Today and yesterday I went to some of the cities here in Goa. Both a couple of rather long, sweaty, and crowded local bus drives away.
Yesterday it was Panjim, the capital of Goa. It’s really pretty, with narrow not too dirty streets, colourful small houses, Hindu temples (one in an incredible orange-pink colour sitting on a hill), a hidden mosque, and a beatiful white church. One of the interesting differences between churches here and home is that here they always have couple of birds flying just below the roof inside.
And I had the best lunch so far, in a local, entirely plain looking restaurant. It was a thali (a bit of everything) – but this one had maybe 10 different tasty dishes served in small bowls, and cost only 70 rs (which is not too cheap in India, but it’s just around USD 1.50).
And today I went to Old Goa, the former capital (~1500 – 1800). It used to be a big and powerful city, called the Rome of the East, but nowadays it feels more just like a place just for tourists (and there were many of us, mostly Indians). It has some nice churches, including the biggest cathedral in Asia and the remnants of St. Francis Xavier.
And let me add one of the things to keep in mind when travelling in India: You have to hoard change, as much a you can! It often happens that a shopkeeper or a rickshaw driver doesn’t have change (or at least claims not to have it), even when paying with a 100 rupee (= 2 USD) banknote. And getting rid of a 1000 (the biggest one, and also unfortunately the one you get from an ATM) is something to be strategically planned ahead!