Friday, 30 August 2013

Dana Point

Brendon is standing at the cave entrance

Brendon's surprise trip for me was to visit Dana point. I did too much sailing on the weekends before and it was time for us to go somewhere together, without racing and boating. Dana Point was named after Richard Henry Dana, Jr who wrote Two Years Before the Mast. Kinda strange to name a town after a dude who made his fame practically suffering good two years on a tall ship. First we went to San Onofre State Beach, which has some famous surf when all wind and sea are in perfect constellation. Was a pretty one if we don't think of the Nuclear Power Plant standing right where the beach ends.

Romantic beach getaway

Or as a matter of fact the beach doesn't end, the backdrop changes into fluorescent dogs and mutant ninja turtles.

They were mutants...

The Dana Point harbor is great. And big, open, pretty impressive and if somebody is not crazy about sailing boats then it is possible a very boring place. We even met a guy in the pub, who was well into his 80s walking 5 miles every day to get his two pints of beer there and about 3 days from heading to Australia as a returning tourist. We decided he was an ex-military dude based on his perfectly trimmed hair and even more perfectly ironed slacks with shirt and a Ralph Lauren pullover... I had fish sandwich and home mixed ginger ale.

Replica Pilgrim

Dinner was sushi and pretty good cocktails after watching the sunset by the water. Seemingly there were thousands and thousands of people parking all over the harbor. We figured that whole Camp Pendleton was partying here.

So very pretty with water in the air...

Next morning we toured out to the headland, which is an enirely different cup of water with rusting broken weather marks, caves, birds, hermit crabs and dead sea lions with dead sea otters. There is something for everybody. We had a lovely walk around it. I could have spent there hours and hours. I mean we spent there hours and hours. Then we came home.

Some sort of sea grass

Monday, 27 May 2013

Morrow Bay, Hearst Castle and big beasts of the sea

Morro Bay

A Sleepy little fishing village half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay was the first place I’d seen with really nice beach breaks since leaving Australia. It was well into winter though, so everyone was in thick steamers, booties, even a few hoods. It looked something like this, but not so sunny or full,
The surfers were not alone in the water, sea otters, seals and sea lions seemed to live a charmed existence in the harbour. Great water quality and plenty of baitfish.  A hand full of trawlers and tuna boats docked at the wharf (attached directly to various restaurants) clued me in to exactly what we would be eating – Sashimi and Sushi.  There was no disappointment that night, the Pacific Ocean had delivered.

Marine layer incoming...

Big Rock

The Big Rock is still there, behind the marine layer...

San Simeon

At first glance, the beach appeared to be littered with drift wood, huge pieces of drift wood. Initial thoughts turned to flotsam from Fukushima. Many things had been washing up in the months preceding this visit- Does flotsam smell like a cattle truck in summer? Does it roll around flicking sand high into the air? No, it does not. Apparently what does stink up a beach and render it unsafe for a dip are 2000kg Elephant Seals. The immense aquatic beasts like to bask, swim a bit, maybe fight for a while, and then get back to basking. I wonder why they weren't all over the much nicer beaches just south of San Simeon…

Drift wood from a distance

Love at first bite

We all need somebody to lean on

Or sleep on...

Hearst Castle

If you've seen Citizen Kane, you have a fairly rough idea of what William Randolph Hearst’s life was like.
The colloquial origin of this expansive dwelling is that Hearst no longer liked camping up on the hill and desired something ‘A little more comfortable’. Having not been (or seen) behind the doors of any modern palatial private residence, I was unprepared for what we would see. Many of the materials had actually come from European churches which Hearst had pulled down, shipped out and re-purposed -with great effect! Hearst actually did this with many of his dwellings- the man was to European manors, churches and palaces what the English are to the rest of the world’s treasures. No doubt Jackson’s Neverland and Hefner’s little house are the McMansion equivalents of La Cuesta Encantada.

PS there was still wild Zebra.

Palm trees in the mist

Ready for a European Christmas


The Grotto shouldn't be left out

Castle view

2 years later...

So the Paris post never happened.

As a matter of fact a whole lot of other posts have never happened.

But we moved to Los Angeles and will try to start again to inform friends and families about our wonderful world of wonders.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Paris oh Paris

This will be the place for Brendon's Paris post. If that ever happen...

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Weekend in Wales Part 3

The Sunday in Wales saw us going to the Valley of River Gwaun. It is a wonderful creek, I wouldn't go as far as calling it a river. We were alone here just as much as the previous day in most of our walks and it was simply beautiful. It still amazes me to see that people feel the urge to throw away their chocolate papers even in so wonderful places as this river walk. From here we started to drive to Pentre Ifan, another burial chamber, this time a famous and iconic one. The road through the Preseli Hills was really interesting, Brendon even made a video recording the fast drive he enjoyed so much. I thought that this dolmen will be really busy, after all it was weekend and this is really a famous one, but no. Once again, we had the whole place for ourselves.

One interesting discovery we made was that the welsh sheep wear their tail long. Must be the local fashion...

In a petrol station we have heard the shopkeeper speak welsh to her daughter. A very very strange sounding language. I didn't find any similarities to anything I know. I guess that is what people feel when they hear us Hungarians talk.

I was told that the Welsh are rude and the weather is Wales is always rainy. I don't know about all the people and all the weather, but we had sunshine and lovely time.

The next story will come from Brendon and will be about Paris.

Moss and ferns

River Gwaun

Riverside with sheep sprinkle

More river side

Long tailed sheep

Brendon at Pentre Ifan

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Weekend in Wales Part 2

The second day we went first to the lighthouse of Strumble Head. We were the first ones there. The place was still covered with clouds which kept swimming and rolling through the hills. The roads there were also crazy, single line narrow nothings sometimes so deep in clouds, that we couldn't see anything. The lighthouse is magnificent. I actually think all lighthouses are magnificent, because what they represent and what they did forever. Saved so many.

The next place we visited was Carreg Samson, which is a dolmen. Or cromlech, just to show off my non-existing Welsh knowledge. We had a map for walking and biking. Based on that we tried to find this place in the middle of somebody's farm. Brendon absolutely didn't believe we would find it. So when we actually turned off the road to a place called Longhouse (which is just a big and not very pretty farm), he said it better be the most fantastic view he can imagine. Then he didn't speak any further. Cos it actually was one of the most fantastic things to see. Really in the middle of a field probably for sheep, looking towards the harbor of Abercastle, the sea and the rocks of the shore line. To carry on with the Welsh lecture, Aber in geographical terminology means a confluence (where two waters meet) So Fishguard, where we stayed at night for example called Abergwaun, which is the mouth of river Gwaun. And you will hear more about the Gwaun river more in the next episode.

So Carreg Samson is a 5000 year old burial ground of about 1000 people. It is as old as Stonehenge, and the stones for Stonehenge were actually from the Preselli Hills,which is exactly where we stayed. Although it may seem small, it is way taller than any human. And if that isn't enough, we saw a seal at the harbor of Abercastle. It actually climbed out to one of the pontoons and had a proper sun bathe. Almost was lying on its back to get more sunshine on his belly. The first ever seal I saw outside a zoo. The rest of the nature was very pretty, especially if you like rugged landscapes. Brendon had a bit of an accident with a pile of cow poo which camouflaged itself as a piece of stone. But we don't talk about it. Then we went to St Davids, which happened to be the smallest city of Britain. Only 2000 people, but the one of oldest cathedral (and a very BIG cathedral). Fairly impressive. Good ice cream.
Then we went to the beach of Whitesands. Little sad Brendon remembered Australia and surfing so we went to St Justinian to have a look at Coastal walk there and what a walk it was. I couldn't stop taking pictures and Brendon couldn't stop wondering about the water, very typical strait water in Europe :)
Then we had dinner, when the sun went down and drove back to our B&B in the deepest fog ever. Clouds were back and attacking.
It truly was a wonderful day, our face got sun, we were walking many miles and saw many incredibly beautiful things.
I don't even think that the pictures do justice to what we saw.

Strumble Head in clouds

Abercastle harbor

Unknown origin of blobs on the ground

The farm of Longhouse

Carreg Samson

Whitesands rocks

Brendon on the rocks

St Justinian coastal walk

Ramsey Island where St Justinian was a hermit and sunset

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Weekend in Wales Part 1

Considering that rain is always falling in Wales, we had one hell of a burnt nose in the end of the second day.

We stayed in this wonderful B&B and I mean wonderful. And pink. With a fairy garden. As a matter of fact, the whole thing was very fairy tale like. And at least every second house is pink. And there were sheep sprinkle everywhere. And the sea too.

But to start in the beginning, we had a day off plus the weekend and drove to North Pembrokeshire in South Wales. The first day we walked around in the old harbor of Fishguard, where famous movies like Under Milk Wood with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were shot. Also Moby Dick with Gregory Peck. The pictures are from the fort above the harbor. (Fort which has real canons... never fired though)

The extra pictures are from the house where we stayed. It is really old. Used to be the farmhouse of most of the land as far as you can see. Now it has the most interesting neighbor. A dairy farm which is not smelly. Many many cows. Very strange indeed. Though they look totally cool when early morning they are going to work.

There were also 2 cats, one of them wanted to be on every single picture, the other one kept sleeping on Brendon's car and leaving fur all over. (We knew it was him, because he was the white one)

Next two days are coming when I get there, but don't despair... There will be many more pictures.

That is me and the fort

The country of fences

Fence plus beautiful view

Fence and the fort and the view
Garden view with early morning mist and dancing trees

The pink house where we stayed plus the black cat

Fairy garden for Brendon's mum

Not a church but a bell to call the workers in