Today we visited the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Old Goa, the Tropical Spice Plantation and had dinner at Dona Sylvia. Before dinner, I managed to find some time to wander around the Ramada and spent a little time on the beach before grabbing a cocktail and relaxing for a bit. I had a great day, it felt a bit more relaxed than the previous days and I think we needed that!
Grand Hyatt Hotel
Our first stop today was at the Grand Hyatt hotel. I went in feeling uneasy at how elaborate is was after seeing all of the shacks that people were living in nearby. The difference in wealth was clearly evident here. The Grand Hyatt was very elaborate, the rooms were nice and the buildings and grounds were gorgeous. It also has access to a very nice beach. It is only four years old, but has a kind of old feel to it, there was a 16th century chapel in the gardens that had been kept for historical purposes. Again, it appears to be the kind of place that you wou
ld go to and not really leave, although it did seem to be not too far from places to visit if you wanted to do that.
Old Goa has a lot to see. We didn't have a lot of time, so we stopped at three different places. First we made a very quick stop to the ruins of a convent to take some pictures. We got back on the bus and headed for the main part of Old Goa and visited two churches - one that is still operational, and the other that is open for viewing but is no longer used as a church. If I went back here, I'd definitely make sure that I had at least a few hours to see everything that is there. If possible, I would recommend going here with a guide so that you can learn about the history in addition to exploring the area.
Tropical spice plantation
The spice plantation was good but I’m glad that we also got to go to the other one, this one is definitely set up for tourists with the tours and lunch and little shop to purchase spices and oils from. We went on a tour and were shown the different plants that the spices come from which was interesting. I think my favourite was the cinnamon tree, I didn’t realise it was bark and it was pretty cool to be able to eat some of it. We were given lunch and drinks and there was a lot of food (again) - I feel like all I've done is eat for five days! I bought lots of spices and some oils (neem and cade) that are said to help with eczema so I'm keen to get home and see if they do really work. The other plantation that we visited near the petroglyph's was good because we actually got to see people working there rather than just being shown different spice trees.
Dinner at Dona Sylvia
Dona Sylvia was nice, and also very close to the Radisson Blu which we visited earlier in the trip. It had nice rooms and we could see lights and hear music coming from the beach. They were celebrating their 25-year anniversary. They had three different restaurants and the same sorts of facilities that many of the other hotels have (facilities for kids, swimming pools, activities etc.). Dinner was a buffet and the food was good. I especially liked the goan fish dish, and the enchiladas.
I'm kind of getting sick of buffets and looking forward to my couple of days in Calungute to try actual restaurants. I’m also keen to do the photography tour and get a massage if I can fit them in!