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Published: June 17th 2013
Monterey, Carmel and 17 Mile Drive
Brrrr, where has the sun gone.
We knew that San Francisco could be a little misty and therefore sometimes a bit chilly but today, as well as no sun at all, there was also a rather icy wind. We were told, later, that the cold day we had had was perfectly normal but we find that a bit hard to believe. The exotic flowers which grow here would just not survive long in these temperatures.
Warning for anyone visiting – be sure to bring something warm to wear in case you get one of these cold days too.
Wearing slightly more clothes than of late (so glad that I packed that jacket at the last minute) we drove out of San Francisco. No last sight of the bridge as it had vanished in the mist. We soon realised that what is referred to here as mist is actually sometimes cloud and it didn’t lift all day. A flash of blue sky as we left the city then that vanished into grey and that was the last we saw of it.
We left the city on a 4-lane
freeway together with lots of traffic but it was Saturday so few heavy vehicles, just lots of cars heading for the coast and all routes South.
We only stopped twice, to check out the coastline at a place called Seacliff and again near the Salinas river. Found sand-dunes and sea then carried on our way. Not warm enough for the beach.
We passed lots of fruit farms and fruit pickers. We concluded that the water used for irrigation could well come from desalination plants as it never rains here so the water has to come from somewhere and there is plenty of seawater to go at if they can just remove the salt.
Our hotel at Monterey was a mile or so from the town and an enormous golfing centre. Once we had sorted our room we headed back out to the town and visited Cannery Row. This is an old sardine centre, main industry on which this town’s wealth was based, which has been quite cleverly converted into an excellent tourist centre of shops, restaurants and an aquarium.
Lunch was clam chowder, of course, served in a paper cup and eaten, sitting on a bench,
with a sour dough bread roll. A cheap meal if we hadn’t been stung for a $20 parking fee and realised later we could have got away with $1.50 an hour.
Next we drove the famed 17-mile circular drive which passes through a very select area of Monterey, through several golf courses and some extremely expensive and exclusive houses. Actually houses is probably not the right word as several we passed were more like mansions. The drive is so select it is subject to a $10 toll.
We stopped for quite a while to watch first of all birds, cormorants and pelicans on Bird Island. Then we realised that the island was also partly covered with harbour seals and sea-lions. Quite amazing how high up the rocks they manage to haul themselves given how ungainly they are on land.
At Carmel we visited the San Carlos Borromeo Mission, established in 1770 by a pioneer Spanish Missionary. Lovely building, gorgeous gardens and just as we were leaving we spotted a hummingbird, such a pleasure to watch these tiny birds.
After a quick visit back to the hotel to change we returned to Monterey, this time to Fisherman’s
Wharf , another excellent spot full of restaurants and interesting shops. Lovely fishy dinner, of course, eaten at an upstairs table overlooking the sea where we could see harbour seals in the water below.
Apart from the chilly weather we had another reall lovely day.
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