Monday, July 30, 2012

Honeymoon Pt II

We pick up where we left off in Carmel, California:

Carmel Mission

If I had to pick my most favorite place on any trip that Ron and I have taken, I would immediately answer with the Carmel Mission.

Years ago (2006 to be exact, on my friend Jess's 24th birthday), we were celebrating Jess's day at her parents' house.  They have many really cool paintings throughout their house, but my favorite one depicted a Mediterranean-looking church at what could be either sunrise or sunset.  Jess's mom saw me looking at it, and she told me the story of how she came to select it.  Turns out, the church in question was not in Europe: It was in California.  "If you ever go to Carmel, you HAVE to go the Mission.  If you go, this painting will make even more sense."

I got it.

Say what you will: Nothing beats a Catholic church.
The energy at this place is amazing.  I don't know what it is: the architecture, the gardens, the fruit trees, the fountains, the hidden statues, mosaics, or murals.  Probably, it's everything all together.

Plus, the weather this particular day was unbelievable.  Warm, but not sweltering.  Dry, but not oh-my-God-my-contacts-are-killing-me dry.  Days like this are too rare in Philly.

We even saw a bride there--that has to be good luck when you're on your own honeymoon, right?

Happy fourth anniversary to you, wherever you are!
17-Mile Drive near Pebble Beach

Ron grabbed a stone to take home.
Pacific Coast Highway on the way to Big Sur
Pfeiffer beach in Big Sur

I sorta wish we had had bathing suits and towels and just made a day of this.

I just remember that the sun was so blinding and the water was so blue and sparkly.
One of the bigger mistakes we made on this trip: Going out of our way to Bodega Bay.  Against the advice of my grad school friend, Rachel, I insisted on stopping here on our way to Napa because I really wanted to see where Hitchcock filmed The Birds.  What a mistake.  In terms of mileage, it was seriously out of the way, and I think we stayed in town maybe 30 minutes.  I have to tell you, no sooner did we arrive in town and I completely understood why Hitchcock picked this location for the movie.  It is incredibly, inexplicably creepy. It's way too quiet, and it feels incredibly isolated.  Geographically, it's not really isolated, but it's miles away from anything that I would call civilization (ie, supermarket, Target, traffic lights).  I won't ever go back.  The energy here is not comforting or positive.  The hair on the back of my neck still stands up when I think about it.

Rachel had been here before because one of her friends got married in this famous church.

When all the kids run screaming from the school house and the birds are dive-bombing them, my mom and I laugh and LAUGH. It's so hilarious. We are sick people.
A private family lives in the school house now, but there are public hours when you can enter through the front doors and see the front rooms from the foyer.  It was creepy and weird, and I don't remember the home owners being welcoming and friendly. Ron and I got back in the car and we said, "Why do they bother? They clearly hate strangers in their house ... Why don't they just close up shop?"

And then we shot the hell out of there.

I know it's a touristy thing to do, but go to Mondavi's vineyards when you're out there.  I knew nothing about wine or wine production when I went in there, and they explain everything so concisely. I thought it was great.  Call me a walking cliche', I don't care.

No lie: The people who took this were drunk, thus we are out of focus.

80 degrees and no humidity ... some of my best hair days of my life were here.
Seriously, I didn't even feel like I was in the US when we were in Napa.  For me, the essence of California is most noticeable here. It's like being in some foreign country where everyone happens to speak English with American accents. Completely bizarre.  In terms of a Napa strategy, I quickly figured out that it's worth going to many vineyards in one day to see the gardens and fountains.  You can only do so many tastings before you're wasted and unable to drive (unless you spit, which totally grosses me out), so we did one tasting and didn't bother at the other places.

Croque Monsieur at The Girl and The Fig

Ah, The Girl and The Fig. I love you, TG&TF.  I love sitting out back on your softly lit patio and drinking fig royales and your petite gateau plate.  Love love love.  Simon Pearce was the only thing I had that sort of resembled you, but alas he has left me and now I have nothing: No girl, no fig, and no Simon.

Another thing I just have to carelessly throw in here at the end: The A.M. buns at Sweetie Pies in the Napa River Inn.  OH!!! THE A.M. BUNS!!! I cannot stress this enough!  It is the most divine combination of sugar and butter I have ever had! They made me weep.  Enough said.

And that's it.  That's My California, circa 2008.

Pennsylvania: I love you.  I was born here and will probably die here. Sometimes, though, I hate you because your highways are falling apart, you're too uptight, you say weird stuff like "wood-der" and "be-cuuooz," and you lazily offer up Philly as the best way to spend a Friday night.  In those moments, sometimes I wish you were California. But, I love you anyway and will most likely not desert you.

1 comment:

Jess said...

Loooove this post...It really makes me question our decision to redo our kitchen versus taking a trip to Cali. Those pictures are absolutely gorgeous. One day we will make the day.