by Melita Sat, December 18 2010 19:17

The weather is awful. It is raining and a bit windy and quite miserable. We opted to drive north on the faster inland highway 101 as we decided it was not really the sort of weather that suited a lovely long drive along the coastal route 1. The drive though was not without its own beauty and we drove through some quite nice rolling hills that would have been lovely and green during most of the year. As it is December, I’m not really surprised that things are a little brown and frostbitten, but it is all surprisingly lovely. What we couldn’t get over was the acres and acres of vineyards. Hundreds of acres of vines (all bare of course), but still impressive.

We got to Monterey just after lunch, so after a bagel with cream cheese and a banana in the car, (I know, we are the last of the big spenders) we put on our wet weather gear and walked down to the aquarium. Thankfully, it was all inside. We spent around 3 hours just wandering around the many exhibits. It was a very impressive set-up, but I must say I am over fish and everything to do with fish, or penguins, or octopus, or jellyfish, or sea horses.

Even on a wet and miserable Sunday parking around the Aquarium was packed. The limited street parking is rare and public carparks charge $15. As we couldn’t be bothered circling the streets waiting for someone to leave, we paid the $15 and parked in the open-air local government run carpark.

We drove out of Monterey and stayed the night at Salinas, as the weather hadn’t improved at all. We didn’t think it was worth trying to see the bay, especially when in the rain we actually couldn’t see the bay. Salinas has absolutely nothing to recommend itself and hotel prices seemed overly inflated. Our GPS told us the telephone number of a Holiday Inn Express but when we arrived we found that it was now a Howard Johnson and no longer offered any of the features we had enjoyed at the HI Express, so all in all it was a rather disappointing decision.

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