After a much needed good night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast of idlis (steamed dumplings usually made of rice and lentils, but ours were made of semolina and chickpea), sambar and coconut chutney, we set off for the beach. At 10am the beach was relatively deserted, apart from the odd fisherman who had already been out to sea in the early hours of the morning to fetch his daily load. Palm trees swayed tall along the coast, the sand was pristine and the surf was up. There was a small crowd of Indian tourists enjoying watersports further ahead and a lifeguard patrolling the beach. We continued on the beach for almost an hour and then headed to our next stop, the Church of St. Francis Xavier.
Goa was ruled by the Portuguese who set up shop here in 1510. The names of streets and buildings still carry Portuguese names and instead of temples which are commonplace throughout most of India, here churches and crosses were seen everywhere. Unlike most of India which is predominantly Hindu, Goa is mainly Roman Catholic. The Church itself was impressive with some very ornate carvings and a beautifully gilded altar.
After our brief sightseeing, we spent the rest of the day doing homestay inspections, each place very different from the other. One in particular was very quirky with treehouses set in a rock face, with a view of a small lake, and a donkey roaming the premises. We rounded off the day with another fabulous meal and had to call it a night. All in all it had been a brief but exciting introduction to Goa, and I look forward to being back here in two weeks to explore Old Goa and some of its hidden streets. Tomorrow we’re off to Kerala, aka ‘God’s Own Country’.This blog is part of an Off-The-Beaten-Track Travel Diary. Click on the link below to navigate through this journey.