- Friday began with an early tour of the Verisign data center (C's last work-task). It was interesting, very Mission Impossible.
- As we entered I walked past a bush, and I saw something moving out of the corner of my eye. My first thought was, "What a huge bug!" It looked like a giant dragonfly or something. A second look, and I realized it was a hummingbird, hovering over the leaves! I've never seen one outside of the zoo before. Pretty cool.
- After the tour, we drove down the coast. We stopped in Santa Cruz, where we found a cool sock store. I would have bought tons of cute socks, except they were rather pricey. I settled on just one pair with giraffe heads on them.
- Walking along the beach there, we watched surfers and kayakers on the ocean. We also saw a monument to surfers! "To those who caught their last wave," I believe the inscription read. Or maybe I saw that elsewhere...I don't remember for sure.
- For lunch there was a local coffee, a caramel bun, and a Jack-in-the-Box burger on C's recommendation.
- Eventually we made it to our destination: Monterey. Our plan had been to visit the famous aquarium. When we first arrived though, the place was full of tourists, cars, and lines, and we found ourselves losing interest in the fishies. Instead, we went to the beach and strolled on the sand.
- We had made a reservation for theMunras Lodge, so we went there next. When we mentioned the aquarium, the proprietor said that he could sell us discounted tickets which would allow us to use the "group" entrance and avoid the long line. They were also good for two days. So we decided to visit the aquarium after all.
- It was a fun place, so I'm glad we made it! Their jellyfish exhibit is really amazing. They also have some huge displays, with sea otters, giant squid, tuna fish (and not in cans!), and all kinds of weird creatures. It was definitely a neat place.
- Leaving the aquarium, we strolled around downtown Monterey for awhile. Lots of cute little shops, the usual touristy stuff. More socks. We went to a Cajun-themed restaurant called Crawdaddies for dinner. Now, while driving to Monterey, we had noticed many artichoke farms. So we made sure to eat at a place that served up local steamed artichoke....it was wonderful! Tender, tangy, and delicious. We also had a tasty seafood cioppino, filled with shrimp, crawfish, clams, and lobster.
- Our hotel had an in-room gas fireplace, plus a public jacuzzi. We
made good use of both, and our last night in California was peaceful and
- The next morning it was, alas, time to head for the airport. We packed up our stuff and checked out.
- We drove up the coast at first, then took a scenic drive over the top of Mt Madonna, which was very beautiful. We even saw some redwoods there, I think. ("I wouldn't know a redwood if it fell on me," I admitted to C...I just know they are very big. And presumably red.) Regardless, it was a very pretty road.
- On the other side of the mountain was Gilroy, the Garlic Capital of the World. Seeing how we began our vacation with garlic, it seemed a fitting way to end it. We sampled and purchased some garlic peanut brittle.
- We stopped just outside of Oakland in San Leandro for a delicious Korean
lunch, then we caught our flight home (first buying some See's chocolate in the airport) and back to reality.
- (Oh, and the cool shoes I keep harping on about? I'm wearing them in the clam-picture above. Nifty, eh?)