Believe it or not, I am still going through mountains of photos from our India trip and trying to edit down to an acceptable (yet still astronomical) amount to post. I’ll have the last bits ready at the beginning of next week, I promise! In the meantime, here’s a photodump of our day out in Goa.
The day before we left Goa, my kick-butt mom and awesome nana offered to watch the boys and gave E and I the entire day off to spend exploring the area.
We hired a car and drove over to a section called (appropriately) Old Goa. It’s an area rich in Goa’s Portuguese history, full of gorgeous cathedrals, chapels and basilica’s, which E and I love checking out. Not to mention it was amazing just to have the day to ourselves!
This is pretty much the layout and the places we visited (we were standing at the top of a hill where the Chapel of Mount Kamal is).
Isn’t it amazingly lush and tropical?! Which also means we pretty much stayed wet the entire time – went from shower to sweating in 2.5 seconds.
Anyway, so we get to Old Goa and pull up on the main street. India is well-known for street vendors and beggars alike accosting you the second you step on tourist-trap ground and here was no different. As we pull up, three guys swarm the car and thrust candles and flower lays into our hands. This is actually their genius and downfall. Basically, they realize that if they get the item into your hands, you can’t really give it back (they very politely INSIST it’s for you, only x amount), but it also hurts them because India is a place you can haggle. So without thinking, I immediately tell the guy we can’t pay his requested 100 Rupees each, because I only have 80 cash total (yes, a little lie, but it’s the only way I can keep a straight face! I hate haggling…). After a few rounds of “No, miss”, “Ok, then take them back, we can’t buy these”, “Miss good deal for you, only 50 Rupees each now”, “Sorry, I don’t have it”, etc… they caved and took the 80 I originally offered. Immediately afterward we’re surrounded by carts and people toting bead necklaces, wooden toys and other touristy things saying “Madam, please. Sir, just for you, good price”. I had to teach E that just saying “No” doesn’t work. Best way to get them off your back? Tell them you already have whatever it is they’re selling. Can’t argue with that!
The first place we visited was the Basilica of Bom (Baby) Jesus, which houses the body of St. Francis Xavier.
We then meandered on over to St. Francis church and the Se Cathedral of Saint Caterina (or St. Catherine’s Cathedral) where we got completely lost in the amazing architecture and boundless nooks and cranny’s.
As we left the Se Cathedral, this guy in a nearby car called out to us. Of course, E being well-trained now, immediately said “No, thanks man, we’ve already got a driver”. Fortunately, he called after us again and said he actually wasn’t for hire. He just noticed I had my Canon out and asked if we were taking pictures of the area. He said that it’s not common knowledge to most tourists, but there are two hidden gems in Old Goa that we just had to see. One was the chapel of Mount Kamal, which was about a ten minute drive straight up a hill from where we were. It turned out as one of the most incredibly sights – mainly due to the impressive 360 degree view of the surrounding land and waterways (that’s where we were standing when I took the first picture in this post showing all the other places we visited).
Winding our way back down the mountain, we headed up another hill to explore the ruins of what was once the Cathedral of St. Augustine. The only piece really still standing is a large chunk up front, aptly named the Tower of St. Augustine. The rest has crumbled and is completely overgrown, leading E to comment that he finally found his inner Indiana Jones. Why yes, I do have a dork for a husband!
Our next stop was another tip from the not-a-cab-driver guy. He said when we left St. Augustine, to veer back up the street to the right and through a gate (which looked private) and we would come out at another chapel on a hill – the Church of Our Lady of Rosary.
That about did it for the two of us in Old Goa. It was pouring or drizzling throughout the day, so we were lucky to even get the chance to see so many amazing places in one go. We will forever be indebted to that random guy and his insider information. The Chapel of Mount Kamal and Church of Our Lady of Rosary were two of my favorites, even though we couldn’t get inside one and the other was empty. The views and gorgeous old Portuguese-influenced architecture were the best parts.
I won’t say we didn’t talk about the boys or think of them on our day out alone (because I think their cute stories took up 60% of our conversations), but it felt good to be free of responsibility even if only for a few hours. And when you get the chance to see places like this, you feel inspired, amazed and so, SO happy you’re not changing diapers every hour.