View from Highway 1.
At the recommendation of our lovely Russian concierge, we took the Super Sightseeing Tour to Monterey
and Carmel, figuring we probably wouldn't be back in the bay area for a long while. We were picked up promptly at 8:20am and taken to the main office over on Fisherman's Wharf. We then began the adventure, deciding at the last minute to purchase the Monterey Aquarium with our package.
Even just outside San Francisco
, we could tell the fog would be a motif for the day. Regardless, I found the fog enchanting and thought it added to the beauty rather than took away from.
The drive over was nice, but I was disappointed with the amount of time they gave us once there. Monterey looked very quaint, but, having purchased the aquarium, I didn't get to see much of it. The aquarium, however, was indeed pretty fun. My dad opted out, as he says we see fish for free down here =), so my mom, brother and I participated in a little speed-seeing. I was a little sad that I didn't get to read all the fun things they had to say, but I figured I could always just look up some information. Instead I finally put my camera phone to some use and took tons of pictures of jellyfish, otters, and penguins.
When we finally got out into the town itself, I saw what I'd been waiting to see- Sea lions! Yay! About that time, luck was shining down on me, the fog cleared out and the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day/hour.
Beach. Looks a lot like Ireland/Scotland.
=) We only had an hour and 15 minutes to explore, so with our time pretty much up by that point, we returned to the bus to eat the little picnic we brought.
After Monterey, our driver took us on the 7-mile drive, which I think was really just a long drive around a golf course. I didn't really know anything about it but we got some nice views out of it. Immediately after that, and by this point I was getting pretty tired, we headed over to Carmel, where we got a little more time than in Monterey, something I just didn't understand. Carmel was cute and quaint and very European, but, frankly, it was all shopping. If you wanted to walk to the beach, it would take the entire time you were there. Overall, I thought they should have cut some time there and added it to Monterey, where they knew people would be going to the aquarium.
My hot-weather little self was also pretty cold in Carmel, so that made me a little less happy since I wasn't prepared. We enjoyed ourselves a cup of coffee that, while being quite tasty, did little to warm us up.
After arriving back to our hotel, we decided that our little lunch picnic was no match for our appetites and headed over to Lefty O'Doul's on Geary. We'd passed by it a few times since we'd been there and noticed that it was almost always packed. Being fans of anything Irish, we decided to check out the food. It turned out to be delicious! And, even better, inexpensive! My brother and I each got a corned beef platter, with bread, mashed potatoes and macaroni for about $7/8! It was really good food and the karaoke with the piano guy did a lot of good for the atmosphere.
One of my favorite moments of the trip also happened here- this fantastic little German couple was sitting at the table next to us, and having learned that I was in the process of learning German, decided to have an in-depth conversation about America with me. They were great fun, and it was great for me to be having a conversation that was a salt-and-pepper of English and German. This guy, Fritz, absolutely loved America; he knew every single capital of every state! He was a riot, and we parted that night with contact information exchanged and a promise from me to send him a postcard from Texas (he was incredibly distraught that he had yet to travel there=) ).