On the way to Carmel, and as we hit the coast, we soon saw a group of adrenalin junkies smashing about in the water off Waddell Beach kite surfing,surfing and windsurfing (you get the picture!)..
.and the sun was out and shining down!! Happy days!! A little further along the coast we stopped off at Santa Cruz which is a total surf town!
We parked the car, and went for a jane fonder along the boardwalk....then the beach....and onto the pier (they call them wharf's over here)....hang on, what was that sound? Was it Lou belching? No. Was it a small child shouting? No. Was it a gang of 8 elephant seals sunning themselves on a small float attached to the wharf? Yes!!....what a sight!
These things are pretty big and make big noise. After staring at these chaps for a while, we went to a surf shop to buy some board shorts and sunglasses at bargain prices....and after a small pot of fresh shrimps, we headed back to the car. As the sun was setting for the day, we decided to follow the coast and stopped at Rio Del Mar, to witness a truely amazing sunset!! Wow, California certainly knows how to do sunsets! Stunning beyond stunningness!!!
We then took a quick route back on the famous highway one to Carmel-by-the-sea. Carmel is a picture postcard, swanky coastal village full of antique shops, posh restaurants, art galleries and cute little inns. Not the cool surf edge of Santa Cruz, but a nice stop for an overnight stay. We went to a local favourite Italian restaurant called Luca and l (Tim) got over excited and went as far as saying that it was the 'best calzone and pasta l had tasted' (Lou and l shared two dishes)...looking back, hmmmm, er, yes it was! Tasty as!! yum yum...
Next day, after a quick look at Carmel beach in the daylight (which is amazing), we headed for Monterey Bay and its world famous aquarium!
On the site of an old Sardine Cannery, the aquarium had everything from sharks, sea horses, sea otters (Lou's favourite), flamingos, penguins through to sea dragons (which look like plants) to the mesmerizing jellyfish display in UV lit tanks!!
The place is so well done and we were lucky to see the feeding of the otters and all the fish in the main 'kelp forest tank'.....worth its reputation big time!! So, this was the time...time to take the legendary Big Sur road....
After managing somehow to head the right way out of San Fransico airport, (where we picked up our car) we headed south towards Carmel-by-the-sea on the Californian coast! (ohh luckily Alamo also had run out of our level of car we had booked, so the attendant just said to us, 'oh, tell you what, just choose one of those full size cars there'....we chose a Pontiac G6!!!! Smashing, thanks, byee!).