Day 6…Karen and Dom’s US road trip…Hearst Castle, Big Sur and Monterey.

We left San Simeon for a tour around Hearst Castle, WoW! what a place. William Randolph Hearst was one spoilt young man, He had all of nature at his feet. The story of his family is brilliant, particularly the success of his mother and father…his father had huge success with silver mining, and his mother was a brilliant traveller and teacher, absorbing the culture and experiences from her European travels. W.R Hearst couldn’t have had better parents (at least so it would seem). When his parents died he spent his colossal inheritance on building fabulous homes, and this one in Sam Simeon is amazing. The tour is great, we had a super tour-guide called Michael – he was funny and really did seem to enjoy the heritage of the building. You can become completely absorbed in this unique world that Hearst created for himself and his guests…but on the other side there is this representation of a spoiled and demanding man, someone who ‘got what he wanted’. We heard stories of Hearst insisting that his distinguished guests put on a ‘show’ for him, and how they might find themselves feeling very unwelcome. This was a good example of how the ‘super-rich’ are so often ‘super-unrealistic’ and detached from the rest of the world. The grounds and the buildings are amazing and are a real credit to Julia Morgan (the architect), what a fabulous and amazing woman!

What was a bitter pill, was the pleading ‘charity-style’ demands made by Hearst Castle to repair and maintain elements of the exhibit, when what was obvious was the fact that so many very wealthy people experienced the castle in its ‘Hey-day’ and contributed to the wear and tear (by smoking etc). Our feeling was…shouldn’t some of these wealthy estates help to pay for the preservation of a place that they had once-upon-a-time experienced to the full. There is an assumption, that the every-day tourist will feel the compassion and the compulsion to ‘save’ this heritage.

We are not allowed to publish certain pictures here, but actually it isn’t possible to capture the extraordinary grounds, interiors and buildings in an image – it really is quite spectacular, so with all we have said above, it really is worth a visit.

Here is one pic of one of the towers at Hearst Castle…but if you want to see more then you will have to pay a visit.

Hearst castle

What has been consistent along this coastal trip are the many birds that are present…particularly the ‘black-birds’. We think these pictures are rather iconic of parts of this coastal journey.

love these crows
love these crows
again, love these black crows
again, love these black crows

These Elephant seals were just outside San Simeon. Hilarious, and blobby, funny, lazy things. We really enjoyed watching them pretend to get energetic!

Elephant seals

We then stopped on route at The Big Sur River-Inn Lodge and had the treat of sitting in the river to cool off.

sat in a river, having a coffee along the Big Sur at the Big Sur River-inn Lodge.
sat in a river, having a coffee along the Big Sur at the Big Sur River-inn Lodge.

We then ended up in Monterey, where we had the pleasure of dining where seals swam next to us. Monterey is a slice of New-England or perhaps Maine on the West Coast.

The view from our restaurant, Domenico's.
The view from our restaurant, Domenico’s.

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