The Big 30!
Updated: Apr 25
Last year was harsh for a lot of people all over the world and things were only seeming to be brighter with 2021 until all hell broke lose again (exactly after a year we are back in lockdown). Having spent my birthday at home last year, this year I was excited cause it was the big 30 and I wanted to do something that I hadn't done before and that being surfing! When the planning began around Feb, the second wave was well not quite a wave as it is now so my girlfriends and I decided to go to Pondicherry and since I seemed to the only one from the lot who was excited about surfing we wanted a good mix of beach and chill. Pondicherry albeit the crazy crazy heat seemed to tick all the boxes since none of us had visited the place before and since 2012 we hadn't taken a vacation together. And so there we were with tickets booked and now zeroing in on properties. Cut to 4 days before the trip- we were on the verge of canceling cause I had a very close shave with covid positives and inspite of being tested negative everyone was paranoid and rightly so. Out of 4 people, one backed out and the other two agreed to go ahead provided I take another test upon reaching there to which I reluctantly agreed cause well the survivors' guilt is for real and it hits us during times we least expect it to.
And that's how we reached Pondicherry to celebrate 30 years of me inhabiting planet Earth.
We were there for 4 days and my surfing class was scheduled for next afternoon. For the first 2 nights we were staying at Villa Krish which had cosy, spacious and clean rooms. It was also walking distance from the Promenade beach and most of the popular cafes in white town. On the first evening, we chilled at this cafe that I have seen in every Pondicherry post- Coromandel Cafe. The look and feel of the cafe is quaint, peaceful and well the food does complete justice to the hype of the place. I think every item on their menu is worth a try but the Thai mango salad is a must try (a recommendation coming from my friends who tried it and cannot stop raving about it even now). Damn wished I had tried it.
We strolled around the white town for a while clicking pictures in front of the beautiful colourful walls that adorn literally every nook and corner of this French quarter.
Whoever knows me, knows that breakfasts are very very important for me. I can go to lengths to ensure I start my day with a hearty meal cause I feel it sets the tone of the day right. I can conquer any obstacle if I have eaten well :) We went for breakfast to this another really cool, colourful cafe which was right next to Villa Krish, Cafe des Arts. Since it was really hot, I would invariably be guzzling on coolers the whole day long. Their watermelon chia seeds juice was quite refreshing and I treated myself to their almond croissant, which again was fresh and the sweetness; just about perfect.
After I finished my first surf lesson, I was starving like a beast. There was this another pretty property cum restaurant that we had seen during our walks, Le Dupleix and we headed straight there to binge on food and drinks. The food turned out to be quite a dampener so we thought we will go check this place called Cafe Ole which is known for its different varieties of hot chocolate. And it did not disappoint us at all. A must visit if you are in Pondicherry.
The next morning we started our day with enjoying the sunrise at Promenade beach. Due to hazy skies, the view wasn't clear but it was a calming experience overall. And the breakfast at Surguru made the early morning hustle even more beautiful.
Since we weren't staying at Auroville which I feel requires a separate trip altogether we decided to spend the day there. Tantos was a pizzeria cafe that my friend wanted to try and we reached there in time for lunch and the popularity of the cafe was evident with the crowds jostling for tables. We settled for prawns garlic pasta along with margherita pizza and tons of ice tea, although the fried fish looked really yum but it was way too hot for me to even consider ordering that.
I also wanted to go to Bread and Chocolate which is another great cafe in Auroville but we were so full that day that there was no space for another meal but we did cool our bodies with homemade ice creams at Richie Rich ice cream shop (it's an old school ice cream parlour in a corner and you mustn't miss out on it if you are looking for fresh homemade ice creams). If you are a fan of burger then you should totally try the Cafe 73 which has an exciting range of burgers all named after bike names. We enjoyed a calming sunset at Serenity beach.
Upon coming back to the white town we headed straight to another popular bakery called the Baker's Street before my friends asked me to get ready and we went for dinner to this really beautiful place called Villa Shanti (you need to prebook it if you are going there for a meal). It was my birthday dinner planned by my amazing girlfriends and because we were so tired, we got drunk in just one glass :P
Our last two nights in Pondicherry were at La Closerie, which is another old heritage property in the white town. The rooms were huge, filled with rustic decor and their breakfast which the amazing staff cooked themselves was really good.
On our last morning before leaving the white town and after my last surf lesson we made sure to go click pictures against every colourful wall we could spot while driving. Had I known before that Mumbai is going to go under lockdown the following day onwards, I would have stayed back, surfed more and explored Auroville too but perhaps all that requires me to go back during a better season so I can be at the best of my mood while doing all the things I enjoy doing- eat, chill, explore and surf. Until next time Pondi :)
All images © Kainat27