Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa on Thursday paid a visit to his ancestral house in Margao town, where he spent over three hours with his cousin and her family members.
Costa, on the second day of his two-day tour to Goa, visited the 200-year-old house located at Abade Faria street in Margao, where he was greeted by his first cousin Anna Costa, who lives there with her mother, husband and a child.
Scores of media-persons lined up as Costa arrived there.
However, the entire affair remained completely private and away from media glare as the family members had made it clear that they want to spend some private time with Costa, who is their first cousin.
The Portuguese PM, who arrived in Goa on the evening of January 10, spent time over the afternoon meal with the family.
“We really had a nice, intimate time with him. He looked relaxed today (Thursday). We spent a little over two hours with him over the afternoon meal,” Anna said.
He was served Indian fusion food. “Indian fusion means Indian food with western touch,” said Anna, who is a travel professional.
To a query whether PM invited her to Portugal, she said, “When it comes to relatives, we don’t need to be invited. We are always welcome there, and he is welcome here.”
The Portuguese PM later visited churches at Old Goa as well as Mangueshi temple in North Goa, 25 km away from capital Panaji.
On his first day of the visit yesterday, Costa had met Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and participated in various events, including tribute given to him by the civil society members. He had said that his visit to Goa had an emotional side and personal motivation.
On Thursday morning, Costa also took part in a function organised by Fundação Oriente in Panaji, which carries out various cultural activities in Goa. “We must not just look back to our shared history, but also look ahead and create newer ties,” he said while speaking at the function.
Costa also paid tributes to late Paulo Varela Gomes, a historian and former director of Fundação Oriente and awarded him with posthumous Cultural Merit Medal, which was accepted by Gomes’ wife Patricia Vieira.
Commending the works of Paulo, Costa further said, “His works led to the rediscovery of various aspects of Goa, India, and as a result, of Portugal itself.”
Prior to the function, Costa toured Panaji’s Latin Quarter area, where local residents and schoolchildren greeted him and a brass band played music to welcome him.
Costa also remembered renowned architect late Charles Correa and his contribution in creating iconic landmark in Portugal.
“Cultural exchanges between Goa and Portugal should be encouraged in order to create a brighter future,” he said.
Consul General of Portugal in Goa, Dr Rui Carvalho Baceira, Portugal Minister of Culture, Luis Filipe Castro Mendes, were also present during the event.