Monday, 25 August 2008

California uber alles

The coast road which winds from misty San Francisco is one of the most spectacular drives that you could possibly make. The scenery is wild and rugged and certainly dramatic.
It can change within seconds. One minute you are in the highlands of Scotland and then in a few moments the sea is azure blue and purple.
This is due to what the Americans call the marine layer, a blip in the bay weather conditions which can render it nippy to say the least. It catches most people out. Take a jumper.
Plan the drive to Monterey - home of the renowned jazz festival – to include many stops to catch the breathtaking views.
Monterey itself is a white clapperboard town, with a marina full of fishing boats and a bucket full of history. It is also renowned for a world class fun-and-interactive aquarium which does much to promote environmental issues.
From there, on to Paso Robles - a town away from the coast and in the heart of cattle country. This really felt like being an extra in a western. How the early settlers battled to scratch out a living is hard to appreciate.
One who succeeded more than most was William Hearst, the media mogul who built the grand and so ostentatious Hearst Castle. One visit was really not enough. It was a beautiful monstrosity.
The long drive further inland along the never ending straight interstates which led to Yosemite was worth the nine-hour journey. Ansel Adams’ famous black and white photographs captured some of the power and delicate beauty of Yosemite but the stature of el Capitan, the power of Bridal veil Falls, the colour of the wildflower meadows and the sequoias take the breath away. It’s a must see.
Fifteen nights in California – flights, car hire, and hotels - £1,500 per person with Virgin.

1 comment:

...a taste of me said...

Hello! You left a comment on my blog about how strange it was that we have the same blog layout and just drove the Cali coast...You make me miss travelling! I'm now in school and pretty tied down, though learning and doing other things I love. What are you up to now? I haven't read too much of your other blogs so I don't know much about you. I like the blog name!