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Published: October 27th 2011
We arrived in Goa in the afternoon after a flight from Kolkata, transiting in Mumbai. The last leg of our trip was supposed to be one of the most relaxing but getting up at 5:00 am to catch our flight made for a long day and we were a little done in.
It was refreshing to be in such a lush and tropical environment and to experience the lovely town of Panjim. Our hotel, Panjim Inn, was beautiful and the staff quite helpful and professional. Definitely recommended. After a tasty lunch of Goan specialties accompanied by feni at Viva Panjim - one of Clement's highlights of the trip - we spent the afternoon walking about the town and visited the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. In the evening we went on a river cruise with music and dancing and ended with another visit to Viva Panjim. People are quite friendly in Goa, which seems a bit apart from the rest of India, as was Darjeeling. It's nice to see yet another side of this multifaceted country.
There's lots to see and do around Panjim, including many historical sights, temples and cathedrals, fragrant spice farms and natural
wonders such as the Dudhsagar Falls, in addition to the lovely beaches. If you find yourself with a free half-day I recommend making a stop in Old Goa, known from the 16th to the 18th centuries as the Rome of the East, for the Portuguese cathedrals and other architecture. It would be particularly worthwhile to make a visit to Se Cathedral, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, and the Basilica of Bom Jesus.
The next day we traveled down to Palolem beach for a little bit of relaxation. The owners of the lovely Village Guest House - most highly recommended - made us feel right at home, and before long we found ourselves staring into the surf. Still at the very beginning of the season, when much is not yet open, the touts and shop owners were fairly persistent. Prices were high, dogs and cows were rampant, and the food couldn't hold a candle to the fare at Viva Panjim. Yet it was a pleasant place to spend a couple of days, and I really enjoyed the beach and the warm sea, and drinking cocktails with the sand between my toes. I wasn't very driven to accomplish all
Panjim touism building
Perhaps the nicest tourist center of our whole trip! And a lovely bookstore on the ground floor.
that I had wanted when I was planning this part of the trip but, really, who could blame me?
On our last evening we caught a train to Mumbai from Margao station. Sad to say goodbye to Goa - I'm sure we'll be back!
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