Chapter Five

San Simeon Travel Blog

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The visitor center at Hearst Castle.

A nice chance to do something special

 

San Simeon

 

We have been to the coast many times and each time had one or another reasons not to take a tour of the Hearst Castle.  This time we felt we were in better shape and could do the steps and walking.  So we made a phone call to make sure there were tickets available and headed north the 30 miles.  We gave ourselves extra time and it was a good thing we did, because there was road construction along the way. 

 

We had enough time to look around for a few minutes before our tour time, and spent it checking out souvenirs to be purchased when we came out.

The front doors of Hearst Castle Visitor Center.
  Then into the line and then onto the bus which drives the five or six miles up the hill to the castle.  

 

We took the Experience Tour, which is tour number one and recommended for first time visitors.  It includes tours of the 18 room Casa del Sol guest house through four bedrooms and four bathrooms, the Esplanade and Gardens which features so many great marble sculptures and wonderful flowers, and sections of the main home, Casa Grande.  There are five ground floor rooms on this tour, the Assembly room, the largest of the 14 sitting rooms, the Refectory, the only dining room at the castle, with colorful flags flying high near the ceiling. Each of the flags represents a district of Serena, Italy. They say he liked all the colors. Then there was the Morning room, the Billiard Room, with two tables and a very famous tapestry, and the Theater, the largest room in the main home, where we were able to watch a short film of Mr. Hearst’s home movies.  Also included in this first tour are the most famous outdoor pool, the tennis courts, and underneath them the indoor swimming pool.

From the back patio of the visitor center you can see the castle at the crest of the hill.
  The tour takes nearly two hours and on this tour includes 170 stairs, which luckily you don’t take all at one time.

 

And after the tour, on this first tour, you get to see the film "Hearst Castle -- Building the Dream", a National Geographic production on the giant screen which runs for about 40 minutes.

 

Yes, there are newer and more modern mansions in California that you can tour, but this one is like stepping back in time to when things required some real hard work and super craftsmen to build.  Mr. Hearst spent more time and money on this home getting it the way he wanted and having things shipped from all over the world to furnish it and get things just right.  It is a wonderful place to visit and if possible we will return for at least one more tour.  There are a total of five to be taken, one of which is a night tour.

Zoomed in we get a better look.

 

There really isn’t much more to San Simeon than the castle perched high on the hill.  There is a store and post office down across Highway 1 and a small park and pier.  So we drove north a few miles where we saw some wind-surfers and watched the waves hitting the rocks near shore.  Then a few more miles to where the elephant seal have taken over a local beach for themselves.  

 

After watching the elephant seals we headed south again and made our way back to Morro Bay. A slow, casual, and cool ride, which is so nice after a hot summer in our valley. We could stand temperatures in the sixties and seventies all the time.

 

 

Chapter Six

 

Morro Bay

 

My wife loves Calamari, so we went back to a place where we had eaten a few times previously.

As we exited the bus all we could see was the edge of the patio, with the lights and low fancy railings.
Rose’s Landing had served a very nice meal for lunch.  What we didn’t realize is that it serves the same meal for dinner.  Calamari and fries in a basket, with a small bowl of cold slaw.  I had the fish and chips, with cold slaw.  And again, we watched the fog slowly slip into the coastline and cover the rock.  Two days here and neither one gave us a sunset shot that we could take home.  But we have a great cool weather and that was the whole reason for the escape.

 

 

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The visitor center at Hearst Castl…
The visitor center at Hearst Cast…
The front doors of Hearst Castle V…
The front doors of Hearst Castle …
From the back patio of the visitor…
From the back patio of the visito…
Zoomed in we get a better look.
Zoomed in we get a better look.
As we exited the bus all we could …
As we exited the bus all we could…
Half way up the steps the tour gui…
Half way up the steps the tour gu…
Another of the wall pieces.
Another of the wall pieces.
Up on the first patio deck was thi…
Up on the first patio deck was th…
And a nice view of the coastline b…
And a nice view of the coastline …
More of the coastline to the north.
More of the coastline to the north.
And to the south.
And to the south.
And then you turn and look up at..…
And then you turn and look up at.…
This is an 18 room guest house.
This is an 18 room guest house.
Another of the nice bronze statues…
Another of the nice bronze statue…
And a marble statue.
And a marble statue.
Now we turn north and stroll the s…
Now we turn north and stroll the …
My first shot, and just as nice as…
My first shot, and just as nice a…
I couldnt take enough shots.
I couldn't take enough shots.
So spectacular!
So spectacular!
Another try at the perfect shot.
Another try at the perfect shot.
The clearest blue water, the super…
The clearest blue water, the supe…
Super statues.
Super statues.
More beautiful statues.
More beautiful statues.
Totally breathtaking.
Totally breathtaking.
Blue water
Blue water
And very clear
And very clear
Looking up was the top of the gues…
Looking up was the top of the gue…
The patio directly above the pool.
The patio directly above the pool.
Looking down at the pool from the …
Looking down at the pool from the…
Stairs to the guesthouse.
Stairs to the guesthouse.
Nicely sculpted light post.
Nicely sculpted light post.
Looking down the stairs to the poo…
Looking down the stairs to the po…
And down to the side another patio…
And down to the side another pati…
One last look at the pool.
One last look at the pool.
Another of the marble statues.
Another of the marble statues.
A better look up at the top floor …
A better look up at the top floor…
One of the very nice concrete lion…
One of the very nice concrete lio…
Even the floor of the patio was ve…
Even the floor of the patio was v…
One of the nice small flowers.
One of the nice small flowers.
Another of the nice flowers.
Another of the nice flowers.
One of our tour guides standing by…
One of our tour guides standing b…
From the back door area looking ou…
From the back door area looking o…
About to enter Casa del Sol from t…
About to enter Casa del Sol from …
The flowers above the doors area w…
The flowers above the doors area …
One more look out into the gardens.
One more look out into the gardens.
Inside the first bedroom of the gu…
Inside the first bedroom of the g…
The window treatment and wall in t…
The window treatment and wall in …
Looking across the first bedroom.
Looking across the first bedroom.
The bed in the first bedroom.
The bed in the first bedroom.
The first guest bath.
The first guest bath.
The second guest bath. The showers…
The second guest bath. The shower…
The second bedroom of the guesthou…
The second bedroom of the guestho…
Very nice furnishings and fireplac…
Very nice furnishings and firepla…
The second bedroom.
The second bedroom.
The second bedroom
The second bedroom
The second bedroom
The second bedroom
The second bedroom
The second bedroom
The third bedroom
The third bedroom
The third bedroom
The third bedroom
Again, nice furnishing and firepla…
Again, nice furnishing and firepl…
The third bathroom, and again the …
The third bathroom, and again the…
The fourth bedroom
The fourth bedroom
The fourth bedroom.
The fourth bedroom.
The fourth bedroom.
The fourth bedroom.
Outside Casa del Sol guesthouse lo…
Outside Casa del Sol guesthouse l…
Another of the marble statues.
Another of the marble statues.
More of the marble statues.
More of the marble statues.
Lots of nice marble statues.
Lots of nice marble statues.
Another of the pretty marble.
Another of the pretty marble.
Looking at entry to a second guest…
Looking at entry to a second gues…
One of the more famous statues.
One of the more famous statues.
More view of the garden area.
More view of the garden area.
And looking out towards the coastl…
And looking out towards the coast…
Some of the beautiful roses.
Some of the beautiful roses.
More roses and coastline.
More roses and coastline.
Looking back down at the visitors …
Looking back down at the visitors…
One of the extremely old statues M…
One of the extremely old statues …
Again looking down to the visitors…
Again looking down to the visitor…
Turning around from the last shot …
Turning around from the last shot…
I had to take several shots.
I had to take several shots.
Trying to get all the detail.
Trying to get all the detail.
And finally I took the same shot y…
And finally I took the same shot …
Back along the side you can see th…
Back along the side you can see t…
Another shot of the front.
Another shot of the front.
This great statue is right out in …
This great statue is right out in…
A better closeup of the front door…
A better closeup of the front doo…
And detail of the great wooden cov…
And detail of the great wooden co…
I also got a couple of pictures of…
I also got a couple of pictures o…
Closer they looked even nicer.
Closer they looked even nicer.
I had to do a little color changin…
I had to do a little color changi…
Lots of detail over the front door…
Lots of detail over the front doo…
Along the side prior to going in w…
Along the side prior to going in …
Even this small side door had grea…
Even this small side door had gre…
Inside the large sitting room or C…
Inside the large sitting room or …
One of the nice bronze statues in …
One of the nice bronze statues in…
Over the fireplace.
Over the fireplace.
The fireplace
The fireplace
Another shot of the fireplace
Another shot of the fireplace
A sitting area at one end of the A…
A sitting area at one end of the …
Looking up at some of the tapestri…
Looking up at some of the tapestr…
The great detail and tapestries of…
The great detail and tapestries o…
Looking out into the foyer of Casa…
Looking out into the foyer of Cas…
The ceiling detail.
The ceiling detail.
Looking out the front doors of Cas…
Looking out the front doors of Ca…
The tour leader (in the hat) was s…
The tour leader (in the hat) was …
Looking up at more of the tapestri…
Looking up at more of the tapestr…
Another marble scupture in the ent…
Another marble scupture in the en…
Looking up again.
Looking up again.
So much detail to capture.
So much detail to capture.
Beautiful work.
Beautiful work.
Looking back at the other end.
Looking back at the other end.
Look at the detail in the wall sea…
Look at the detail in the wall se…
And the ceiling.
And the ceiling.
These were all purchased and shipp…
These were all purchased and ship…
Magnificent detail.
Magnificent detail.
The tile work in the foyer.
The tile work in the foyer.
The tour was entering the Refector…
The tour was entering the Refecto…
Another bronze in the Assembly Room
Another bronze in the Assembly Room
Note how these wall sections are m…
Note how these wall sections are …
Lots of detail on these.
Lots of detail on these.
In the Refectory the flags represe…
In the Refectory the flags repres…
The flags gave the look of medieva…
The flags gave the look of mediev…
And the single long table ran the …
And the single long table ran the…
Lots of color here.
Lots of color here.
And again a very ornate ceiling.
And again a very ornate ceiling.
And the upper fireplace
And the upper fireplace
Another large tapestry
Another large tapestry
And our tour guide told of some of…
And our tour guide told of some o…
More of the flags.
More of the flags.
Looking up at one end.
Looking up at one end.
The tour guide also explained the …
The tour guide also explained the…
Note the ketchup and mustard on th…
Note the ketchup and mustard on t…
Although the napkins had his initi…
Although the napkins had his init…
And this huge septor lay directly …
And this huge septor lay directly…
Ashot looking towards the fireplac…
Ashot looking towards the firepla…
Leaving the Refectory was a doorwa…
Leaving the Refectory was a doorw…
In the Morning Room there was a fi…
In the Morning Room there was a f…
And pretty blue glass at the other…
And pretty blue glass at the othe…
A lower nice ceiling.
A lower nice ceiling.
Another shot of the end of the roo…
Another shot of the end of the ro…
And some of the antique furnishing…
And some of the antique furnishin…
The fireplace again and doorway to…
The fireplace again and doorway t…
Another doorway to the Billiard Ro…
Another doorway to the Billiard R…
The ceiling in the Billiard Room
The ceiling in the Billiard Room
The Billiard Room
The Billiard Room
A very nice tapestry in the Billia…
A very nice tapestry in the Billi…
Another shot of the ceiling in the…
Another shot of the ceiling in th…
Inside the Theater Room
Inside the Theater Room
Inside the Theater Room
Inside the Theater Room
We got to watch a few minutes of h…
We got to watch a few minutes of …
And of some of his animals.
And of some of his animals.
More animals he had at the estate.
More animals he had at the estate.
More detail inside the Theater
More detail inside the Theater
The tennis courts.
The tennis courts.
Below the tennis courts you walk i…
Below the tennis courts you walk …
The water is ten feet deet from on…
The water is ten feet deet from o…
And creates a wonderful mirror ima…
And creates a wonderful mirror im…
In the center on one side is a div…
In the center on one side is a di…
And the steps from the pool are ve…
And the steps from the pool are v…
More marble statues.
More marble statues.
This one was hold a die, even cut …
This one was hold a die, even cut…
Another long view of the pool.
Another long view of the pool.
Just plain beautiful.
Just plain beautiful.
Looking down through the steps int…
Looking down through the steps in…
The tile work on the pool was made…
The tile work on the pool was mad…
More statues.
More statues.
The platform again, for diving.
The platform again, for diving.
The area from the platform back wa…
The area from the platform back w…
And there was a springboard at the…
And there was a springboard at th…
Nice tile work just outside the in…
Nice tile work just outside the i…
The wind and sail surfers were hav…
The wind and sail surfers were ha…
The wind and sail surfers were hav…
The wind and sail surfers were ha…
The wind and sail surfers were hav…
The wind and sail surfers were ha…
The wind and sail surfers were hav…
The wind and sail surfers were ha…
The wind and sail surfers were hav…
The wind and sail surfers were ha…
The Elephant Seals have their own …
The Elephant Seals have their own…
The hectic life of an Elephant Sea…
The hectic life of an Elephant Se…
Some trying to look like a log.
Some trying to look like a log.
Others rampaging in the sand.
Others rampaging in the sand.
Nearby there were lots of gulls an…
Nearby there were lots of gulls a…
A few playing at the waters edge.
A few playing at the waters edge.
The small surf crashing against th…
The small surf crashing against t…
Snoozin
Snoozin
This little squirrel was curios
This little squirrel was curios
Upclose and curious.
Upclose and curious.
Momma and child laying close toget…
Momma and child laying close toge…
Just a little ways south the beach…
Just a little ways south the beac…
But the winds surfers still sailed…
But the winds surfers still saile…
At dinner back in Morro Bay the fo…
At dinner back in Morro Bay the f…
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San Simeon
photo by: hannajax