Big trees and the Big Sur

11 03 2008

Back in Puerto Rico and it’s HOT, at least compared to California and Mexico… I will write about our adventures out west during the next few days – it will be easier to read in small portions🙂

Our Sunday in San Francisco / the Bay area was spent in the great company of my Canadian friend Christos and his photographer girlfriend R. We drove across the Golden Gate bridge to Marin County where they have just settled in a small cabin up on a mountain among the trees… There are other houses around, but their cabin still felt very secluded with beautiful views over the valley and it had a very cosy atmosphere with two small terraces and an open fire.

According to the Lonely Planet, a typical Marin County resident eats organic, votes Democrat and drives a SUV… It is a rich area with small towns and local shops and lots of green spaces and mountains – very different from the so-called Peninsula south of San Francisco, around Silicon Valley which is quite flat.
Redwood trees in Muir WoodsTall redwood trees in Muir Woods

Our hosts had just been to the farmers’ market and had picked up some pic-nic food, and after having given us some advice on what to see further south in California (they just moved up from Los Angeles), we headed to the Muir Woods National Monument (what is the difference between a National monument and a National park??). Muir Woods is famous for its redwoods, the world’s tallest trees and it was great to walk among them in a real European-style forest again (compared to the rainforest in Puerto Rico)! After a nice hike in the forest, it was time to check out the beach – Muir Beach, where we had our organic pic-nic and an afternoon nap in the sunshine. Our thirst was quenched afterwards at the Pelican Inn, a typical English countryside pub in California!! It was such a lovely, relaxed day and I was very happy to see Christos again.
Pic-nic on Muir BeachPic-nic on the beach

On Monday we drove south after a morning fika with the blog girls Monica and Lotta K at Stanford University. We quickly arrived to the Monterey Peninsula, south of Santa Cruz, where we walked around Monterey State Historic Park with old buildings such as California’s first theatre! The town felt quite deserted but I am sure that on weekends the tourists and weekend-visitors fill the streets… The first impression of the peninsula was the smell – it smelt so good of wild herbs!
Magnolia in bloomMagnolia in bloom in Monterey

Driving along the coast from Monterey to Pacific Grove, I spotted some seals sunning themselves on the shore – I love seals (I think my fascination comes from my favourite cuddly animal when I was a child – a seal pup!) so I made O stop the car so that I could get a closer look. In Pacific Grove, another obviously wealthy town, we saw some beautiful summer houses – they reminded me of the pretty houses in New England. Unfortunately the Point Pinos lighthouse was just closing when we arrived so we continued to Carmel-by-the-sea and had a late pic-nic salad lunch on the beach. The funny thing was that I read afterwards that the salad I had bought in a cafĂ© in Monterey is a Californian classic – the Cobb salad (turkey / chicken, egg, tomato, blue cheese, avocado and bacon)!
Carmel-by-the-sea beachThe beach in Carmel-by-the-sea

The Big Sur or Highway 1 is a famous route on the west coast – it starts just south of Carmel and goes all along the dramatic coast to San Luis Obispo, 130 miles (210 km). It is called the Big Sur from the Spanish el pais grande del sur, which was the name given to the area by Spanish settlers in Carmel. This coastal area didn’t get electricity until the 1950’s and TV reception in the 80’s.

Point Sur Light StationPoint Sur Light Station
We were taking it easy though, as our destination was not very far on Highway 1. I had booked a room for us at Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn (a great tip from Christos and R) for the night. We arrived just before sunset, after a short drive admiring the views along the way. The inn is composed of small, basic wooden cabins (they make sure that you know what you are getting when you make a booking!) and I absolutely loved it. It felt like we were staying in a Scandinavian mountain cabin, which is not so strange as the Deetjen family was Norwegian (I’m still trying to figure out that name, it doesn’t sound very Scandinavian…).
Deetjens Big Sur InnDeetjen’s Big Sur Inn

The restaurant at the inn is supposed to be really good but we found the price level a little high so we back-tracked a few kilometres north and had a great dinner at the Big Sur River Inn. The next day we decided to try another local place and had breakfast at the Big Sur Bakery (the names really make sure that you are not confused about where they are located…) on the sunny terrace – it was just warm enough to sit outside.
The Big SurThe Big Sur in the morning

Continuing along the coast, we saw more spectacular views of the mountains and sea, and fortunately not a lot of traffic. Just when the coastline flattened out and we thought that we had missed our next destination, we saw them – the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas! These seals are huge, or at least the male ones (bulls) which are actually really ugly – their heads look like elephant trunks, and they can weigh up to 2 tons! I could have spent all day looking at the seals, but we had to continue… More on that soon 😉

Elephant sealsA male elephant seal has just moved along the sand rolling across the younger seals – like a steamroller… fortunately he didn’t crush any of them (which sometimes happens, we were told by one of the volunteer guides).


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21 responses

11 03 2008
Anne

SÄ ni Àr hemma igen, fullmatade med intryck och hÀrliga upplevelser! Ni verkar ha haft nÄgra toppenveckor, kÀnns det svÄrt landa och vara hemma i vardagen i PR igen?
Deetjen lÄter inte skandinaviskt nej, inte alls.
Jag kĂ€nner igen bilder och berĂ€ttelser, vi Ă„kte ocksĂ„ den hĂ€r rutten. Fantastiska vyer och massor att se. Lite trafik hade vi ocksĂ„, jag antar att det Ă€r betydligt mer packat framför allt pĂ„ somrarna. Mars Ă€r vĂ€l fortfarande lĂ„gsĂ€song? Monterey tyckte jag jĂ€ttemycket om och Pacfic Grove, det fanns nĂ„n 17 mile scenic drive dĂ€r som var nice. Du har vĂ€l lĂ€st/hört att Clintan Eastwood varit borgmĂ€stare i Carmel🙂

11 03 2008
Desiree

SÄ interessant och kul att lÀsa och följa er resa. MÄnga fina foton du fÄtt. De dÀr redwood trÀden skulle jag sÄ gÀrna vilja Äka och titta pÄ. Kusten ser underbart vackert ut. Ni verkar ha hittat riktiga smÄ pÀrlor att stanna till vid vad gÀller bÄde boende och matstÀllen. Ni har ju varit med om sÄ mycket och fÄ se sÄ mycket pÄ bÄde öst och vÀstkusten. Bra att du valt att dela upp reserberÀttelserna i lite olika delar. Jag ser fram emot att fÄ fortsÀtta lÀsa övriga delar och se mer bilder. JÀttebra att fÄ tips som man kan skriva upp pÄ sÄdant man sjÀlv vill se och stÀllen att Àta och övernatta pÄ. VÀlkommen tillbaka till tropikerna pÄ din soliga ö.

12 03 2008
cecilia

Vilken hĂ€rlig resa ni verkar ha haft – Pelican Inn Ă€r en favorit hĂ€r med, det Ă€r sĂ„ nĂ€ra en engelsk min man kan komma:).
Är lite nyfiken pĂ„ hur ni upplevde traffiken i SF eftersom jag inte hĂ„ller tyst med hur frustrerande jag tycker att den Ă€r, hihi.

12 03 2008
Anita

Hi Petchie,
Glad to see you located Deetjen’s and enjoyed your time there! Deetjen was a Bergen native, but like so many from Bergen, his heritage is mixed. The archivist in Bergen said he thought Deetjen’s name was Dutch. However, in their family book (The Deetjens of Bergen and Bremen) the first entry is in the year 1258.
I had some of the book translated from German when I wrote the book about the Inn–BIG SUR INN; THE DEETJEN LEGACY. If the Inn had a sod roof on each cabin, it would remind me of one of the many wonderful outdoor cultural museums in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. I was in all five Scandinavian countries last summer, and so hope to go back. I loved it all. If you’re in Stockholm, WHAT a magnificent city you live in! I loved every moment there, and I hope to get back one day.
Best wishes to you.
Kind regards,
Anita

12 03 2008
Millan

Vad skoj att se dina foton! Allt ser helt underbart ut! Jag haller aven helt med om att salar ar sa mysiga. Valdigt sallan, men trots allt da och da, jag har sett dem liggandes pa klipporna i skargarden utanfor Goteborg. Jag tycker att de ser sa snalla ut pa nagot satt..

Hotellen (eller B&B) som ni bodde pa sag himla mysigt ut tycker jag. Det later ju jatte mysigt att bo i sma stugor!

12 03 2008
Jess

Men vilken fantastisk resa ni haft!
Och att fÄ se all den natur som ni sett mÄste vara priceless (för att hÀrma Mastercard reklamen)..
SÀlar Àr ju sÄ söta att det inte Àr klokt.
Hoppas att ni nu kan vila upp er lite i ett hett Puerto Rico innan det bĂ€r av pĂ„ nya Ă€ventyr för er…för det antar jag att ni har planerat?😀

KRAM!

12 03 2008
Annika

SĂ„ vackra bilder!! SÅ fin kust! Jag skulle sĂ„ gĂ€rna göra den resan ni har gjort. FörstĂ„r att det Ă€r mĂ€ktigt till max!
Ni verkar ha haft sĂ„ trevligt. Ser fram emot fler berĂ€ttelser och fler bilder. Precis som Jess undrar jag ocksĂ„ vartĂ„t nĂ€sta Ă€ventyr bĂ€r…
Snacka om att du fÄr SE och uppleva MYCKET!!!

12 03 2008
petchie

Anne, vad kul att ni ocksĂ„ Ă„kt den rutten pĂ„ vĂ€stkusten. Visst Ă€r det fint! Jag tror faktiskt att mars Ă€r lĂ„gsĂ€song, och speciellt som vi var dĂ€r mĂ„ndag-tisdag… men Deetjen’s inn var Ă€ndĂ„ fullbokat nĂ€r vi kom fram sĂ„ det var tur att jag ringt under fĂ€rden för att boka ett rum!
17-mile drive skippade vi, men lĂ€ste att det skulle vara vĂ€ldigt fint. Jag hade helt glömt bort att Clintan varit borgmĂ€stare i Carmel, det visste jag ju egentligen🙂
Ja, lite svÄrt Àr det att landa i PR igen, mycket som ska fixas eftersom vi fÄr Ànnu ett besök idag!! En gammal klasskamrat till mig frÄn nÀr jag bodde i England, ska bli jÀttekul!

Desiree, de största redwood-trĂ€den finns lĂ€ngre norrut men de var mĂ€ktiga, de vi sĂ„g! Och det var verkligen trevligt att gĂ„ i en “vanlig” skog, ha ha! Om ni har chansen att Ă„ka till Californien och köra the Big Sur, ta den – det Ă€r en upplevelse! Jag brukar tĂ€nka samma sak om dina reseberĂ€ttelser, jĂ€ttebra att ha som referens om vi kommer till din del av USA (vilket jag hoppas!).

12 03 2008
petchie

Cecilia, visst kĂ€nns The Pelican Inn konstigt nog vĂ€ldigt engelsk och inte sĂ„ mycket en imitation som mycket annat i USA… Hi hi, jo jag har mĂ€rkt att du inte gillar bilförarna i SF😉 Dock mĂ„ste jag sĂ€ga att i jĂ€mförelse med belgare och puertoricaner sĂ„ var det inte sĂ„ farligt!! Det jag reagerade pĂ„ i Californien Ă€r att folk kör mycket fortare Ă€n puertoricanerna – hĂ€r kör de som galningar men som tur Ă€r inte sĂ€rskilt fort!?

12 03 2008
petchie

Anita, thank you so much for the background information about the inn! I actually also thought that the name Deetjen sounds Dutch. I really liked the place and I hope to return one day. I saw your book in the restaurant but unfortunately I didn’t buy it.
It must have been a great trip you made last year, I actually just recently visited Norway and Finland for the first time. I come from the south of Sweden, just opposite Copenhagen but I live in Puerto Rico at the moment.

12 03 2008
petchie

Millan, roligt att du gillar mina foton. Jag tycker ocksÄ att sÀlar Àr söta djur (förutom de hÀr elefantsÀlarna, hanarna Àr extremt fula och groteska!!). Jag trÀffade pÄ en sur sÀl en gÄng i SkÄnes djurpark, han / hon ville absolut inte att vi skulle titta pÄ honom och skvÀtte vatten pÄ oss, ganska kul faktiskt! Jag har aldrig sett sÀlar IRL förut sÄ det var extra kul att se djuren pÄ tvÄ olika stÀllen förra veckan.
Jag tror att O inte var lika imponerad över stĂ€llet vi bodde pĂ„, han fattade liksom inte grejen med att bo i en liten trĂ€stuga med springor i vĂ€ggarna, ha ha. Men sĂ„ sov han för första gĂ„ngen i ett trĂ€hus för nga Ă„r sedan nĂ€r vi var i vĂ„r sommarstuga, han var lite nervös!! Spanjorer😉

12 03 2008
petchie

Jess, den hĂ€r resan kommer jag att leva pĂ„ lĂ€nge – just att den var sĂ„ lĂ„ng och att vi fick uppleva sĂ„ mycket vitt skiljd natur, personer och kultur gjorde den extra speciell.
Ha ha, just nu har vi inte andra resor inplanerade men O vill Äka till Argentina och till centrala Mexico.. vi fÄr se vad det blir men framför allt ska vi hem till Europa i juli!

Annika, ni mĂ„ste Ă„ka dit – det Ă€r sĂ„ vackert! Jag förstĂ„r dock att du helst Ă„ker hem till Sverige och Finland pĂ„ semestern😉 Nja, fĂ„r se vad det kan bli för ngn resa nĂ€sta gĂ„ng, men O har stora planer för oss!

12 03 2008
saltistjejen

Völkommen hem igen!
Ni verkar ha haft en underbar och fantastisk semester pĂ„ alla tĂ€nkbara sĂ€tt!🙂 TrĂ€ffat vĂ€nner, bĂ„de nya och gamla. Sett och upplevt en massa! Jag blir verkligen avundsjuk!😉

Ska bli jÀttekul att fÄ fortsÀtta följa allt ni varit med om nu nÀr du kommer skriva och visa bilder pÄ bloggen.

12 03 2008
petchie

Tack Saltis! Det Ă€r skönt att vara hemma igen, borta bra men hemma bĂ€st – iaf efter 2 veckor sĂ„ Ă€r det skönt att packa upp, tvĂ€tta etc.
Jag kommer att fortsÀtta att skriva om vÄra upplevelser, vi fÄr se om jag hinner med mer idag.
Kram!

12 03 2008
Christos

Glad you stayed at Deetjen’s in Big Sur – what a great place!

12 03 2008
gottablandat

Hej

vad kul att du hittat till mig🙂 Du Ă€r sa vĂ€lkommen tillbaka sa!
ja habitat har ursnygga grejer, finns tyvĂ€rr inte hĂ€r😩
vad kul att du bott i geneve! pluggade du da eller var det au pair eller nat annat?

vad coolt att du bor i puerto rico!! nu ska jag kika runt lite hĂ€r🙂

12 03 2008
petchie

Christos, thanks for the great tip!! I felt like home, O was a bit more hesitant – Spaniards don’t get the whole rustic, wooden thing😉

GottĂ„blandat, tack det samma!! Jag var först au pair i GenĂšve 1994-95 och sedan praktiserad jag pĂ„ en NGO 2002, jag Ă€lskar den staden och har mĂ„nga vĂ€nner kvar dĂ€r som jag försöker att besöka med jĂ€mna mellanrum. TyvĂ€rr har jag aldrig varit i ZĂŒrich men mycket i den fransktalande delen (min pappas morbror bor sedan 45 Ă„r mellan Lausanne och Vevey).

13 03 2008
gottablandat

vilka underbara foton!! Ser helt fantastiskt ut alltihopa! lÀngtar saaaa till sol och vÀrme!!

13 03 2008
petchie

GottĂ„blandat, vad roligt att du gillar fotona! Det var en helt fantastisk resa och jag Ă€r sĂ„ glad att vi fick tillfĂ€lle att besöka sĂ„ mĂ„nga intressanta platser och personer. Jag Ă€r ganska bortskĂ€md med sol och vĂ€rme fĂ„r jag erkĂ€nna😉

13 01 2009
The Top List of 2008 « Petchie’s adventures

[…] mine and O’s, some new blog friends and experienced so much. My favourite part was probably the Big Sur and the big colony of seals we […]

3 02 2010
Wednesday recipe: Swedish Scones « Petchie’s adventures

[…] I had also forgotten that my Canadian friend, C, who I by the way have known for 10 years right about now (many friendship anniversaries lately!), got the scones recipe from me when he studied in Lund. My friend Å and I used to say that we wanted to marry him; he was (still is, I guess!) the perfect guy who would call us up to ask if he could come and bake in my apartment (no oven in the student dorm), or borrow my sewing kit! That he also is a very talented photographer was of course an extra plus We last met when O and I were visiting California, almost two years ago. […]

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