October 30th, 2010

drinking bird

California [part 2]

As we were driving towards Monterey, the clouds lifted, and we had a lovely day to admire the coast.
Part of the 17 mile drive along the Monterey peninsula. It is very reminiscent of the Mediterranean.

We stayed in Monterey, where we went to an amusing farmer's market the evening of our arrival. We did spend the next day visiting Carmel. It is a lovely town, with pretty houses and nice shops, and lots of flowers everywhere.

Carmel courtyard

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We continued down the coast and stopped at San Simeon to visit Hearst's castle. It is not really a castle, just a very large house built for William Randolph Hearst, the millionaire depicted in Citizen Kane. The house has 3 guest houses. You get a choice of 4 tours, we chose No.4, which included the gardens, the pools and the largest guest house. The houses are furnished opulently with European antiques bought by Hearst. From the outside, the main house looks rather like a Spanish church.

Hearst castle, San Simeon

Late dahlias

But my favorites are the pools

Outdoor pool

The beautiful indoor pool. It is lined with Murano glass mosaics, many with gold.

We crossed the San Joachim Valley, as we had planned to go to one the Sequoia Forests, but unfortunately had not allowed enough time. So we drove back to San Francisco.

I forgot to mention a lovely day trip we had done across the bay to Sausalito, a small town with many artists that is quite pleasant, only a short ferry ride away. We saw a nice sailing ship on the way.

Two-masted sailing vessel.

California has very interesting vegetation, some of it imported, like the bougainvilleas and eucalyptus, but mush is native, like the Monterey pine

Lonely pine
Or others, more unusual

Bark of a fern-leafed ironwood, Sausalito.

Well, this was the end of our short trip, which was really good fun and good food in addition to lovely places.