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Showing posts from February, 2020

Mumbai to Bengaluru: IndiGo Airbus 320!

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Finding that sweet deal on my credit card site was the beginning. I hadn't flown in over a year, and wanted to fly since long. I had sufficient points to fly straight from Shirdi to Bengaluru - but then that would actually empty out my entire loyalty point account. I looked at the alternatives - flying out of Pune was cheaper, while flying out of Mumbai was the cheapest! I had quite some alternatives to choose from, and finally booked on a flight departing right after midnight. I was flying again on IndiGo.

February 02, 2020:
I walked some distance after getting off the bus from Shirdi, towards the Ghatkopar bus station. I waited for a while to see if I'd be able to get a bus towards the Railway station, from where I could take a metro towards to the airport. It was a lot of hassle though, but I had lots of time to go anyways. After waiting for some time, I decided to hire a cab instead - an Uber turned up soon later. The driver got me to the airport by 2105hrs. There was a bi…

Shirdi to Mumbai: MSRTC Shivshahi AC Seater

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Getting back to Bengaluru from Shirdi is always a challenge - especially if you need to get back in time for work on a Monday morning! Direct buses were kinda ruled out early in the search process for two reasons - one, private operators had jacked up their fares; two, KSRTC was, then, operating a semi-sleeper bus. I did book a seat on KSRTC to start with, but developed cold feet soon later as I struggled to fathom how'd I adjust to this long distance (I have done longer distances in the past - but with me growing older, it seemed quite a task). I casually looked at OTAs to see if there were cheaper airfares - flights out of Shirdi were really expensive, while there were affordable options out of Mumbai. I checked with my credit card provider website, and found I could redeem my credit card reward points for a free ticket - I did the booking almost immediately, and booked myself of an Indigo flight departing a little past midnight - thus allowing sufficient connecting time for me…

Solapur to Shirdi: MSRTC's all new Non-AC Seater cum Sleeper

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As I drew up plans to head to Shirdi after examination work at Bijapur, I looked at various options on the internet. No direct buses turned up - no trains either. I had the option of taking a train to Pune - but the train got there at a very odd hour, thus spoiling my sleep, plus getting me to Shirdi quite later in the day, which would make it a very tight visit. I recalled my journey to Shirdi the previous year, and it was a helluva experience getting to Shirdi from Pune - and I badly wanted to avoid repeating that experience this time (read it here, if you haven't read about it yet!). I briefly considered going via Hubli - but it seemed to add too much of traveling time. I looked at options from Solapur instead - two interesting options popped up - one was a Shivshahi seater coach, and the other was a non-ac seater-cum-sleeper coach. The second option quite grabbed my thoughts - I did a round of research on the internet to find if it was a new bus, or would I end up in a run do…

Bengaluru to Bijapur: VRL Volvo B9R Sleeper coach

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Bijapur was my second examination duty. The travel options to Bijapur (Vijayapura) was limited, just like Kalaburagi. There were, actually, a lot of options among non-AC buses - but I was specifically looking for AC buses. I decided to pick VRL, again, this time - their Volvo Sleeper instead of the seater, though. I was traveling on a Friday, and VRL had priced their Sleeper at a 50% premium - I had no choice, but to find out the best offers on the internet, and the ticket was booked using the Abhibus mobile application. 
January 31, 2020: I had spent almost the entire day trying to figure out which bus would be taking me to Vijayapura (Bijapur) that evening. A fairly newer bus had operated the route the previous night, and I had hopes of that repeating. The bus details were updated later in the evening - an older bus was listed, and I found it was converted from a seater coach to a sleeper coach by VRL's in-house workshop at Varur, Hubli. I was quite eager to see how it goes. 
I …

Kalaburagi to Yeshwantpur: Ahmedabad-Yeshwantpur Express

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I spotted this weekly Ahmedabad-Yeshwantpur express as I searched for tickets on the IRCTC website for my return journey after exam work at Kalaburagi (Gulbarga). I had seen the rake of this train multiple times in the past - this train has been running with LHB rakes since a very long time. I wanted to try this train - the timing seemed great and very convenient to me. It departed it a little before 1700hrs, and got to Bengaluru quite early in the morning - very convenient to have a short nape before heading to work. I checked with my counterpart at the college in Kalaburagi about the examination timings, and confirmed that we'd wrap it up by noon, before booking my ticket.

January 29, 2020:
The exam completed a little past noon. I was busy with some discussion with my accomplices there at the examination centre. We headed for a fairly late lunch - at the famous New Gurudutt Bhojanalaya, for some sumptuous Jolada Roti Oota (Lunch plate containing rotis (unleavened bread) made of …

Bengaluru to Kalaburagi: VRL Volvo B9R

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The exam season beckons again - another trip to Kalaburagi (Gulbarga). I was quite confused this time around - I was half minded about taking a train. However, trains were waitlisted, and this kinda reduced my confusion. Coming to buses, there were just two AC options - one is the tried and tested VRL, and the other was Orange. (I did not consider NEKRTC this time around - not a fan of the Corona, and getting a lower berth on the Corona is like a lottery). I did not fancy traveling by Orange - its a fairly old bus, and the fares were quite high. VRL was my call - I did not reserve my ticket until a few days before the journey though. I booked through my favorite booking site - did pocket a fairly good discount as well.

January 28, 2020:
I had been checking the VRL website since quite early in the day trying to find which bus would take me to Kalaburagi that evening. The bus number was updated a little after noon - a fairly older bus was allotted that day. I received messages from VRL…