Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Christmas in the US Part 2: Monterey Bay

A cup of tea and we're on the road! Well, we're on our way to the car hire place to get me put on as an additional driver ... this experience reminds us of what really annoys us about each other - it's nice to be back together.

On the road again and we miss our first big turn! Not to worry, we're in Santa Monica and I could lead us out of this blindfolded ... on the road again ... we paused in Santa Barbara for lunch. It's late and we've got a lot of driving ahead of us! Back on Highway 1, then the back of 101 and before you know it we're driving through Salinas before arriving in Monterey. I'm excited because we're staying in a hotel (accommodation without bunk beds is a treat for me!) and we're right in the Old Town, just off the main drag down to the bay.

The following morning we discover one of the best cafes we've ever eaten in (Wild Plum). Finally everyone agrees that the long drive was worth being able to wake up in Monterey. The weather's looking dodgy so first point of call is Macy's for some sensible shoes, but alas there's none to be had (or I'm too picky). Then we start our self guided walking tour of Monterey Historic State Park. Lucky I bought Mum & Dad a Lonely Planet on California because state budget cuts mean that most of the places on our route (including the one where you get the map) are closed because there's no funding. I'm quite surprised at how appalled I am - California, what has become of thee since I left you?! Nevertheless, we continue on Lizzie's guided tour of Historic Monterey, pausing midway for bad coffee.

We get bored of walking so we hop back in the car and head down to Cannery Row. It's touristy, but there are hidden gems - the workers huts, the Wing Chong grocery store, 'Doc' Ricketts memorial. We have lunch in one of the old canneries and subsequently get soaked in the pouring rain so we call it quits and finish the afternoon with a drive, a read and happy-hour of course.
Dinner is my treat and we go to Passionfish which is wonderful. Even more wonderful because the wine is at cost price so we get an amazing bottle for $20! The food lives up to the reputation and we're lucky that it's a Monday night so it's not too crowded and noisy.

Morning brings out the sun and shows off the flame-leafed tree in our courtyard - what a farewell. Then it's off to 17 mile drive, Pebble Beach, the Lone Cypress and down to Carmel. Another average coffee, followed by a bit of shopping, nosing at the weirdly quaint houses and then ... yep, it's on the road again!

No comments: