Travel: Vacations on wheels

For any fervent traveller, a road of any kind is a summon to adventure. Nothing can beat wandering off the beaten path and enjoying the many small things that make any journey memorable. Here’s what six B’town actors have to say of their vacation wheels:

Scottish surprise
Manasi Joshi Roy
Scotland, 2011, 7 days

“Rohit (Roy, husband and actor) and I have done many road trips, but the one from Edinburgh to Glasgow is etched in our memories. Every night we’d stop at charming little bed and breakfasts and then drive through the day. As we drove, we saw the topography change. We drove up Ratagan Pass to see Five Sisters of Kintail mountain range and spotted a man dressed in the traditional Scots costume, playing the bagpipes. We had to stop!

One day, when the weather was pretty bad (in the Highlands, it rains 250 days out of 365), we were driving to the Island of Skye and spotted a charming lodge. Rohit insisted we stop and we were so glad we did. It had the loveliest restaurant on the Loch Lochy, serving excellent Scottish cuisine. Aah, the joy of a good, hot meal on a rainy day, gazing at a lake and mountains!”

Where next? “We want to explore North-East India and the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to LA. The latter will happen next year, when we drop Kiara off at college.”

Babymoon in Europe
Ashish Chowdhry
Italy to Switzerland, 2008, 20 days

“Sam (Samita Bangargi Chowdhry, wife) was five months pregnant; we were expecting Agastya. We were excited and I wanted to make her feel special. So, I planned a trip to Italy because she loves shopping, and Switzerland for the views and relaxation. We did Rome, Venice and so on like typical tourists and then moved to Weggis, a quaint, idyllic recreational spot on the shore of Lake Lucerne. Mark Twain called it the loveliest place he had ever visited and I second that.

As a child, I travelled with my parents to Dalhousie, Dharamshala and Patnitop. I have fond memories of those road trips. Being able to do things at your own pace is what makes road trips most exciting.”

Where next? “Whenever we can go, it’ll definitely be Denmark. I have already discussed our plans with my friend Satyadev Burman who lives there. We will stay with him and both our families are already looking forward to bonding over exciting road trips. Another most desired road trip is Leh-Ladakh. I would love to ride there.”

Northern delights
Divya Dutta
Chandigarh to Sanewal and Ludhiana, 2020, 3 days

“Punjab instantly takes you from rice and yellow mustard fields at daytime to courtyards filled with charpoys at night. It is home to people with large hearts and it was a longing to enjoy this with my pet dog Sakhi that drove me right into the heart of the state.

I explored and experienced the fields, the crisp, fresh air and the glorious countryside. Nature outspread its wonders with beautiful purple flowers and silence interrupted by birdsong. I enjoyed aloo parathas loaded with safed makhan. Absorbed entirely in rustic pleasures, we returned to Chandigarh after three days with the desire to do this again soon.”

Where next? “I am eager to explore the route from Goa to Karnataka via the twin falls and the coastal road. I have heard the journey is beautiful and gives you captivating views of the sea from Ankola.”

American dream
Evelyn Sharma
San Francisco to LA, 2016, 7 days

“I drove from San Francisco to Los Angeles with my best friend, Julie. We rented a red Mustang convertible and drove the scenic coastline through small, charming towns like Carmel Bay, stopping at all kinds of diners and cafés! The roads pleasantly soar up and the drive is exhilarating. It was amazing!”

Where next? “Tushaan (Dr Bhindi, fiance) and I drive across Australia a lot. Considering that local tourism is picking up again, we have decided to visit the most beautiful spots across the country this year and skip overseas travel for as long as we can. I’m super excited to see the Great Barrier Reef!”

Christmas cheer
Waluscha De Sousa
Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Dusseldorf, Germany, 2018, 2 days

“In Europe, driving in winter, especially during the Christmas season is the most beautiful road trip you can do. Everything is beautiful, decorated, festive and lit up with Christmas trees. We decided to go to Germany’s famous Christmas markets at various towns along the way. It was a drive of four- and-a-half hours, but far from taxing and totally worth it.

The German Christmas markets are famous for mulled wine, stollen, Christmas cake handicrafts, glass-blowers, blacksmiths and woodworkers practising their trades. It’s filled with Christmas cheer, carol singers and huge, beautifully lit up Christmas trees: it’s like the setting of a fairy tale. It was freezing, and it was a great Christmas vibe.”

Where next? “We live in a beautiful country, but every time I travelled here, it’s always been on a shoot. One road trip I would like to do is in Ladakh, just north of Leh; it’s one of the most motorable roads in the world and is at an elevation of 5,359 metres. There is so much to see and learn from the country we live in.”

Mountain magic
Deepti Bhatnagar

North-East India, 2019, 3 months (with stops)

“On a work trip that we combined with pleasure, we drove through North-East India for three months. My favourite part of the trip was landing in Assam during the Bihu festival, dancing and eating with the locals. That’s the best part of a road trip: you can stop and soak in whatever you like without an agenda.

As a wild life enthusiast, I absolutely loved Kaziranga, and I equally loved Mawlynnong, supposedly Asia’s cleanest village.”

Where next? “I am in my Goa home currently so it would be perfect to travel within and around Goa. Goa has some incredible forests. I also want to explore the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and the Dudhsagar Falls.”

Culture vulture
Daisy Shah
Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, 15 years ago, 7 days

“I have had the best road trips with my dad, driving to places like Ahmedabad, Shrinathji (Rajasthan) and Shirdi. They were always exciting: planning the route, stopping at our own will, packing extra munchies and so on.

I have vivid memories of visiting a renovated heritage haveli in Ahmedabad’s old city area, meeting itinerant tribes, and treating my palate to the delightful flavours of local cuisine.”

Where next? “As soon as it’s safe to step out, I would love to go to Lonavala because it’s beautiful in the monsoon.”

From HT Brunch, July 5, 2020

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