Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Carmel, Big Sur, San Luis Obispo and Solvang

This one is the first official family vacation in the US, just the three of us in our very own car with our very own pace.   To me it was a repeat, my first visit photos are here and here, but the feel of the trip was completely different this time - more relaxed, slow paced, lesser importance on photography and more on Chinthan.  After I missed all the deals for Las Vegas for the 4th of July vacations, we decided to drive on CA1.

We started off at 9 on Thursday morning, 5th of July, since 4th of July was spent at San Francisco.   The weather was quite disheartening for photography all the way upto Carmel - overcast, as a result of which the Pacific looked very dull.  We stopped and walked around in the most beautiful "Ocean avenue" at Carmel.  The beach didn't look that great due to overcast, the street, nevertheless, was crowded and look very pretty with aesthetic cafes, galleries, restaurants, souvenir shops.  We had a quick lunch of breakfast burrito and soup bowl at Carmel Coffee house, before we continued further south on CA1.  

After Carmel, the clouds scattered and the sun shone on the Pacific which magically turned from a dull grey to multiple shades of blue.  The wild yellow flowers on the shore made the drive even more pleasant.  We stopped at almost all major vista points before we stopped for a snack just before Gorda by the sea.  We encountered Mr. Lonnie Campbell playing country songs with the rabbit on his head there, which Chinthan greatly enjoyed.  An expensive coffee at Gorda by the sea did a lot good till our next break at Piedras Negras for the famous elephant seals.  They were a lot more energetic and active this time than I had seen them in winter. 

We stopped at Hearst state beach and took a walk on the pier, after which we stopped for one last time on some unnamed beach about 35 miles before San Luis Obispo (SLO) for sunset and we head straight to SLO.  Dined at one of the Mexican restaurants, checked into the motel, showered and crashed. 

The next morning, we had a yummy breakfast of pancakes and breakfast burrito at Frank's Famous Hot Dogs at the junction of Monterrey St. and California Blvd. after which we head straight to CalPoly (California Polytechnic) and ambled around in the trail that leads to the Poly Canyon to see the architectural structures created by the students.  There were structures of different size and shape with horses grazing around, a good sight for my camera.  We then walked around the historic downtown of SLO - around Higuera, Monterrey, Santa Rosa,  Marsh and Broad streets.  We stopped by "Bubble Gum" alley where a zillion chewed bubble gums have been stuck to the wall.   After having a heavy Mediterranean food at Jaffa restaurant on Higuera and Toro St. we started our journey to Solvang.

Solvang is a smll touristy town with a Danish feel to it - windmills, bakeries, cafes.  We walked around the town, shopped few souvenirs, had a cup of coffee, bought some Danish pastries and returned back to Sunnyvale. 

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