Like people even today are not sure if its Bombay or Mumbai, the same dilemma is there between Pune and Poona. I like to call it Pune though. I am lucky to have a friend living in this city with such a profound history and rich culture so I thought to take this as an opportunity and visit him.
I reached there and we straight went to grab some food. The weather of Pune is way more pleasant than Mumbai and honestly, I actually felt the winters for the first time there. With less traffic and a pleasant weather, Pune just felt like a mini vacation away from home.
We ate at the 1441 Pizzeria.They have several branches around Mumbai as well but I had my first experience on my visit to Pune. We went straight for their flagship “Make your own Pizza”. It was quite interesting and exciting to wear a chef cap and an apron and watch your pizza being made from the base up right in front of you. They literally have unlimited options for the toppings, you name it and you get it! The exotic cheese and the toppings will make you feel like the entire Italy is on your palette, all this fired up in a wood fire oven.
We definitely crave hot chocolate on a winter night so considering my experience at the Grand Mama’s in Mumbai, I tried them in Pune as well. The hot chocolate was dark, rich and coated my tongue thickly before flowing down my throat. I was torn between wanting to savour it and inhale it. I just wrapped my hands around the ceramic mug, letting the warmth flow through my fingers, banishing the wintry chill!
The next morning we went to have breakfast at the very famous, French Window. It is situated in the quiet lanes of Koregaon Park and has both the indoor and the outdoor seating arrangements. Plus, this is a pet friendly cafe so yay! It is a small cozy cafe which serves almost everything. The menu options include from macaroons, to croissants, to pain au chocolat, to chicken quiche to every French dish you could think of. We ordered a classic french dish that is the Chicken cheese croissant along with an Indian masala tea and a latte. The croissant was fresh, buttery, crisp and the cheese just added on the flavours. The latte was smooth and creamy- just perfect but the masala tea sort of disappointed me as I expected it to be strong with that Indian touch of masala. However, the experience was all in all a great one!
After a good breakfast meal, we visited the Aga Khan Palace. This palace was built in 1892 and was an act of charity by the Sultan who wanted to help the poor in the neighbouring areas of Pune, who were drastically hit by famine. This palace also served as a prison for Mahatma Gandhi and his wife during the Indian Freedom Movement. This palace has italian arches and spacious lawns and it archives a number of photos and pictures depicting glimpses from the life of Mahatma Gandhi and other leaders.
The next stop was the Bapdev Ghat: If you’re looking for a panoramic view of Pune then this is the place. It is located about 30 mins drive from the main city centre. As you climb to the top, you will see some spectacular views with lots of buildings on one side and barren lands with no development on the other side. You will also see the cattle grazing as you go higher. You can just sit back and feel the breeze and can have a mini picnic on this ghat.
How can you leave Pune without having the Kathi Rolls? Not happening! Kathi rolls are wraps with eggs along with a type of chicken flavouring that you like and they also have vegetarian options like Paneer and Potatoes. I ordered their famous chicken tikka roll. Be ready for loads of flavours just bursting in your mouth and taking you to a food heaven zone!
After enjoying the scrumptious roll walk around the east street, we came across a range of shopping places. We spent the evening there exploring some electronics shops and trying out the new cameras!
I have to take a trip to Pune again to visit all the lovely tourist places and just to absorb the real essence of this beautiful city! I had a great day out there exploring and if you need a quick getaway from the hustles of Mumbai, get on to the train to Pune and have your mini vacation!