The last weekend was a long one cause of Easter and we’ve typically not done much on the Easter Monday bank holiday. However, Seema and Rodney, who were in London and bunking with us, had already booked tickets to visit Bath and Stonehenge. So, Ashwina and I also tagged along.
We arrived at Victoria before 8am well ahead of our scheduled departure. It allowed us to get some decent seats in the middle of the bus. We set out towards Bath first which is about 2.5 hours away from London. We luckily didn’t encounter much traffic given the early start.
We reached Bath around 11am on a relatively bright and shiny day. Our ticket did not include the entry into the Roman Baths as we weren’t convinced it was worth the cost.
However, we did visit Bath Abbey. The foundation of the abbey dates back to the 7th century. We didn’t spend a lot of time there as it is relatively small and parts of it under restoration.
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.
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 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.
Ashwina and I embarked on our annual visit to Mumbai and Pune on Feb 1. In 2018, we visited India in March. However, this year we decided to stick to our Feb schedule.
We booked ourselves on premium economy with British Airways as this was the best deal we could find. Unfortunately, as I did the bookings in October, we couldn’t take advantage of the reward flights and the Amex BA voucher. Speaking about reward flights, I feel that British Airways has gotten quite miserly about them!
I’ve always loved Heathrow Terminal 5 and we took advantage of my status to use the First check-in and security which opens up directly into the lounge! We got some food into our bellies before heading out to do some shopping at the Duty Free.
The flight was definitely one of the most uncomfortable ones I’ve been on. BA used an older plane on this flight which meant even the premium economy felt like economy. The food wasn’t very great either!
We landed in Mumbai after a painful overnight flight to bright sunshine and a relatively empty airport. As a result, we went through immigration swiftly and waited a bit for our baggage before taking a taxi home.
Sitting here on the final day of 2018, I’d like to wish all my regular and irregular readers a Happy New Year 2019. Keeping with my long tradition, here’s my life in review post for 2018. Do you agree with Dilbert’s view on resolutions? I know I’ve barely kept mine from last year.
Work takes up a significant portion of our lives, mine included. 2018 was a long year for me at work including a tonne of projects, long hours and quite a bit of travel.
2018 involved quite a bit of travelling for Ashwina and me.
We started the year with our annual trip to India. India was slightly different this time around. Since both Dad and Arun were in town, Ashwina and I booked a long stay at the ITC Maratha in Mumbai. Our stay turned out to be fabulous with excellent service, good food and we both got lovely gifts from the hospitality team there.
After Mumbai, we headed off to Mangalore. The first time for me after over 30 years! We toured quite a bit especially visiting a few churches.
Pune followed Mangalore where I managed to get some rest. We also met with Rhea for dinner on one day and Saby on another.
We headed back to Mumbai for a day and then returned to London getting Mom back with us for a few months.
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
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!
I’m back in London and the week has been busier than busy catching up on work. It’s Saturday, so trying to find a time to finish this blog post. My New York diaries continued with meeting Sneha after nearly 10 years. She took me and Ashwina to ABC Kitchen which turned out to have some really good food in well-sized portions. Remains the best food I ate in New York.
After the failed attempt to view New York from Top of the Rock, we decided to try again. It seems like many others also had the same idea as we only got tickets for little over an hour later. We figured out getting some other things out of the way to kill time. Primarily taking a walk down 6th avenue to find our way to Grand Central Station.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
At Grand Central Station, New York
The hustle and bustle of Grand Central Station, New York
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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