Friday, 19 July 2013

The Perfect Road Trip

"Goaaaaaaaaa.... woot woot!"

Yes, finally, a well deserved holiday. Life is really stressful for all us future chartered accountants you know. I mean, we are 21 and all, and still, life sucks. Yes, it does. You hate what you do, you hate the firm where you work, you hate your peers for being competitive during the exam, you hate your seniors because they are snooty that they cleared, you hate the admin people at your workplace since you don't get full reimbursement of your expenses, you hate your clients (however big they maybe) since they don't give a rat's ass about you considering you are the junior and all and you hate your own office since it is small and dingy and finally, you hate your boss for being unrelenting, irritating and for giving you a bitchy hard time! Can I be more rantful (Is that even a word?) And, office picnics, seriously, are a real pain in the rear end. You end up meeting exactly all those people you loath! So, what did we do instead? By we, I mean us "juniors" without them "seniors" (hmph!), we planned a super secret road trip (secret from the office) to Goaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! Woot woot! And what fun! Alcohol, beach, hot guys with the perfectly chiseled bodies and us girls in shorts (without parents' approval, duh!), oh boy!

So, everything was arranged. Contribution for the trip was gathered from all, our accommodation booked and our Mahindra Xylo ready! Mumbai to Goa, needless to say, amazing roads, beautiful view, excellent company and the feel of the free wind in our hair (literally). Our route was Mumbai- Lonavala- Pune- Khandala- Kolhapur- Belgaum- Goa! We decided that just driving through all these places will not be enough. I mean, they are the 'it' places to be visited across Maharashtra and Konkan, just how can we give it a miss? So, our plan was a stop over for two or less days in each place. Winter is just the best time of the year for a road trip like this, I tell you.

We left Mumbai on Day 1 and left for Lonavala. It took us two hours to reach Loanvala and after checking in, we set out to explore the place! The next day, by noon, we were leaving for Pune. We had only two things on our mind at Lonavala- visit the Bhaja caves and the Wax museum, modelled on London's Tussaud Museum. Before we left for Pune on Day 2, we went to the wax museum after a night's complete rest (this is how holidays are supposed to be!) and it was, to say the least, amazing! We arrived at Pune by lunch time and settled in at our hotel and ordered a sumptuous brunch (we were really hungry!) Since Pune is a big city and all and there are quite a few places to explore, we decided to just go for nature's beauty. First thing on the itinerary, a trek to Parvati Hill Temple, a beautiful and picturesque trek through Parvati Hill. After the tiring trek, we headed back to our hotel, had whatever our tummies would take and crashed. Day 3, we went to Saras Baug, enjoyed the view, lazed around and headed to Khandala.

View from Bhaja Caves

The road trip to Khandala was simply marvellous. Stunning Maharashtra, people! Go MH, I would say! It took us nearly an hour and a half (again) to reach Khandala. We arrived by lunch, checked in and had our lunch. After that, we headed to Amrutanjan point and had a wonderful view of the entire valley. While returning we went to a small restaurant serving Gujarati food (yummy, yummy, yummy!) named Chandralok and it was indeed great! We headed back to our hotel. On Day 4, after having our breakfast, we headed to Kolhapur which was a little more than 4 hours away by road. On arrival, check in and after our lunch, we went to Rankala lake and then went to the Jyotiba Temple. One afternoon well spent! We headed back to our hotel, lounged around and settled in for the night.

Rankala Lake

Day 5, we decided we needed to explore Kolhapur just a little more. We visited the Town Hall Museum, the Mahalakshmi Temple, the Kaneri Math and Panhala Fort. The Fort took away much of our energy and we headed back to our hotel. Day 6, enter Karnataka! We left early the next day, since Belgaum had much to offer for hungry cum lazy tourists like us! After a two hour drive, we checked in and headed to Belgaum Fort. After a not-so-appetizing lunch (i was really disappointed!) at a small tapri, we went to the Belgaum Cantonment Area and Swami Vivekanand Smarak. On Day 6, spent entirely at Belgaum, we explored Jamboti, Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary, the Siddheshwar Temple and called it a day.

Panhala Fort

Day 7, our final leg of the "journey", Belgaum to Goa, a three hour drive away. It was delayed by two hours since most of the group needed time out to check out how their virtual life is going (namely, trip spoiler- facebook, twitter and many more). We headed to Goa from Belgaum and happen to pass a fish market. Dear Lord, that made us all shut the windows and switch on the A/C. Don't get me wrong, we have nothing against fish or sea food or non-vegetarians, we just aren't used to the odour! Add to that Pooja's stinky wet socks (eugh!) We just couldn't take it anymore. We switched on the A/C and Karan plugged in the AmbiPur vent clip. The label read New Zealand Spring. Ah, now that was fragrance! The trip progressed smoothly and we ended up having so much fun! A fifteen day trip couldn't have been any better.

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