Hearst Castle

Trip Start May 07, 2009
Trip End May 31, 2009

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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, May 21, 2009

We've had an interesting day. Have travelled down to Anaheim but didn't leave San Simeon until after lunch so we didn't take time for many stops between there and here. We travelled down the Pacific Coast Hwy which was very lovely and of couse, the houses at Malibu are fantastic.
Before we left we visited Hearst Castle. On the way there we saw some zebra mingling in with cattle, that in itself was a sight to behold. We were told that the zebra stay with the cattle as it is a mountain lion region, if a mountain lion approaches the zebra take off and the cattle are usually taken.
Hearst Castle, this place is unbelievable and it would have been lovely to have been able to visit it while Mr Hearst was there and had his zoo up and running. To think he had the main house/castle and the 3 guest houses is almost unbelievable and everything he had set up for his guests comfort, he didn't miss anything.
We were taken up the 5 mile road to the castle by a tour bus and then guided around. You are not allowed to touch anything and have to stay on the designated carpet areas when you are inside a dwelling. Step off the carpet and they told us alarms would sound. They were right, my foot was on the edge of the carpet and that was enough to trigger off the alarm.
Hearst spared no expense when building the castle, so many things were imported, he had hand made tapestries, numerous works of art and ancient artifacts, gold plating on doors and gold in the tiles in the swimming area. His kennels were air conditioned and that was very unusual for a century ago. Also his unique collection of animals, polar bears, kangaroos, lions, deer etc. He must have been very eccentric. His guests were all famous people too and they were all looked after well. The gardens too were beautiful.
Josh was on his best behaviour (there were a couple of young children who weren't, their parents let them run free despite being told on numerous times that there children weren't allowed to touch (or whack) statues or play in fountains. One man even had to take his son out of one room, he was made to, because of his sons behaviour. We had a main guide who did all the talking and then another who kept an eye on people and made sure we followed the rules as well as offered assistance or answered questions if we had any and sought her out. Josh asked her what something was in the garden area (some ancient egyptian coffin with a big name that was made from lime and decomposed bodies), she went into great detail with him. I saw her watching him and half way through the tour she took us aside. She told Josh he was very handsome and looked like a prince and couldn't stop talking about how well mannered and behaved he was. We ended up missing out on some of the main guides commentary but we did have our own private tour with Bev pointing out things of interest and showing Josh things he'd be interested in. She also introduced Josh to one of the security guards who told Josh that the makers of the Harry Potter movies visited the castle before making the movies and that Hogwarts dining room was based on Hearst dining room. Some people of the tour were looking at us funny, I don't think they liked the idea that we were having VIP treatment! We couldn't believe how taken Bev was with Josh. In the end she thanked us and said we had made her day special. We even got hugs goodbye from her.
After leaving there we saw more squirrels before heading our journey. One of them will be pooping well as it took licquorice from Rick!
Traffic from Santa Monica out was horrendous. Certainly wouldn't like to be living in LA and having to commute, would have to rely on the Metro!
We're not staying on the main street near Disneyland like last time but about 0.5km away from there. We are next to ?the Garden Walk, a new shopping complex. Hopefully we will get to go there tomorrow night for tea, they have a PF Changs so looking forward to that.
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