Tuesday morning we awoke in San Francisco. Laurel commented that she didn’t sleep well. The Lombard Hotel is on the corner of Lombard and Van Ness. This corner is part of US Highway 101. Back home we may get a half a dozen cars passing by our home and our home is a couple of hundred feet from the road. The other thing is we don’t have a yard light either, so we love the quiet and darkness. I still wouldn’t give up the view we experienced on our stay in San Francisco. Laurel asked if the was any thing I wanted to see or do before we headed out to Monterey. I said yes. Just one thing, drive down Lombard Street- The Crookedest Street. We were only 3 blocks away so lets experiance the street. On the way down Laurel commented this makes our driveway look flat. After I completed the drive we went down to the wharf area before we hopped on Van Ness and found our way out of San Francisco on route to Monterey.
We drove to Monterey and made a few quick stops along the way. Our destination was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Along the way we would ask people for recommendations of what to see in Monterey. The aquarium was a must. I am not a big zoo and aquarium fan. I don’t know why, but they don’t hold a lot of interest for me. The Monterey Bay Aquariun changed that felling in me. We parked the car and made our way to the aquarium and purchased our tickets. We made the brief walk thru the cannery exhibit and found the first display.
The first aquarium tank was the Kelp Forrest. This tank is a two stories high. There was several towering kelp plants swaying to the rhythm of the water being pulsed thru the tank. Fish lazily swam in and out of the kelp. Around the kelp tank there were smaller tanks displaying anemones, crabs and an octopus. There were some other larger tank displaying a wide variety of sea life. There was announcement for a talk on the life of an albatross. The talk was in front of the Kelp Forrest Tank. After the short talk we went up to the second floor for more exhibits. After two hours we needed to back to the car and feed some more electronic money in the parking meter. When we reentered the aquarium a volunteer greeted us. She asked us if we had ever been here. We responded with a couple of hours ago. She was to kind to point out the displays we had aready seen. Then she made the comment about a 1 million gallon aquarium. And I said, “Where!”
She pointed us in the right direction and we headed down the corridor to the exhibit. We spotted the sign over the entrance, The Open Sea. The first displays were of jellyfish. The jellyfish were illuminated with lights turning the jellyfish orange. The background was painted sea blue and the color contrast was stunning. We watched the jellyfish float up and down the tank for several minutes. As we continued our stroll thru the hallway we came upon the million gallon tank. Stunning, Gorgeous, Beautiful, Mesmerizing….This is the display that sets Monterey Bay Aquarium apart from the other aquariums. I could have taken a seat and watched for hours. The soft music in the background and the endless freeform shapes created by the sardines will put you in a trance. The sardines are in constant motion only changing direction because of the other fish in the tank. Yellow Fin Tuna, Blue Fin Tuna, Sea Turtles and Hammerhead Sharks and many other fish have the tank in endless movement. The time was coming up on 4:30 and an announcement was made saying the aquarium was closing at 5. We made our way back to the car and made our way to the hotel.
I had pointed out the hotel to Laurel as we passed it on our way to the aquarium. When I did my research for tonights stay, this was the only hotel on the ocean. We found our way to the hotel and checked in. We were on the 3 floor overlooking the ocean and the city of Monterey in the near distance. There was one thing out of my control on the stay, weather. The skys were over cast and there would be no beautiful sunset over the ocean. We made the most of what we had. We took a barefoot walk on the beach allowing the waves to kiss our feet. When we returned back to the hotel we got ready for dinner. I had found another small restaurant in Seaside. The Fishwife. Again the name captured my interest.
We made the short drive to the restaurant and enjoyed another great meal in California. When we finished we made our way back to the hotel. We went up to the 4th floor, to the restaurant for a night cap to a fabulous day. The bartender was engaging and we had a great conversation during our visit. We headed back to our room enjoying the night lights of Monterey. There were some people having a fire on the beach and the air was filled with the smell of smoke. The waves made a soft roar as they broke over the top. The sound reminded us of strong wind pulsing against the house back home. It was a soothing sound unlike the traffic sounds of San Francisco the night before.
The next morning we awoke and got ready for the day. We checked out of the hotel and made our way to Carmel-By-The Sea for a final walk on the beach. We went north on the beach below Pebble Beach Golf Course. After a long leisure walk on the beach we went back to the car and drove to Monterey. I dropped Laurel at the hotel where she was staying for the conference. I headed back to the airport in Monterey to return the car and get checked in for my flight home. The flight had turbulence with the weather system across the country. As I landed in Minneapolis I could see the rain/snow be highlighted by the strob light on the wing. When I made the drive home I was driving in snow. Yes thats right, toes in the Pacific in the morning and driving in snow that night. It was a great vacation with Laurel.
To be continued with some final thoughts….