Well, I was eagerly waiting for the Oct 1st weekend. Oct 2nd being the 137th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi was a national holiday and what with it coming on a Monday meant a long week- end for me at Pune :)
On thursday evening Gopi asked me if I wanted to go for this 1 day trip to Alibaug. Umesh & family would be there(I had not met family for quite some time a year to be more precise), Ryan and few others would be accompanying. I had been to Alibaug about 10 years back and since it was a 1 day trip I could always go to Pune on Sunday and so I gave my consent.
Friday nite Gopi booked the Sumo and asked him to come at 5:00 a.m. I am not very keen on trips that start so early in the morning :(, I love my early morning sleep. Trips should start at nite. No one would listen to me I'm sure so I got up at 4:30 and was ready at 5:00 a.m dot. By 5:15 we started receiving calls from Shyam, Umesh, Ryan but none from the driver. Finally after making calls to the travel agency at 5:40 we had the driver come at 6:00 a.m. His first pick-up was myself and Gopes from Dattani park, from there we went to Kulupwadi to get Shyam and then to Dheeraj Savera to get the Amre family. Here it is that I met Param Amre for the first time and what a way to meet. The minute I picked him he screamt his lungs out and I gave him back to his Dad. We left via Andheri and on the way picked Ryan and set out to Alibaug The City of Sun, Sand, Peace and Harmony !!!
We stopped at Panvel for our breafast which included idli, wada, dosa and chai ofcourse. To reach Alibaug you have to go through Pen and there is greenery on the entire stretch. We started with Antakshari with the guys vs i.e (Umesh, Ryan and Gopi) the ladies (Sharda and myself). Shyam gave the driver company and since he had a couple of night-outs he slept through all our singing. We had a good competition going on with some excellent background music provided by Umesh :). In between the competition Umesh got a call and as technically it was the guys who interrupted it, the LADIES WON!!!
Amre Jr slept well whenever the Sumo moved and got up prompltly when we stopped. Quite efficient I must say.
At 11:30 we reached Alibaug beach. The attraction here is ofcourse the unspoilt bech and the Kolaba fort. It is situated at 1-2 kms from the shores. At the time of fall one can walk to the fort in waist-deep waters. We saw a few people walking to the fort but since the tide was high we decided to walk across the shores. From here we drove to Murud- Janjira. On the way we saw the Vikram Ispat company and also the Birla Ganesh Temple. But since it was closed at the time we went we decided to visit it during our return.
By this time it was noon and we decided to stop at Kashid Beach Resort for our lunch. (had heard good reviews about it). We entered the restaturant but to our dismay found that they only served buffet and that too at the price of 250/- per head. Now we felt that was a bit too expensive and so after Param had his lunch we left the place to find something else. Finally it was at Murud that we found a decent restaurant. They had an indoor facility but we all decided to sit outside beneath the coconut groves, having lunch enjoying the nature. Little did we know that this choice of ours would make us pay for an extra thali. Well what happened was that we all ordered for Non-veg thalis minus Shyam ofcourse and as we were busy eating we had these 2 cats which sat under our table. Now one of them decided to do a little wandering and brushed against Ryan's leg which scared him once, now that should have made him more alert but our Mr cat decided to do some more under the table wandering and for the 2nd time it scared Ryan so much that he upset the water- filled glasses on the table which fell all over Gopi's half eaten plate and hence the order for one more thali. After the mouth-watering lunch we had some kufi for desert.
From here we went to Murud Janjira fort. We took a boat that took us to the fort. We also had a tour- guide explaining about the fort. The fort is build in the sea 2 Kms. inside of Murud.The fort is old one but still very strong. Some monuments inside and the walls of the fort are destroyed after so many years now. But the toughness of the fort can be still felt and that would be because of the lead or "sheesha" used in the joints of the rocks as told to us by our guide. It was 5:30 by the time we left the fort and drove back to Alibaug. On the way is Kashid and we decided to halt for 15 mins. But this 15 mins turned out to be more than an an hour. Kashid is beautiful, it has a 3 km stretch of beach with the cleanest, whitest sands and coconut grooves that makes it just perfect for a beach holiday. After getting our feet wet in the water we had chai, pav- omlete, kanda bhaji and at 7:30 pm we left the place. Since we were already late we dropped the plan to go to Birla temple and left for Mumbai.
On the way back there were general discussions on "what qualities you expect in a guy/girl", "things you would be doing 1 year down the lane" and we just got to the interesting topic of "craziest things done so far " with Shyam mentioning his when we reached Panvel and myself and Gopi bid adieu to the rest of the group as we decided to go to Pune and they went back to Mumbai.
Epilogue:- I still say trips should always start in the evenings or late at nite. I love my early morning sleep