We decided to go on a road trip outside of Pune one Saturday. Just less than 200km from the city is Mahabaleshwar (pronounced maableshar), a hill country. According to the net, Mahabaleshwar is famous for strawberries , its view points, lake...It is supposed to be cooler because located on higher ground.We went by car. A less than three hour ride turned into a four and a half hour drive. First in a road on a mountain, a truck had some problems and could not go forward, blocking the entire road. We miraculously manage to turn around only to end up in another traffic jam. There was another road with only one lane that impatient drivers managed to turn into four lanes. The drive after that was smoother. But upon arriving in Mahabaleshwar, it became crazier. We reached our location at Kates point with hardship as the road was narrow and there was not enough parking. The view was nice enough but I kept on wondering why we had to pay 10 rupees (entrance fee) for a place that was so dirty. There was litter everywhere. We snatched a couple of pictures and left for the town. The town itself is tiny and busy with a narrow bazaar. It is a tourist town with many restaurants and hotels. We found one that came with good reviews on Tripadvisor. What a failure! The food was not good at all and overpriced. We ordered fish and chips for the kids, keema curry, brown rice and barbecue chicken for us. The fish was heavily battered and oily and the tartare sauce had more dried veggies than mayo. Our curry was average and the brown rice was fried rice and not the puff up healthier option we thought it would be. The barbecue chicken tasted more like boiled chicken dipped in heavy teriyaki sauce. I think we could have had better food eating on the streets. By the way, the restaurant is named the grapevine and please never go there.
Anyway, after the disappointing meal, we decided to head home as it was raining. We stopped at Marpo gardens, another tourist trap. It was packed amid the rain with people buying products and lounging at the food court. We initially wanted to buy the strawberry jams but realized they were not as natural as expected. We headed home under heavy rain. The traffic was smooth until we entered Pune. Then we barely move for hours. It was frustrated to be trapped by traffic. I eventually stayed zen, played with my smartphone and slept. We arrived home at 9 pm exhausted and not happy at all.
If the trip to Mahabaleshwar is of any indication of how hard it is to travel in India by road, I think I am going to stick to planes.
View from Kates point (kind of look like an elephant)
My son at Marpo gardens
Different views from Kates point
Camels and horses for ride
Impossible to park