holiday

Ashwina, her dad and the Ignis

From Mumbai to Pune

After a week in Mumbai, Ashwina and I set off to Pune to spend time at her place with her Mom and Dad.

I like going to Pune because, unlike Mumbai, I get to spend a lot of time resting and relaxing. As expected, this holiday also delivered the same. I even had time to work on my WordPress plugins as well as catch up on office work.

Purchasing a car

Ashwina planned to buy a car in Pune for her parents to replace a very old Maruti Suzuki Alto. She had shortlisted the Maruti Suzuki Ignis and we had the vendor send us a test drive vehicle on Friday.

We decided to go ahead with the Ignis and paid the booking amount on Saturday followed by the rest of it on Monday. The car was ready to be collected promptly on Thursday morning.

Ashwina, her dad and the Ignis
Ashwina, her dad and the Ignis

Saturday night live

We met Saby on Saturday evening for dinner and drinks. Dinner was at The Sassy Spoon in Koregaon Park.

The Sassy Spoon
Photo via The Sassy Spoon Facebook page

The Sassy Spoon turned out to be a bright and rather alive place with a good atmosphere and music. I had a rather funky pani puri martini which is essentially the pani puri masala water with a kick. We also had chicken and prawns for starters and I dug into Ashwina’s Goan sausage mac and cheese for mains. In short, we really enjoyed the food and drink at The Sassy Spoon.

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Ashwina and I pausing to take a selfie

The Brooklyn Bridge

If you’re in New York, especially for the first time, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge should definitely be on your to-do list. It was on ours and we parked it for the last day. I had started the day by meeting an old friend at One World Trade Center. After this, Ashwina and I set out. On our way there, we stopped by a really expensive Greek restaurant which appeared to be well rated. I keep thinking that Manhattan has a separate standard when it comes to food and the expensiveness of said food.

We saved our energy for the Brooklyn Bridge, so we took the subway to Brooklyn Bridge City Hall station. Finding the bridge turned out to be rather easy: follow the crowds and few signboards. It really amused me to see that the bridge had a good number of hawkers selling souvenirs and water.

Brooklyn Bridge City Hall

Brooklyn Bridge City Hall

The Brooklyn Bridge is a little less than 2km in total length which makes it quite a good walk. Thankfully, the weather was really good and we were able to walk the bridge without a drop of rain or the need for a jacket!

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The Royal Mile at Night

Journey to the Isle of Skye – 5 years later

A long long time ago or five years (if you consider that long), a much younger version of Ajay and Ashwina went down to the Isle of Skye. This was pretty much our first big holiday as husband and wife which sparked a whole set of adventures that we have had over the past several years. I’ve usually been reluctant to do the same trip again because there are so many other places to visit and it’s hard to relive the magical experience you have the first time around. However, as her parents were in town and Skye remains one of the most beautiful places in the UK, we decided we’d venture back to the Isle of Skye. We decided to stick with Timberbush who we had booked the tour the first time around instead of Rabbies who we normally book our tours with. I must admit I was really looking forward to visiting the Talisker distillery and picking up a good bottle of whiskey to add to my ever increasing collection. However, that was not to be. What follows is a slow account of our journey to the Isle of Skye…

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Cornwall – Boscastle and Tintagel

Our last holiday was in February when Ashwina and I visited Dunwich Heath to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Since we haven’t taken a vacation since then, we planned a week in Cornwall in the first week of September. This was much needed for us to recharge our batteries. And as usual Ashwina made the necessary arrangements for our trip.

We booked a cab to Paddington station in London where we caught the Great Western train to Bodmin Parkway, which is the closest station to where we were staying in Boscastle.

The journey is nearly 4 hours with views of the countryside that would be be familiar to anyone who leaves the hustle and bustle of the city. The route passes through Plymouth and a few miles before reaching Plymouth you get a glimpse of the sea which is simply breathtaking. And,  this wouldn’t be the first time on this trip that I got the same feeling!

We alighted at Bodmin Parkway. Bodmin Parkway shares its name with Bodmin which is famous for the Bodmin and Wenford steam railway. However, Bodmin Parkway is a relatively smaller railway station and does serve as one of the stopping points for the Bodmin and Wenford railway.

We had booked a self catering cottage called The Lugger which was located in Boscastle Harbour. This was a scene of a terrible flash flood back in 2004 which pretty much washed the village away. The place has since been restored and there is little evidence of the destruction that was caused back then.

We hailed a local cab to take us to Boscastle, which is a good 45 minutes drive from Bodmin Parkway. And just before we descended into the village,  I had my breath taken away for the second time because the view was simply spectacular!

The Lugger turned out to be a cozy cottage with a separate entrance which was located in the first floor of the National Trust Visitor Centre. This would be our home for the week. We unpacked, had some tea and then took a walk around the village, which has a few pubs, a post office, a car park and a tiny Spar.

Dinner would be a quiet one in our cottage before we set out to explore the area the next day.

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Kew Palace

Kew Gardens and Kew Palace

The bank holiday weekends in May are always welcome since it means an extra Monday of holidays and a relatively shorter week, even for an investment banker! Ashwina and I decided to visit Kew Gardens and Kew Palace early May. This was one of the many places we had in mind given our Historic Royal Palaces membership. We were joined by Vincent and Indrita.

Kew Gardens is located about a short walk from Kew Gardens Underground station which is the second last station on the District Line and good hours journey from where I stay in London. There are four gates where you can enter from and the Victoria Gate is the closest to the station. However, given the size of the line, we decided to enter via the Lion Gate which is around 5 minutes away.

Kew Palace is located within the gardens. However, since the gardens and the palace are managed by different entities, our membership does not cover entry into the palace. However, it doesn’t cover the entry to Kew Gardens, which means that you still need to pay to enter. There are several attractions in Kew Gardens and we decided we would try to cover as many as possible.

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Welcome to Dunwich Heath

Tales from the Countryside

I grew up reading Enid Blyton‘s series of books especially Famous Five and Secret Seven. And, one thing that is common to them all was the country side.

During my trip to Edinburgh and the Isle of Skye, I got a taste of the Scottish countryside and it was befitting that we visited the English countryside as well. A few of my regular readers might recall that I married Ashwina last February and to celebrate our anniversary, I took the week off from work.

Ashwina came up with the brilliant suggestion of taking a trip to Dunwich Heath which is located in Saxmundham which lies on the east coast of England. So, we made our way on Monday of this week via train from London to Darsham via Ipswich.

Darsham was the closest train station to Dunwich and when we reached there we were a bit surprised to see a very deserted station. The big taxi signs painted on the cafe in front of us were hard to resist and we ended up booking a taxi to take us to the Coastguard Cottages at Dunwich Heath.

We were at the cottages in around 15 minutes and the drive there was a teaser for the splendid view that was to come as we reached.

Welcome to Dunwich Heath The Coastguard Cottages at Dunwich Heath

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