Where to stay
Sure, the shacks are where the real party’s at but a part of Goa still stays as quaint as it did 10 years ago. The city is dotted with home stays run by old Goan couples and art deco properties owned by big-city businessmen and looked after by gastronomically talented caretakers. We found ourselves in some charming, “vintage” lodging in the Goan capital at the now popular Panjim Inn– a heritage property, that’s actually an old Catholic house converted into a hotel. 15 spacious rooms with antique furniture(including a four poster bed) overlook the quiet promenade that runs between the old Jewish town and the more bustling and industrial part of the city.
Where to eat
The true beauty of Goa lies in its food. And there’s so much to be had, of course. Our search away from our staple shack diet of prawn/fish curry rice lead us to a new restaurant for every meal. Of all the places we dined at, our favourites turned out to be the very picturesque Hospedaria Venite on 31st January Road. With its balcony seating and grunge wall art it was the perfect stop for a quick drink and a generous helping of prawn wafers. For the main meal though, we hopped across the street to the small but super-functional Anandashram, a dining hall of sorts that serves the most scrumptious veg and non-veg thaalis (and sol kadi) that strike oh-so-close to home.
What to do
Don’t be shocked when we say this but there actually is quite a lot to do in Goa even if you aren’t planning on being a beach whale. Scooter rentals abound in Goa so make the most of your time away from the sea by exploring the insides of this city on a two-wheeler. We discovered a hidden church, one of Goa’s oldest bakeries, a ceramic works factory, the old tobacco exchange and even an antique furniture store (Saudades) selling wares from the early 1900s. Put that GPS to good use and let Google Maps be your tour guide. In the case where you want a quick break, don’t hesitate to ask the very hospitable Goans for help, directions or even a good restaurant to eat at, though it’s very likely that they’ll invite you into their homes for a swig of feni and some fish fry.
Panjim Inn, Fontainhas
Hospedaria Venite and Anandashram, GPO Road