We have to cover 900km today. And, that’s including stopping for photography.
Luckily for us, the entire stretch is on NH4, which is part of the Golden Quadrilateral. That’s a six-lane highway all the way. Now you’d think a 900km drive would be quite eventful, but that’s not necessarily the case. The trade-off of having such an excellent stretch of road is that you’re mostly cruising at triple-digit speeds with nothing more than the occasional stop for chai and food, oh and photography. It can be quite a monotonous drive.
On the plus side, we have time to get better acquainted with each other and the cars. The most coveted seats are the A8’s rear seats. You’re seated in business class comfort, the seats recline and there’s tonnes of leg room. Also, the seats come with an in-built massage function with four different massage settings. It’s not often that you get the comfort of a massage on a long drive such as this. Must abuse the privilege.
A good music system is vital, and there are very few other systems that can compare to the Bang & Olufsen system in the A8 and A7. Such crystal clear quality, it’s sublime.
The drive takes you through the towns of Hubli, Belgaum, Nipani, Kolhapur, and Satara, before eventually getting to Pune. The highway is a well-laid and, might I add, well maintained, stretch of tarmac all the way to Pune. Despite making quite a few stops en route, by the time we pull into Pune, it’s only 7:30pm. That’s how good the road is. Once past Pune, it’s right onto the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Home turf. Smooth sailing the rest of the way to our halt for the night in Navi Mumbai.
We decide to stay in Navi Mumbai so we can avoid Mumbai’s crazy traffic and head straight for the NH8 to Gujarat early in the morning. Tomorrow’s drive is going to be another long stretch, we’ve got over 750km to cover. Time to hit the sack.