Friday, January 1, 2016

A Goan Holiday

Cottage No.9 was where we stayed for four days
Ala Goa..that's where we stayed on our first ever visit to this former Portuguese colony. 18 kms from Dabolim airport, the resort is in the village of Betalbatim in south Goa. Set amid lush coconut and banana groves, it's the ideal place to get away from the daily grind. We woke up to bird song, walked to our heart's content on the beach which was 10 minutes away, did the sights in both the north and the south of Goa and returned to this haven. It was bliss. The resort had a pool, a multi-cuisine restaurant, spa and ayurvedic massage centre, and plenty of books.

For the natural look in the rock  borders, more of mud and a bit of cement was used. I loved this pairing of flax lilies and ginger. I grow both and had never thought that this combination could look so good!

More cottages in the property.

There are fruit trees all across the property. Papayas, chickoo, pineapple, guava, ivy gourds, and of course the innumerable coconut and banana trees.

The bar area next to the swimming pool. I enjoyed having a drink of feni, the local brew made from cashew nuts.

In the lake area adjacent to the property, water birds abound. And the lantana blossoms under the coconut trees attract myriad butterflies. Seen in this collage: the gray pansy and the common sailer.

Father Christmas has a rollicking good time in this holiday season. Travelling the Goan roads, it was a joy to see them at regular intervals.

Nativity scenes were beautiful particularly with the lighting at night.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus which holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier and is  a UNESCO World Heritage site. The church is located in Old Goa which was the capital during the days of Portuguese rule. This is one of the oldest churches in India. Construction work began in 1594 and the church was consecrated in May 1605 by the Archbishop, Dom Fr. Aleixo de Menezes.

Se Cathedral is the cathedral of the Latin Rite roman Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman and the seat of the Patriarch of the East Indies. This stands opposite to the Basilica of Bom Jesus.

Part of an old house, Casa Araujo Alvares in Goa. Built by a Portuguese family in the 1700s, it is maintained by the descendants of the same family and draws a large number of visitors.

A corridor in the house.

A room overlooking the garden.

When it came to food, I was happy to feast on the seafood platters with clams, mussels, squid and prawns. And sea fish! I wanted nothing else! The shots of the red berries (gulab jamun in Hindi) and the nutmeg were taken at Sahakari Spice Farm.

Views from a river cruise on the Mandovi river. This river is the biggest in Goa and divides the Union Territory into north and south.

Some  of my buys. Goan sausages are spicy and do not need refrigeration. Seen in this picture are some of the packaged masalas like Recheado and Xacuti, and packets of prawn pickle. Also in the picture  are vanilla beans, dried lemon grass, allspice and Goa's famous layered cake, bebinca. The cashew nut packets to be given to family and friends are not included in this photo.
Outside the basilica with my husband...windy morning.
 https://www.reverbnation.com/ernieflanagangoa/song/24989102-nh17-blues
The best part was that my husband played the harmonica in two restaurants. Goa has a wonderful music scene and the musicians are excellent in their chosen fields. My husband's Facebook friend, Dilip Naik, a harmonica player himself made it all possible. He sent a clip of my husband's playing (in a restaurant the previous evening) to a well-known bass guitarist, Colin D'cruz and that's how the harp in this track happened. I hope you enjoy listening to the number by clicking on the link above. The singer is Ernest Flanagan who writes his own lyrics and has been doing so from a young age. 

We returned feeling refreshed after this break. The owner of the resort and the man behind the wonderful garden was kind enough to give me five banana plants. He also packed some small and sweet bananas locally known as elaichi bananas to have on our long flight home. The first thing I did after getting home was to plant them in cement bags so that I can take them to agricultural land that we have in another town. That will have to wait for the rainy season. Until then they can take root in their little temporary homes.:)
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