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Old 4th December 2010, 14:48   #31
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Finally we set out on yet another drive to Khandala / Lonavala. Our initial was similar to the TOp Gear races. We had planned on an Alibaug trip - 7 of us. 4 would go on 3 bikes and 3 would catch the ferry (using no other means of transport except public transport).But things did not turn out as planned and we had a lot of people backing out. So the Alibaug Trace (Trip + Race) was cancelled. That left us with the only back up plan - Our usual Khandala / Lonavala drive.

There's not much to plan when you are going for a drive to Lonavala. There are lots of places to eat and stay if you are planning on an over-night visit. Last year we had visited the Bhaja caves under the impression of it being Kalra caves. So this time we made sure that we visited the right one. Accordingly we planned on a night stay at our favorite place - St Mary's villa. The best thing about this place is that its "cool". As in there are lots of trees inside the villa compound and no matter how hot the weather is outside, its always cool inside the villa. And the view from the villa is also amazing. There is a huge balcony with 5 benches which overlook the mountains and a part of the Expressway. Its THE place to be in if you want to relaxed weekend.

Anyways back to the trip. To avoid any traffic, we had decided to leave at around 7AM, but woke up to see our SWIFT blocked by our own Qualis and a neighbours Qualis behind. Took us a few minutes to wait till the cars were washed and moved and we set out at 7-45 AM.

The traffic jam in the building.
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Finally we were out at 7-45 AM.
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08-10 AM : Sion
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08:30 AM : Vashi Toll
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On the way we started deciding whether we should go by the old highway or the expressway. It finally got decided that it would be the Expressway - cos we'll reach faster + thecar will give good mileage. Then we started wondering Whether we should eat at McDonalds or the expressway or straight at the villa. Villa was out of the question cos they are strict about the timings - 8-9. McDonalds was also out cos they dont have a lot of options early in the morning. We finally decided on the food court on the expressway cos there would be a lot of variety.

09:10 AM : Panvel McDonalds
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09:26 AM : Bhatan Tunnel
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09:40 AM : Khalapur Toll Naka - At the Khalapur toll, we spotted a red colored Swift with a Team-BHP sticker at the back - the same one which we have on the Qualis. So took a pic only - We were thinking of going aside and giving a "Thumbs Up" but we were sure he wasnt a Team-BHPian cos he passed us from behind and didnt acknowledge us. So definitely not a member, but his brother or relative. So we just took a pic and continued on our way.
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09:45 AM : Food Court - We reached the food court, grabbed a quick bite, refuelled and set on our way.
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40,000 litres of fuel. Fast and Furious, anyone?
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Expressway Pics :
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To be continued ......
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Old 4th December 2010, 15:23   #32
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Hey V12 - Looks like you had a good time. I would have loved to join you
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Old 4th December 2010, 18:27   #33
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We continued on our way and at 10:30 we reached our destination - St Mary's Villa. Some pics on the way and of the villa.

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Old 4th December 2010, 22:19   #34
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Post lunch, we set out at 2:45 PM towards Kalra caves. We reached Karla Caves at around 3:45 PM. There is a toll of Rs 10 which you need to pay to enter the city + another Rs 10 as parking charges when you reach the top.

You need to climb long and high steps for around 10-15 mins which can be a bit tiring. Hence very necessary to carry a bottle of water on your way up.

The entry charges are Rs 5/- per person.
Rs 25 if you gonna take video shooting.
Rs 100 for tourists and foreigners.

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Old 4th December 2010, 22:30   #35
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Have they Spruced up St.Marys?? As I remember going there years and years ago for my morning jogs and exercise bits during my Karate training and it looked different somehow.
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Old 4th December 2010, 22:35   #36
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Hey Cyrus, not sure if it was spruced up. We came to know of it just 2-3 years back and have been there only thrice. Since then it has been the same.

@ alter.e.go : Yes you missed it. Next time the trip is in your Alto.
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