Day 14

Thursday 26th May 2011

Carmel-by-the-sea

Our hotel room is away from the road so we had a good nights sleep, although the neighbours next door were loud till late. Tina thought the reason why they were so loud was the thin walls. I tended to agree!

Today was Tina’s birthday so when she woke up she opened the cards that I brought over with us. I’m glad she had some cards as otherwise it would have been a pretty boring birthday and eventually when we got home it would seem a bit flat opening them a week later. Anyhow, she got quite a few cards; in fact more than I would when I’m at home.

We had just finished getting showered when there was a knock at the door and it was the cleaner wanting to ‘do’ our room. As we were about to go down to breakfast then we agreed and left her to it, not feeling guilty of the mess we had left it.

Breakfast was a continental affair, as we’d had at previous hotels and so I took some of my gluten-free biscuits and ate them whilst Tina had croissants and a cup of tea. The room where the breakfast was being served was very small and so we had to stand whilst we consumed our food and drinks. Back up to the room where the cleaner was just finishing up.

Although I had bought Tina a birthday present last week at the Pandora shop in Las Vegas, I wanted to also get her something from the Tiffany & Sons store in Carmel. I had researched before booking the hotel and once I found out that Carmel had Tina’s favourite jewellers just up the road, I knew that would be our first stop on her birthday morning.

The shop was empty of other customers and so she had the pick of the glittering jewellery and picked a small pearl bracelet. We then walked down to the beach for a better view now that the weather had improved. In fact it was beautiful morning.

As we walked down the hill, we remarked on some of the houses we saw; some were very odd and a bit ‘Hansel and Gretel’. Not sure what makes someone want to stay in that type of house; I guess American’s love that sort of thing I suppose?. We also spotted a number of large squirrels running across the road into the back garden of a house. The behaviour of these creatures was very odd, making loud noises as they ran to and fro across the road and up the trees. We suspected the owners may possibly feed them regularly. We then passed another very strange looking property with black crows or rooks outside in the trees making a hell of a racket. Again it felt very odd and all very creepy.

We arrived at the beach and had a sit down watching the beach start to fill up. One thing we were surprised about was the fact that dogs were allowed on the beach; in fact Carmel is supposed to be one of the most dog friendly towns in the United States. There certainly seemed to be plenty of people walking them. Anyhow, there were only a few people actually in the sea; the pacific being bit too cold this time of year.

We left the beach and headend inland to find somewhere to have a coffee then returned to the hotel. We had agreed we would drive into Monterey again so we left shortly after.

We firstly stopped at Cannery Row, an area that was converted into shops and restaurants now that the fishing industry no longer sustained the working population. We then drove the short distance to the Fisherman’s Wharf and had lunch at the London Bridge Pub. It was a themed public house and the food was OK. There was something a bit odd in the gents restroom though; a urinal ‘trough’ full of ice cubes. You actually peed on the cubes and they melted as you emptied your bladder. I don’t recall seeing one of those in any London pubs I’e frequented!

Fully fed, we then revisited the Del Monte Center where I had decided to be a bit indulgent and buy a Macbook Air. I had been thinking about getting one for a while as my laptop at home is a bit slow, but just couldn’t justify spending the money. Of course in the USA, prices are much cheaper and I believe I saved a couple of hundred quid by getting it here. I am now typing my blog on the new toy, and who’s birthday was it today?

We then decided to drive the famous 17 Mile Drive, a stretch of private road that travels through some of the most scenic and jaw-dropping coastline you could imagine. The drive costs $9.50 but it was money well spent. The area is famous also for the many golf courses including a USA Open Golf championship one, Pebble Beach Golf Course, the last being held there in 2010.

We stopped at many of the viewing points, watching seals, big fat squirrels that were fed by the tourists and the Lone Cypress Tree, that the Pebble Beach Golf Course logo is derived from.

We then drove back to the hotel to relax before going out for a birthday celebration meal. We found a nice restaurant off of Ocean Avenue in Carmel called The Grill, which served some lovely food. Tina had pasta with chicken whilst I had duck breast with rice and vegetables. We both had creme brulee for sweet. I also ordered a bottle of red wine (not realising it was red wine) as Tina doesn’t drink red wine so I ended up drinking most of it.

We walked back to the hotel and watched some more TV. Tomorrow we leave Creepsville, as Tina affectionally now calls Carmel and drive south towards Los Angeles again.

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