While the others wanted to go to old goa, I just wanted to just get to the beach but I acquiesced, I was very glad I did.
After we found our cab and we were on our way. The cabbie himself was a riot - we weren't sure if he was insane, tipsy or slightly handicapped. On the way to Old Goa he kept trying to get us to go see various museums etc. that he was obviously getting kickbacks from, it was frustrating because we kept having to struggle to understand what he was asking, only to realize it was ANOTHER museum or thing we didn't care about.
Once we got to old Goa I was pleasantly shocked.
Since the lonely planet guide said it is hard to believe that Old Goa was once bigger than London and Lisbon, I was expecting a Panjim-sized city only a little more run down. In fact there is really nothing left AT ALL - it is essentialy a ghost town except a tiny litle strip and some old churches.
To start we walked up the hill from the main strip up to the ruins of St. Augustine Church. On the way, since it was Sunday, we heard some nice choir music coming from the elderly infirmary/church across the street.
St. Augustine Church, which despite being abandoned only 150 years ago is now almost completely in ruins. It reminded me of the forum in Italy, which was abandoned over a 1,000 years earlier (double check).
It was pretty neat to walk around 'inside' the church
It was also DAMN hot.
We went across the street to check out ANOTHER church, this one had a famous weeping cross. It was incredible how OLD everything looked and how unkept it was (mold on the walls etc). Despite it being Sunday there was NO ONE there, and you could see how in a hundred years it will end up like its sister church across the street.
We walked down to the main area for a couple waters/pepsis and Jed to try and call his friend Ben who was on his way from the United States and had no idea where to meet us, not even which beach or city in Goa!. The only phone we could find took rupee coins and Jed was going through them like mad as it only gave 15 seconds. After about 40 rupees and a lot of frustration he gave up.
We then entered the main ground of the active churches, a man tried to get us to pay to enter, but we just walked past. Still not sure if he was trying to rip us off or if we were breaking the law, I like think the former. ;)
(AmberScotty and Fitch)
(This is the only photo from the entire ttip of just me and Scott :P)
There was some pretty aggressive souvenir selling, but there were very few foreign tourists other than us. One item they were trying to sell were flowers and these candle looking things, we saw later these were offering to St. Francis.
We first checked out the Bom Jesus Basilica which was a nice old church with many parishiners and tourists and contains the remains of St. Francis who was a signifant missionary for the area. His body remained incorruptible for decades after his death which was declared a miracle by the pope. Today they bring it out every 7 years (next time is 2014).
Then walked over to the very pretty Se Cathedral. As we approached we heard some awesome children's choir music and a string quartet.
Tourists are not allowed in though during service, but thankfully it ended a few moments after we got there. Went in and checked it out, again not kept up nearly as well as European contemporaries, but much better than the others.
Interesting to see Christianity so dutifully followed in India, it seemed kinda incongruent.
We wandered down to the old gate of the city and the water front.
After that we went to - wait for it - a church!
This one was notable for its complete lack of patrons on a Sunday and the rabid bats that lived behind the main altar that would fly out occassionally and we could here chirping.
After the last church we then slowly made out way back to our car. We were happy to find the car which meant the driver had not taken off with our stuff and after finally finding him to we left for Anjuna. On the way there (about 40 minutes) he was playing his music WAY too loud and singing along sometimes.
We almost crashed a couple times, it was weird that I didn't even feel scared at all. I was getting pretty desensitized this point.