Friday, July 26, 2013

Day Trip: Big Sur, Carmel and Monterey

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Pfieffer Park, Big Sur

by Adriana
Hi everyone! It's been awhile. Apologies for the slow updates lately, we at Guinea Piggy have been tied up with so many things outside of the blogosphere: Work, school, vacation, events, etc. It's been a busy summer so far! But we thank you for always coming back to see what we are up to. Since it is a beautiful Friday I wanted to share some of the photos we took when we went off on a day trip to Big Sur, Carmel and Monterey a few weeks ago. It was nice just to get up super early and go on a road trip. Monterey is about 2 hours away from where we live and Big Sur is about an hour past that, I believe. So we left on our trip at the crack of dawn...
P7043600-Edit.jpgWe took the scenic highway one to get to Big Sur and the ocean views were beautiful and immense, some parts of the drive reminded us of Hawaii. We kept wanting to stop to take photos but were convinced that it was going to get better if we kept going...unfortunately that wasn't the case, especially that early in the morning!
P7043601-Edit.jpgYou still get a nice view if your side is not facing the ocean!
IMG_9000.jpgAs we kept proceeding up the highway it kept getting foggier and foggier as the elevation rose. We finally pulled over to decide if we wanted to continue or just turn around and go back. It was so eerily quiet and all you can hear is the ocean but you couldn't see it through the fog. It was already about 8:00 am at the time this picture was taken.
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The ocean was down there somewhere and the hill was like a steep dive down past this metal thing. It was kinda scary! Haha. Not to mention there was zero phone reception out here.
IMG_9005.jpgWe took advantage of the scene and pulled out the tripod to do a quick photo-op of the creepy surroundings. Not too bad. My hair on the other hand was loving the humidity and frizzing out by the second. Ugh. So after some thought we decided it was best to turn around and go follow the sun rather than drive through more fog into the unknown or over a cliff!
P7043596.jpgAnd then we ended up here...just a quick 20 minute drive back from where we were, it was beautifully sunny! We found Pfieffer State park in Big Sur and decided to take a look around. 
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I forced Nestor to bring his Konova slider out so he can capture some nature on video. It was a little difficult lugging this rolling camera bag through the dirt paths, but we made it happen! 
IMG_9016.jpgSince it was still early, not many people were out and about just yet. There were a few hikers and people on bikes and I think people were camping at the campgrounds nearby. Not only was this place stunning, it was clean, big and the air was just so fresh. I could've spent the whole day hiking around looking for the waterfall but we were on a tight schedule. I will definitely check this place out again.
IMG_9027.jpgThis place was much better than the fog. Yes, we were very excited to be there. Haha.
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I tried to make him do these crazy jumps for me but it wasn't working very well. I think the background was a little too busy so it doesn't look as high as it really was. But he sure got a work out from all that. We probably spent about two hours out here before starting to get hungry. When we left we passed by the Point Lobos State Park which is famous and known for its excellent views but the line of cars to get in was so long and our hunger was getting the best of us, so we decided to head to Carmel-by-the-Sea and see what they had to offer for a late breakfast.
P7043724.jpgCarmel-by-the-Sea was a quaint little area with interesting story-book buildings and lots of high end shopping. It reminded me a lot of what you would see in Marin County.
P7043700.jpgThe place was definitely packed with a lot of tourists and the streets are so tiny that it was a challenge to get around and find parking. But once we did find parking, it was fun just walking in and out of shops full of expensive strange trinkets we would probably not ever buy.
P7043638.jpgLingerie shop that we passed by that has some interesting undergarments. Might as well not wear anything if you have a hole that big in the back, right? The things women do for their significant others. Ugh. Haha!!
P7043701.jpgWhat I liked about this area of Carmel was that it had many little alleys that you can walk through and discover. The shops were so small and compact that they reminded me of what Hogsmeade might of been like in the Harry Potter Books, seriously! You can totally get lost but not be worried in this part of town.
Hogsmeade Village replica at Harry Potter World, Universal Studios (Picture courtesy of insidethemagic.net)
So the choice had to be made where we would eat. There were so many great choices but a lot of the places were packed full with people and we were starved. Since there was reception in these parts we consulted the Yelp app to see what was good. We found a breakfast place that had really wonderful reviews and decided to check it out. It seemed a little farther away from the hustle and bustle so we were game to walk a bit more to get a quieter meal.
P7043636.jpgWe walked by an old firehouse that is still being used today. It was just so impressive how these old buildings were in pristine condition. I guess it helps if you are a city that caters to many millionaires. Haha! I think Clint Eastwood lives out here? I may be wrong. But even driving through some of the neighborhoods, especially the ocean front...the mansions were huge!!
P7043634.jpgKaty's Place was the spot we chose and it was so cute! The inside didn't look like much, but it was super cozy and this place had so many positive reviews we had to try it out. When we got there, a small line was already forming outside the entrance. We left our names with the hostess and while waiting outside they had coffee set up so you can drink while you wait. Fifteen minutes later they called our name. They only had open spots at the counter but gave us a choice to wait longer if we wanted a table. We were so hungry that we didn't care and just sat at the counter in front of the kitchen.
P7043611.jpgMenu board right above counter. They also give you a real menu. They offer many breakfast and lunch items and as you can see the prices are NOT cheap! When you're in Carmel, be prepared to splurge. I think a side of bacon was like $4.99? It was a little crazy. Haha.
P7043617.jpgThe busy restaurant behind us. The noise level wasn't too bad but the poor waitresses and waiters were running around like chickens with their heads cut off. If you do eat here we recommend that you ask for a table outside. They have a really nice private eating area out on their balcony that looked like a perfect place to sit!
P7043619.jpgNestor waiting to order his food. He is HUNGRY. 
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Me and my nice hot cup of coffee. Something I really needed after being up since 4:30am! We decided to order a dish that we have never tried before but have always seen on cooking shows: Eggs Benedict. And I also ordered a side waffle to go with it too. Might as well splurge while being here, right? :)
P7043632.jpgNestor's "Katy's Special" Eggs Benedict: English muffin, canadian bacon, soft boiled eggs and Hollandaise sauce with a side of potatoes.
P7043631.jpgMy Dungeness Crab Eggs Benedict: English muffin, sautéed spinach, fresh dungeness crab, soft boiled eggs, hollandaise sauce and a side of potatoes. HEAVEN! We actually thought the hollandaise sauce was going to be a super rich sauce by the way it looks, but it really wasn't. With all the butter and eggs they use, it's amazing how light it actually tastes. 
P7043630.jpgThe waffle with cinnamon, powdered sugar and a side of hot maple syrup. Not that special but the cinnamon gave it a nice touch!
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The BEST hot sauce I've ever come across!!! (And I love my hot sauces!) We loved this Pepper Plant hot sauce so much we bought one off the restaurant. The actually sell these on Amazon if you cannot make it up to Carmel to try it. The company that manufactures it is located in Gilroy. We've had the bottle for about 3 weeks and it's already almost gone. It goes with so many things, though it makes breakfast foods taste amazing!
P7043615.jpgMy view from the counter. I was actually curious how many things they would put in this microwave...not many! It was mostly just to warm up the maple syrup. Good job guys! Haha.
P7043637.jpgAfter breakfast we were super full from the gluttony we just partook of. Nestor found a comfortable bench to sit on but I kept telling him he needed to get off of it because it was an actual bus stop! Or maybe he was really waiting for the bus to pick him up...hmm?
P7043645.jpgMore walking meant more picture taking! I told him to sit in this corner and look pretty. :-P
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I just couldn't take any nice pictures that day so I just embraced my silliness! It was rather fun even though people were curiously watching me act a fool. Haha!
P7043719.jpgSome random flowers and moss we found in front of a storefront. Looked pretty.
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We found a little sitting area in the middle of town and decided to chill there for a bit while letting our food settle. That red door in the background is actually a public toilet, the only one that we found there. I am assuming it was gross since it was for everyone and so many people were using it. Nestor said the flush wasn't that great in there either. Yuck!
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All that sugar from the waffle probably contributed to this silliness. I was actively trying to find a spot to take interesting photos. Not sure if I succeeded but it was funny! This painting reminded me of the Stains the cupcake dog on YouTube.

P7043699.jpgNestor was very hesitant to join me but I got him to sit and imitate the dazed dog. I think he did better than I did. Ugh. Him and his photogenic self. 
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After another hour of hanging out we decided to head back to the car to leave for Monterey. It was already around 3:00p and time was just going by way too fast. We were a bit tired but wanted to make the most of being all the way out here!
P7043746.jpgSo we hit up Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf and enjoyed some beachside. Too bad it was so foggy, but the weather was still pleasant. The wharf here seems smaller than the one in San Francisco, but it had similar stuff. 
P7043751.jpgWe checked out some shops, took some photos. We were still full from our brunch so we didn't get to eat out here. We wanted to check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium but by the time we made it over there, it was going to close in an hour. So we decided not to go at this time and just keep walking.
IMG_9139.jpgSome random cigarette rubbish can. Funny and gross at the same time.
IMG_9114.jpgAnother view of the little beach area. The weather was so gloomy it made us even more tired. It was time to go home!
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Sharknado?
P7043754.jpgOn our way out of Monterey I finally spotted one of their famous Cypress trees! They are awesome. :) 
P7043759.jpgWe ended up stopping for ramen at this joint for dinner in Foster City...it wasn't good at all. We should've went with our gut and ate Thai food instead! Haha. It was a good day though...got to see three different sites we never saw and had some fun too. We would definitely go back and check out the stuff we didn't have time to see. If you are looking for a nice trip to see some fantastic ocean and nature views, definitely check out the Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur areas. They are not to miss!
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Go get out there and SHOOT! :-)

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