After damaging the screen on our last remaining phone, being unable to set any alarms, and needing to catch an early bus, we were lucky to be woken early by Ella’s infinitely reliable body clock, “needing to pee”. Only 15 mins behind schedule, we hiked out of town to the main road bus stop and hopped on the next bus back to Canacona. Continuing the mornings theme of good fortune, our conductor informed us as we tried to pay, that the bus was going direct to Panjim! Three and a half hours, three bike crashes and a few dollops of sun cream later and we had arrived.
A short walk from the bus stand across the bridge took us into the town of Panjim where we started our hunt for accommodation. After a short trudge (backpacks seem heavier after lying on beaches for 2 weeks), a cobbler directed us to an area close to January Street which has a selection of guest stays that would fit our budget.
The little Portuguese inspired neighbourhood is incredibly picturesque, consisting of parallel streets lined with little pastel coloured buildings from one end to the next. We were directed to a family run guest stay A Pousada and managed to negotiate a private double room for rs.500 a night but had to pay for three nights up front to secure the deal.
A 5 minute walk from January road takes you to the more affluent side of town, however the idea of shopping at the Levi store or taking a boat out to one of the many floating casinos didn’t really appeal to us. The centre of Panjim is a lot busier and much more developed than we expected, providing us with a few different options to fix our phone problems.
The first three phone shops gave us quotes between rs.4000 and rs.8000 for a new screen, twice what we’d pay at home. Our favourite line from the day was a guy in a repair shop arguing that things are cheaper in our country but in India, they are more expensive! After some further advice and directions, we ended up at Panjim fruit and veg market. A large open building filled to the brim with every fruit, veg and spice you can imagine. The smells were amazing! The upper floor is lined with clothing and phone shops, where we got a screen for rs.2500 but paid an extra rs.200 for them to do the replacement incase the screen was defective. We killed an hour, eating samosas by the river until the phone was ready and BAM, good as new. 🤗
That evening we ate at “Down the Road”, an open balcony restaurant next to the river and only a 2 min walk from our accommodation. We sat in expensive, oak barrelled chairs on the balcony and picked a few things from their extensive menu. The manager informed us that they no longer sell alcohol due to a ruling by the Supreme Court, making it illegal to serve alcohol within 500m of the highway. Happy with our soft drinks, we enjoyed the sunset from the balcony but came away thinking the place looked a lot better than it tasted.
The next day we walked into town and had lunch at Rolls Mania, a modern sandwich bar that seems to attract a younger crowd. Sharing a spicy paneer roll, veg Manchurian roll and splitting a banana milkshake was better than I can describe! 12/10 would stuff face again. We spent the afternoon having drinks and playing cards on the balcony of Hotel Viente before heading to Viva Panjim for dinner. Despite our waiter looking like he hated our guts, the family run restaurant in the backstreets of the Portuguese side of town served cheap food that tasted great.
On our last day we walked about 6 miles, through Panjim and out towards the beach at Marimar. The beach was a huge disappointment and we turned back almost as soon as we arrived but the walk was nice and took us through wide, shady streets with huge towering trees, past Goa’s entertainment head quarters, the military hospital and the army barracks that had a sentry stationed outside with an old BAR machine gun. I wasn’t allowed to get a photo. 😒
📷 Panjim Military Hospital
That night we did a bad thing, and by bad thing, I mean it was amazing! We walked into town, ordered a Dominoes, went back to our room and stuffed our faces like the pizza goblins we are! It felt like we were celebrating Panjim and how much we’ve enjoyed being here. We have made a promise to avoid celebrating too much in future. 😜
We leave Panjim with good memories and the knowledge that we could easily have spent a few more days exploring the other hidden gems but as we approach our 50th day in India, we feel like there is still so much more too see.
In the morning we set off for Anjuna, and will hopefully remember to publish this post as l’m currently having to type in inotes. Apparently they turn the wifi off after 11pm! Sneaky!