As shared in my earlier blog post, I experienced Goa in a very different way in a few of my last trips.
This blog post will further delve into different aspects of Goa that I enjoyed while on my multiple trips there in the recent past.
I was highly impressed with Fontainhas, the heritage quarter of the capital city of Panaji, lying along the banks of the ancient Ourem creek. This old district or Latin Quarter has a completely different atmosphere from the hustle and bustle of the main city, with its Mediterranean appearance, narrow streets and overhanging balconies of the ancient Portuguese style houses. The old world charm of the area is retained due to the fact that most houses in the area, which are built in the classic Portuguese style are still painted in the traditional colours of pale yellow, green or blue, and have red-tiled roofs with overhanging balconies. You will find quaint cafes and hostels in this area which have the typical susegado (chilled out) feel of Goa.
You must visit the Urban Café India which is coffee shop of Old Quarters hostel. Their décor is so crisp that you will fall in love with its simplicity. Sadly, the hostel is open only to people who produce their passport as an identification proof. I mean, which sane Indian will carry a passport to Goa for God’s sake!
Other than this, there is Panjim Inn Café which has this old world charm wherein time stands still and you feel like sitting there forever. Their wooden furniture is ornate and the feel totally Goan!
Both these can be typical chilling places with friends or the best option when you want to catch-up with yourself and read up on a book.
History and culture:
Goa is rich in its culture and literature and I got to know this pretty recently while visiting the Goa State Central Library at Panaji, the Goa museum and Gitanjali Art gallery, Fontainhas. The library had an extensive collection of magazines and newspapers for the citizens to read. What intrigued me was the ‘Braille Section’ where there were books and magazines in Braille and models of animals and daily utility items like utensils to touch and understand their utility. It housed ‘White Print,’ the only lifestyle magazine for the visually-impaired.
Right next to the library was the museum that spoke a lot about Goan history. You will easily spend a couple of hours going through the array of household products, printing press machines, furniture and currency on display at this museum which opened its doors to the public in 1977.
Gitanjali Art Gallery is charming in its décor with paintings, artsy books and quirky art pieces. Do get the Mario Miranda collection of books and postcards if comics are what interest you.
I was impressed by the women empowerment steps that the Goan government has taken by employing them in various places like female taxi services, cashew processing units and the hospitality industry. Goa has recently launched the female-only taxi services which employ female drivers for female tourists and families. They charge Rs. 250 for the first 10 kms followed by an increase of Rs. 18/ km. Also, they provide bills that otherwise is not the norm in this touristy state. It was a little surprising to see the staff members, majority of who were women at Zantyes cashew processing unit. Sorting, grading, packing… you name it and a female was there at all of these areas in the unit
A lazy afternoon in Goa was spent fruitfully by me wherein I went to Miramar beach for the dolphin-spotting tour. It not only took us to the particular spot where dolphins hover regularly but also spoke about the forts, churches and beaches that were visible from this fancy boat. While the music on-board was Bollywood, the Goan air was sure to transport you to a different zone. If you want to see them fly and swirl in the air then make sure you visit during early morning as there is not much noise to distract them.
On my next Goan sojourn, I would like to exclusively visit South Goa for its beaches to soak in the sun and get tanned.
(Some portions extracted from goatourism.gov.in)