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India, Museums, Travel

Am I in Europe or India? Old Goa, India

September 28, 2015

Old Goa

Even though my trip to Goa, India was supposed to be a relaxing non-sightseeing trip, I couldn’t resist the urge to see something while I was there. I had done some research and discovered Old Goa. I figured I would just have the hotel get me a taxi there and back, but the hotel had a whole tour that we could take. More on the rest of the tour later. Many people think of Old Goa as a Portuguese city, but, in fact, there was a city there before the Portuguese arrived in 1510. This was when Goa began to look like a European city instead of an Indian city. Old Goa was the capital of Goa until 1843.

Old Goa

My reasons for wanting to visit Old Goa was the churches that the Portuguese had built during their time there. It was so odd to see these large European churches in the middle of the Goan jungle. The area is well maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India, and there is lots to see. There is a museum there, but you are not allowed to take photos inside, however if you enjoy archaeology, then I suggest you visit. It isn’t very large and only cost 10 Rupees to get in. The museum website says that it is open from 10 AM to 5 PM and is closed on Fridays, however it also states that it is 5 Rupees to get in, so you might want to check with your hotel. The museum is very well done and has labels in English and Hindi. The museum is located right next to the entrance to the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. All the churches were free to enter and most of them were in walking distance of each other. Although, I know we didn’t see them all. We visited the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Sé Cathedral and Bom Jesus. It took us about an hour to see the museum and these three churches. Since we were there during the off-season, it wasn’t very crowded. The churches had some labeling, but not much so you might want a tour guide or bring your guide-book to know what you are looking at. I really enjoyed seeing these churches in the middle of India. While they were definitely Portuguese, you could feel the India vibe from some. Now, I will leave you with my photos from my visit to Old Goa, as I think they speak for themselves. First is the Church of St. Francis of Assisi and then Bom Jesus. I wasn’t able to take a photo inside Sé Cathedral as they seemed to be holding a service and photos are not allowed during services.

Old Goa

Old Goa

Old GoaOld Goa

Old Goa

Old Goa

Old Goa

Old GoaHave you been to Old Goa? What was your favorite part?

Art, Europe, France, Hotel/Accommodation, Paris, Travel

The Beautiful French Countryside in Giverny

July 10, 2015

 

Giverny isn’t just the home of Monet, it is a beautiful town to explore. Visiting Monet’s House and Gardens isn’t the only thing to do. The village of Giverny is very pretty. Someone asked me after my last post if Giverny was run down, as he had been told it wasn’t worth visiting. I disagree. Yes, the town has some run down houses and over grown wild areas, but I wouldn’t say the whole village was like this. It actually added to the charm of the place. It is exactly what I expected a small French country village to look like.

Since I took the train to Giverny, I walked from the bed and breakfast I was staying at to all the places I went. The day I arrived, I walked to have dinner. I discovered that all of Giverny is one big garden. Almost every house I passed had a beautiful garden or had lovely plants outside. Many of the homes have historic plaques out front relating to what artist was living there during Monet’s time. The walk was not only beautiful, but informative.

There are things to do other than Monet’s house as well. You could easily spend the day reading all the historic plaques. I only read some of them. The Church Sainte Radegonde is worth a visit. The church is Roman and the original part of the church was built in the 11th century! It was expanded between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Claude Monet is buried in the graveyard along with some of his family.

There is also the Impressionist Museum. The museum is just down the street from Monet’s house. The museum is dedicated to the history of impressionism. It is run in part by the Musee d’Orsay. Keep it mind that both it and Monet’s house are not open in the winter months. It also has a garden and wonderful restaurant.

Where to stay? There are many small bed and breakfasts in Giverny. However, my recommendation would be to stay at Les Jardins de Helene. This bed and breakfast is run by the wonderful Sandrine. Sandrine moved from Paris to Giverny with the dream of running a bed and breakfast. She is truly passionate about making people feel welcome and at home. The house is located on the edge of town about a kilometer and a half from Monet’s House. While it is a distance from town, it was great because I might not have explored the town otherwise. Les Jardins de Helene has four rooms each with access to a private bathroom. There is a wonderful garden in the back you are welcome to use with a coy pond. Sandrine serves a simple, but great breakfast. When I was there it included homemade stewed fruit and locally baked bread. Sandrine was very responsive to all my emails and even got me a ticket for Monet’s house so I didn’t have to wait in line. I only wished I had booked more nights in Giverny so I could of enjoyed the town and Les Jardins de Helene for longer.

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