After a busy first day in San Francisco, we opted for a more relaxed second day. Since we planned to travel from San Francisco to Monterey the next day, we thought it would be wiser to spend the day fairly leisurely. And so, we began our day with a casual walk around the Palace of Fine Arts.
What's Covered in this Post
Palace of Fine Arts…
Architects originally constructed the Palace of Fine Arts to exhibit artworks for an exposition in 1915. The fair lasted for about 11 months, after which, the city pulled down most of the buildings constructed for that purpose. However, the Palace of Fine Arts was spared because people had fallen in love with the building.
Intended to be a temporary structure, the building was not constructed with durable materials. Eventually, it began to fall apart. Most of what you can see today are not from the original exhibition building. It was completely pulled down, save for the steel structure of the exhibit hall and then rebuilt from 1964 to 1974.
The Palace of Fine Arts turned out to be a gorgeous place to walk around and hang out. It was lovely to see some the resident wildlife gracing the pond; the swans looked so beautiful! I also enjoyed people-watching here. There was a high profile photoshoot going on when we visited. That was fun to watch (while pretending not to watch) for a little while.
We hung out for a little while longer, checking out the empty exhibition hall before leaving to go grab breakfast at a deli close by. After breakfast, we went to Crissy Field, another Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point to hang out. Crissy Field was an excellent place to walk around, relax and even take a quick nap. It was also a great place to observe San Francisco’s Doggy Culture.
One of the things I noticed, and loved, about San Francisco is the huge presence of pets – specifically dogs. In Crissy Field, almost everyone was walking at least one dog. Every once in a while, certain dogs will stop to become friendly with each other, forcing their owners into making small talks. It was both amusing and charming to see.
After spending some time relaxing by the beach, we thought we’d check out Land’s End and Eagle’s Point for a hike and another view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The hike turned out to be very lovely, a bit difficult but lovely. The views of the Golden Gate Bridge was stunning as well.
Exhausted after the hike, we decided to head back to Berkeley to spend a relaxing evening at a local concert. By the time we arrived, we found out that the concert wasn’t starting until another two hours. So, we ditched that idea and went to see a movie instead. We saw “Aladdin” at a very fancy cinema. I loved it!
And with that, our time in San Francisco came to an end. The next morning, we continued our California Road trip from San Francisco to Monterey, our next stop.
California Road Trip Stop 2: San Francisco to Monterey
We decided to make a stop in Monterey for one main reason. We wanted to go whale watching there, or as I like to call it, ‘Sea Safari’. Our drive was up to the city was very scenic (and cold). We made a few stops along the way. First at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse and then, Santa Cruz to have breakfast. The entire drive, including the stops, took about three hours.
We arrived in Monterey by about 1 pm – and checked into our Airbnb. After a little downtime there, we drove down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium with tickets our Airbnb host gave us.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is the best one I have been to so far, followed closely by the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. These days, I feel a certain way about interacting with animals outside of their natural habitats but from the information I could gather online, aquariums like the Monterey Bay’s are doing a lot of good for marine life.
After our time there, we grabbed lunch and just walked around. Monterey is such a gorgeous city! If you watch the TV Series, Big Little Lies, you would totally agree!
I mean I found myself daydreaming about spending my retirement years in this city. My days would be filled with morning runs in a beautiful quiet neighbourhood, lunch in one of the several restaurants that line the streets and the Fisherman’s Wharf and evening strolls on the beach… I got a taste of that in the 2 days we spent here and it felt a lot like the good life!
Whale Watching in Monterey…
The following day, we went whale watching. This turned out to be quite exciting, even though I was worried about getting seasick. I am prone to motion sickness, so I tried to mitigate any form of seasickness by taking a dose of Dramamine, an over-the-counter drug used for motion sickness.
I was doing fine until someone threw up right in front of me, triggering my gag reflex. Luckily, I managed to keep things down by just closing my eyes and opening them whenever Mark told me there was a sighting. A member of staff also handed me ginger sweets which also really helped.
I’d say I had a good time, but the three hours we spent did feel very long. I was glad to be off the boat when it ended. After we got off, we had brunch at the Fisherman’s Wharf. Then we spent the rest of the day leisurely, walking around and hopping from one food or ice cream store to the next.
The next day, we continued our road trip to San Simeon through Big Sur…