We decided this year to take another summer road trip, this time a shortish one up to Northern California along Pacific Coast Highway, the main destinations being Hearst Castle and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
We left not too early on Sunday morning, and stopped in Solvang for lunch, having a very good meal at the Solvang Restaurant on Copenhagen Dr. (where else?!), including the obligatory and delicious æbleskiver. After lunch we impulsively rented a four-person bicycle surrey, and rode around town to find ourselves at the Elverhøj museum on the edge of town, which was small but very charming -- the textiles were a bonus!
The red sleeves, by the way, are a hand-knitted nattrøje, the bodice that forms part of the traditional Danish folk costume. This one appears to have a fabric waistcoat over it, or possibly the knitted sleeves are sewn to the fabric bodice, as was sometimes the case.
On the drive up to San Simeon, we stopped in Morro Bay, really just to visit the Shell Shop, which David thought that Julia would enjoy. She was in sea-shell heaven, actually -- it is truly amazing, all of the shells they have, some in displays like this one, but most just in orderly bins so that you can pick and choose, and a real bargain, too.
On Monday morning, we went to Hearst Castle. Even if you know all about it and have seen the photos, or what you think of Hearst himself, it's still jaw-droppingly splendiferous. It was a beautiful day, warm and breezy but not too much of either -- we did two of the three available tours that day, the Grand Rooms and the Upstairs Suites, partly because to be honest it's a bit pricy but also because it's just a lot to take in, all of that sumptuousness.
Ceremonial flags in the Refectory.
Ketchup and mustard bottles and paper napkins amidst the centuries-old furnishings and china. Apparently I am not the only one amused by this irony of the "common touch" amidst the opulence.
A still life in a corner of one of the dozens of guest rooms. Each room that is visible on the tour has a dressing case or clothes laid out, as though a house party was going on.
One of the three "guest houses" surrounding the main house -- these have at least four bedrooms each.
On the way up PCH, we stopped to see the elephant seal rookery. The males come ashore at this time of year to molt, and just lie there on the beach like a bunch of boneless chicken breasts, occasionally rearing up to make a strange grating bark.
The coastline is lovely, and we stopped a number of times just to take photos, even though the air was a bit grubby.
On Tuesday, we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was very crowded, but the jellyfish exhibit was strange and lovely.
Someone had brilliantly arranged the tanks so that the light coming through the water, and the color of the backgrounds, made the jellies beautifully surreal.
This was a brilliant touch, a crowd of ceiling lamps covered with fiber optic cable, so that you felt as though you were swimming with the jellyfish, or perhaps were one yourself.
After the aquarium, we were, surprisingly, not too tired for another bicycle surrey ride, and went along the waterfront to Lovers Point, to admire the views.
On Wednesday, we stopped at Point Pinos to look around in the tide-pools and admire the lighthouse, though only from a distance, as it wasn't open that day. This is the oldest operating lighthouse on the west coast.
And then home! It was a good trip, not too long, with a pleasing variety of sights along the way, and it was good to see some more of our beautiful state!