I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Kolhapur – especially the food (fast forward…as I go round India I personally felt it was the tastiest of all food that I had anywhere – except for a strong competition from one restaurant in Agra).
It was finally time to bid farewell to Kolhapur. With the passing days and being on the road for almost 7 days, I could feel the hard-core traveller attitude dawning upon me – maybe for good. As usual I did call up home and had a lengthy discussion on my further travel route. I was already 2 days late on my journey due to the out-of-the-plan 2 extra days of stay at Palakkad and Kolhapur. I initially thought of the next stop at Pune – then extended it to Thane, Maharashtra – but finally settled for the industrial town of Vapi in Gujarat. That’s around 550 KMs stretch. I needed to travel longer per day to make up for the lost days! I quickly called up a hotel in Vapi and booked a room for 1 night stay. From the hotel a lady responded over the phone and she sounded very professional and courteous. Done deal!
I checked out of my hotel and started around 9 AM from Kolhapur towards Vapi. I travelled on the NH 4 till Pune. The road was broad and well maintained – NH4 was fun to travel (fast forward…NH4 is what I gave the maximum stars on my road trip across India).
From Pune I travelled to Thane via the Mumbai – Pune highway. I was highly impressed by the multi-lane Mumbai – Pune Highway. It was like a Formula 1 drive across this route. I was able to cover a lot of distance by evening when I hit Thane/Navi Mumbai around 4 pm… Interestingly this was my first visit to Mumbai. I travelled through Mumbai suburbs. I recall I had a bit of confusion on deciding the correct route to Vapi – the Google Navigation on my Intel based Xolo Phone took me through some roundabout route. But finally with some guidance of a person on the road and the navigation I was on the highway to Vapi, Gujarat.
I must appreciate the “excellent” GPS receiver on the Intel based Xolo Phone which never lost contact with the satellite (while my other GPS navigators kept switching back and forth). It’s a great GPS Navigation device for travellers for sure!
This was the first time on the road trip when people started getting their vehicles up to mine and asking me questions about the road trip while I was driving. Many were congratulating me to take up a lone road trip across India. Though I had the road trip thing printed all over the car, still I did not see anyone bother about it much so far (rather not bother about it at all as if my car and the stickers all over it were invisible). So far I did wonder is it because people least bothered about reading it or whether the stickers not visible! But at Thane I could realize the car was “for sure” “not invisible”. All through my trip from Thane to the Gujarat border, I could see people noticing my car and most of the time they used get their vehicles close to my car for asking various questions “or” a thumbs up from far. Felt good and moved on… 🙂
Frankly speaking I do not recall much about my trip from Thane to Gujarat border except that I travelled via a relatively narrower road (relative to NH4). I could not maintain the same speed that I had enjoyed so far. But the condition of the road was good and it was well maintained. Rest blank and I do not recall a thing (donno if I slept in between!!J) – Except that it was evening by the time I reached Vapi. I had a bit of confusion at Vapi to get to the Hotel that I had booked. Finally I located the hotel. The hotel was decorated with lights all over the garden and it felt nice – I was contended with the trip and a well-deserved rest awaited me at the hotel.
I was greeted by a Nepali guard at the hotel gate. He assisted me at the parking and was very courteous. I rushed to the hotel lobby as the trip was nonstop and I had not eaten a thing the whole day – was eager to try out some Gujarati food as soon as possible.