Goa - Panaji and Old Goa.
We arrived in Panaji and I was tired and dying for a shower! So much so that i decided to give in to what I knew was a scam (although it sometimes does pay off) and accept a lift in a taxi to look at hotels. I knew hotels would be more expensive in Panaji at this time but some of the prices were ridiculous.
Anyway, I accepted one place and then decided to go and look for somewhere for subsequent nights. The place I stayed in was overpriced and out of the centre - and I walked between the two a few times! - but what the hey.
Went for a wander around Panaji. It's a Portugues colonial town and very pretty in places. Kind of similar to Pondicherry but not so many places to chill out. I think it's awesome anyway. Had a bit of a wander, mainly to find a new hotel and lunch and decided I was so knackered I should just go back and have a nap and a rest.
Got my energy back and went on a major wander through Panaji, taking lots of random photos and soaking it all in. This is yet another side of India (how many sides does this country have?) and the quiet colourful streets were lovely. Peaceful and calm and very interesting to explore.
Found a nice restaurant attached to a hotel and had a lovely meal and a double vodka with fresh pineapple juice (well, it was xmas day!) and followed that by treating myself to a foot massage. They steamed my feet first. I have NEVER had my feet steamed. Odd! Headed back to my room (trekked back to my room) and crashed after that.
Next day, got up early and headed with my bag to the new hotel which is very central and the couple who run it are lovely. The price is okay but the bed isn't that comfortable. Still, it's the convenience I like. And the owners!
Found breakfast at a local Indian place and then got a bus to Old Goa, less than 30 minutes away and spent a few hours exploring churches, cathedrals, monasteries and ruins. Bliss...
Discovered a couple of nice places to chill out and managed to gatecrash a wedding in the cathedral (along with a few other Indians I chatted to afterwards). The couple (or their families) must have been very rich as this was the oldest cathedral in Goa (or in India maybe? need to check facts). It was cool anyway, and I didn't try to gatecrash the reception, so no harm done!
Returned to Panaji, cleaned up and then went to a really nice chilled out restaurant and sat in the courtyard eating. (There are chill out places, just only at meal times here!)
In the courtyard, surrounded by Europeans, I felt I could have been anywhere in the world (not Tokyo, natch) - it was a nice, but weird feeling.
Talked to a retired Scottish couple (what IS it with Scots this trip?) who were utterly insane about how they spent six months of every year in Goa and had done so for the last 20 years, or something. She was hilarious, he was merely trying to keep up I think!