The West Coast has the sunshine and the girls all get so tan
It's amazing what a little California sun and some Beach Boys tunes can do for the soul. After three jam packed days filled with good friends, beaches, hiking, kayaking, and seaside roller coasters, I feel refreshed and ready to conquer the world. While the weather back in Seattle was actually just as nice, nothing can really compare to the sun in California. Plus, let's be honest, as the Beach Boys put it, "The West Coast has the sunshine and the girls all get so tan," but the song is clearly titled California Girls, not Washington Girls. Deep down, I secretly wish I were a California Girl. Time to relocate.
I was headed to Monterey, California to meet up with my longtime friend/college roommate Angie. While most of my friends have done a bit of travelling, Angie reigns supreme. She and her husband Archie have conquered the globe backpacking through all of Europe and Northern Africa. They spent two years in the Peace Corps working in Mongolia and travelling through Asia. Now as I write this she is jetting off to the Middle East to visit Syria, Lebanon, and Turkey. Her husband Archie is currently spending several months in Syria learning to speak Arabic. Yeah, they are hardcore.
Saturday morning we started out bright and early with a fantastic breakfast spread at Great Awakenings near Cannery Row before making our way to the front of the line at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. For those in the know, the Monterey Aquarium just so happens to be one of the most renowned aquariums in the United States. Getting there early was key as Saturday is often the busiest day of the week. We lucked out and had the place almost to ourselves for about two hours.
While the aquarium is nestled in perhaps one of the most touristy areas of Monterey, we couldn't help walking amidst the tourists exploring the legendary Cannery Row. We didn't linger long as the hoards of tourists and trinket filled souvenir shops are not really our style.
Instead we opted for a stroll along the coast to one of Angie's favorite parks, Lover's Point. The views were incredible and each beach was dotted with sea lions.
As morning had slowly become afternoon we stopped in nearby Pacific Grove for some picnic makings before making our way to the scores of beaches along the scenic "17 Mile Drive." This winding route takes you along beautiful coastline and rugged forests. It is also home to the Pebble Beach Golf Links and this weeks U.S. Open. While we didn't see many golfers, we did see these guys on the green.
Lunch was spent lounging seaside. We spent a couple hours just basking in the sun and catching up on each other's world travels over the last six years in this spot.
Continuing on our drive we made our way to Carmel where swanky shops and artsy galleries lined the streets. Manicured women and chiseled men wandered with their perfectly pristine children. This was where the rich and famous maintain there homes away from home. We spent the afternoon wandering about the shops and admiring the picture perfect quality of the people and storefronts.
Upward and onward we went. We spent the evening hiking around Point Lobos which is located just outside of Carmel. We chatted about life, love, and happiness and reflected in moments of silence while admiring the natural beauty.
Our day ended with a drive along the coast towards Big Sur where dramatic cliff sides plunged into the inky blue waters below and mist rolled off the ocean and gathered along the coast. It was truly spectacular and an incredible finish to our marathon day of sightseeing.
In the end, my hopes of becoming one of those tanned California Girls that the Beach Boys croon about were dashed when I discovered my golden skin was a bright cherry shade of red. My Seattle skin just can't handle the California sun I suppose.