Wednesday, June 16, 2010

2010 San Francisco Day 4

The next morning we started the day by having breakfast, getting in the car and driving south. We read that the stretch down to Big Sur was beautiful and were definitely not disappointed. It was absolutely breathtaking.

I stopped and got out of the car to take pictures way too many times. Every once in a while we saw these birds circling along the coast. Not sure if they were eagles but it looked pretty cool.

We passed the well-known and picturesque Bixby Bridge, near Big Sur, but not without taking yet more pictures.

Miles and miles of awesomeness.

When we got to Big Sur we decided that we would keep going to this castle of which we'd seen a brochure. It looked pretty magnificent in the pictures so we figured it'd be worth it. We figured it wouldn't take too long since we were already half way. That proved like a bad miscalculation. The road was so windy that we couldn't go faster than 35 mph for most of the stretch.

Once we got close to Hearst castle we noticed all these people stopping by the side of the road and saw some seals. Then we came to a parking lot that was beside a beach that was packed with elephant seals. Definitely a worthwhile sight that we didn't plan.

It looked pretty awesome but you didn't want to get too close. The smell was anything but pleasant.

Finally we arrived at Hearst castle, had a burger and fries for lunch while constantly shoo-ing the crows away, and then went up on a tour of the castle.

Apparently this newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst built the castle which was sort of his life long dream on land that he inherited from his parents. It's absolutely magnificent and definitely rivals European castles. You can read on it at wikipedia.

It looked almost like being in Italy or Spain.

We were joking that we'd tell people this was our hotel room:

The view was pretty stunning. Ocean on one side, green hills on the other.

The main reception area had antiquities from all over the world.

The walls of the movie theater looked like a scene from Indiana Jones. Pretty awesome.

All mosaic tiles, many of them gold-plated in this indoor pool. Wish we could've swam there.

After the tour and a long drive back we actually made it in time to see the sunset in Carmel. We stopped at Safeway, bought some sausage, cheese and bread and then sat down at the beach waiting for the sunset. It was a lot of fun.

2010 San Francisco Day 3

It's been a while since I updated pictures on our California trip. I've just gotten lazy. Anyways, here's day 3.

On the third day we rented a car and started driving down Hwy 1 to Monterey.

One of the nicest places on the road was probably the natural bridges park in Santa Cruz.

Since we still had time we figured we'd check out Santa Cruz. We ended up walking through the shopping district a bit and then had coffee at Peet's which I thought was an independent shop until I saw them everywhere in California. Very yummy lattes, though.

After another hour or so of driving we arrived in Monterey at our motel. It was dark, the fireplace was a little sketchy, the toilet was leaking but we had two queen size beds which meant we'd get a good nights rest again.

For dinner we went to the Fishwife's Turtle Bay Taqueria. You order your food at the counter and then take a turtle with your number back to your table. No, not a real turtle. At that restaurant I had my first horchata. It's a very delicious Mexican drink made out of rice, water, cinnamon and sugar.

On our way back to the motel we noticed this store.

The reason it caught our eye was that our friend's daughter is named Kaiya. They apparently vacationed in Northern/Central California when they were expecting her. Is this coincidence? I have yet to ask them.

As we were walking back we decided to hop in the car and drive to Carmel to see if we could still catch the sunset over the Pacific ocean. So we did but arrived a few minutes too late. Everyone was just leaving the beach. It was still pretty gorgeous and we decided that we'd try it again next night.