“Weekends don’t count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.”
The Long Weekend – Getaway
It was a “long weekend” in India; if we combined Thursday onwards from last week and Monday this week. An idyllic opportunity to take off with familia. Basically club a short getaway clubbed with a visit our 14-year-old’s boarding school. The idea was to turn it into a long weekend-getaway.
We were really missing the younger bubba, as she had been gone for over 2 months now. Moreover, the DH and our twenty-four-year-old daughter had not visited her campus, due to pandemic protocols. She joined the school a year ago.
Monsoons that Cast a Spell
The monsoons have been bountiful in many parts of India. It’s a bliss to the eyes to see the lush landscapes painted in appealing hues of refreshing green.
We flew in to Pune city, in Maharashtra on Wednesday evening. Caught up with a bunch of very dear friends.
Next morning we drove down to the rain kissed Lonavala, a hill station located in the Western Ghats also called Sahyadari (The Mountain of Peace), in Northern Maharashtra.
The Western Ghats or the Western mountain range covers an expansive area of 160,000 kms. The Sahyadri Range is the largest mountain range in India after the Himalayans, from the Tapi to the Nilgiri.
We stopped at the warm, and cosy German Bakery on our way to Lonavala for breakfast. It continued to pour and the rain soaked breeze caressed our being as we dug into their famous Keema Pav, Pav Bhaji, German Sausages- Bratwürste with eggs, coffee and Ginger lemon tea.
Lonavala, the Jewel of Sahyadari
We spent two idyllic days in Lonavala, our serene sanctuary and long weekend getaway; before heading out to see our daughter at KFI school, also known as Sahyadari school.
Lonavala is also known as the Jewel of Sahyadari, surrounded by lush green valleys, placid lakes, historical caves and stunning water falls that snake through the valley and spread across the landscape; becoming active with the copious rains.
We stayed in a unostentatious accommodation, that overlooked a misty meadow. Our window opened out to the valley and the view of the waterfalls tumbling down the hills, grazing bovines and a stunning, verdant and expansive landscape warmed the cockles of our hearts.
It rained relentlessly without any breaks. It seemed as though the Rain God had decided not to take a break and pour all their blessings unabashedly upon mankind. Eternally grateful for these copious blessings.
Walks in the Rain
We took long, lazy walks, stopping by at the shacks to grab a taste of the local flavours. Our first evening walk, around the water falls was enchanting to say the least. The sweet corn on the cob was to die for, as the rain poured pitter patter on our colourful rain coats. So was the tiny cuppa of masala chai lovingly prepared by the local lady vendor in her stall, where she also made fresh kanda bhaji (onion fritters) and Maggie noodles.
The next morning, the DH and I also took an agenda-less nature walk. It was so wholesome to walk through the narrow streets: spotting a waterfall here and there, the mountains and landscape awash and aglow, the locals slowly waking from their slumber, the rain drizzled holy Tulsi (Basil) that adorned their doorsteps, an odd car zipping past us, and the local canines eyeing us curiously. And some befriending us whole-heartedly enough, to escort us back.
We walked to the lakeside, amidst the puddles and squishy terrain, as I had spotted a few birds by the bank. We were fortunate enough to spot a few species, despite the incessant rains. Though I had left the binoculars in the hotel, we got a decent glimpse of them.
The Indian Cuckoo called out mellifluously, while a few Cormorants sat by the river banks spreading out their wings effortlessly drying them out despite the rains.
A family of Egrets hungrily foraged for their morning breakfast. The Dusky Crag Martins showed-off in their acrobatic flight, almost flying above our heads, while a Malabar Whistling Thrush serenaded it’s mate with an endearing call.
“Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world”
– Gustave Flaubert
It was almost close to breakfast time and our walk had made us ravenous. We stopped by at a local shanty for a warm cuppa of masala tea. We then ordered the local breakfast; which comprised Misal Pav for the DH and Kanda Poha for me. Both were lip-smacking delicious, though the Misal way too spicy for my taste buds. I have a low tolerance for spicy food!
Parsi Culinary Escapade
Our family lunch with our 24 year-old was at a place called Parsi Dhaba. Our cab guy cancelled on us, and we took a long, sweet auto-rickshaw drive to Parsi Dhaba, in the pouring rain. Truly an adventure to remember!
We thought this would be another local shanty, but it turned out to be this fancy restaurant, back and beyond of Lonavala in the luxurious Della resorts. The food at Parsi Dhaba was impeccable and did complete justice to our ravenous taste buds.
On our way back our 24 year-old stopped by to pick sandals. She choose these mint-green ones which were very chic and for throw-away price of Rs. 300! The complete perks of a small town.
The Long Weekend Getaway Part II
The next day we drove down to Sahyadari school to see our younger daughter. That getaway (even though with a purpose) is another fascinating tale that I will leave for later; most probably next week.
We left Lonavala with a happy heart. I hope to re-visit this sweet paradise once again to explore the lakes, forts and the Buddhist caves that we couldn’t as it was a short stay. Lonavala indeed over surpassed my expectations, of what I had heard and known for years.
This mini vacation proved to be a blessing and the perfect start to my Fiftieth birthday, which is next week – August 24!
I’m immensely glad and grateful the DH planned this trip, ever so quietly, and one that I will always remember and treasure
“I’m not sure what I’ll do, but— well, I want to go places and see people. I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Ice Palace
Sharing Jill Barber’s soothing music that I recently discovered.
Do any of you like her too?
I love her Petite Fleur.
Have a wonderful rest of the week, amigos!
Love, light and laughter. <3