We were as hesitant as we would be in any stranger house and Cancio’s House was equally stranger for us. We had arrived just few hours ago, freshened up and gone for a quick nap after a long over-night journey. As we rung the bell, Roberto emerged from inside the house with a big warm smile and led us through the house and we followed him as we passed through verandah at entrance, sitting rooms, corridor (next to center garden), dining room, small kitchen space with hot water cauldron, and then dining table right in the center of the kitchen. Whole Amaral family was sitting on the table and Raquel, Roberto’s wife greeted us with an equally warm smile –“Actually, we do not use our dining hall. We love to have our meals here in kitchen itself.” And then, we met all the family members one by one, Roberto’s mother, Raquel’s mother, Roberto and Raquel’s three sons, Raquel’ niece and their three lovely dogs.
By the way, we had already met dogs in the morning when we had entered the house. As soon as we had entered house, all three of them came welcoming us along with Raquel. Anu was still outside the gate and I was well within the compound. We both love dogs but you never know how they would behave if they find you transgressing their property. To my surprise, all three of them came and as I smiled to them (still a bit cautious), they started waging their tales. They jumped to embrace me and then sat on stairs as I started caressing their head. What a warm welcome we had at Cancio’s house. An amazingly amazingly beautiful family!!
We occupied our seats on the lunch table, me sitting next to Raquel’s mother and Anu sitting next to Rafaelo, their youngest son, a naughty smart chap always indulged in searching some secrets around. We were still to ourself and shy being in someone’s kitchen and with a family totally unknown to us. But atmosphere changed within minutes, absolutely within minutes as we started chatting with Roberto and Raquel, with their children adding their own versions in between and best is Roberto’s mom Maria, a vibrant lady with a big energetic smile, (fondly called Mamai by all – means mother in Portuguese)
“Did you guys happen to watch FIFA opening ceremony”, asked Roberto.
“Nops, actually missed it. Also not a great fan on Football. Prefer Cricket over Football like most of us Indians. Did you watch, how was it?” – I replied smilingly.
“Amazing. We all are big fan of Football especially Grand Ma. You know, she puts an alarm for late night matches to watch football and suddenly at night, you hear a big sound – GOAL!! And its grandma.” – Replied Harrison, Roberto’s eldest son with full flow and laughing as he replied even before Roberto.
Mamai, Roberto’s mother, replied – “Yes, it was a nice match” with a beautiful smile as she shifts rice plate towards me and Anu.
And soon attention shifted to Antonio, Roberto and Raquel’s second son to whom everyone was tempting to finish meal fast as he is choosy in what to eat and what not. Soon he looked around with big victorious smile as he cleaned up his plate. Everyone was so much involved with us. Within moments, we started feeling as if we knew the Amaral family for long and discussion shifted from one point to another and then to another as everyone kept chipping in with their own story, and points. There is a sense of belongingness in the whole family that I think has passed down right from Mamai to Roberto & Raquel and now to their sons. As we finished up, Antonio took up cleaning the table while Harrison went to help Roberto to wash cutlery. Just on lunch table, we mixed up with the family so well as if some sort of symphony or melody that soaked our soul.
“Your house is amazing. Such a beauty it is.” – Anu smiled with excitement as her curious eyes looked around at the antique pieces kept in the kitchen with her still soaking things she observed while walking through the house from main gate up to the kitchen.
You ask about house and Roberto just gets so much excited. He tells you a whole bunch of things about the history of the house and how he maintains it, with such an energy and vigor that you do not loose him even for a moment. We kept listening as he started telling us –“This is our family house and has been some 500 years old. Different generations kept on contributing and adding to the house in their own way and it kept evolving. You know, we love our house (yeah, we could see it in his sparkling eyes as he was telling us about the house). There goes so much energy in maintaining the house. We always keep on doing one thing or another, sometimes some repair or at times getting a piece of new furniture. I do a lot of plumbing and carpentry myself else it would not be so easy for us to maintain our place. I did all the re-wiring myself and by the time I finished, some of the wiring already needed replacement. There was a researcher into the old history of Aldona that had come to examine our house and you know, he told that this most probably was one of the first 7 houses in the Aldona region, even older than Church which is now 422 years old….”
Raquel is fond of cooking and ensures that she uses no chemicals and pesticides. They serve all guests water from their own well (in an earthen pot) and prepare own Jams and even wine. She always keeps on trying new things, uses apple cider to clean kitchen, served us cup-cakes made of oats and for lunch, yummy finger-licking home-cooked chicken. “You know I can never sell food because I love to cook and get satisfaction in serving”, tells Raquel and actually you can see this in spirit in the way she prepares and serves food for everyone.
An amazing family that embraces you like you are one of them, giving you not only a place in their house but making you feel as if you are part of them, a part of their life. Saying a perfect home-stay experience will not be a justice for Roberto and Raquel’s hospitality. Actually a lovely, embracing warm home and family that you get as you visit Cancio’s house – the best stay we have ever had while being on our offbeat explorations.
A visit to Cancio’s House changed our perception about Goa. Goa is not only about beaches and parties but there is another far exciting offbeat side of Goa that you explore when you visit to interiors. Situated in Andona amid lush green surroundings, this is the best homestay that you can find in the Goan Land. They have two rooms facing garden on the side of main house compound. Originally, it used to be a mill house, then a store and now renovated into a cottage with guest rooms. Roberto and Raquel renovated the place (took almost 2 years) and now they have beautiful homestay to accommodate guests, not guests actually friends. In words of Roberto –“Whatever we earn, we invest back in the house. What we end up earning are the friends that we make every time someone visits us.” And he goes on telling about many people that have stayed with them and are still in touch. Roberto gave us a tour of the house showing vintage kettle, a Sofa from 15th or 16th century, house well, rooms on the top and explaining us about everything in the house.
Rain and sound of water dripping off the roof were a treat for us –
If you love bird-watching, you will love Cancio’s House even more. Even inside the house, you can hear the birds chirruping with sounds coming from all sides. Raquel told us that they do not take away fruits from their mulberry tree because they want more and more birds to come to fruits and to their house. As Raquel was telling Anu that she had recently spotted a Himalayan Fly Catcher while sitting on the porch above garage; Rafaelo, their youngest son, chipped in – “There lives a big owl in the trees opposite to house”, exciting Anu to explore more. Rafaelo took Anu around the house and garden showing nests hidden inside trees, asking her to jump and not to step on insects and then showing his secret places.
There are also few amazing places around Cancio’s house that you can go around. Experience heritage at 17th Century Corjuem Fort, a few kilometers away. Enjoy sunset at Aldona River and Calvim Bridge and find some inner peace at St. Thomas Church of Aldona.
Thanks Raquel and Roberto for your warm hospitality. We will surely come back and for a longer stay and for more conversations. It is really difficult to get complete family in one pic as each one is happy going and free will. Here is our selfie with Roberto, Raquel and Harrison, their eldest son.
How to book Cancio’s House
They are listed on Agoda and Hostelworld but best is to call them directly for a booking. They accept for a minimum two days booking. You may refer contact details on their website here – http://cancioshouse.webs.com/
Disclaimer – This is not a sponsored post. This post is just out of gratitude for the love we received at Cancio’s house.