City blog (well sorta): Big Sur


It's strange to think that almost one month ago we were driving that big red Jeep down Big Sur, but yes, indeed, we were basking in the gorgeous Cali sun.

I do remember that the beginnings of that leg of our trip were rather shaky. The rain as we landed in San Francisco, the interminable trip on the airport train to the car rental place, the reminder that road lighting is optional in much of the US and the fact that the overhead lights in the damn car didn't work... We arrived in a wind-swept Pacifica and all I could think of was that after the blissful sun of New York we were going to be cloaked in fog for the next week.

But the next morning, I woke up to this.

No fog, no mist, just sublime waves crashing on the beach a few metres from our window.

It's hard to resume what we saw in one blog post so I will just leave you with some random impressions.

- our picnic on the deserted beach at Carmel-by-the-Sea framed by beautiful cypress and pine trees, white sand and phenomenal waves. They have a great deli in Carmel by the way.
- the wild avocado flower honey that we tasted at a farm stand in the hills just outside of Pacifica.
- the pumpkin patches.
- Gilroy, garlic capital of the world (no giant garlic, sadly).
- Driving past the esalen retreat and realizing that their hot springs must indeed have quite the view.
- being generally stunned by the raw beauty of California's nature.
- being generally nauseous because of the hairpin turns on Big Sur and the way my SO was negotiating them with the big red near-Hummer.
- vowing that I would actually camp in a cabin next time (sockets a must for hairdryer or you'll have to pay me to deliver on this promise)
- gorgeous, gorgeous Cambria's Moonstone Beach and Robin's fusion restaurant
- the blissfully lazy elephant seals on the beach as well as the zebras (!) grazing on the Hearst ranch.
- the beef of the Hearst ranch which is actually very good with barbecue sauce.
- huge quantities of vitamin water

Our main aim was to reach San Simeon, W.R. Hearst's mountain retreat near Cambria which he created with architect Julia Morgan. I was a bit taken aback by the extremely professional manner in which you are herded (the word is entirely appropriate, given the nearby ranch) around the estate by two guides, one always tailing in the back to make sure that you don't walk off with any of the persimmons or christmas baubles (I kid you not). Some thoughts:

- the ketchup bottle on the table at Hearst Castle (it seems to me that he would have used something more elegant in view of the rather dazzling display of silverware)
- the beautiful faded two-toned shoes in one of the guest rooms at Hearst Castle
- the guides at Hearst Castle, who I'm sure are all former actors or similar.
- the Bavarian woodwork of Hearst's floor.
- the deer that skittered away among the fabulous orchard trees.
- the gothic living room where the glitterati of the day partied the night away (I cannot imagine what it must feel like to down a cocktail while sitting in a choir bench imported from Siena).

Conclusion: I think that I wouldn't mind a honeymoon in Cambria some time, doused with a lot of Coppola wine and excellent fish but most of all I wouldn't mind a swim in Mr Hearst's indoor pool.

On one final note: I've just started reading Hearst's biography, but I do feel as if he was taken to Bavaria in his youth and fancied himself a latter-day King Ludwig of Bavaria. Then again, he wasn't prone to fits of paranoia and was rather gregarious so maybe the book will prove me wrong.

I leave you with the munchkin doing what munchkins do best at that age: relaxing by the outdoor pool of Hearst Castle.

1 messages:

Fresco said...

That ketchup bottle is still there?

Lula bites Copyright © 2009 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template for Bie Blogger Template Vector by DaPino