my Goan starting point: Panjim
I alighted upon Goa and began my exploration in Panjim. I stayed for one week by myself and wandered around the old Latin quarter of Fontainhas. It was off season so mostly only Indian tourists were there with a few foreign backpackers trickling in and out. I stayed near a hostel and frequented the coffee shop - Bombay Roasters - attached to the hostel in Fontainhas so it became part of my weekly routine there.
I first tried the Panjim Inn but didn’t really like it even though it comes pretty highly recommended for a historical heritage hotel.
The Veranda there was decent enough to grab some food and drink but really the best thing about it is the location and open air porch with fans - literally, the veranda.
The views from the second story surrounded by the nature and colorful buildings gives you a nice vantage point to watch passersby.
I did take rickshaws around because they are so affordable and fun, but I was probably one of the few non-Indians walking around in the humid heat.
Yes I was sweating to death but that didn’t deter me. I love to go on foot as a travel photographer and explorer because that’s the way I really stumble upon gems - street art, architecture and nature that I find enchanting.
At times I’d take an umbrella to protect myself from the sun, like I saw some local women doing and I’ve seen from Asia to Cuba.
I absolutely loved the green natural garden area across town from Fontainhas that is completely shaded by the most amazing natural forest with tree canopies and where several heritage villas are located - this area is close to some museums and you can see the Indo-Portuguese architecture and craftsmanship thanks to historical preservation.
All the museums are housed in interesting buildings nestled in woods under trees.
I stumbled upon a great taxi driver who was an excellent tour guide as he’d done it for 25 years.
He took me to the Houses of Goa museum which has a cool school for kids along with a Maria Miranda museum - he was a local illustrator and famous local artist.
The taxi driver asked where else I’d been and once he found out what I liked, he told me about all the architectural areas I needed to visit.
He then proceeded to show me his Hindu temple - Mala, in Altinho next to Fontainhas.
The temple has an amazing view and you can descend a long staircase up the hill in the evenings when it’s cooler.
I also took it as a shortcut to reach the Arts Centre and stroll the neighborhood which was also still Portuguese heritage.
My lovely taxi driver even pointed out to me when we drove by where he “stays” meaning his house in his neighborhood which I thought was sweet. His house is pink, which I loved.
I stayed at La Maison in Fontainhas for the rest of my time in Panjim and preferred it over the Panjim Inn. I walked around more of the city and used Panjim as a base before launching out to explore the rest of Goa. I did my research here and was ready to fly after that.