The Santas

Trip Start Oct 06, 2010
Trip End Aug 07, 2011

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Where I stayed
Bonnie's Garden

Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, April 9, 2011

So we left Merced early Saturday morning, and headed to Santa Cruz- this was a fairly loud journey, mainly because we were sitting in front of 3 loud girls, who were talking fairly loudly, openly, and blaring some form of loud, gangster, 'music'! We hung around Santa Cruz for a couple of hours, because we were staying at Bonnie's house (a lady who picked us up in Yosemite), we had to wait until five for her to wake-up (she works night shifts). At about half five we phoned her, and she very kindly came to pick us up (bearing in mind we'd met her for about fifteen minutes)! She took us back to her house- lovely little apartment/one person house, where we pitched our tent in her garden! The weather was really sunny in Santa Cruz, although fairly windy, so Megha and I walked from Bonnie's house to the sea- the point we walked along was a rugged cliff edge on one side, and on the other some absolutely amazing houses, which looked over the sea.  We then returned back to Bonnie’s (she let us use her kitchen and watch television in her front room- again very generous) where we had dinner, and chilled out.

After a fairly warm night’s sleep in our tent, especially after our Yosemite experiences, Megha and I had a bit of a lie in.  We then borrowed two of Bonnie's bikes- not the most comfortable in the world- and took a ride downtown.  Santa Cruz is extremely bike friendly, with wide bike lanes on all roads, and lots of different bike paths.  We spent the morning/afternoon, wandering around Santa Cruz's high street, and stopped off for lunch at an incredibly tasty cafe.  I had a spinach salad, with goat’s cheese, dried cranberries, and walnuts- delicious! In order to work off our lunch, we then jumped back on the bikes, and cycled along the river towards the beach, where we parked our bikes at Santa Cruz's famous boardwalk.  This was really interesting- slightly like stepping back in time/into the Grease movie set.  The boardwalk was literally a fair-ground by the beach, painted in extremely bright colours.  We walked around this, bought a frozen banana- dipped in chocolate and peanuts, and sat on the beach! When the sun started to set, we again got back on the bikes, and cycled back to Bonnie's house- stopping to admire some amazing surfers on the way!

We both really liked Santa Cruz, definitely a city full of contrasts.  There is the 'classy', downtown high street, where the university students hang out (Santa Cruz has a big-ish university), and where there are a lot of upmarket shops and cafes.  Then there is the waterfront, with the loud boardwalk, full of young Latin-American families.  These two different sides of Santa Cruz, pretty much means it has something to offer everyone!

We woke up the next day (Monday) fairly early to catch our bus to Santa Barbara- about a 6 hour journey.  Unfortunately we weren't able to find camping in Santa Barbara, so ended up staying at one of the most overpriced hostels ever! This probably reflected on Santa Barbara’s accommodation costs as a whole, but if a hostel is charging thirty dollars a night, you would expect it to have free lockers in the room, wireless and toilet doors!  Santa Barbara is situated in a very scenic location with hills behind it, and the sea in front, so on our first afternoon, we had a lovely walk along the front.  After which we found a free wireless hotspot, so chilled there for a couple of hours.  We then walked along Santa Barbara’s main street- State Street- towards a supermarket to buy dinner.  This had a lovely feel to it, most of the shops/cafes were still open (by this time it was about nine in the evening), and had wide open doors facing out on to the street.  We then returned to our hostel and made dinner- couscous and wraps.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hostel- I had my first taste of the American favourite  'jello' and peanut butter on toast, which Megha recommended to me! Turns out I actually quite liked this! After breakfast, we then took a walk along the pier, and then continued walking along the beach- it was a beautiful sunny day, so this was very enjoyable.  Santa Barbara must be a very 'fit' place, as there were a lot of people running along the beach, overtaking Megha and I as we strolled along! We then sat down, read our books, and played a little Frisbee.  By this time we were getting hungry, so we walked back to the main street, and bought an ice-cream, well I had a cake 'n' shake milkshake- AMAZING- made up of cake batter ice cream and yellow cake! After this we took a walk along each side of the main street, looking at all Santa Barbara’s exclusive shops! Our favourite was the 'Peace Store' where you could purchase a brown, tie-dye sweatshirt for eighty dollars...I think the store was closing down, I'm not surprised!

Megha and I had a lovely day and a half in Santa Barbara, and both decided it would be a lovely place to live if you were rich!  The town has plenty of interesting bars/cafes/restaurants; a really friendly atmosphere and generally an incredibly picturesque town.  A place I would certainly return to and recommend to others!
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