Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Strawberry land

I've heard from a lot of Mumbaikars that Mahabaleshwar is one of their favourite getaways. It's not as close to the city as Lonavala/Matheran and the likes, but now with the Mumbai-Pune expressway, it is quite a quick and comfortable journey. When opportunity presented itself a few weekends ago for a two-day trip, we packed our bags and headed to the hilly destination. It was largely the lure of the strawberries for me. I was picturing myself lying in strawberry fields, eating strawberries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The only time I almost did that (just the eating, not lying in the fields) was on a trip to Manali. We picked up a small sack of strawberries and ate them all the way from Kulu to Manali and for quite some time afterwards. I was looking forward to some similar activity here. But I’m afraid I couldn’t fulfill those ambitious plans. Why? Mostly because I wasn’t very kicked about paying Rs. 100-140 per kg of strawberries. Seemed pretty pricey and I’m sure everyone gets it cheaper hundreds of kms away from Mahabaleshwar. Sad. But I still bought two boxes, after sampling quite a few and ate them all by myself back home in Bombay because there wasn’t anybody else who fancied them much. Sometimes sharing is not all that desirable. I mean, eating something you love, all by yourself, is easily more enjoyable than having to pass the bowl around. Blissful.

By the way did I mention that half of Bombay and thousand other people had the same idea of landing up at Mahabaleshwar that same weekend? Something to do with the long weekend of 26th Jan. So we spent a lot of time in traffic jams and long queues. Ha, and we thought we left that behind in Bombay.

This was the absolute highlight of the trip—tall glasses of strawberries with cream. Actually, not just that. The glass is first lined with strawberry crush, which drips down all the way. Then there is a scoop of strawberry ice-cream, topped with cream, followed by some strawberries, some more cream, more strawberries. Yumm. And for the chocolate lovers, there was a chocolate ice-cream variant of the same, though I really recommend the full strawberry version. Here’s a picture of what it looked like. This is only a picture from the web though because we were far too busy licking our spoons to take any pictures.

All hill-stations come equipped with a lake and a few boats and so was this one. After waiting in a serpentine queue, we paddled our way up and down lake Venna.

The various hues of the evening sky captured by our faithful cameraman Aadi. In fact, most of the pictures of trips from previous posts have been taken by him. It is always nice revisiting memories of a trip through photographs, especially when they're such pretty ones. So, keep at it Aadi. I'll continue to steal them and put them up on my blog.

Oh, and apart from strawberries, Mahabaleshwar has another interesting aspect—creatively-spelled signboards. There were cures for ‘boisity’, shops selling scalvs (okay, this one is understandable, even I had to double-check the spelling for scarves); but this particular poster at a travel agent's shop left us holding our noses.

Maybe they charge extra for these seats but we didn't ask.