Helen and Randall on the road

A bit about our adventures 2011-2012

Posts Tagged ‘Old houses of Goa

Friday 2nd – Monday 5th March: Panaji, Goa

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We had an overnight train journey to Goa:

Our 2nd class AC carriage, Ernakalum Jn (Kerala) to Margaon (Goa) overnight. We are on the ‘side’ bunks; on the other side of the corridor are two sets of upper and lower bunks facing each other. This repeats for the length of the carriage, with only curtains as partitions. The seats on the side bunks slide down to make a lower bunk for the night. Not much space for baggage except for under the seats, so luckily (and after a good 45 minutes of doing battle with Indian¬†Bureaucracy) we managed to book our big bags into the luggage van. We were a bit concerned over their safety but they magically appeared at the parcel office in Margaon (we didn’t even have to carry them over the footbridge!) so we’ll be doing that again!

Enjoying morning Nescafe (one can get used to anything, apparently!)

Post-breakfast doze.

Our hotel in Goa’s state capital Panaji was simple but clean and central

It had an entertaining collection of cats and kittens to play with and be amused by:

The owner had been close friends with Mario Miranda, a Goan cartoonist and artist who died only in December 2011, and the hotel was full of murals and mosaics by Mario:

We decided to visit the ‘Mario Gallery’ in a small town outside Panaji but it turned out to be closed ‘because of the elections’ (state elections taking place – the reason for everything from shops and banks being shut to not being able to get a beer for 3 days!) so we visited the next door Houses of Goa museum which was fantastic, curated by a local architect Gerard de Cunha and housed in an astonishing building designed by him, as were several of the nearby buildings which we admired and which turned out to be school buildings.

As we were contentedly wandering around the museum learning about the history of Goan architecture while admiring the inside of a new splendid piece of Goan architecture the receptionist called up to us that the Mario Gallery had opened and if we hurried we could go, so we scampered off to see it. It turned out to be a part of the architectural studio space of Gerard de Cunha – he was a friend of Mario and now curates the gallery/museum as well as managing his practice. He had actually opened his studio and not the gallery as he had some guests that were visiting him to talk about his architecture, specifically about the sustainability aspects of it. We listened to their conversation as we wandered around the gallery and inevitably eventually got into conversation with them. As a result we were able to tag on to the private tour of the de Cunha-designed school buildings next door by the architect himself!

Gates to the school.

View of the school buildings from the museum over the road. On the far right is the top of the little theatre, with walls made from recycled glass bottles, bottom facing inward to make a flat surface and tops facing outward to give it a spiky appearance.

Inside the school, light and airy spaces. On the right you can see the recycled bedsteads being used as window guards. Apparently lots of materials were donated by local people and incorporated into the design.

There is more information about the school here.

Next we hopped on a local bus and went to nearby Old Goa, the old capital of the state that apparently once had a population greater than London or Lisbon but is now mostly historical churches.

Archaelogical museum housed in an old church/monastery.

We went to the ‘archaeological museum’ which was a bit rubbish – just bits of rock and old sculpture without much in the way of context. Old Goa was, on the other hand, notable for me having my first Thums Up of the trip:

Sadly it is now made by CocaCola although Charlie will be pleased to note that it still seems to contain the vast amounts of sugar and caffeine that the original did.

No smoking, no spitting, but lots of flowers on the bus back from Old Goa to Panaji.

We saw more Mario murals in the Panaji central market where we went to get the zip on my backpack fixed (most things can be fixed in India!):

Randall in the Panaji central market.

We managed to see a bit of Panaji by night, although no cold beers as there were two ‘dry days’ because of the elections (the day before and the day of). Still, there was a great cake shop which made up for it:

We managed some more sightseeing including the old/Latin quarter that feels very mediterranean:

Church of the Immaculate Conception

Randall NOT ringing the church bell.

Portuguese-style azulejos tiles

Pretty residential street.

Could be Andalucia?

After three days it was time to leave this bustling but laid-back little city for the beach at Calangute. On the way out of town we spotted this alarming sign:

Note the ‘with creosote’. Lovely.

Written by helenbcn

March 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm