On Saturday, April 19, Day 6 of our trip to Goa, we decided to go for some sight-seeing.
After a very heavy Indian breakfast, we rented motorbikes from the hotel, I took my famous map, and we drove to Reis Magos. A city facing Panjim on the opposit side of the Mandovi River.
Reis Magos is a village located on the northern bank of the Mandovi River in Bardez, Goa, opposite to the capital city of Panjim. The village is famous for two of Goa’s famous structures; the Reis Magos Fort, and the Reis Magos Church – the first church in Bardez. Reis Magos is the Portuguese name for the Three Wise Men from the Bible.
Reis Magos Fort: Predating Fort Aguada by half a century, a second, smaller fort that crowns the headland jutting into the narrowest stretch of the Mandovi, almost facing the capital city Panjim, is the Reis Magos Fort. This Fort, surrounded by sturdy laterite walls studded with typically Portuguese turrets, was erected in 1551 to protect the narrowest point at the mouth of the Mandovi estuary. It was enlarged subsequently on different occasions and finally re-erected in 1707. The fort formerly accommodated viceroys and other dignitaries newly arrived from, or en route to, Lisbon, and in the early eighteenth century proved a linchpin in the wars against the Hindu Marathas, who were never able to take it. The bastion was used as a prison. Though far inferior in size to the fortress of Mormugao, yet standing on an eminence, it commands a splendid view all around. It is in a good state of preservation and is defended by 33 guns and accommodation for a small garrison. Towards the east, at a little distance from it, flows a spring with abundance of excellent water, while at its base rises the church of the Reis Magos, ascended by a beautiful flight of stairs. (Wikipedia, Reis Magos)
Since it was Easter Saturday, we had to pay extra on entrance, nothing very substantial, yet extra.
During our visit, the Reis Magos church was being renovated.
After visiting Reis Magos Fort, we went searching for someone who could take us on a dolphin trip, little did we know that we were so close to the bay that takes us there.
We went in a boat with another group of tourists, we waited to see the dolphins, and waited and waited, then we saw two or three appearances, very humble appearances, that took me a lot to believe that they were real dolphins.
Special thanks to Fady’s photography skills, he was able to take a picture of a dolphin… just to remember that dolphin trip of ours. During that trip, we sort Fort Aguada from the sea, as well as a house of a famous billionaire that everyone seemed to enjoy looked at. I personally didn’t find anything special about his house, yet it might be a good selling technique for sailors!
After our dolphin trip, I was starving, so I bought a sandwich from the first lady who sold me something to eat on the go!
The lady seemed to have made potato puree, fried with some spices, all in a burger bun. When I saw the burger bun, I felt home! At least that’s a type of bread that I am acquainted to! I was asking her not to put chili, and praying that she doesn’t too, you know because everything is about perspective!
With my extreme hunger, the soft bun, the familiar taste of potato and the extremely hot chili that annihilated my taste buds… I ate the best signature sandwich in Goa. I tried finding it in other places, yet it was something that this creative lady invented!
I then burnt my entire mouth, thus not worrying about another chili sandwich. So I ate another, and was then embarrassed to eat a third!
With a burning mouth and a full stomach, we then visited Forte Aguada.
Fort Aguada and its lighthouse is a well-preserved seventeenth-century Portuguese fort.
The fort was constructed in 1613 to guard against the Dutch and the Marathas. It was a reference point for the vessels coming from Europe at that time. This old Portuguese fort stands on the beach south of Candolim, at the shore of the Mandovi River. It was initially tasked with defense of shipping and the nearby Bardez sub district.
A freshwater spring within the fort provided water supply to the ships that used to stop by. This is how the fort got its name: Aguada, meaning Water. Crews of passing ships would often visit to replenish their fresh water stores. On the fort stands a four-story Portuguese lighthouse, erected in 1864 and the oldest of its kind in Asia. Built in 1612, it was once the grandstand of 79 cannons. It has the capacity of storing 2,376,000 gallons of water, one of the biggest freshwater storages of the time in whole of Asia.
Fort Aguada was the most prized and crucial fort of Portuguese. The fort is so large that it envelops the entire peninsula at the south western tip of Bardez. Built on the mouth of river Mandovi, it was strategically located and was the chief defence of Portuguese against the Dutch and Marathas.
During the Salazar Administration, Fort Aguada was repurposed for use as a prison primarily, some claim, for Salazar’s political opponents. Many of its inmates are Western tourists serving time for drug-related crimes. (Wikipedia, Fort Aguada)
After visiting Fort Aguada, we decided to drive to Baga beach and see what it was all about.
Since we were on our rented motorbokes, and since we were operating on a paper map, the road took us around 35 minutes. We enjoyed our drive along the Calangute Beach, and didn’t feel the time pass until we reached Baga Beach.
Baga Beach was the most crowded beach we saw in Goa. It had loud music, sellers nagging us to to buy, and there was a lovely wind that was cooling us off after a long day.
Baga Beach is a popular beach and tourist destination in North Goa. Baga is located at the north end of the contiguous beach stretch that starts from Sinquerim, Candolim, leads to Calangute and then to Baga. The beach contains rows of shacks and fishing boats, and at high tide the beach is narrow. The beach is named after the Baga Creek, which empties into the Arabian Seaat the north end of the beach. Baga Beach is also famous for parasailing, water sports (banana ride) and dolphin cruises. (Wikipedia, Baga, Goa)
We parked our motorbikes, then found a nice spot that served good cocktails and free sun-beds, not that there was a lot of sun left… yet we needed something to lay on as we drank our delicious fresh cocktails.
I was reading a book, and Fady and Ronnie were being entertained by sellers who just wanted to sell anything they could. I tried to avoid any conversations with these sellers since they started to get on my nerves by sticking and not leaving if I don’t buy.
On our way back, there were two big buses stuck in a very small road that just blocked the road for a pretty long time. We parked our motorbikes and just walked around.
After reaching home safely and resting, we went to the church of the lady of the immaculate conception and attend the midnight Easter mass service.
That was a very interesting day, full of adventure from early morning till after midnight!
That’s an Easter Celebration that I wont forget!