet holes in the walls were evidence that it had been.


















Yes, we were back in our beloved Goa. We'd landed at 2am couple of days previously, jumped in a taxi  which took us south to Benaulim and found a room (with hot water - a real luxury!) for around £6 a night. 


Over the next few days we fell into our Goa rhythm - an early walk along the beach, watching the fisherman hauling in their catch, spotting dolphins frolicking in the waves and avoiding stepping on sea snakes and jellyfish inadvertently caught up in the nets; gossiping with the locals over spicy pav bhaji & sweet masala chai; wandering the shady lanes of the village's fishing vaddos; buying freshly picked buttery finger bananas and super-sweet oranges by the bagful and heading to the beach to eat them; trying to cool off in sea as hot as a bath before watching the sun set over the Arabian sea; a tin mug of rum and Thums Up cola on the step after a shower; the magical hour after sunset - the wood smoke from the village fires, the yup-yup of the housewives calling the pigs, the raucous calls of the crows settling down for the night, the seven O'clock clank of the church bell and the murmur of families at prayer before dinner; a Kingfisher (or three) one big, two glasses so icy-cold that the label peels off and sticks to your hand; deciding where to eat dinner....on the beach or in the village; being spoilt for choice with vegetarian options....toofani, Hyderabadi, Kolapuri, vindaloo, xacuti, caldin, chili fry; a Gin and a vodka, one tonic, plenty ice.


We could easily have kept to that same routine for the whole month but, as we've learnt over the years,  time whizzes by in a delicious blur and although we go home relaxed having had a wonderful time, it's the adventures and the travelling that make our India visits especially memorable.



So, after five days living the beach life we packed our bags and headed to Madgaon Station....we had a train to catch.


I'll be catching up with blogs, messages and emails over the next few days - a welcome diversion from the jet lag.

See you soon!

PS See the full set of Fernandes House photos HERE


81 comments:

  1. Lovely to have you back! As always, I love seeing your photos and reading your travelling tales.
    Hope you've got your woollies out for the forthcoming snow falls. Welcome home!!
    Zxx

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    1. Blimey, hasn't it been cold? What a welcome back. xxx

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  2. I've been waiting fe this and it doesn't disappoint i cant wait for the rest xxx

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    1. Thank you! Glad you enjoyed part one! x

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  3. Welcome back, dearest Vix. I miss your posts, beauty and wisdom.
    So wonderful to see Goa through your eyes.
    I will read it once and again, until I am part of the whole story, plus the stories, I am sure you will still tell us.
    Much love

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  4. You're a walking advertisement for India. Between you and my friend Becky (who goes there for about four or five months depending on the visas that her and her husband can afford for their family), I gets loads of information about it. Glad you both made it back safe and sound.

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    1. I wonder if Becky's and my paths have ever crossed? We've got a year old visa this time (as opposed to the 6 month one), a great reason to go back in a few months time - as if we need one! xxx

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    2. I'm sure you have crossed paths at some point and not realized! They love it over there and they home school their children just so they will be able to go as often as they do.

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  5. What sounds and scents you conjure up, I am almost there with you, apart from it's freezing cold here as you've discovered! Welcome back, I'm looking forward to the next installment xxx

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    1. I'm glad I took so many photos, scrolling through them has kept me warm this weekend! x

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  6. You're back! How exciting to read your news. It looks fantastic and brightens up a grey day here. Look forward to seeing more and glad you enjoyed it. Sally xxx

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  7. I was wondering when you'd be back. I have been waiting for tales from warm lands! Wonderful photos, more please!! Xx

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    1. Be careful what you wish for, we took over 700 pictures!! xxx

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  8. Welcome back! I look forward to hearing all about your travels xx

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  9. Glad you're back, Vix! Blogland is a bit boring without you. Looking forward to more of your posts. Xxx

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  10. Welcome back. Loved the first instalment of your adventures.
    We've booked in the Travel Lodge at Penrith on the Friday night of the rhegged vintage do. Hope to see you there xxx

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    1. A night out in Penrith, that's something to look forward to amidst the post holiday gloom. x

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  11. Lovely to see you back! Looking forward to reading about your adventures xxx

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  12. So happy to see you back safe and sound, a sane voice in the world right now :) Love that beautiful mansion, again those beautiful hanging light fixtures!

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    1. Those posh Goans had excellent taste. xxx

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  13. another round of beautiful photos. That house is wonderful.

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    1. Isn't it gorgeous, faded to the right degree. x

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  14. Welcome back, dear Vix!
    Always so wonderful to read about your travels.
    xoxo

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  15. It's so much fun reading about your travels and seeing the gorgeous pictures! Thanks for sharing! :)

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    1. My pleasure! Thanks, Laurie! xxx

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  16. Looks like an interesting umbrella in 3rd photo.
    Coffee is on

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    1. Well spotted! I think it's a wedding parasol. Wouldn't mind one of those in my collection! x

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  17. Welcome back .Looking forward to read all about .I am hopefully heading to India late this year to Goa and Kochin.

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    1. Exactly where we went! How funny! x

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  18. Good to have you home, my darling, and it's always a joy to see the beautiful images of Goa and read your fabulously eloquent descriptions of your time there. What a stunning house you visited, and the photos capture the atmosphere wonderfully well. Looking forward to hearing/seeing the next instalment!
    Love you! xxx

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  19. This should be a book - but I'm glad it's not as I couldn't stand the suspense of waiting for it to be released! All the sights, sounds, smells and dusty heat of India were delivered to my reading box this morning and I can't wait for the next instalment. Thank you! Glad you're back safely, have missed your posts. Betty x

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    1. Thanks, Betty! If it was a book I'd have to go back a few more time to check my facts...now there's a plan! x

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  20. welcome back - love!!
    that house is sooo beautiful - and one can see its still in use with al the cozy details. dreamy!
    happy waiting for more pics and colorful descriptions of good old india! xxxxxxx

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    1. Thanks for the welcome back, dear Beate! xxx

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  21. What a fabulously atmospheric house! Lots of atmosphere in your description of your days spent in Goa rhythm too. I was almost there with you! Wonder where that train is taking you next? It's goods to have you back, by the way. xxx

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    1. I wish I could say it's good to be back but catching up with my friend's blogs makes it a lot more bearable! xxx

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  22. Welcome back! I would hope that you both have had a good time but that might be a bit superfluous. Absolutely stunning house. It looks like such a time capsule. Your Goa routine sounds perfect. Looking forward to reading all about your adventures. Xx

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  23. Welcome back! I would hope that you both have had a good time but that might be a bit superfluous. Absolutely stunning house. It looks like such a time capsule. Your Goa routine sounds perfect. Looking forward to reading all about your adventures. Xx

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! I could spend 6 months in our Goa routine...one day I might! xxx

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  24. "Charismatic decay...", describes this mansion perfectly! Thank you for the close-up views, Vix, that enable us to look over your shoulder at the ephemera and lighting fixtures. * You've got a magazine cover-worthy shot through the balcony doors -- those entwining curlicues on chairs, wall stencils, cut-out panels, and balcony railings! Looking forward to seeing many more photos!

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    1. Thanks, Beth! There's so much detail to these old houses. Even if they were bare of furniture the architectural details could keep us captivated for hours! xxx

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  25. ah, so nice to see you back, Vix. And still in India too in pictures and words. Can't wait for more.

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  26. Ah, I was thinking only yesterday that you should be back soon. What a powerful description of Fernandes House and I loved all the detail in the photos you took. Those chandeliers are exquisite. Can't wait to hear about the rail journey...I still remember my Indian rail experience 25 years later, it was that memorable!
    Lovely to have you back. xx

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    1. Aren't the chandeliers wonderful? To think they're the Fernandes Family's every day lighting, too! xxx

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  27. Welcome back! Shame about the abysmal weather you've come back to! Glad to see you had a wonderful time, I'm looking forward to hearing about more of your travels.

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    1. God, I couldn't have chosen a colder week to come back to! xxx

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  28. Welcome home. You know you would make the most perfect travel guide, you talk of India so passionately. I'm looking forward to reading more...

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    1. Thanks, Hazel! There's loads more to come! x

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  29. Welcome back! I love reading about your trips to India and the exciting places you and Jon visit. That home is fascinating and its lovely to read that the family still live there. By the way, do they still speak Portuguese there as well as native languages? Have you picked up much vocab to be able to chat with the locals? xxx

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    1. Thank you, Liza! We know a few words of Konkani but everyone speaks English so we rarely get a chance to use it. xxx

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  30. Welcome home, dear Vix! To Bloglandia, that is. :) Photos are stunning, and I can't wait to hear more travel stories of your discoveries of India (20 years, and still going strong!).

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  31. Welcome home! You were certainly missed. And now we have the fascinating retelling of your travel stories, and beautiful photos, to look forward to! Yayy.

    And what a way to begin. This home is wonderful. It's so interesting to hear that members of the same family have lived there for five centuries.

    xo

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    1. Thank you! Even after all these years we're constantly discovering things we've missed. I'll never get tired of Goa. xxx

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  32. ohhhh, welcome home, dear lady!! I've missed your fabulousness!
    And I alwaya enjoy all those pictures and fascinating stories on Goa.
    besos

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  33. How lovely to see you back and how gorgeous is that house??? Amazing.

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    1. Thank you! I'm so happy that some of these old houses are still cherished and lived in, the interior of South Goa is littered with deserted colonial homes, it's a crying shame. xxx

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  34. lovely to hear from you again, Vix! The blogosphere's not the same without you and Goody (she's taking a break).

    I felt as if I was in Goa with you reading about your beach break - it sounds so fabulous and relaxing.

    The Fernandes house is rather gorgeous - very shabby chic but original!

    Look forward to reading more of your adventures...

    xxx

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    1. Hello Veronica! Happy that you enjoyed the first installment. xxx

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  35. Welcome back Vix! I love the colours of the exterior of the Fernandes House. I think it's very cool that you can get a tour of the house from one of the descendants of the original family.

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    1. Thank you! The exterior colours of Goan houses are such a delight. xxx

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  36. I saved your post to read a few together.

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  37. So fab you're back! I missed you!

    What an fantastically quirky place which such detail and intricacy in everything!! Mmmmm, can we have some food photos too please??Xx

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    1. Thanks, Kezzie! I do believe we've got a few food photos. I'll post 'em soon! xxx

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  38. Thanks for sharing this wonderful part of your Indian adventure, Vix - and lovely to have you back too :) xx

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    1. Thanks, Elizabeth - glad you enjoyed part one! x

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  39. Welcome back! What a lovely place the Faernades house is.

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  40. Fabulous photos of a wonderful house! I've got to catch up on all your posts xx

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Don't be shy, if you enjoyed your visit leave a comment, I can come and visit your blog if you do.
Love from Vix
xxx