SUNDAY, July 29th.
We woke up with the sunrise to scenery that looked like a painting on someone’s wall. The fog rolling in over the mountains with a clear blue sky in the background looked absolutely magical. The air was surprisingly crisp, but the promise of more amazing views and a craving for a hot cup of coffee made us crawl out of our sleeping bags.
We took a walk around the ranch…
Sourdough toast with apricot jam (made the day before!) and a cup of coffee at the ranch was a perfect jumpstart for the day. To be able to squeeze in a second breakfast strongly recommended by locals as the best Eggs Benedict on the planet, we decided to take a hike to Los Padres dam.
We were ready for our breakfast…
Toast in Carmel Valley does serve the best Eggs Benedict on the planet!
The goal for the day was to drive up to Los Gatos to stay over with my friend’s sister and visit a few landmarks on the way.
Our first point of interest was Carmel-By-The-Sea. We drove along the beach admiring the cypress trees and cute little cottages that looked like hobbit houses. With its undeniable European charm, it’s no wonder this small town was rated as a top-ten destination in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler.
Next stop, Carmel Mission. San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo is one of California’s most historic buildings. The church, museums and courtyard are incredibly well preserved, restored and cared for.
Our last stop before getting back on the road was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Sea otters are so chill and funny, I could watch them all day. Unfortunately, our schedule was not set up for that and we couldn’t miss The Jellies Experience everyone talks about…
The sign at the entrance of the jellyfish tanks says Prepare To Be Amazed. I was! I was especially amazed how jellyfish can trick you into thinking you have nowhere else to go and nothing else to see. They are mesmerizing!! And there are so many different species… fascinating colors and patterns… and the way they move… We had to get out of there!
Driving up the Pacific Coast Highway through Santa Cruz mountains was a great scenic ride. Although I think the jellyfish had done some damage to my sense of beauty… The mountains had lost some of their magic.
It wasn’t until we drove up the winding roads to the cabin near Los Gatos, that nature caught my full attention again. Our directions told us to take a right after dead man’s curve… The road up to the cabin was all curves and we started to wonder if we might miss the right one until we came to a curve that couldn’t have been called anything else! If you have driven a car up a spiral staircase, you know what I’m talking about. There’s no other way to describe it. This road must have been designed by coyotes and mountain lions!
We found the cabin. All you could see, feel and hear around you was nature. My friend’s sister with her tiny frame, flowing white hair and beatific smile fit right into the scenery! After a delicious and simple dinner in serene surroundings I was convinced this angelic and mysterious creature was the Goddess of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
We took a walk up the road lined with redwoods. In the dark, we couldn’t see much more than the silhouettes of the trees, but you could feel the beauty. I always thought I was pretty brave, but walking around in the pitch black forest, hearing stories about mountain lions and banana slugs, I found myself secretly hoping, if we have to encounter one of them tonight, please let it be a banana slug! We didn’t see either one. Bummer!
Enough adventures for the day. Bedtime.