We took an extra day off on Friday, and planned a weekend getaway to Bhandardara, which is a hill station in the Sahyadri mountain ranges, around 200 kms from Pune. It was a much awaited trip, since we hadn’t been there before and this would’ve been our usual monsoon trip, just that a first with our three year old in India. It was also going to be another long road trip in India, with her.
So on Friday morning, we left home at 9:30 am, armed with many downloaded seasons of Peppa Pig and Ben & Holly on the iPad, fruits and milk for her, and lots of chips and snacks for her (and me) 😉 The drive was alright until we entered the Bhandardara area. We had to suffer nearly 60kms of terrible roads, full of potholes. Only the view outside was able to compensate for that back breaking drive to the resort. So much for all my plans of reading in the car.
We reached the resort (Anandvan resort) finally at 4 pm, and were led upstairs to our cottage. The cottage was so cozy and cute. It had a living area, a bathroom and a bedroom. There was also a beautiful sitting area with a garden outside, with a view of the lake, but due to the rains, we couldn’t enjoy sitting outside that much. That evening, we just went downstairs for their high tea service at 5 pm, stuffed ourselves with lemongrass and masala Indian tea (it was delicious) and vegetable pakodas. Our daughter stuffed herself with the pakodas and lots of puff pastries. We went up and down the resort to explore a little, with our raincoats on and our daughter found a temporary infinity pool at the resort, which she decided was a good place to throw more leaves into. We stayed there in the bellowing winds and rain for a while, until it got dark. The rest to the evening was spent indoors, once we had taken warm showers and changed into pajamas. The toddler got to watch cartoons on TV, while the mom and dad opened the new bottle of whiskey that they had brought along, and enjoyed a few drinks. We ordered dinner in the room and the food was quite delicious. We had vegetable noodles for our daughter, which wasn’t spicy at all, and chicken and rice for us.
The next morning, we got ready and headed for the buffet breakfast at the resort restaurant. They had their standard fare of food menu, but gosh, everything was delicious again. We had stuffed omelettes, poori and alu, fresh fruits, fruit muffins and hot cups of coffee. What a start to the day! We also bumped into a friend’s friend at the resort, and it was so good catching up with her, while enjoying our breakfast in the rain. We went back to our rooms and then headed out to check out the Bhandardaara dam nearby. It was a 10 minute drive and it was cold, windy and rainy all the time! The other side of the dam was already overflowing at parts and we had a blast jumping in the water and getting wet in the rains (in our raincoats) though! Our daughter was mesmerized by the sights, the wind and the amount of water she could jump on. She didn’t even want us to take pictures of her, to ruin her moment. Now that’s how you live in the moment, lessons from a three year old..haha! We didn’t even realize how time flew, and it was 1 pm by the time we returned to the resort. We got dried up, but our daughter wasn’t in the mood to venture out to the restaurant again for lunch. So we asked them to deliver some pasta in white sauce for her. She loved it and ate it all up (the one thing that every parent fervently prays for). I went downstairs for lunch with the friend we met, Pinky, and we had a lovely leisurely lunch of grilled fish, chicken in plum sauce, chicken kasturi, biryani, corn palak and hot gulabjamuns for dessert. There was a lot of girly conversation to spice up the afternoon as well 🙂
We all took a long afternoon siesta, and I was able to catch up on some reading as well. In the evening, we went to explore the clubhouse at the resort. They had a table tennis room, a carrom board, a huge badminton court, and a cute little play area for the kids, with slides, tents, books, toys to play with, you get the drill. Our daughter promptly settled into the children’s play area, while the husband and I played badminton, where I was mostly losing, but a good way to digest all that lunch I guess… 😀 We headed out to the cafe again for the evening tea, met up with our friend there, lingered over tea and coffee and conversations, and finally retired back to our rooms by 7 pm. The evening routine was the same after that, freshen up, with drinks and music, followed by cartoons on TV and dinner that was delivered to the room. Again, dinner was delicious, and the room service was very prompt. I would recommend this resort, for many things, but a lot for their food and their service.
On Sunday morning, we packed our bags and after breakfast, checked out of the resort, back to Pune. On the way, we stopped at another place called Randha falls. My gosh, it was the most beautiful and ferocious waterfall that I had ever seen in my life! You would think after traveling to so many places, not many things will surprise a 36 year old. But you would be so wrong! I was as delighted by the waterfall as my husband and three year old. We stayed there almost for an hour, walking up the bridge, taking pictures and videos, staring at nature’s fury and its beauty. Finally, it was time to head back home.
It was a beautiful and relaxing weekend. Vacations and traveling have changed since when we were a couple without a child. It was different then and we are learning to travel with a kid. It takes a little more work for sure, and you can’t have a completely laid back holiday without any plans or without carrying a first aid kit and raincoats, but it still has a different kind of joy..especially when you get to enjoy all over again through the innocent and wondrous eyes of a child 🙂