I'll have some Monterey with Carmel

Trip Start Nov 27, 2010
Trip End Dec 12, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, December 3, 2011

We reached Monterey in the early evening and after checking in at our hotel headed down to Cannery Row which used to be an industrial melting pot and epicentre of the sardine-canning business in the first half of the 19th century. These days it's a giant tourist trap with gift shops and restaurants lining the streets, although the buildings help the area retain a certain charm. 

We gave the pricier food joints a miss in favour of some sub-standard Mexican food in the centre of town.  We thought we might get something a bit special in what was briefly the capital of California after Mexico broke from Spain in the early 1800’s but sadly not, flavourless fajitas and bland burritos were the order of the day .

The next day we had glorious weather and we had decided to take the drive around Monterey Bay and down the coast.  The beaches are mainly pebbly and huge kelp forests are visible just off shore with colonies of seals and the occasional sea otter springing up periodically along the coastline.

We drove down through Pacific Grove and to a spectacular scenic drive called '17 mile drive’.  The drive itself, which cost $10 per car, meanders through Pebble Beach which is mainly a private residential area for the ultra-wealthy but also houses the world famous golf course.  

Along the drive we stopped at Spanish Bay, where Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola dropped anchor as far back as 1769, Bird Rock, for some seal and bird watching, as well as the Lone Cypress, a 250 year old cypress tree that forms the symbol of the Pebble Beach Company, before coming across the golf course. 

Pebble Beach Golf Course is as opulent and extravagant as you’d expect and perhaps a little too nice to be traipsing around in holey Nike’s.  Pictures and trophies of past tournaments adorn the Lodge’s corridors and the on-site restaurants look pretty special.  We had a walk around outside and up to the 18th hole to watch a couple of golfers tap in before retiring to the 19th.

Carmel was next on the agenda and we drove the short drive there and had lunch on the beach before driving through the town and taking a drive through the town and taking in the spectacular house that line the affluent streets.

We had a long drive down to San Luis Obispo ahead of us so we made it back to the freeway and continued to head south.
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