Pune -> Sinhgad -> Pune -> Lavasa -> Ajanta -> Ellora -> Aurangabad ->Mumbai
Continued from here
We lazed around the room that morning, while they took the brunt of Mumbai traffic and a whole 2 hours to get to us from Navi Mumbai. But what delightful hosts they were. There truly is nothing better than being shown a city by someone who loves it. While riding through the city Lout dished out info about the innumerable landmarks and structures around
- Bandra Fort: Our very first stop was the Bandra fort on Bandstand Promenade which had a gorgeous view of the sea link. PDA in India is probably reached its peak here.
- We also passed by Carter road and Joggers’ Park made famous by the movie with the beautiful Perizad Zorabian.
- We drove over the stunning Worli Sea Link that has is a testament to beauty combining the work of nature and man.
- My first view of Haji Ali and I knew I wanted to visit, I couldn’t on the trip, however, since it’d take quite some time and we had so much on our list.
- We had a sumptuous lunch at a restaurant called ‘Jai Hind’ that was famous for seafood, but their dal khichdi that Anand ordered was simply off the charts and had the rest of us digging into his share.
- I do not like paan and think I last tried it at least 5 years ago and almost spat it out despite its sweetness. Anand, however, has an occasional fondness for it and Lout drove us to try the famed ice paan. Bhavya and I sat comfortably in the car, while Anand, took his camera to ensure no photo opportunity was missed. To my dismay, I saw them coming along with a total of 4 paans insisting I try them. It looked like too much to put into one’s mouth at one go but it was also threatening to spill out from the paan cover. I could see crushed ice too which was already weird. I had no option so in it went and what a brain freeze it caused! It is an experience, that’s for certain. It had the most confusing ingredients one would never associate with paan– chocolate and ice! I was glad I tried it just to have a story to narrate, though.
- We next headed to the most iconic landmark in Mumbai, the Gateway of India. We parked a few streets behind it and what a delightfully charming area it was. After some time admiring buildings that took our fancy, we headed off to the place. It was way more impressive than it looked in the pictures. I was completely taken with 3 men dressed handsomely in huge bright turbans and spotless white outfits who were lovely enough to even wait for our pic to be taken while they were walking across the place crawling with tourists. It was quite a spot for people- watching too. The Taj Mahal Palace hotel makes quite a backdrop for some pretty pictures we managed to get.
University Clocktower behind the grounds was yet another photo opportunity in a lovely city we’d come to appreciate. Bhavya and Anand bonded over camera skills while I was yearning to stop at the grounds that had dog owners taking their cuddly canines out for their evening stroll. But well,that had to wait for another day.
As the sun set over the day, a view of the Cuffe Parade skyline was a good place to be.
I absolutely had to shop in a city known for it, and managed in the little time we had to bag some lovely deals purely thanks to Bhavya’s insanely good bargaining skills. We couldn’t miss the Leopold cafe between shopping and had a delectable cheesecake and another dessert by the street itself, and were glad the kind guy at the store didn’t mind obliging us for the 8 glasses of water we sorely needed.
We were to meet Neetu and her friend Punit at Kala Ghoda café and as whimsically lovely as it looked, it was, however, full.
We instead headed to a café simply called ‘The Pantry‘ and it was an absolute delight. Mumbai also decided to give us some respite from the humidity with some welcome drizzles. The food was flawless and the company jelled together so wonderfully that it was easily up there with one of the best meals we’ve ever head. We were laughing uncontrollably throughout and so hard that the endlessly patient staff had to actually ask us to try and tone it down and we didn’t blame them one bit.
The unbeatable company was only comparable to the completely unexpected part of the restaurant that gripped our attention- the restroom. We decided it was world class and we could live in it. A beautiful bunch of flowers, white interiors that continued off the theme of the rest of the restaurant, a beautiful table of drawers by the mirror. We unanimously decided that it would be the new standard for washrooms everywhere and were afraid it’d be hard to beat. It also lead to insisting everyone on our table made a visit to the unisex restroom, to validate the impression of the first few of us who did. Hilarity, of course, ensued with even the waiters struggling to keep their giggling in.
Like we hadn’t already had a perfect evening, our hosts took us next to the iconic place ‘K.Rustom’s ice cream‘ where we had to try their most famous item on the menu, their ice-cream sandwich. We caught them just before they were downing their shutters at 11 pm. Though I myself had no appetite for dessert, I did nibble at all the 3 flavours we bought – custard apple, guava and walnut and could certify they were all yummy.
We walked down with the ice-creams to Marine drive and yet again I realised Mumbai was going to surprise me with the number of people out and about at such places even late in the evening.
We had to head back to the hotel, and while I had cringed at trying the Mumbai local train during the day, the suggestion to take it for our way back (thanks to Neetu and Punit’s insane kindness saying they’d come along to escort us despite then needing to go back and forth to their own homes!), greatly appealed to me. It was, of course, part of the Mumbai experience. We did take the train and while there were fewer people, we continued our conversations on the journey too. We ended the day with me surprised at myself that I wasn’t in the least sleepy or tired though it was almost 1 AM.
Coming up next : Mumbai’s lesser known treasures