Andrew and I had two nights in Monterey and agreed unanimously that while we had a great time, we probably wouldn’t recommend it to friends. They have world class aquariums in Monterey, but ever since I felt a wasted a day (and $40) at the San Diego Zoo five years ago, I made a decision not to visit attractions that are done exceptionally well in Melbourne. And Melbourne just happens to have an excellent zoo and aquarium.
We enjoyed strolling along Cannery Row to see the now highly sanitised and commercialised street immortalised in Steinbeck’s novel of the same name.
We grabbed bikes and took them for a spin 6 miles (10km) down the road to the lighthouse, which was surprisingly inland and barely visible from the road.
It was really fun though. I hadn’t ridden a bike outside a Spin room for a very long time. It sure beats walking.
After our bike ride we drove to Carmel and sat on the beach for a bit, but it was pretty cold.
We had a great night out at a bar called Carbone’s and met some locals that we later partied with in San Francisco. One of them lived in Melbourne for a year and worked at the MCG, just like I did. What a world.
On Friday we made our way up to San Fran.
Just outside Monterey we stopped at a roadside fruit stall because we saw a very exciting sign:
Coming from a place where $4 is a good price for one avocado, we could barely contain our excitement. There was so much delicious produce, we were like two kids in a candy shop. Except that we were two adults in a fresh produce market, which is pretty lame. I’m officially old.
We got a punnet of strawberries, two oranges, two huge roma tomatoes, a cucumber and four giant apples for $8. When the cashier told us to “have a nice day”, Andrew replied “WE WILL NOW!” with a huge grin on his face. He thought we were legit insane.
Moving on. We drove up the road to Santa Cruz where we stopped very briefly for Andrew to see the boardwalk.
I think we were in and out in 15 minutes. It’s pretty tacky.
I’ve been to Santa Cruz twice now and have only ever seen the boardwalk, one day I’d love to see what it’s really like.
We decided we should go and see the giant Redwood trees instead, so we took a rather large detour to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Within about 20 minutes we were winding through tiny quaint towns surrounded by pine trees.
The Redwood (or Sequoia) species contain the largest and tallest trees in the world. It’s impossible to comprehend how huge they are. The current tallest one soars 100m towards the sky.
Apparently John Steinbeck once said that no one has ever successfully photographed or painted a Redwood and I have to agree with him. Although I did give it a red hot go.
We took a short walk, unfortunately we didn’t have a heap of time, and marvelled at the 1000+ year old giants.
It smelt so delicious in there.
Unfortunately our sojourn with the Redwoods put us right on track to hit peak hour traffic in San Francisco, but it was well worth it. More from the fog city to come.