Santa Cruz and the Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Today we drove up from Monterey to San Francisco via Santa Cruz. We wanted to see the famous Boardwalk, one of the oldest amusement parks in the US. It was Saturday and the area around the boardwalk doesn't have very wide streets, so the traffic was a bit of a nightmare, but luckily we arrived around 11am and missed the real crowds. The only problem was getting out of town again. I went with Saskia on some sort of flying contraption that dives very steeply and Marjolein went on a couple of much less stressful rides! We had a sandwich lunch on the pavement next to the car.
After Santa Cruz we drove up into the hills in search of big trees. We found them in the Big Basin Redwoods State Park, which we found by driving via Ben Lomond! Despite being so high up it was extremely warm and humid and Saskia was in lazy mode, so we didn't get to walk around much. A bit of a shame as it was a beautiful place and the smell of redwoods is something special. We kept pace with a large Indian family, all traditionally dressed except for one man who I guessed was a software engineer from Silicon Valley entertaining his relatives from back home. The drive back down was on a very narrow winding road and seemed to take forever. Luckily there was almost no traffic in the other direction.
Eventually we found the freeway to San Francisco and the hotel, Chelsea Motor Inn in the Marina District, was easy to drive to. The next morning we discovered that in three directions out of four from the corner it stands on we could have walked to a multitude of interesting restaurants, but for some reason we happened to choose the fourth direction and trudged for miles before taking the first place that came along, a rather indifferent diner at Ghirardelli Square.