Woooh, lots to cram from our coastal trip up the Highway 1, so I’ll summarise:
- Santa Barbara: gorgeous Pacific sunsets, squirrels who live in seaweed, jalapeno Martinis and snoring oafs who keep the whole dormitory awake with their incessant, slabbering inhalations. One time he did seven separate snores in one draught of breath. SEVEN. I struggle to list all Snow White’s dwarves in one breath, so in some ways the guys deserves respect.
- Big Sur: not a headmaster, but a beautiful wooded wonderland; the scent of pine thick in the air, the roads twisting nauseatingly along the coastal ravines and the prospect of seeing a mountain lion round every corner (not that we saw any). And also where I succumbed to heat stroke owing to the beach trip 24 hours prior.
- Carmel/Pebble Beach: reputedly one of the most serene driving locations on the planet – and don’t get me wrong, it was lovely, but a thick sea fog had by now set in, giving the cypress trees an ethereal, ghostly quality. (And as for the enormous 40-ft bulbous seaweed stalks that resembled nothing short of slippery maritime phalluses writhing in the mist – scary ain’t the word). Plus we saw an island saturated with sealions, another squirrel with sea legs, some otters, dolphins and hummingbirds. So that was nice.
And so on to our final destination: San Francisco, home of:
- Hippies and other people who appreciate my penchant for ethnic beads
- The San Francisco Giants
- A lovely old tram
- The hand that held the iPhone in the first commercial (belonging to a lovely chap called Uncle Bob)
- The Golden GateBridge, engulfed by…
- More fog
- The finest ice cream I have ever eaten (frozen creme fraiche with pear and hazelnut caramel, since you ask – frozen in front of my very eyes)
- A massive park with some bison in it
- An astonishing array of ace beers
- The HoFro – a sodding quart of Hoegaarden and raspberry beer. Bloody ace.
- Some very steep hills
- The FerryBuilding, housing some extraordinarily tempting fresh produce
- Yet more fog
- Some pretty spicy hot wings and insanely good Chinese food in the Castro district, where that Milk film was shot.
And all of the above were sampled with a smile on our collective, slightly burned and fog-ruddy faces.
If you’d like to hear some of my musings from my trip, listen to the audio update which will be up shortly! Hopefully that will whet your appetite for our next podcast.