One Castle or many Elephant Seals?

Trip Start Jan 14, 2009
1
4
15
Trip End Jan 24, 2009


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Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, January 15, 2009

The drive between Solvang and Hearst Castle was mostly farm land and beach inlets.  One place worthy of a look, is the seven sisters (just north of San Luis  Obispo) - it's a series of hills around the plugs of extinct volcanoes.  They have been dormant for around 20 million years and go from 150m to 450m in height.     
Good hiking to be found there, apparently!

We arrived at the Castle in good time and parked at the information building below the castle itself and we wandered in to see what the fuss was all about.

Hearst Castle was built and designed by William Randolph Hearst throughout the 1920s-1930s.  It was never quite finished.  He was a media tycoon who then later produced movies.  He was involved in 100 movies throughout his life as we found out, yet I struggled to remember any of them. 

We looked through the gift shop (chunks of meat for sale - now I haven't seen that before, 'come and get your mugs, t-shirts and a steak for tonight!') then walked through the museum - the pools looked amazing (in fact I think anyone that watches movies/ TV would have seen the outside pool at least once).  The rest of the rooms/ buildings were all designed and decorated with materials and objects from
Europe churches, the facade copied from a Spanish cathedral, Gothic
fireplaces, Moorish tiles, Greek statues, medieval tapestries, Roman style, Greek style... 

It was over the top, way too many different styles for us and after being told that the shortest trip was 2 hours (including 40 min video), we bailed and went to watch seals instead.

The elephant seals hang out on a patch of sand in San Simeon from December to February each year.  The males turn up first in December and fight for a bit of beach, then females rock up and then the breeding starts.  The mums hang around until February and leave the pups to sort themselves out.

They are enormous!!
And very, very cool...

And next time you wish to win a burping competition - hire one of these seals - they'll win hands down!
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