We are back from one of the best trips of our life. I know I say that at the end of each of them, but that’s what life is all about right? Living in the moment, and treasuring it all. 😉 Anyway, there are too many stories to be told and loads of pictures to be shared (the live updates on FB were hardly anything actually. 😀 ). Might take another NaBloPoMo to share them all ;), but putting down the details of how the days went by, more to serve as a ready reckoner for me to write them detailed posts later. 😀  The charm of roadtrips is inexplicable. Yes, we do fly at times to save time, to cross the seas etc…, but the magical change of weather and landscapes, the change in food, culture and traditions, the attire and so on, that only the roads let you experience, need to be experienced to be believed. Beaches, temples, mountains, forests, wildlife, desert – this trip had it all. 😀 Must also mention how good and reliable the people all over Gujarat were. Giving apt directions with a smile on their face or saying ‘No’ without a second thought when they were not aware, extremely hospitable, making you feel at home all over.

Without any further delay, here’s what the days looked like. 6,388 kms overall. 🙂

Day 1Bengaluru – Pune. We are usually early starters, both to beat the traffic and to have time at the end of the day, just in case we feel like loitering around the transit point. We reached by early evening, and got to meet a couple of friends who dropped in to meet up. Highlight of the day included yummy sabudana khichdi and vada at this place called Smilestone. The Sahyadris presented spectacular views all along.

Day 2Pune – Ahmedabad. Started very early, and encountered trucks all the way along. Phew! Again, had an awesome breakfast of Misal Pav and Kothmir Wadi, and one of our most delicious meals of the trip/even otherwise – our inaugural Kathiawadi lunch, a glimpse of the yumminess that was in store for the next 2 weeks. Amma-Daddy flew down to join us. Some hiccups because of the place we had booked 2 rooms in claiming that there was only one reserved in our name, resorting to some last minute booking on Oyo only to realize that the so-called ‘Premium’ property had no parking area at all, couple of calls to ensure they changed our booking to a place with a secured parking. Am glad Oyo takes customer issues seriously and handles them satisfactorily. Still, I wish that they mention the right things in the first place itself, so that you don’t have to get into this at all. 😦

Day 3 – Ahmedabad – Somnath – The parents were going to be with us only for 5 days, so we wanted to cover places which might interest them most. The highlight of the day was throwing a surprise by taking Amma to the school she had studied in, in the early 70s. And ofcourse getting to have a wonderful darshan of Lord Shiva at Somnath, and exploring a few hidden tresures too. Definitely needs a post of it’s own. 🙂

Day 4 – Somnath – Dwaraka – Passing through Porbandar, driving along the coastline and being spectator to tonnes of windmills kissing the skies and the darshan at Dwaraka ofcourse – that was Day 4 in brief. Again, deserves a post of it’s own.

Day 5 – Dwaraka – Rann – The most awaited part of the trip. I couldn’t wait for my family to witness the magic that is Rann. Interestingly, I was there on the same date, 3 years ago too.

Day 6 – Rann and around – My MIL flew down to Bhuj, and was with us for the next 2 days. Visited Kala Dungar and India Bridge, and spent more time marvelling at the Rann.

Day 7 – Bhuj and around – The last day parents would be with us on the trip. Made merry by taking them to Lakhpat, Narayan Sarovar and Koteswar, and halted at Bhuj for the night.

Day 8 – Bhuj – Gir – The parents flew back. And we drove to Gir. This was kinda out of the way, since we were almost driving back to Somnath (Gir and Somnath are really close), but we couldn’t squeeze it in during the first visit. We had almost given up on Gir, but the mind wouldn’t agree to missing out on meeting His Highness Sher Khan, having gone so close. 😉

Day 9 – Gir – Safaris in Gir, in search of Your Majesty. Thumping hearts. 

Day 10 – Gir – Patdi – Su and I love going where the roads take us, and plan things on the fly. We did not want to subject the parents to the craze, though my father loves it too.  Most things we did after the parents left were impromptu ones. We had a couple of options including Dholavira (one of the two largest Harappan sites; something we wanted to do at any cost, but weren’t able to, since we did not want to visit a place just to tick it off the list), but settled in for this amazing homestay that we had discovered.

Day 11 – Patdi – Ahmedabad – Spent time in the wild, looking for rare birds and chasing wild asses, and then drove to Ahmedabad. Loved savouring street food and shopping at Ahmedabad. Hope we had more space in the boot. 😉

Day 12 – Ahmedabad – Baroda – Spent time with a friend and our team in Baroda. Some more shopping. 😀

Day 13 – Baroda – Mumbai – Overnight rest for the car, and us. 😀

Day 14 – Mumbai – Wai – The sister had her vacation starting from 23rd, and Su thought we could give her a chance of a getaway too, by spending the last leg of the holiday in Panchgani-Mahabaleswar. She flew down to Pune, we picked her up and drove down to Wai. Again, we were there in Panchgani on the same dates, 2 years ago. 😀

Day 15 – Panchgani, Mahabaleswar – Feasted on yummy woodfire Pizzas and strawberries-n-cream at Mapro garden. Went around the place, including visiting a cheese factory. What fun it is to know where and how things you savour are made.

Day 16 – Wai – Bengaluru – Returned home. As sweet as the start of the escapade. 😉

A couple of people asked us if we were free enough to take off for so many days. 😉 The answer is not really. Also, we were available on call and mails for anything urgent, and had no qualms about it. These trips are our recharge points, which leave us energized to run around for the rest of the time, and more importantly, I do believe that nobody is indispensable, and things do move on. It’s important to take off, in whatever way that suits you and yours, and explore places  yourself.

P.S: That looks like a coconut shell of a post. 😛