This is one Mean Old Lady!

This is one Mean Old Lady!
Self-portrait: 'Quilter on Fire'

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Traveling: Part II Monterey Peninsula

Monterey, once the scruffy  fishing village of John Steinbeck's Cannery Row, now processes tourists.  How do we manage to pack so many people into such a small area?  The spectacular scenery is irresistible.  

Our hotel was 'in walking distance' of Fisherman's Wharf.  (That is, the trip to the wharf is down hill, but the trudge back up would be another matter.)  Breakfast at the hotel was interesting.  The tiny dining room opened at 7:00 and was immediately crowded with a large crew who belonged to the big truck parked on the street--a party-management outfit.  I envisioned tents, tables, decor--and a lot of challenges, because it was cold, windy, and gray.  These workers (Hispanic) ate quickly and departed, replaced by businessmen (Japanese) and tourists (elderly Anglos and a couple of young families.  What, no school?)  

The Monterey Aquarium was built in the early 1980's, when we lived in California, and we had visited it.  Our plans to go back were quashed when the DHubby saw the fees:  $34.99 per person with the Senior Discount.  Wow.  We've paid more than that to see performances, of course, but somehow this didn't sit well.  We took the Escape and drove into Pacific Grove along the coastal road.  
Rocky coast, brilliant waves, bracing breeze....

The charm factor is pretty high, is it not?  Brilliant blue skies above (the brisk morning wind quickly cleared the mists and clouds), colorful cottages, and riotous gardens overlooked the shoreline trail.  

Late April is a great time for gardens!

Who wouldn't want to live here?     

                    It is also the season when harbor seals give birth.  The beach was fenced off to protect the seals (and people who might be tempted to intrude.)  Nevertheless, it was enchanting to watch the nursing pups, the cautious mothers guiding the eager young swimmers, and the basking crowd on the sand.  One young pup hurried into the water ahead of its mother, creating an anxious rush into the surf and a frantic search.  The mothers preferred to stay between the open water and their youngsters.  (I'm not saying who that pup reminded me of....)

Pacific Grove also has a small natural history museum, a visitors' center, and a shopping district, which we strolled briefly.  Then we continued toward the 17-Mile Drive, one of the area attractions.  
Mesmerizing.....why do we never tire of watching the water?  (Well, the cold wind drove us onward, for one thing...)

No narration necessary....
         and finally we were hungry enough to relinquish the compelling natural beauty and head back toward Fisherman's Wharf.  (Insert brief argument between Garmin and the signage, with additional confusion because there is now also a 'new' Fisherman's Wharf with garish 'attractions.')  We wavered between two well-remembered restaurants--Domenico's and Abalonetti's--finally ending up with the latter after studying the menu displays.  

A flotilla of brown pelicans entertained us while we dined on roasted garlic, calamari, and steamed vegetables.  There might have been some wine involved, as well.  

Too chilly and windy for terrace dining, but I admired the enormous succulents through the glass.  

The next morning (the DHubby's 73rd birthday,) we made leisurely progress northward, stopping in Capitola for a stroll and a light lunch.  We had remembered this as a quieter place, but it was teeming with beachgoers (how could so many children have no school obligations?)  

The Venetian was one of the first condominiums--it dates back to the Twenties--it's now a motel.  Not sure I'd want to stay there, but it was fascinating to look at.  Funky Quaint?

By the time we left, I could have auctioned off our parking space; there were 'scouts' watching for people who were about to depart so that they could hold the space for their circling drivers.  We fled the crowds, skipped a stop in Santa Cruz, and continued through the Santa Clara mountains--past the shockingly diminished Lexington Reservoir--and on toward Sunnyvale.  Here Garmin pulled one of her less-enjoyable tricks, having us double back to enter from Cupertino (DeAnza Blvd.) instead of from the north.  We were forced to trek through miles of traffic (seeing daunting changes and realizing we'd forgotten what streets went which way.)  We also found that our rental condo unit was on the second floor (with additional steps up from the street.)  The DHubby was limping (possible gout attack) so I got to schlep the luggage and supplies up the stairs, shuttling back and forth like a worker bee.  But we had arrived!  and our next stop would be dinner with son Nathaniel and his partner Karen.  H'ray!  

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! Your photos make me think of "Summer in Monterey," Van Dyke Parks and Brian Wilson. My iPad won't let me paste in a URL, but you can find the song on YouTube.


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