“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous” – Aristotle
Welcome to part two of the Highway 1 tale. We start off at Monterey, the gorgeous seaside town with one of the best aquariums I have ever been to (sorry Sydney Aquarium, you’ve been topped in my eyes). The jellyfish were spectacular, the sardines in the 360° tank were mesmerizing and the amphitheatre pool was stunning.
We were also lucky enough to visit our lovely friends Sally and Ray who reminded us that the very famous Pebble Beach golf course was just nearby. I’m not much of a golfer but this course made me want to play all day every day on this perfectly groomed course next to the ocean and drink champagne in the club house. But I would also need a completely new wardrobe as everyone dining there looked a lot flasher than me in my usual backpacker outfit.
Following this we did the most anticipated part of the drive, Big Sur! And boy oh boy did it not let us down! The sun was setting, we were driving along the winding cliff-side road and it was just beautiful! (hot tip – doing the drive from north to south means you drive closer to the water for a better view and it’s easier and safer to pull over for photo ops)
I spent one night in Cambria (which lies approximately halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles) at Bridge St Hostel. It was a super cute hostel and reminds one of grandmas house complete with doily decorated tables. The following morning we visited the Hearst Castle, the great estate of William Randolph Hearst that is perched high up on the hillside. I toured through some of the elaborate rooms containing items collected from around the world. I learnt about the interesting man that lived here that inspired the creation of the film Citizen Kane (much to Mt Hearst’s disgust). I wandered the grounds and checked out the stunning gold tiled indoor pool (totally want one!). Unfortunately the castle was cloaked in clouds, otherwise one can see all the way to the ocean.
We had a mild disaster moment in Cambria when an ATM machine ate one of our cards. Hot tip: don’t use ATM’s that pull your card in, and make sure to disable all text confirmation for transferring money from your cards before you leave home! And have a spare card you can access!
We quickly pulled into the tiny tiny town called Harmony before reaching Santa Barbara. It has a registered population of 18 people! So tiny! The following morning Santa Barbara offered a nice walk along the beach and pier, but I am disappointed we spent a night here. The only hostel in town was, to be honest, really quite rubbish and terrible value for money. My advice would be to find a cheap hotel, or do a day visit to Santa Barbara and then head on. Now on to LA…