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Published: September 2nd 2011
We are back on the Pacific Coast. Funny enough, this also means we are back to the morning fog...which turns into blue sky sometimes only way after 3pm! Our base for the next few days is Marina, few miles North of Monterey. Monterey hotels are sadly far away from being cheap. As we have our little Mustang, it's not really an issue as we are mobile.
Our first stop had to be the beach. The hotel is only 10 minutes from it, so we had a light salad lunch before walking straight to the cold Ocean. Marina beach is simply beautiful...but it stinks, and it stinks bird poo, solid! The ocean is also cold, really cold, not really a place to lay your beach towel and enjoy some tanning...not this time for sure! so guess what, after few minutes, the kids had enough and it was time to move.
Second stop for the day, the Dennis playground in Monterey. Few miles drive from our hotel, this is a huge and free playground. The place was crowded, which makes sense when you see all the fun you can have. We stay a good two hours here, and trust me Tiffany
and Leslie had fun, but they were not the only ones.
We than took the car and drove around the Peninsula for a little while, discovering first hand the little city of Monterey. For our last stop of the day, we were really happy to discover a Wholefood supermarket. You will find those only in the States (and Uk), they are a mix of supermarket and Deli. The place where you find oysters and grilled chicken...and many other delicacies, plus a nice selection of wines. So tonight on the menu in our room, grilled chicken and a nice salad, plus some pinot noir! Tomorrow is a big day!
Next morning, the plan was simple, discovering the Aquarium of the Bay, based in Monterey. The aquarium is worldwide wellknown, a not to be missed attraction. Not a cheap one, 100 usd for four of us, but we spent a good three amazing hours in it. The highlights here are many...First, bear in mind that we are divers. Seeing such a place made us realized that we already have had the chance to dive few or many of the underwater wonders the world has to offer us.
of aquarium makes me pretty sad just to see in which conditions fishes are kept. But here, it's a little different. Let's be honest, I prefer to see a shark in the wild whie diving, but with this way of thinking, zoos and other aquariums would have no educating purpose.
The Monterey acquarium is divided in few areas. We enjoyed the local marine sealife...never knew they had such types of leopard shark, I only knew the ones we are encountering in the Indian Ocean. The kelpt forrest was a hit too. Later on the kids had a try at cuddling bat ray, pretty fun experience.
Two places did amaze me. They have a huge tank with millions of sardines, also called a sardines ball, plus few jacks, tunas, and...turltes, plus hammerhead sharks and a mola mola. The mola mola is way smaller than the one Mari and I spotted at close range in Bali two years ago, but was still pretty fun. I wish I had dived this tanks.
There was also an area dedicated to seahorses. We saw the famous dragons! I saw them on TV, but never alive at close range, amazing. For info, you
find these "big" guys in Australia, not far away from Adelaide, in water infested by great white sharks.
After the aquarium, we made our way to the Lover point just a mile south to enjoy a little picnic. The program for the afternnon, driving the "17 miles drive" and Pebble Beach, ending the day in the Mission, Carmel.
The 17 miles drive is a private road few miles Southof Monterey, and guess what, it's 17 miles long. You have to pay 10 usd to drive it. Don't know if it worth it, but it was a nice experience. We stopped at Pebble Beach. The golf course is an institution by itelsef. The US Golf Open have been played here on multiple occasions. But guess what, a gree fee here for 18 holes is 495usd...mad! This is per person for four to five hours on a golf course, no thanks. There are few nice golf courses around. Wish I had play, but the Monterey Peninsula adventure was a family affair for us, our hotel being a little further from here, golf would have to wait my next visit here...someday...
After the 17 miles drive, we headed few miles
further to Carmel. This is a beautiful little village. The houses around here are pretty amazing...not sure they are on the "cheap price" thought! We stopped also for a while at the Mission. Great place!
On our way back, we stopped one more time at the Wholefood supermarket, stocking on oysters and other great salads....oh, yes, and some sauvignon blanc!
Monterey is beautiful, we loved it, even with the early morning cold and fog. Our next stop is actually not a stop, but rather a drive, very iconic one...those in the know can already guess!
For those of you who have aleardy enough of our little trip, don't worry, you have only three more entries to suffer!
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