No trip to this area would be complete without a trip to the Monterrey Peninsula and a visit to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. We got an early start this morning and drove straight on down.
Traffic was not too bad. The route took us over hills, through ancient eucalyptus groves, past farms, and finally past the blowing dunes north of Monterrey along the coast.
The aquarium itself was not crowded. Visiting mid-week paid off. We wandered through the exhibits, lingering at the huge tanks. There is something relaxing about just watching fish swim.
One of my favorite displays are the tanks with jellyfish. These are illuminated in such a way that they seem to glow.
Lunch was at the aquarium restaurant. We had fish and chips at a table with a spectacular view across the bay. The tide came in, and sea lions and otters swam outside the window, as gulls and cormorants dived for fish.
We watched as the otters were fed, then headed outside for more views of the bay itself.
This is probably the best aquarium we have ever visited. I’ve not spent much time at the one in Atlanta, but this one certainly is better than the aquarium in Charleston.
We headed back to the car, dropped the top, and decided to explore the coast a bit. We found a lovely little park in the town of Pacific Grove with a garden lined with blooming ice plant. We walked along the rocks, watching the birds.
From Pacific Grove we decided to explore Fisherman’s Wharf. Both the Wharf and Cannery Row near the aquarium have become tourist havens, with little junk gift shops and restaurants. The Wharf did offer views of sea lions, who take up residence on just about any flat surface.
We decided that it was time to head back. However, we had one more stop to make. The Mission of San Juan Bautista was on the route home, so we stopped by there. Unfortunately, the mission had just closed for the day, so we were only able to take some shots from the outside.
The little town is quaint, with many historic buildings. We walked along the single main street, peaking into the art galleries that were still open. One had some original paintings that really caught our eye. I think we might have made an art investment if we could have figured out how to get it home.
We made our way back to the hotel, rested a bit, then went for a quick dinner. From there we headed over to visit Laura’s cousin, Linda. We spent the rest of the evening catching up. It turns out that we got our artwork anyway. Linda gave us a beautiful framed watercolor that she had painted. I guess we’ll need to find a way to ship art anyway.