We arrived on mumbai airport at 00.45 on the 15 of december. We had made reservations for a hotel with pick-up service via the internet. It is always a big relief when there actualy is a guy standing there at the exit of the airport with a sign with your name on it. The firts impression when you get out of the airport are overwhelming, the noise, the people, the heat and most important the smell. Your firts sniff of india has it all: spices, flowers, food, people (but also some waste and sewage). A powerful mix you won't find anywhere else and you immediately know where you are.
We had to get all our luggage in to a small tata car. Cyles still in their boxes in the backseat and the two of us on one front seat. The hotel was very close to the airport but the empty streets and night looked a bit grimm. The next day it was a little busier and a little less grimm. We put the cycles back together (For packing we removed the wheels, deflated the tyresand removed the pedals and the handlebars) and went into the mumbai traffic. Very busy at first but when we found the highway nr 3 it was a litlle less chaotic. We had enough space on the shoulder of the road. We cycled out of the main city and through all the suburbs.
We wanted to go to Nashik to visit the vinyards there. We have a vinyard ourselves so we were very interested to see the indian wineculture. Too far to cycle in one day we decided to sleep in Shahapur. There was nice highway hotel with good rooms and a good restaurant. There were a lot of cars and buses stopping there for a rest and food so it must be a good place.
The next day we started with a beautiful climb up to Igatpuri. About 6 km long and so steep that the heavy trucks went as fast as we did. The highway was generaly in very good shape with a nice shoulder and seperate lanes but there were some places where it was very narrow and traffic could be a little intense.
In Nashik we had some trouble finding the Sula vinyards and we finaly arrived there little before 4 o clock. There was a sign on the door that it would be a "dry day" after 4 because of some local elections the next day. So we had just 15 min to sample some wines. A very nice sauvignon blanc. The alcohol imidiately sank to our legs offcourse, so it hurted a little when we left the vinyard to find a hotel in Nashik.
Day 1 mumbai - Shahapur - 77km
Day 2 Shahapur- Nashik - 118km