The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Monday, 14 September 2015

The Beauty of Monterey Bay Part 1: harbour seals, the Aquarium, and Dennis the Menace Playground

How I miss the Californian sunshine and blue skies! On our road trip earlier this year from Los Angeles to San Francisco, we stopped for a few days in Monterey to attend a friend's wedding, and also for some sight-seeing around the area. We managed to also meet up with another friend who was our neighbour in countryside Japan for a whole year, and he and his lovely wife were great hosts in the two hours we had together before they had to leave for their camping trip. Alex is a very outgoing person, and clearly rather popular as he was often stopped for small chats with passersby who know him and his family. He hooked us up with a couple of surreys at the local bike rental shop, and we went for a quick ride down the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail to a little cove near Point Cabrillo to check out the harbour seals sunbathing. It was only a short distance (about 1km) but it was enough to enjoy the beautiful air, blue skies and lovely sunshine. Then our friends brought us to the Monterey Bay Aquarium where they are members, so they got us in for free on their guest passes and we only had to pay for one child ticket! Alex and his family then had to leave us on their camping trip, and we are so grateful for their kind hospitality and generosity. The kids were mesmerised by everything they saw at the aquarium, and we wished we could have stayed longer. On our way back to our lodging for the night, we stopped by the Dennis the Menace Playground for the kids to burn off their energy. This playground was awesome! So many fun equipment - a hedge maze, a suspension bridge, and a huge roller slide. A must visit for anyone with kids of all ages!

Riding down the Monterey Bay Coastal Train in a surrey (that's our baby girl's helmet at the bottom of the shot). Alex kindly took on our 6-year-old boy in his surrey along with his 3-year-old girl, while his wife walked along side carrying their baby - we felt bad with this arrangemnet, but she insisted:

This little cove is favoured by the harbour seals for sunbathing:

Beautiful harbour seals:

Walking down Cannery Row to the Monterey Bay Aquarium:

The 28-foot-tall Kelp Forest is one of the tallest aquarium exhibits in the world!

The breathtaking ocean view at the Aquarium:

There is something so therapeutically relaxing about watching jellyfish swim:

The huge Dennis the Menace Playground:

So many kinds of slides:

The playground is part of the El Estero Park complex, which includes the El Estero Lake:

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