We left San Francisco on a sunny Monday morning to continue South on our big American roadtrip. Just after leaving the city, we passed by the stretch from Palo Alto to Silicon Valley to visit some of the big tech companies, like Facebook and Google, with its colorful architecture full of green lawns, bikes and volleyball fields. After a quick shopping spree, we turned West towards the coast.
Our first stop was cool Santa Cruz, with its crazy beach boardwalk that feels like an amusement park, beautiful tall palmtrees lined in the back and artsy-looking people skating or just hanging out.
It was a long driving day, as would be the next, so our planned stop in Monterey was postponed a day, and, when we got to our cute blue and white AirBnB in Seaside, we made the most of relaxing, doing our laundry and enjoying a home cooked meal and a movie on tv.
The next day, we packed up once again, and headed to Monterey. We only toured it by car since we had a long distance to drive, but it definitely made us feel like we were entering a new region, reminiscent of the Spanish and Mexican History in California, with an architecture that reminded us of both of these countries, and even our own to some extent.
The drive, though long, was beautifully scenic that day. Even though the waves of fog brushed the hilly and dry landscape of the dark cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, driving so close to the sea doesn’t get boring. Especially in Big Sur (with all my preconceived idealized images from reading Kerouak’s “Big Sur”). The sound of seagulls howling, the smell of the Ocean and the salty freshness of its winds – it all just make me feel at home.
On our way we even stopped to look at a beach full of dozens of elephant seals. From a distance, I saw a dark chubby mass playing in the water, and, suddenly, what looked like motionless rocks on the sand started moving, a big snout peeked up and its mouth opened wide, as if the seal was yawning, before tucking its head back into the backs of another huge elephant seal. There were even more people than elephant seal, watching these huge corpulet creatures wobble in and out of the water, or just lay in the sand.
We stopped for lunch at a ranch-like restaurant and continued driving to our destination for that night – beautiful Santa Barbara. We stopped quickly in our motel to drop off our stuff and finally got to go to the beach – a gorgeous beach sorrounded by palmtrees and mountains in the distance, the Pacific at a nice temperature allowing us to swim until the warmth of the sun started fading and the late afternoon wind made us leave the beach and spend the rest of our Santa Barbara day visiting the pier and then having dinner in the city center, which looked like an upscale and well-preserved version of Algarve’s touristic towns.
I dropped like a log on my motel bed. The next day we were heading to our first stop in Los Angeles county – Santa Monica.