Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Anniversary Trip Day Two: Hearst Castle and Monterey

Friday morning: view from our tent in Morro Bay

Good morning, Sunshine!

After a yummy breakfast of campfire bacon and eggs, we packed up our tent and got on the road.  It wasn't a far drive to Hearst Castle...but I was so excited!  Thankfully, there was lots of beautiful coastline to keep me occupied until we got there.  I love the ocean!

On our way up to Hearst Castle--do you see it at the top of the hill?

We got there with enough time to eat lunch at their cafe.  We sat at a table and watched tour buses make the climb up the hill to the Castle.  Even got to see some of the zebras in the pasture!

We took Tour 1.  Since neither of us had ever been there before, we figured it would be a good introduction to the Castle.  Also, I've been dying to see the Roman Pool for years, because it's all people ever talk about when they come back from seeing Hearst Castle!  Very few people call it "the Roman Pool," though.  It's much better known as the GOLD pool!  It lives up to its name...

Check out the entrance!  The crazy thing is, our tour guide told us that when William Randolph Hearst invited guests to the Castle, this wasn't the entrance he used.  There's an even more elaborate entrance on the other side. (I like this one better, though!)

So excited to finally be here!

All of the architecture and landscaping is so gorgeous!

Neptune Pool
Those are all Roman columns from ancient temples and other buildings.  They're all different sizes because they all came from different places.  Just amazing!

Pretty statues

Just breathtaking!

From the top of the steps
Jesse and I decided that we need to become volunteer tour guides here someday.  See the modern looking pool ladders in the pictures?  Yeah, they're there because swimming in the Neptune pool is one of the tour guide perks!

Steps leading up to the Casa del Sol guest house

Entering one of the guest bedrooms

No flash photography allowed...sorry these are kind of dark.
I loved this room...almost as much as I loved the beautiful white summer dress on the bed :-)
I want one!
I really think I belong in the era of white gloves and lace parasols...

A more manly room...

I would love to have a patio with a view like this!

Casa Grande

This is the grand entrace to the Hearst Castle.  It was a big deal because, right after the discovery of King Tut's tomb, Egyptian artifacts were very fashionable.  Hearst researched these two, purchased them, and made sure that everyone who came to his castle knew he was hip :-)

I'm pretty sure that Jesse's favorite part of the whole tour was seeing that W.R. Hearst always made sure there was ketchup and mustard on the formal dining table!

The Roman Pool was spectacular--just like everyone said.

Walking on gold :-)

None of these mosaic pieces is larger than 1".  Can you imagine how long in took to lay these beautiful patterns?  Floor, walls, ceiling, everything.

We loved the diving platform.  Everything about the pool was just breathtaking.

It's expensive to get to see Hearst Castle, but I'm really glad that we did.  I'm thankful that I don't live in as ostentatious a place as that, but I enjoyed getting to see such an incredible collection of antiques and treasures, enjoy beautiful architecture, and see such lovely landscaping.  It was worth it!

A few miles down the road from Hearst Castle, we saw seals!

I insisted that we pull over to see them and take pictures, but as soon as I opened the door and put my foot out, I pulled it back in with a scream and closed the door.  There were little chipmunks everywhere, and those little beggers wanted to eat my bright pink toe nail polish!!!

They were really friendly with Jesse, too...hoping for handouts!

Check out how they would stand up and reach for him

Jesse loved it!  I was more concerned about rabies than cuteness, but...I have to admit, it is pretty darn cute! (when you're not wearing flip flops!)

It was incredibly windy out there.

I could barely even walk
I felt like Wilbur the Albatross from Rescuers Down Under

Jesse nearly died laughing at me!

At first, we only found one seal close enough to see very well.
(but we were still proud of it!)

Jesse walked out to see if there were more seals over there

Not much luck over here...

But look what we found over here!
(Somebody's sure excited about it!)

The dark guy in the middle of this picture cracked us up.  He just waddled up from the water, decided he wanted to be between two seals, and wedged his way in.  The other two barely even woke up.  You think he'd look a little more pleased with himself after an endeavor like that :-)

This one was one of our favorites.  Look how cute he is, hugging himself!

 Heeeeeeeeere, pup!

Back in the car...whew!  Where's that hair brush?!?

A little while later, we were in Monterey.  We stopped at the harbor for some sightseeing and dinner.

Jesse was excited to get to go to a pub :-)
I was excited for authentic clam chowder.

Pretty view from our table

Enjoying dinner together

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

It was a wonderful day!