Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Monday - Monterey, Memorial Day and Living in the Moment

Today we drove south down the California coast from Cupertino to Monterey. It was not a very warm day, nor was it sunny, but it was a pretty drive nonetheless.

Monterey is a very historic town. Founded by the Spanish in 1770, the first California constitution was signed here in 1849. John Steinbeck immortalized Monterey in his novel “Cannery Row” and in 1953 Monterey’s Ocean View Avenue was officially renamed to reflect the book’s title. It’s a pretty little place, with lots of shops and restaurants. The old sardine canning factories, which were closed in the 1960’s due to over-fishing, have been remodeled and turned into a thriving shopping and dining area. You can even attend wine tastings here. The views out over the sea are just lovely.

We arrived around lunchtime, so popped into Louie Linguini’s for a bite to eat. It was a very nice lunch and the view out to sea from the window (which we were lucky enough to sit by) was gorgeous. After lunch, we spent a pleasant hour or so wandering through the shops and attending a wine tasting at the Bargetto Winery Tasting Rooms. We purchased a couple of bottles of wine, including one to to the friends we were visiting this evening.

We then headed to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I’ve been to a lot of aquariums in a lot of different countries and I must say I think this is the best I have been to so far. There are huge tanks full of fish of all kinds. You stand in front of them and it is almost as if you are in the tank with the fish. Some of the tanks have jellyfish in them, and I had no idea how beautiful these creatures could be, nor how many different kinds of jellyfish there actually are. I also enjoyed the tanks where you could touch various ocean creatures including rays, and also starfish, crabs and even sea cucumbers. It was an incredible experience, particularly for someone who had never touched a live starfish or sea cucumber before in her life. I felt like a little kid. There was also a special exhibit called ‘The Secret Lives of Seahorses’ which was just wonderful. I have never seen so many seahorses before. I knew they were amazing creatures but I had no idea just how amazing! I also really enjoyed the aviary. It is a fantastic place to visit, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you live too far away to visit though, there are lots of webcams available online for you to look at - check them out by clicking here.

By this time it was getting a bit late, and with the Memorial Day traffic to worry about, we thought we had better head off. We had been invited to our friends’ house for a barbeque and did not want to be late. (I find it an amazing coincidence that we are very lucky to know folks in lots of the places we visit, so it means we can usually catch up with old friends no matter where we go.) Luckily we managed to get there on time and we had a really fun evening with them.

We had a really lovely day together. I’m sad now as the 21st Century Husband will be working for the rest of our visit, although we will have the evenings together. I can’t believe it is Monday already - the 21st Century Teenager and I go back home this Friday and my husband does not return home until next Thursday. I hate it when he is away, and I’m really dreading Friday!! I wish we could stay longer but with GCSE exams looming, my son has to get back and I need to go with him. I’m working very hard to live in the moment so I don’t ruin the fun times we can have over the next couple of days by worrying about something that is days away, but it is a struggle. I really wish I could stay longer. Not only do I want to be with my husband, but I really enjoy being in California! Why does time always fly when you are having fun?

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