Exploring the Fontainhas, Goa

Fontainhas is an old Latin quarter at the Altinho foothills in Panjim. It’s one place in Goa where the Portuguese influence is still very evident, so much so that this is the only place in Goa which has Portuguese as the main spoken language.

The name ‘Fontainhas’ was derived from a natural spring, Fountain of Phoenix that sprouted in 1770 and is present to date. Fontainhas was founded in the late 18th century by a wealthy Portuguese named Antonio Joao de Sequeira. He used this land for coconut plantations. But, in the early 1800s, due to the spread of epidemic in the Old Goa, the Portuguese government headquarters was shifted to Panjim. As a result, this area was transformed into the residential area for Portuguese administrative officers and rulers. In 1984, UNESCO recognized Fontainhas as a Heritage Zone.

Narrow lanes, bright and vibrant houses, small cafes, old bakeries, art galleries and every nook and corner that tells an interesting Goan story are some of the characteristics of this amazing place. Even within the hustle bustle of Panjim city, Fontainhas has maintained its serenity and quaintness. All thanks to The Local Beat Goa, I recently enjoyed a heritage walk of mixed with lots of fun and facts about the place. After grabbing a refreshing glass of watermelon juice from the Mamaramma Cafe, just next to the St. Sebastian Chapel, we started off by driving through the uphill lanes of Altinho and the Maruti Temple became our first halt.

 

Coloured in bright hues of orange, a colour that represents the monkey god ‘Hanuman’, the structure of the temple is a perfect mix of modernity and ancient heritage. As I moved in, I came to know that the temple has two idols of lord Hanuman, and even without climbing up to the main temple, one can see the bigger idol through an opening in the lower floor wall. Well I bowed down my head in front of both, the main idol which is housed in a big hall looks majestic.

The prayer hall is huge and a big chandelier in the centre makes it look magnificent. There is a lot of open space around the main temple and the view from the top is breathtakingly beautiful. You can practically see the entire Fontainhas area from there and especially the spring.

We climbed  down the stairs that lead to the Fontainhas spring. It is believed that there was a tunnel from the temple till that spring, which now stands closed, and the door was sealed with a cross. The two structures that line around the spring used to provide light in that tunnel, are mosque like structures and hence this place becomes a wonderful amalgamation of 3 religions.

From there on we strolled through the lanes of Fontainhas, visiting a few art galleries, which house some of the best art that leave you awestruck. Its so interesting to see these old world charm buildings, you know the windows in some of the old houses use shells in place of glasses, as glass wasn’t available back then. And trust me they look so amazing that given a chance I would want my windows to be made of sea shells.

We also visited one of the oldest bakery, named Confeitaria 31 De Janeiro, it still uses the old stone clay oven and bakes some amazing stuff. I tried the french rolls and it really took me back in time, normally don’t get that kind of taste anymore. They were so fresh and delicious. The name 31 De Janeiro holds a significance in history, Rua 31 de Janeira (31st January Road) is named after the day when Portugal got independence from Spain on January 31, 1640

From a light drizzle to thunder shower, monsoons made the walk even more interesting and beautiful. I also learnt that the houses in Fontainhas still need to get painted after every monsoon, it was a rule laid out in the Portuguese time but is followed till date. This keeps the beauty and vibrancy of this place in tact year after year. One of the historic houses that I came across had big well in front of it, though the well is not in function now, but the serenity and peace of the place is inexplainable. You can really spend some quiet time there breathing the natural and man made beauties together.

Another place where you can sit back, relax and enjoy some great coffee and snacks is the Bombay Coffee Roasters. The front wall of this cafe is quite a popular one with photographers. The mosaic is really worth a look and the place offers calm and comfortable interiors, has wi-fi and is ideal to spend some quality time alone and get some creative work done, or simply chill out with friends.

Talking about mosaic, its not just about the wall of Bombay Coffee Roasters, but this tile art is one of the most significant characteristics of Goa and especially the Fontainhas. Azulejo is the Portuguese name for these beautifully hand painted ceramic tiles. This art originated in the 15th century and travelled to India when the Portuguese settled in Goa. Though back then these Azulejos were imported from Portugal, and there were no Goan artists to do it, the art from literally died. It was brought back by a man named Orlando De Norohna, who had a 5 year degree in commercial art from Goa college of arts. He went to Lisbon to get himself skilled with guitar and came back with Azulejos. Since then the art has been fully revived and many students took interest in learning the same. Today Goa is the only state in India where these tiles are made. Take a walk around Goa and you will see these Azulejos as a part of its landscape. From name tiles to murals, each Azulejo tells a Goan story. Azulejos De Goa in Panjim, is one of the best shops to hunt for these stunning hand crafted tiles.

Moving on, we came to one of the major landmarks of this old quarter of Goa, the St Sebastian Chapel. It was also the point from where we started and the point where we concluded our lovely heritage walk. The Chapel of St Sebastian is a popular tourist attraction in Goa, built in 1818. This chapel is dedicated to St. Sebastian.In earlier days, when people were troubled with the disease of pests and plagues, they turned for help to St Sebastian who treated them through his mediation and miraculous interventions.

This whitewashed church has a striking crucifix which originally stood in the Palace of Inquisition in Old Goa. In the crucifix Christ’s eyes are opened. It’s a rather unusual sight to witness a crucifix with Christ’s head up and eyes open, it’s believed to be so in order to instil fear of god. The god is watching those who are troublemakers and they shall be punished for their sins. The Chapel also houses a statue of the Virgin Mary, two marquetry chests and three elaborately carved screens from a church in Diu, which once formed part of the colony of Goa.

This heritage walk of Fontainhas filled me with so much information and beauty, that the memories will last a lifetime. All I could do is capture it in my camera in order to cherish and relive these moments again and again. This is one thing that you should definitely not miss when in Goa

 

Use Solar Backpacks: Alternative Energy Source for Eco-friendly Living

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Backpacks are one of the essential items for students, professionals or anyone who need carry multiple items at the same time. It is a great thing because it keeps all your things in one place and the chances that you miss out on something or lose something reduces immensely. What if these backpacks come with solar a little solar panel? The utility of these backpacks would increase substantially.

So, let us learn about these backpacks in detail!

What Are Solar Backpacks?

A solar backpack is essentially a backpack that consists of batteries and thin film solar cells. They are the energy efficient equivalent of power banks, and that converts sunlight energy into electricity that can be saved and stored in the batteries and then used to power several electronic devices like mp3 players and mobile phones, etc. They come with light bulbs, battery, plugs, solar panels, cords, charge controller, etc.

 

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Uses of Solar Backpacks

A solar backpack can be used to charge devices like smartphones, power banks, digital cameras or any other small and useful devices. When a solar backpack is exposed to the sun, the solar panels that are fixed on the backpack starts charging the photovoltaic cells, and it starts storing the energy. With the help of a connector, you can charge your devices anywhere and everywhere.

 

Benefits of Using a Solar Backpack

 

There are several benefits of solar backpacks that prompt us to go the energy efficient route. Let’s dive right in and check what they are!

 

Energy Efficient

Solar backpacks consist of energy-efficient solar panels that are waterproof, portable and super light. They are perfect because they save all the energy that they receive from the sun that can be optimally utilized whenever needed.

 

Easy to Carry

Solar backpacks are lightweight in nature which is why they are extremely easy to carry. So, you don’t have to worry about extra weight on your back if a small solar panel is added to it.

 

Environment-Friendly

They are a green energy source that is super energy saving for the environment. If you use solar energy, you will actually end up saving electricity as well. In fact, it is a great way to charge all your small devices.

 

Saves money

They help in saving up on the electricity bills. If you shift to solar energy instead of electricity, you would not even realize and save up a lot of money on the electricity bills.

 

Good for Emergencies

It is an excellent source of energy and power during emergencies. In case of power shortage or while you are traveling, these backpacks can be a lifesaver by charging your phones and other important devices.

 

Applications of Solar Backpacks

The applications of solar backpacks are plenty!

 

  • Laptops can be charged by solar backpacks with a life of up to 3 hours before they exhaust.
  • It has the capacity to power up a light for up to 14 hours after being exposed to light for about 6 hours.
  • You can even power any kinds of medical equipment with solar backpacks.
  • If you are in a remote region and wish to power your camera, that can also be easily done through solar backpacks.
  • They are super lightweight so they can be carried around easily without any hassle. This makes it ideal to use these solar backpacks as an energy efficient alternative to power banks or chargers so that no matter where you are, you can easily charge up any of your devices with the stored energy in the solar backpacks.

Bottom Line

Solar backpacks are the trendy eco-friendly alternative to saving up on those massive electricity bills and energy. If you want to make a difference in the world while at the same time, lower your electricity expenses, going green via these incredible solar backpacks are the best way to go!

Author Bio Section:

Yogi and Suchna believe in taking the road less travelled and stumbling upon some hidden gems along the way! For over a decade, they’ve mapped their way across various continents, sniffed out unusual routes, discovered new flavors and stayed at quirky hostels. TheBackpackerCo is their expression of soul travel. You can catch up with them at TheBackpackerCo – The Backpack Around Europe Trip Experts.

9 Travel Experiences To Add To Your List

The time has come for vacation again. You are making your list of all the places you would like to go and visit. There are certain things that you would like to experience and you have added them to your list. Here are a few unique experiences to make sure are on that bucket list of travel.

Swing over the end of the world

That’s right. There is a place that’s nicknamed “the end of the world.” In the town of Banow, Ecuador there is a station that’s held over Mount Tungurahua. It is a crater to an active volcano. Visitors can enjoy themselves with the sight as they swing over the crater.

Go back in time

There are many places in the world that show historical significance. The site of Machu Picchu is one of those places. It is a place that draws not only history buffs but hikers as well. The massive citadel was built hundreds of years ago in the Andes Mountains. It is a place where many hikers travel to not only for the sites but the tedious climb and challenges it offers. The beautiful views at the top are worth every step.

Wildlife at its best

There is nothing more spectacular than seeing wildlife up close and personal. The best experiences found are throughout Africa on a Safari. There are many places that offer tours and guides to take a safari. In today’s time tourists in Africa have the opportunity to travel many ways. They can take a safari on foot, jeep or even horseback to visit the beauty found only in Africa.

Healing in Iceland

The Blue Lagoon is a place that’s found in Iceland. It is a man made spa that features a huge lagoon filled with beautiful blue sea water. The heated water is naturally infused with algae and minerals. Because of this many say that the lagoon has many healing powers as well.

The lovely thermal waters of Iceland’s understandably famous Blue Lagoon. Paradise.

Ski on live rock

Many of us have made that family trip to the ski lodge. Days spent out snowboarding in the snow and nights by the roaring fireplace. There is a place in Nicaragua but that you can do some boarding. It isn’t in snow though. Instead, you will find an active volcano called Cerro Negro. In the city of Leon, tourists can take sled rides or snowboard down the huge slope of the mountain at 2388 feet. It is a once in a lifetime treat for all those who want the joy of snowboarding without the cold.

Swim with the Fishes

The Australian coast is home to the largest barrier reef in the world. It is beautiful and has over 1600 miles of beautiful coral gardens and sea-life. A sight that is not found anywhere else. It attracts both novice and experienced scuba divers year round.

Take a Gondola

The beautiful town of Venice, Italy is home to narrow streets and canals. At every corner, there are small cafes and shops that you will want to see. The best experience is to travel as many tourists do. Take a gondola ride during the day for some shopping or have a romantic night on the water as well.

See the lights

This is one sight that you will not want to miss. The Northern Borealis is one of the most remarkable sights to see. There are many places to see them from Alaska to Canada, Norway, and Sweden.

Walk the great wall

The building of the great wall of China began in the 7th century BC. It is one of the largest and oldest structures in the world. Its defense and magnificent structure made from lime, tiles, and stone. It’s definitely a trek that is worth the time.

Throughout history, there have been many places built or formed to include on the list. Many places aren’t listed here. Some are the castles in Germany, the vineyards in Italy, the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls and more. They are all great destinations every traveler should experience at least once.

 

Dr. Summit Shah is a renowned doctor in the Columbus, Ohio area. He is known for his center Premier Allergy that was founded in 2011. Other than helping patients he is an avid adventurer and scuba diver and loves to travel around the world experiencing all it has to offer.

4 Amazing Beach Destinations In America

America is one of the most diverse countries in the world, with so many great cities to visit. But it’s also a great beach holiday destination. People often overlook the States when they’re trying to find somewhere sunny to get away from it all, but that’s a shame when you’ve got so many good options. If you’re fed up of the same old beach destinations year in, year out, these are some of the best that America has to offer.

Miami Beach

 

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Miami is probably the best known beach destination in the US, famous for its white sands, clear waters and vibrant nightlife. It’s one of the best party destinations in the world, filled with great restaurants and bars to relax in after a day on the beach. The Marriott Vacation Club Pulse, South Beach is one of the best places to stay, offering luxury accommodation right at the heart of the bustling South Beach area of Miami. You’re just a stone’s throw away from all of the best attractions and everything that you need is in a relatively small area so there’s no need to spend half of your trip traveling around the area.

Waikiki Beach

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Miami is great for a fun filled party vacation but if you’re looking to just get away from it all and soak up some sun, it might be a little hectic for you. If that’s the case, Waikiki Beach in Hawaii is probably a much better fit for you. It’s also a more suitable destination for family trips. It’s one of the best surfing destinations in the world but if that’s not your thing, you can just enjoy the relaxed atmosphere on the island while you sip cocktails on the beach. The airport is right near the beach so getting there is a breeze.

Galveston

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When people think of Texas, most of their information comes from TV and movies. They’re probably picturing dusty towns filled with cowboy hats and thick accents. They’re certainly not picturing an amazing beach destination, but that’s exactly what you’ll find if you head to Galveston. This relaxed beach town is well known for its great seafood and brilliant wildlife attractions. Down the Strand, the main strip, you’ll find the Moody Gardens. A great wildlife centre with everything from monkeys to marine life. The laid back atmosphere is a far cry from the uptight conservative attitude that people tend to associate with Texas, so it’s perfect for a relaxing beach getaway.

Coney Island

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It’s easy to forget that there is a great beach right near New York, but Coney Island attracts millions of visitors every year. People flock from the big apple to enjoy the great amusement park that the beach is famous for, as well as soak up the sun. It gets pretty busy on public holidays but all of the attractions are open all year round so it’s still worth going during the quieter periods as well. It’s only a short train ride from New York so you can do both in one trip.

Next time you’re planning a beach holiday, don’t forget about all of the great destinations that America has to offer.

 

 

Quiet and Relaxing Holidays in Florida

Holidays don’t always have to be about walking around, exploring a new country or indulging in nightlife. Sometimes, a holiday is just a weekend break; some time to relax after finishing up a busy project at work or to unwind after a stressful period in your life. We should all go on a relaxing break at some point in our lives, and it’s something that doesn’t have to cost much nor does it need to be an effort to plan. All you really need is a flight and a booked hotel and you’ll soon be relaxing in a spa or lounging on a beach.

One of the best places in the world to relax and unwind is Florida. This cosy state offers some of the most enjoyable entertainment you can find and it’s the perfect spot for quiet and peaceful weekend break. In this article, we’ll go through some of the most common and interesting places to visit when you’re on a break in Florida.

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Kendall

Located away from the hustle and bustle of the beaches, Kendall offers some fantastic culinary gems that are just waiting to be uncovered by you. The Kendall Ice Arena (although not technically in Kendall) is an iconic location for all locals and it’s a great spot to do a bit of ice skating no matter what the weather’s like outside. If you’re an avid gamer and love arcades, then Arcade Odyssey offers over 100 classics that range from video games to pinball machines. Be sure to look at accommodation such as Best Western Plus Kendall Airport Hotel and Suites before you travel so you can do a little planning before you head out. With so many sights to see, you’ll want a little bit of direction to help you make the most of your quiet weekend break.

Bahia Honda State Park

If you love beaches but not the usual partying culture that comes with it on most of Florida’s beaches, then Bahia Honda State Park is the place for you. It’s actually made up of three different beaches, each with their own unique qualities. The water is warm and refreshing, and there are plenty of activities that go on throughout the entire day. Since it’s far enough from the city, the night sky isn’t polluted with light, giving you a clear view for some relaxing stargazing. This is one of the most relaxing destinations in Florida and you absolutely have to come here at least once.

Pine Island

Pine Island is a secluded yet laid-back and exciting location to take a weekend break. If you enjoy lush environments mixed with a spot of fishing, then you’ll feel right at home here. There are long stretches of tropical plants, a unique atmosphere, opportunities for kayaking and canoeing, and it’s even noted as a haven for birdwatchers. Being surrounded by nature and small pleasures are the keys to a relaxing and quiet break, and you’ll find them both in abundance at Pine Island.

 

World-Class Living On A Budget In The Lion City

As far as travel destinations go, Southeast Asia seems to get something of a mixed reception from people looking to explore. There are gorgeous beaches, fantastic temples, lots of wildlife, and much more. But some destinations in the area also have a reputation for being dirty, dingy, or even dangerous. The world-class infrastructure and famous cleanliness of Singapore make it stand way above the rest, even if the reputation the area always gets isn’t always deserved. But just because it’s a world-class destination doesn’t mean you have to pay world-class prices.

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Your bank balance is most likely going to feel the hotel bill heaviest of all. Singapore hotels are some of the best in all of Asia, with high-quality rooms, top-notch service, and more amenities than you can shake a stick at. Not to mention some truly unique stays like the pool deck at the Parkroyal. If you want to keep things budget, however, even the lower-priced hotels are impressive. The M Social is a more artsy, modern space, still containing facilities like a gym and spa, but it can be half as expensive as places like the Parkroyal.

Getting around

The sights of Singapore are hard to ignore. The Gardens by the Bay and Jurong Bird Park make for some gorgeous examples of the metropolitan meeting the natural beautifully. You can’t ignore the immense Sri Mariamman Temple, either. The taxis can be very expensive, especially to tourists, however, so it’s best to stick to public transport when possible. With an EZ-Link card, you’ll make plenty of savings on public transport, too. Bikes can be rented with helmets, locks, and lights, for as little as $3 an hour and give you the best way to travel while taking in some of the most colorful streets the city has to offer.

Take care of yourself

It’s easy to opt for the luxury experience in the Lion City, of which there are plenty of services to cater. Especially if you’re a foodie, it’s hard to resist some of the wineries and boutique cuisine shops offering Indian, Malay, and Chinese dishes. But it might be worth making those dining-out-nights a rarity, instead opting to buy grocery & foodstuff online in Singapore. Everyday shopping prices aren’t all that expensive and the fact that much of the country’s online business is in English makes it a breeze to use.

Take advantage of the free stuff

The Lion City has some expensive attractions, but it also has a lot to offer for free. There is a wide selection of gorgeous, well-kept parks like Labrador Park. It’s a culturally bustling city, too, so you’re likely to find free attractions like art displays, performances in public, and the occasional free day at the museums if you just go exploring. Also, it’s not like other Asian cities where you are told to avoid tap water at all costs. It’s perfectly safe in Singapore, so you won’t need to stock up on overpriced water bottles.

Singapore can be expensive, there’s no doubt about that. It is one of the most technologically and financially healthy countries in the world, so it should be expected. But being savvy about your budget can make it much more affordable.

 

Need Some Me Time? Then A Camping Trip Should Be On The Cards

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Do you ever feel like you need to step away from your normal life and just take some time out? Don’t worry, if your answer is yes, then you’re going to agree that you could do with some ‘me time’ sometime soon. It’s not always easy to know how you’re going to get that time to yourself and for a long enough period. But, one of the best ways to stay stress-free is to do something calming and enjoyable, like camping. And although you may feel like camping is a kind of vacation, it’s more than that. Camping is great for calming your lifestyle as well as a break away.

Get Away From The World

The first thing that should entice you about the idea of camping is the way that you can get away from the world in the process. When you go camping, you’re physically heading out into nature. It allows you to remove yourself from your stressful real world situation. And sometimes, that’s all you need. When you can spend a few days away from your real life, you’ll find that you’re able to keep calm and recharge your batteries.

Being Out In The Fresh Air

Then there’s also the fresh air. In today’s society, people just don’t get enough fresh air. We go from home to the office and back home again, then repeat. But, never underestimate the power of some fresh air. When you go out for a walk or head out into nature, you’ll find that fresh air can do you a world of good. So, be sure to take in as much as the outside as you can when you camp, you’ll feel a lot healthier for it.

Enjoy Being Active, Not Passive

We also find that we tend to be a lot more passive in life than generations before us. With TV and the internet, we do a lot less. We find that we’re just consuming information most of the time. But, when you go camping, you have to ‘do’. So, pack up everything you need to fend for yourself. With cooking equipment and survival kit, like this http://best-rechargeable-flashlight.cubereviews.com/, you’ll be able to enjoy being active. You’ll find that being active in nature is a great way to switch off and enjoy being out in the open.

Enjoy The Company Of Others

As well as being active, camping also gives you the opportunity to be social and enjoy the company of others. There are so many reasons why being social is good for you, like these https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/streams-of-consciousness/the-importance-of-being-social/, so now’s the time to reap the benefits. It will save you from being online and allow you to connect deeper with friends or family.

Step Back And Slow Down

And finally, you’re also going to want to enjoy the way that camping allows you to step back and forces you to slow down. You have nowhere to be, you have nothing to do (unless you want to read or explore or something), so just enjoy it. It will also teach you not to take the little things in life for granted and to appreciate what the world has to offer. And what kind of me time could be better than that?

 

 

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