We left Nashik to go to Saputara hill station. Nashik was nice city, there was a modern part with lots of big shops and restaurants and an old part with a river and lots of temples. We learned that it is a very special place for religious reasons. After we left the city we cycled through grass land with a lot of agriculture. A lot of vinyards but most grapes were grown for raisins and not for wine. Also a lot of big lakes probably for storing water for all the agriculture. It was a very nice and easy ride and we arriverrod at 13:30 in saputare. It is always nice to arrive early the you have some time to look around and the hill station turned out to be small but very beatiful. There were lot of indian tourists especially school children from mumbai. On the foto our hotel.
When we left Saputara the next day we discovered that it is a real hill station because we started with a long and winding descent. We came through a beatiful forested area, sometimes following a big, but dry, river. Sometimes through the forrest or small villages. We had a nice Gujarat thali for lunch in vansada in the greenview restaurant. The closer we came to the higway 3 the busier it got. The highway itself was very very busy with may trucks. We only had to go 15 km on the highway and there was a reasonable shoulder but is not nice place to be. Navsari was allright, nice hotel, nice restaurants and a small foodmarket at night.
From Navsari we headed further north. We could avoid the highway but when we got closer to Surat it got so incredibly busy. Forget Mumbai this was much worse. Monique got sandwiched between two auto-rickshaws and got some nasty bruses. We never experienced such a busy city and forgot any plans of sightseeing and imidiatley cylcled out in the direction of Olpad. The contrast Surat and the road to Olpad and Ankleswar couln't be greater. It was very very quiet and on some point even desolate. But it was nice cycling and we made very good progress. In Ankleshwar there were many hotels, maybe beacause of all the industry around, a lot of oil and chemical plants. In the hotel there were a couple of western guys who were working in one of these factories, they didn't look very happy. There wasn't very much to do there.
Our plan was to cycle further north and pass through Ahmedabad to go to Udaipur. After our experiences in Surat we changed plans and decided to pass Ahmedabad on the east side and go via Halol and Godhra. To make big progress we decided to do one day of highway cycling so we could leave all the industry, traffic and choas behind. So next day we started on highway 8. After 5 km there was a serious traffic jam. Luckily we could pass on the left side.
It turned out there was a 8 km wait before a bridge where there was only 1 lane. We are talking about India's main highway for all traffic from Mumbai to Ahmedabad and Delhi! Beside this we would not recommend anyone cycling on this road for too long. It is very heavy on te nerves. You have to be very concentrated on all other traffic. There were multiple truck laying on their side. There are hurds of cows on the highway and we saw a man being run over by a bus, it drove over his legs and it looked awful. The ambulance was there very quick so that is some reassurance. After about 100k we could take the exit to halol and it became much quieter so we could exactly enjoy our cycling.
Day 3 Nashik - Saputara 86 km
Day 4 Saputara - Navsari 130 km
Day 5 Navsari - Ankleshwar 119 km
Day 6 Ankleshwar - Halol 136 km
A chance for everyody to sleep in a Hilton hotel! on highway 8