Trip Start Oct 06, 2010
21Trip End Aug 07, 2011
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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
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
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!