On Tuesday last week as the sun set over Mumbai we headed for the railway station to get the overnight train to Goa. Trouble was, we went to the wrong station! It was a good job we had some time to spare as it necessitated a frantic taxi ride to right one!
We settled down in our 1st class cabin which we shared with a very friendly young couple of backpackers ready for the train to leave at 11 o’ clock. Whether it was the fact that we were dog tired or the motion of the train but we slept like logs for a good portion of the eleven hour journey. In the early morning, as the train stopped for about 10 minutes at each station, we could get off for some fresh air and to stretch our legs.
The first class compartments are “quaint”! The extra bed hinges down to form a normal bunk. The backrest of the lower seat also hinges down to form a full width single. it was all fairly comfortable and there were no complaints from any of the four of us.
Although there was a “western” toilet on board, we preferred to use the traditional one. The hole is nothing more than a metal tube emptying out onto the track. We’d arranged ourselves before the trip so that we produced only liquid waste but you needed to be careful that your foot didn’t slip of the pads as you’d end up with it stuck down the hole! And with the jolting of the train that was perfectly possible.
At no point in the journey did we manage to see the end of the train! And, when you think about it, all the station platforms have to be as long as the train! We’ve not travelled overnight before but it’s certainly the way to deal with vast distances and we’d definitely do it again.
The day after our arrival in Candolim, North Goa and, giving us just enough time to settle ourselves into our apartment, our friends Bosco and Julroy came up from South Goa on Thursday to take us back there and spend the day together. We first had a delightful lunch at Joe’s River Cove Restaurant.
The setting was glorious, the food even more so and the company was even better than that!
After lunch we visited the Holy Cross Chapel at Baradi ………..
…….. where we had terrific views across the river valley.
Bosco and Julroy are always keen to have their photos taken (wonder why!) – trouble is that other people try to muscle in on the act as well!
Next was the cove at Betul. Its quite an expanse of water where the river meets the sea and it was quite busy with fishing boats coasting in and out of the sheltered cove.
Each boat passes the fisherman’s god ………..
……… who is safely tucked away in his little orange house and Julroy needed another photo here!
Everywhere in Goa there are devotional points – always well cared for and well used. The coast at Betul was no exception.
It was a beautiful setting where the river joined the sea. The flow of water from the river merging with the tides of the sea caused quite a choppy bit of water although you can’t see it that well in this pic. Here’s us standing on a rock ………..
…….. and here’s Bosco and Julroy standing on another rock.
and here’s Bosco trying to push Julroy off the rock!!!!!
A fishing boat rides in on the choppy waters while rod fishermen stand fishing off the rocks.
It really was quite the most wonderful setting.
The tiny village of Betul has pretty houses each side of the single track road.
Our final stop was the Cabo-De-Rama Fort. Dating back many centuries it’s now an archaeological monument.
Some of the structure is in remarkably good condition and the stonework shows the skill of the craftsmen at the time.
The area covered by the fort is huge and we didn’t manage to walk round all the walls. Sadly, a lot of the walling has seen better days.
There were amazing views along the coast from the fort’s commanding position.
Some of the older trees within the fort were out of this world – one can only guess at the age of this one.
This was a first for us: a Cashew tree. The nut forms at the end of the fruit (which is the pear shaped bit and not yet ripe here) When ripe the fruit is edible, as we found out later, but the skin on the nut causes quite serious skin irritation if touched.
This is the ripened cashew fruit. It’s soft, sweet and juicy and you can bite bits off and chew it to extract the juice.
These fig tree leaves were enormous.
After our fascinating tour round a little bit of South Goa, Bosco took us back to his home for a good old cup of tea.
In his garden was an amazing array of trees bearing all sorts of fruits. Lots of coconut trees …………..
……… and banana trees. How fantastic to have a whole stem of bananas hanging in your kitchen!
Bosco and Julroy gave us the most splendid day out, both educational and great fun. Thanks very much guys and it was so good to be in your company again.
On Saturday we took the bus to Mapusa to get some fruit and provisions. After lunch in a local Indian bar we went to market where we were able to try a lot of the more exotic fruits before we bought them. We’re now enjoying things we can’t even pronounce the name of!
Doug doesn’t feel at home without flowers in a vase and you can tell the next day was Valentine’s Day!
Sonia very kindly showed us where we could buy the best produce in the market and then she showed us her little bag of goodies. She can’t afford a market stall so she trades from her little red bag. We came away the proud owners of two men’s bracelets.
A freshly prepared lemon soda drink was just the job to quench our thirst before getting the bus back home ……..
….. and, of course, the buses are all up to date, cutting edge stuff!