Panaji is a small and interesting city with a genuine Portuguese old town in the historic area, and the wide open streets of the newer town carried the same Portuguese feel to them, with a few art deco buildings too. A more modern Indian feel about the peripheries of these areas reminded me where I was. Panaji is easy enough to explore by foot, remarkable calm, for India, with wide streets and limited traffic.
In the new part of Panaji there is an excellent, covered 2 storey market building, remarkably clean and odour free with an open central pace and great ventilation. Housed inside where the usual collection of stall holders offering an amazing array of fresh fruits and vegetables, dry foods (not fish) and some fragrance free flowers. I seem to visit markets like this everywhere I find them, often they’re not as good as this, with such friendly stall holders. I find them to be very interesting places, with such a massive volume of potential dishes sitting on the stalls around me it’s a great place to come to feel inspired about food.
Walking through the old town at night when the traffic is low and the streets quiet I could have believed this was a suburb of Porto, the blue tiles, building aesthetic and general feel was incredibly Portuguese. The Portuguese connection continues on in Old Goa just a 25 minute motor rickshaw ride away, here there are a series of excellently preserved, large and regal catholic churches.
The motor rickshaw ride itself from Panaji to Old Goa is excellent, the route is up river, following alongside the tidal mud flats, with harbour views behind us across the bay and salt fields on the opposite side of the road, where hard working locals still extract salt from the sea water using evaporation to concentrate the salty water in shallow pools, I assume this similar process has been done here for centuries. After exploring Old Goa’s churches a quick ride upon the local bus was an incredibly interesting journey back to Panaji