We met last week at Zion National Park(https://travel-along.in/2021/11/12/zion-national-park/)
Leaving the canyons behind, we arrived San Jose from Las Vegas. We were picked up by our friend who lives in San Jose.Well we have been family friends for years , being neighbours we are like extended family….So it was a home coming of sorts for us!
We took a walk around his house and since it was halloween time, saw the decorations in front of many houses.
He treated us to dinner at an Italian restaurant that night.
Dinner at an Italian restaurant with our hosts
Next day, he drove us to Big Sur..
The Big Sur is a rugged stretch of Pacific coastline of central California known for its scenic beauty.The Santa Lucia mountains rising abruptly from the Pacific ocean results in steep coastal cliffs, redwood forests and beaches.The narrow road lies between the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific ocean.It has often been described as the longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in America.In 1937, the present highway was completed after eighteen years of construction. The highway has since been declared California’s first Scenic Highway, and it provides a driving experience unsurpassed in natural beauty and scenic variety.(Resembles the Great Ocean Road in Melbourne with lesser winding roads!!)
Highly restrictive development plans for the area has led to it being sparsely populated and hence helped preserve its natural beauty.There are various look out points along the coast, besides hiking trails, reserve forests and camping grounds
Historically the name Big Sur was derived from El Sur Grande, The Big South( the name given to the unexplored wilderness areas south of Monterey)
Traveling to Big Sur
You can travel to the Big Sur only by car…either your own or a rental car.
Depending on the time in hand , you could spend anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days doing this trip. It entirely depends on how many stops you take!
Carmel, and San Simeon are two cities between which this beautiful drive lies. You could start from either end and skirt the pacific coastline. Whalewatching is another sought after activity here.
The Monterey Bay
At Monterey with our friends…
The Bixby Creek Bridge
The Pacific Coast
We visited Carmel...a small beach city in the Monterey peninsula known for its scenic beauty and artistic history.
Its narrow streets are dotted with restaurants and retail establishments. The atmosphere is very festive with tourists thronging the streets. Had lunch at one of the restaurants and strolled around the streets for some time.
I must mention here that I have never had such delicious Tiramisu anywhere else!!!
Our Next Destination was The 17 Mile drive
The 17 Mile Drive is a scenic drive in the Monterey Peninsula along the Pacific coast and passes through famous golf courses, beaches, mansions and other attractions. Visitors have to pay a toll to use this road which passes through a gated community.A route map is provided to the visitor .
Most of the drive passes through the Del Monte Forest area and you can access the beaches at designated places. There are clear sign boards and following them one can reach the choice destination.
In contrast to Big Sur,which is natural by and large; 17 mile drive is more man made….with golf courses, large mansions,picnic spots and other recreational avenues.This is more a representation of American High-end Cultural lifestyle. Whatever it represents or whichever way it came….its definitely worth a drive.
The map showing the drive and attractions on 17 mile drive
One of the main attractions is Pebble beach
Pebble beach has a famous golf course by the sea…which is a novelty and is a venue for many international golf tournaments. I am no golf expert but from what little I know, there is no other golf course by the sea. It is extremely beautiful.
At Pebble Beach
Golf course on Pebble Beach
Another point is Point Joe
Particularly rocky part which is infamous for ship wrecks in olden days named after Joe a native who lived here in a driftwood hut
Driving further down we were at Bird Rock
On a lucky day one can spot seals on the rock….but we were not in luck!
Finally we reached Lone Cypress
It is a single Cypress tree atop a rocky pedestal overlooking the Pacific.
The Lone Cypress
The view of this single lone cypress tree on a small cliff overlooking the mighty Pacific Ocean is beautiful to say the least.
As I stood and watched this, a poetic thought rushed through my mind….
Here I stand lone and tall!
Here I stand lone and tall!
Happy to see you all!
Must visit me one and all!
Do come to see me…lest I fall!!!
So let us get inspired by this lonely tree standing up to the vagaries of the mighty Pacific …Meanwhile you all stay strong till we meet next week at…..downtown San Francisco
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