Santa Barbara is a very pretty place. In order to get to the main street we had to walk along the beach (it was so so nice to feel the warm sand beneath my toes!). State street, which is the main high street, is very Mediterranean in style and all the shops look high end and pretty (even H&M for example!). Macy's was designed like a European church. It was lovely to stroll down the street and pop in and out of shops at a leisurely pace. I even bought a few items from American Apparel and a Santa Barbara white souvenir jumper, which I've worn nearly every evening since haha (it's the one in the Morro Bay photo above!). We then had a nice meal, and a cocktail/beer afterwards, before walking back to the hotel along the beach, watching the sunset. Bliss.
After Santa Barbara we went to Morro Bay. There is an extinct volcano standing proud and dominating the harbour which is really quite breathtaking to look at. Other than that there really wasn't much to do there and so I'd recommend just stopping along the way somewhere rather than staying the night. Saying that we did have a very tasty meal (I had petrale sole and it was gorgeous!) overlooking the bay and Morro Rock.
After Morro Bay we continued along the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur, passing the Elephant Seal Rookery. We witnessed lots of elephant seals (which are lighter coloured than other seals and are huge! As shown on the photo above) lazing on the beach. They made weird belchy noises and were really interesting to watch. About a minute down the road we also saw a field of zebras! It really has been like living in one of David Attenborough's wildlife programmes!
Driving through Big Sur was the most picturesque drive I've ever done in my life. With the Pacific Ocean on the left and the mountains on the right, the views really were spectacular.
Finally we arrived in Monterey after quite a long drive. We dumped the bags and headed straight to Fisherman's Wharf, a bustling pier full of restaraunts and little shops. We had a lovely Italian meal overlooking the harbour, watching the seals swimming around- they came right up close to us! The next day we walked the coast trail, a beautiful walk where we, again, watched the many harbour seals sunbathing on the rocks. At the end of the coast trail was Cannery Row, a street made famous by a John Steinbeck novel, and one that was historically dedicated to sardine fishing and canning. Although nothing like it was originally (the sardine fishing dried up in the 1960s), the street had a great atmosphere and was really interesting to experience. There were still some of the original canning company buildings that had been refurbished and lots of references to Steinbeck.
So, I've had a fantastic week travelling and I'm looking forward to this week where we're headed to Santa Cruz, San Jose, San Francisco and Napa Valley. I'll keep you posted!
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