Monterey, Big Sur and Cambria

Trip Start Sep 07, 2009
Trip End Nov 17, 2009

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Where I stayed
Cambria Holiday Home

Flag of United States  , California
Monday, November 9, 2009

06/11/2009 - We left our peaceful b&b and Capitola behind and headed south on Hwy 1 to Monterey, stopping off a couple of times at beaches along the way. The weather was a bit chilly though, and only the surfers were brave enough to be in the water.

We arrived in Monterey, checked into our hotel, The Mariposa Inn, and headed down to the harbour and beach. There wasn't a lot to see, so we took refuge from the weather in The London Bridge Pub on the seafront. We had a typically English lunch and really felt like we were back home in a local - weird! We later found out there are a number of English pubs in the Monterey area...

We spent most of the evening researching our next destination in our hotel room. We knew we wanted to head down Hwy 1 and along Big Sur, but we wanted a stop off point for a few days before reaching LA. We plumped for a small place called Cambria, a hundred miles down the coast, that seemed to have reasonably priced vacation rentals. We sent out a few emails, hoping for a response in the morning...

07/11/2009 - We were woken in the morning by a call back from one of the property agents. She offered us a really good deal and said we could come down and look around a few of the houses they had available. We had originally planned to stay a bit longer in Monterey, but the hotel environment was really getting to us and the thought of having our own house for a few days was too much to resist. We packed up, checked out and headed to Cambria...So in the end, we didn't really get to see much of Monterey at all. To be honest, it seemed really quiet and not as buzzing as we had heard. Maybe it was because it was off-season, but Monterey wasn't all it had cracked up to be...

The drive down Big Sur, however, did live up to expectations. It was exhilarating - winding through the edge of the Santa Lucia mountains along the dramatic coastline. The sea was really rough and we saw some massive waves, crashing against the rocky shoreline.It took us hours just to travel the 100 mile route, we must of stopped off about twenty times! We had lunch halfway down at the Whale Watchers Cafe, but sadly didn't spot any whales.

Just towards the end of the drive, we came across a number of cars parked alongside a beach. We decided to stop and checkout what everyone had stopped for. We got out of the car and couldn't believe what we were seeing (and smelling). The beach was covered in Elephant Seals! We could have watched them for hours, they are so funny. The way they move across the sand and then flop down all of sudden for a rest. They are really noisy as well and seem to always been arguing with each other. It was brilliant watching them in their natural environment (see video).

We arrived in Cambria (finally!) and picked up the keys for a few properties to look around. The houses were massive and it was a bit surreal looking round all these empty holiday homes. We finally picked one that had ocean views from the front deck. After settling in, we went straight to the grocery store to stock up on food. Jim cooked meatballs and spaghetti - just what we had been craving. We spent the rest of the night exploring the house. Most of it looked like it hadn't been touched since the eighties; the owner had a wicked collection of cassette tapes! I found a collection of jigsaw puzzles and got stuck straight in - sad I know, but I love puzzles!

08/11/2009 - In the morning, we woke up and went for a walk along Moonstone Beach - a lovely beach apart from the dead rotting seals! We spent the rest of the day relaxing and then had a bbq on the deck in the evening. What a great day.

09/11/2009 - After a lazy morning, we drove 15 miles down the coast to Morro Bay, famous for its 'rock' a few hundred metres from the beach. We had a drink at the harbour and watched the seals and surfers in the water for a while. Morro is very pretty, but it has a massive powerplant next to the harbour that really spoils the area. You can't help but look at it and say 'What were they thinking?'.

We headed back to the house and got ready to go out for dinner - the property agents had given us a voucher for a free meal at a posh restaurant called Madeline's. The food was very good and the chef came out and spoke to us for a while. A nice way to end our visit to Cambria. We returned back to the house to pack up, so we would be ready to leave early in the morning for the Santa Barbara mountains. We had booked to spend the next few nights staying in a Yurt on an eco-resort, we were so excited and more than ready for a bit of adventure....!
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