Tuesday, 27 November 2012

California Highlights

Two people, 500 miles, six hotels, six cities, one amazing trip and we're back from the Golden Coast - sigh. We left beaches and sun for cold cold weather.

To sum up the trip in one word? Incredible. I would recommend taking that trip to anyone and everyone.

See/read more about it after the jump!

We started our trip in San Francisco. Even though I already knew the city was hilly, I don't think I could have anticipated just how hilly it was. My goodness. People who live there must be in great shape!

the golden gate bridge (and the fog)


While in San Fran, we took a cable car, visited Fisherman's wharf, saw Coit Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard Street. We ate chowder from sourdough bowls and enjoyed delicious pasta and pizza in Little Italy. We also got to tour Alcatraz - eerie but very cool to see. A personal favourite was tracking down Boccalone at the Ferry Building marketplace. It's owned by Chris Cosentino (celebrity chef). I made sure to get their famous Salumi cone (aka a cone of meat).

From there, we headed south to Monterey/Carmel by the Sea. What a lovely little area! Because of all the walking up steep hills, my body was killing me. Luckily, we found a Scandinavian style spa tucked into the mountains and were able to just enjoy the scenery and relax. We were also sure to do the 17 mile drive (takes you through a gorgeous oceanfront drive surrounded by golf courses, ahem, Pebble Beach).

view from 17 mile drive

After leaving Monterey, we made our way down to Santa Barbara. On our way there, we stopped to visit the Hearst Castle. Talk about excess! It was so over the top - but a pretty cool place to visit. We toured the Grand Rooms. The view from the castle alone was worth it!

on the hearst castle grounds looking out to the pacific

When we finally made it to Santa Barbara, we had one mission and one mission only. Find the Fish & Chips place from the food network (Diners, Drive Ins and Dives). We found it and it was authentically British:

Needless to say, we were a little bummed out, but Santa Barbara was so great that the rest of the place quickly made up for it! Our only regret? That we didn't have enough time to spend there.

But onward we drove, down to Santa Monica. We wanted to see the Hollywood sign and Grauman's Chinese Theatre, so we braved the LA traffic to get to Hollywood.

channeling merryl streep

While there, I also got a photo with my all time favourite celeb: The Giant Kraft Dinner noodle.

i do! i do know i love it!
But I have to say, LA was not my favourite. I'm sure if we had the time to explore West Hollywood and all it has to offer, we would be singing a different tune, but with time not exactly on our side, we hightailed it outta there and made our way down to the surf town of La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya, which was killing me).

The day we arrived in La Jolla was American Thanksgiving. We weren't sure what to expect, but it turned out that everyone and their families went to the beach to celebrate the holiday. So we followed suit, grabbed towels and headed to the beach to soak in some vitamin D.

relaxing on the beach in la jolla
We also managed to track down one of the few open restaurants for a really yummy Thanksgiving dinner.

Finally, we took our last little leg of the trip and stopped in San Diego. Let me tell you, that city did not disappoint. We stayed in the Gaslamp District (I would recommend that for anyone visiting) and I spent a good 15 minutes one evening staring at the gaslamps waiting for them to light up.

gas lamps lined the streets
We checked out the Midway Museum (Navy Aircraft carrier) - Husband was in his glory. We also ate some delicious Mexican food, visited the famous San Diego Zoo and took in the city. Another delicious find? The Melting Pot fondue restaurant by our hotel.

my husband, the fighter pilot
mexican food/mexican beer

I hope you enjoyed the highlights! I wish I could pack more into this post but it would turn into a novel. We were definitely sad to say goodbye to California but we've got so many lovely memories from such a great trip.

xx E.

Ps. I'm off for the rest of the week to a training session with work, so my apologies for the lack of posts!

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