Bangalore for one night, then to GOA

Trip Start Jan 01, 2014
1
230
429
Trip End Dec 31, 2014


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Where I stayed
Lemon Tree Hotel

Flag of India  , Goa,
Thursday, December 9, 2010













1.  silk cocoon market   2.  Goa beach   3.  Basilica of Born Jesus
4.  silk cocoon market sign   5.  road scene to Goa   6.  Basilica of Born Jesus
7.  St Catherine's Cathedral   8.  Goa airport sign    9.  Goa beach


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1.  signs in Goa   2.  we stopped to take a picture   3.  fort at Goa
4.  I had dinner here   5.  road sign   6.  fishing boats of Goa
7.  I stopped for a beer   8.   casino boat   9.  Panaji City (Portuguese)


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Dec 9: Bangalore Park Hotel.

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Dec 10: Today was essentially a travel day from Bangalore to GOA.    We were supposed to have been picked up from the hotel a 9:30AM, but the vans didn't show up until 10AM.   Our flight was supposed to be at 12:30PM, but the flight time was 1:10PM.    Most schedules in India were late.  We arrived at our hotel in GOA after 4PM.    The Lemon Tree hotel on the north side of GOA is nice, and only five minutes walk to the beach.


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GOA was a territory of Portugal until 1961 when GOA won independence.   They speak several languages here that includes Hindi, Portuguese,  and English.  


Our ride from the airport to our hotel (40km) was about one hour and ten minutes, because of the heavy commute traffic.
 
After checking into our hotel, and unpacking, I took a 5 minute walk to the beach.   There are many straw huts selling food and drink, many lounge chairs (for rent), and many walking along the beach and swimmers in the water.   I stopped at one of the bars and had a glass of red wine; it was a mistake, because they chill their red wine which takes away the real fruit flavors.   I had to drink it with my hand covering the glass, because of the many flies that wanted to share my wine.

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After returning to the hotel, I walked to the market street next to our hotel.   I stopped at a leather shop to find a belt, because my black belt fell apart.   A salesman said the cost of the belt was 750 rupees (around $15) for a crudely constructed belt, so I started to walk out of the shop.  The salesman than said,wait, how much do you want to pay?    Too late.  

We met for dinner at the hotel restaurant at 7:30PM.  

Dec 11: GOA was founded by Vasco de Gama in 1498.  Today, there are 2,800 villages in Goa with a population of 1.3 million residents.   Goa is known as India's quintessential resort town with great beaches.   Our hotel, The Lemon Tree, is located in Candolim Village in North GOA near the Arabian Sea.  Our tour this morning was a visit to the  Basilica of Born Jesus where St Francis Xavier is entombed.


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Many Catholics consider St Francis the patron saint of GOA.  There are carvings in stone, marble, gold, and wood with gilded alters.  The cathedral across from the Basilica of Born Jesus is the Se Cathedral or St Catherines, where we spent about one hour looking at the artifacts, lead glass chandeliers, paintings, and other religious artifacts, and the golden bell in the tower.     Both Catholic churches are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.



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We then coached to Panaji City to visit the marketplace where they are selling fresh fish and shellfish, fruits and vegetables, and flowers. The narrow streets with Portuguese architecture, street signs, and names on homes provides a European ambiance to this riverside village. 




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Also visited this Old Goa museum and shop.

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Our lunch at O Coqueiro was special, because the chef, Peter Fernandez, was elected the best chef in India in 2007-2008.   The cream of mushroom soup was the best I have ever eaten, and even the Indian spices that he used tasted good!  I think this is the first time since arriving in India that I really enjoyed (Goan) Indian food! 

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After a leisurely lunch, we spent about a half hour walking on Varca Beach not far from our hotel, and we were back before 4PM. 

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Since only three people wished to do the optional trip tomorrow, the company may cancel the  trip (@ $95pp).   The Tour Director wanted another person to volunteer to go to meet their minimum participants of four, but I'd rather spend the time in town to get to "know" this part of GOA, spend time in the bar-restaurant to eat and drink, and even spend some leisurely time in the hotel swimming pool (I brought by swimming trunks).   I resent the fact that the company with their captive audience think they can charge optional tours at $90 and $95pp - even when they include lunch.    I'm turned off on OAT (Overseas Adventure Travel) for their penny-pinching policy; they refused to pay the bus company $3.30 to bring us back to the hotel in Mumbai over the fast route by bridge even though we had to be ready to catch the bus to the airport by 5:30PM.  They have the gall to charge $90-$95 for optional half-day tours in a country where the average earning is about $550/annum. 


Dec 12: GOA.   We have a free day today to do what we want, so I'll be walking the downtown area to window shop, drop in on some restaurant-bar to have a beer, and just generally browse around.   Our waitress for dinner told us about a light house on the north side of town, and about a 15-minute walk from our hotel, so I may include that in my plans.

I left the hotel at 10AM for a walk to the south side of town, and ended up at the 17c fort at the far end of the street.  There's a huge Taj hotel next to the fort, but they allow only guests to enter their property.   I was hoping to sit in their restaurant facing the sea for a cool drink, but that was not to be.

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On my walk back from the fort, I did stop at a bar for a Kingfisher beer, and they charged me only 40 rupees (US.88c).    Most of the restaurants where we stopped for lunch in India charged a minimum of 100 rupees (US$2.20) for the small bottle and 150 rupees (US$3.30) for the large bottle - more than twice what most other places charge.
 
I purchased three t-shirts for our friend's children.  The shopkeeper wanted 1,000 rupees, but settled on 850 rupees after a short haggling.   (Hey, that's still $6 a piece.)


There's a noodle restaurant at this hotel, but they charge 125 rupees (US$2.75) for a cup of coffee, so I walked out, and had lunch at a local restaurant.    Fried calamari, banana split, and a bottle of water cost only 240 rupees  (about US$5).

After spending time in my room to update and edit my travelogue, I went out for dinner at a restaurant called Gato Loco, recommended by the World Travel Mart of London.   I had a ginger ale, a bottle of water, tomato soup, and tenderloin steak (ordered medium rare, but got it well done).  While at this outside restaurant, the hostess approached all the patrons to say a word or two except to me!    Nothing like a little Indian welcome.  

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We transfer tomorrow from GOA to Mumbai, and will meet in the hotel lobby at 11:30AM four our 2:40PM flight.




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