From the Bay to LA

Trip Start Jan 26, 2008
Trip End Sep 28, 2008

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hello again avid readers,

After having a lot of fun in San Francisco Dave and I headed down Highway 1.

Highway 1 is down the west coast of California and hugs the ocean from Monterey to San Simeon to the south and is spectacular. Despite it being winter Dave and I got the good weather again and managed to put the top down on our convertable and cruise by the ocean, sheer cliffs and more seals!!

Our first stop along the way was at Big Sur which is a mountain by the coast and is beautiful. We managed to get some good pictures from the lookout here of the cliffs and some birds. 

We continued cruising down the coast and eventually ended up near San Simeon which has attractions such as elephant seals and hearst castle. The elephant seals were really cool and have sort of a burping sound that they make. We caught them near sunset and watched them as the caught the last rays of sun and burped their way to sleep.

Because it was so late Dave and I stayed at a little place called Cambria which is a very small town and home to a fantastic restaurant called the Sow's Ear. Dave and I had the most delicious meals and for the first time since coming to America were served vegatables with our meal. Everything here comes with salad so to get vegies was a real treat. We stayed at a little hostel which was set up like a family home and we met some interesting folk working there.

The next day we headed to Hearst Castle which was well worth the effort. William Randolf Hearst was a multi-millionaire kicking around in the early decades of last century. His father found silver on his land but from what we could tell William made is own fortune in property and newspapers. Our guide told us that he was worth about $250 billion dollars which far exceeds that wealthiest people of today. He was an extremely powerful man when he was alive and had is hand in America not signing up to the League of Nations.

Anyway, Hearst built a castle reminiscent of the castles that he had seen in Europe while visiting there with his mother. The castle has 3 guest houses, two massive pools with gold inlay and absolutely beautiful artwork and relics that he purchased in Italy from around the time of Jesus. The castle is amazing with incredible attention to detail in absolutely everything.

We spent a few hours there before heading south for the Madonna Inn which a couple of American's had recommended that we see. It was so funny and a really fun stop along the way. Madonna Inn belongs in Vegas and was the most tacky and gawdy place I have ever seen. Each guest room is themed and you can stay in the cave man suite right through to the little prairie suite. The bathrooms are great too and I'm pretty sure we have a photo posted to show you it. The dining room was my favourite and was decked out with pink carpet, pink walls and pink booths complete with pink napkins.

We headed off to Solvang after this which is a town which prides itself on being like a traditional Danish town. We ate some lunch there and spent some time walking around soaking up the flavour of the town.

Los Angeles was our last stop and we spent a full day there relaxing and checking out Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and Venice Beach. I really liked the time spent in LA and saw all the stars along the street, footprints and handprints of the stars and of course their replicas at the wax museum. All in all California was great fun and I think a day in LA was a great way to finish it off.

Amy and David.
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