Day 9 Historic Monterey - Sardines & Architect

Trip Start Aug 30, 2012
1
10
15
Trip End Sep 15, 2012


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Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, September 8, 2012

Miles driven: 10
Total: 1450

Originally we had planned to only stay 2 nights in Monterey ad then move on but

1) there was a lot we wanted to see in monterey, and
2) Hotel has a washing machine and dryer for guests for a small charge (about 1.25), which is a big relief as we had packed very light and Neil was running out of shirts...

So we decided to say an extra night. Fortunately the washing machine was close to the hotel pool so we were able to take a swim whilst the machine did it's work, though the sun was shining (about 20C) it was very windy today which made it feel cooler than that. After doing these domestic chores we decided to do a history walk in monterey.  We followed the  'Path of History Walk' which went by many of monterey's historic buildings and some interesting architecture. What we didn't know was that Robert Louis Stevenson (Scottish author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde) had lived here for 3 months in 1849. He had come here whilst courting his future wife and win her heart. Very romantic (though i won't go into details here it was a more complicated process than I outline here). He had stayed in a room in what was then The French Hotel and it's said he started to work on his Treasure Island while he was here. There was a lot of Stevenson memorabilia here - family photos, letters and his death mask. The house is now the property of Monterey State Parks so we were able to visit. We also saw the oldest government building in California where the American flag was raised in 1846 to lay claim to 600,000 square miles of Pacific coastline and the oldest California church (1749) to still be in use today.

We followed the route for a few miles and ended up in Cannery Row. It gets its name because of the huge amount of factories here packing sardines into cans from about 1920-1940s. Until eventually they fished the waters dry and no more sardine to be found. Sardine were brought from the boats and emptied into huge hoppers on the side of the docks, then literally sucked through large tubes to the factories to be packed. The factories were linked to the docks by wooden walkways between the buildings. These walkways were used for the trolley loads of packed sardine tins to take to the trains and then also to bring empty tins back in for packing. These are still here but Cannery Row is now just one long road of souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes. There were a few signs of the old cannery factories with small plaques in the pavements marking where the factories once stood. Some of the old shacks that the workers used are still there to be seen.  The American author, John Steinbeck, wrote a novel Cannery Row 1945 which is based around this area and characters who worked here. It was then made into a film in 1982 so there is a lot of reference to Steinbeck in this area. monterey had become the 'Sardine Capital of the World'. Divers played an key part in this because they had to maintain the underwater pipes that pumped the sardines from the hoppers to the factories. Many of them died during this and we found a memorial to them on the shoreline (see album).

We found a few interesting cars in monterey too. It is also close to the Mazda Laguna Seca Racetrack. Outside one of the hotels was a Racetrack Safety Car and a Ferrari. Inside one of the many souvenir stores we found an American Shelby which was available to win by raffle (current retail price c.$33,000. Carroll Shelby was a racing car driver who first raced in 1932 but went on to manufacture racing cars. He's a big American icon here in the car world.  Then headed back to monterey town where we could hear the seals honking from the sea waiting for the tourists on the Old Fishermans Wharf to throw them popcorn. Despite signs everywhere advising you Not to Feed the Wildlife..... 

Back into town for dinner in a Italian restaurant, avoiding the 3 British pubs we had found in this interesting town and the pub quiz that one of them was running. Very cold in the evening despite the hot daytime temperatures.
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