Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Beach, please!

“You can never have too much beach, can you?” Beaches are awesome. The infinite sea, the welcoming sand, the sun – what more can you ask from life. I love beaches. I love the sound of the waves hitting the shore. I love seeing the ships afar; waiting to come back to loved ones. The sea for me signifies infinity. There is no end, everything seems small – all the worries, all the troubles… so small compared to the gigantic water body. I can stare at the waves all day, all night. So, when I wanted to take a much needed vacation, all I could think of was the beach and the water.

The late planners that we are, when we checked Goa, it was all sold out. Then we checked the beaches on the Konkan stretch. The photos were beautiful, the beaches looked serene and the reviews were good. But there were constraints - we had two days in hand, wanted a driving difference not very tiring for the hubby (Yes! Me cannot still drive L) . While I enjoy the peace and calm, the hubby is the guy-who-loves-his-beer. So, finally we narrowed down on Diveagar, and I am such a happy beach bum that I did….

The journey –
I ordered these cute Superman and Supergirl T-shirts from The Souled Store, coz #CoupleGoals.
#CoupleGoals Superman and Supergirl Tees from TheSouledStore
 We started off our Saturday morning wearing our matching tee’s, 8ish in the morning with a flat tire. After the puncture repair and the petrol refill, we started our journey. We took the road from Hinjewadi – tamhini ghat – mhasala road – diveagar. The road is bad… too many potholes, too much of broken road. There were repairs going on along the way, causing more traffic. But the view is scenic. We were hungry so stopped at “The Paradise CafĂ©” for breakfast. It was early and they were still opening up. We ordered our share of cheese omlette and scrambled eggs. The place is pretty and gives you a vacay feeling. So, we were glad we stopped by. The breakfast turned out yummy, just the ketchup – it was too acidic for my tongue and I avoided it totally.
With our tummy full, we moved ahead the bumpy road on our journey to the beach. After a total of a five hour drive, we reached Diveagar. We had booked the Exotica Sea View and after the tiring, back-aching journey, we were glad to see the hotel.

The stay –
The cottage
There are two hotels by Exotica – The Sea View and The Beach Resort. The Beach resort has been leased to MTDC and the sea view is managed directly by them. We did not get reservations for the beach resort, so we booked the sea view hotel via Make my trip and it couldn’t have been any better.

The bedroom
It is a wonderful place. They have cottages- eight on them built on machans and four built on ground. The ones built on the machans(raised platform) are old, while the others have been constructed a month back. We were offered the cottage 109.
The sofa room.
The only difference is that you cannot view the sea from these cottages as they are built at ground level. The cottages are very pretty.

The white lotus shining in its glory
 There is vegetation planted around – we saw baby spinach leaves and cauliflower and lemons and coconut trees and lotuses. I loved the rectangular parallel lotus ponds , three of them with white, purple and pink lotus.
The purple lotus.
There is a swing in front of every cottage and a lot of parking space. It looks really beautiful. 
The ponds and the parking area
  There is a tiny lobby in front of the room and you enter inside to a small room with a sofa and a center table. The bathroom was clean and spacious, with a geyser. The bed room was spacious and nice.
The back balcony with the coffee table.
There is a back balcony from the bedroom where there are two chairs and a table. We enjoyed both our mornings here with the chirping of birds and the sound of the sea. You'd see a variety of colorful birds here.
View from the reception.
 As you enter from the gate of the resort, you cannot miss the beautiful reception area with the restaurant. I liked the beautiful dining area – the huts and the coconut trees! They have these nice tiny hut like lamp covers which run throughout the hotel. I also absolutely loved their garden speakers which were spread out everywhere and played soft instrumental music throughout the day. So ten on ten for the place.
Dining area
The rooms were spotlessly clean and tidy. The room service was quick. A special call out to Rupesh and Sudarshan. Mandar – who was at the reception played his role well. He arranged for the bonfire, put on some really good music, told us about the cake shop and the beach and resort options. So again a ten on ten.
Food!!! Happy breakfast times!
Coming to the food, the breakfast spread had poha, upna, idli-sambar, sabudana khichadi and mango juice. We weren’t really fans, so we requested for an omlette. And our request was duly honoured. The mango juice was tasty and we also liked the poha and idli. You do not get roti, so have to be satisfied with the chapatti – but the chapatti was good too. The chicken wasn’t tender but apart from that everything else was tasty – the dal, the Manchurian, the breakfast menu. So overall, I’d recommend everybody to go to this hotel, provided you have a car, else it is better to stay at some hotel at a walking distance from the beach.

The beaches –
The beach was around two and a half kilometers from the hotel, let me requote, the nearest beach was two and a half kms from the hotel. It was like staying on a stretch, where no matter which right turn you took, you’d see the beach. This is life!! We were hungry, for both the beach and food, so we went to the beach first. And it was mesmerizing – pristine, clear, sparsely crowded. Then the hungry tummy called for some food. But alas, this was a difficulty. It was 3pm and nobody wanted to serve us any food. We finally landed in a small home stay and requested them and they accepted to serve us. We got some yummy hot dal tadka with chapatti. It must have taken them more than double the time to cook, that we took to finish the meal. Wow! It was tasty.
Dal roti - comfort food!!
We then went back to the room for some rest and then went back to the beach. We went to two of the other beaches on the same stretch. There were water sports and food stalls. You can actually drive your car right to the beach. We enjoyed the setting sun. By 6:30, it was very dark and we decided to stop for the day. We retired back to the hotel, enjoyed the breeze while hearing the waves hitting the beach. We had a yummy dinner at the hotel, which again was dal and chapatti as we were not very hungry having gorged on some onion bhajiya at the beach. The food at the hotel is tasty, so we enjoyed the simple food too. A special mention to the freshly cut onions wherever we had our food.

The waves and the beach...
Next morning, we enjoyed the sunrise from our room window, we were too lazy to go to the beach. After a yummy breakfast – omlette, bread, poha, coffee, idli-sambar and mango juice, we went to the beach and had an awesome time. We started walking on the stretch. There weren’t many people, we could count them on our finger tips. We enjoyed till we were totally drenched with water and happiness and went back to the hotel. We went to the Exotica beach resort for lunch. Wanted to check out the location. It is good.
The hammock
There are two hammocks, but the sun was shining bright and it wasn’t much fun sitting on the hammocks. They do not allow beer in the restaurant area, so we ended up just having lunch. They have swings, a carom board and a pool table for recreation. The food menu is similar as at the Exotica Sea view. The chicken kadai turned out tasty and the hubby enjoyed the food.
The never ending sea and white beach on the right when you travel across the stretch
We spent some more time at the beach after lunch and then proceeded back to the hotel, where the receptionist informed us about another beach at a 10km distance. So, we went on a long drive to Velas beach. The view is scenic.
The Velas beach.
You travel with the beach and the never-ending sea on your right. It was too beautiful. Calling it a day, we went back to the hotel. We wanted to get a cake and were told about the Densh bakery. They charge a 100 rupees to deliver the cake at the resort. As we wanted to checkout the cake before ordering, we went to the bakery and got ourselves a black forest cake.
And the bonfire is lit!
We had requested the hotel staff for a bonfire, which they happily agreed to. They also offered to set up a candle light dinner, but it was too windy for the candles to be lit. The weather was cold, so we enjoyed the bonfire. Again, a special call out to the staff for setting everything up. We enjoyed our yummy Manchurian with soft music playing and the cold wind. It was too good to be true. We had a good time – the kinds you see in movies. The cottage we stayed in had three rectangular pools with white, purple and pink lotuses and what a sight! We had dinner at the bonfire too, but the chicken was disappointing, the only negative in our otherwise perfect stay. It had become cold and was almost twelve when we moved inside. We cut the cake at 12 ushering in the fifth year of our married life and slept satisfied.
Leaving footprints on the sand
The next morning, we got up to the chirping birds and the rising sun. After a tasty breakfast, we went to the beach again. Monday morning, the beach felt like a private beach. There was nobody but us. We didn’t wanna go back, but we had to checkout. And so with a heavy heart, we went back to the hotel, packed our stuff and left back for home.

The return journey –
For the return journey we took the alternate route via the Mumbai Banglore highway. We took almost the same time to reach back, but the road still wasn’t good. The journey was still tiring. But the route from Kolad was scenic. So, overall both the roads are equally bad, and be prepared for a bumpy ride. We stopped by at the German Bakery Wonder Bar at Lonavala for a quick food break.

German Bakery
 We ordered some noodles and a pizza with a chocolate shake. The food was tasty and we quickly finished it and came back home. I am still carrying the sea in my heart and want to go back. 

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