When I was young, Pune used to be a weekend getaway location for me and my family. Living in Mumbai, Lonavala was closer but we always found that Lonavala would be terribly crowded on weekends and really offered very little to do. Pune was a city that had the small time charm and big city convenience rolled into one! Add to that weather that was shades better than Mumbai and we had a winning destination. We would often spend one or two nights in Pune back then. One thing we never had trouble was finding hotels in Pune. I remember staying in a hotel called Kohinoor very often when I was little. A couple of years later it was Blue Diamond. I have vivid memories of Blue Diamond. It was situated at Koregaon Park then, one of the poshest areas of Pune. We would love walking the lane around that took us into Koregaon Park from Blue Diamond. We would cross the German Bakery, shops selling the famous chatai chappals outside Osho ashram and then loads and loads of handicrafts. It was so much fun walking up and down that street and deciding which restaurant to try that day!
Fast forward to the present day and I am still travelling to Pune regularly. This time for my own work. My company has a large campus in Pune and I travel there once every couple of months. On my last visit there I thought of getting my husband and daughter to Pune and spend a weekend there. I was chatting up with a colleague and he mentioned places to stay nearby and he mentioned that Viman Nagar had several good options. I thought of Ibis where I had stayed several times. Although it is a budget hotel, We agreed it can be an economical option for a family stay as well. The advantage of Pune he said that you could go from one end of the city to another in under an hour, unlike Mumbai. So I could still stay at Ibis and visit Koregaon Park to relive old memories. Or go to MG road and visit my favourite eateries. At the mention of which I was lost in yet another slew of memories. Walking up and down MG Road, shopping for the Puna Cotton suits, knick knacks and then popping into one of the eateries for a bite. Marz-o-rin is very well known and ever popular. I have visited that place in th morning, afternoon and evening. There is absolutely no difference in the crowd! The flavoured milk bottles are unique to that place. But I liked another place even more than Marz-o-rin. It is called Spicer College. No not the college actually. This is a place on MG Road in building called Woodland. Apparently this place gets the products from the culinary school of Spicer College. They get their stock twice a day and believe me, they are wiped out within an hour! We would get there by ten thirty to be a part of the welcoming committee when the stock came in at eleven in the morning. We would feast on the soya burgers and then pack at least half a dozen Lamingtons, Carrot Cakes and Brownies. The Lamingtons are melt in the mouth yumminess! If you can go there, please do. It will be worth the trip.
Ah now am totally nostalgic… Sigh!!