We started off at about 8 in the morning from Andheri. Till about Uran the drive was decent, then somewhere I took a wrong turn and ended up in a townish village. When life gives you a lemon, make lemonade. So, we halted there for a grand breakfast of sandwich, tea and some thepla that we had got from home. On our way out I asked the restaurant owner for directions to Alibaug. He rattled off a go to naugadh shortcut … make a right blah blah blah … it’s a shortcut. The shortcut part stuck in my mind. We hit the road and literally took the path less traveled. Not only was it less traveled, it was also very bumpy. That might be the reason of it being less traveled :-) And no, it was not that big of a shortcut.
We finally reached Alibaug at noon. The one thing that struck me during the journey was the lack of a one-stop place with a food court, clean restrooms etc. There was just one called Food Max. They had a variety of food stalls – South Indian, Ice-cream, Chaat etc. I kept on wondering why hasn’t this model been replicated. Create a one-stop food court area with restrooms, gaming zone etc. Build one either near a gas station or right across from it. A guaranteed instant hit.
Anyways, back to Alibaug. All the beaches that we went to were clean. While we stayed right across from the Alibaug beach, the Versoli beach was the place were we had all the fun. You can literally drive right up to the beach. There is no commercial activity near the beach, except one guy who sells some sherbet/soda. It wasn’t crowded either. Perfect :-)
On our way back, we stopped over at Karnala hoping to spot a few birds. They allowed us to take the car with us into the sanctuary. While we didn’t spot any birds, we did see a few monkeys jumping around. The place was packed with people. Some kids were behaving worst than monkeys. A girl was howling, jumping and making funny faces at a monkey. The monkey looked bored. Shouldn’t the parents be asking their kids to behave. A few were playing cricket, one guy was kicking around a soccer. Hello! we are in a bird sanctuary. The birds be damned, let’s play cricket. Idiots.
On the way back, we just followed the directions to Mumbai. The overhead directions on the highway were good and were very helpful. The roads were mostly good, the drive very scenic.
I am looking forward to a return trip to Alibaug but without the exploration agenda. Just go there and chill.