Monterey.

First point. Bring a jumper. I naively thought, oh I’m in California, it’ll be lovely and warm. No! Monterey and San Francisco, I have now researched, do not really get hot and you need a sweatshirt and light jacket. So we now have matching Monterey jumpers and rain coats! I reckon I’m not the only one who thought it’d be hot as you see many families wandering around all with the same ‘I <3 Monterey' sweatshirts that they've picked up from the gift shop for 10 bucks!

Here we staged at Stage Coach Lodge. Nice small hotel. Small continental breakfast. Large room with two double beds, table and chairs, fridge, microwave and all that. Good wifi. Small swimming pool and guest laundry for $2 a wash. Location is good. Still handy to have a car, but there seems to be plenty of buses going around and there is a free trolley that runs back and forth around the main areas.

Fishermen’s Wharf and Cannery Row are two main areas, both with an abundance of shops and restaurants.

From Fishermen’s there are a few companies offering whale watching trips. We went with Chris’s Whale Watching – as we had a coupon! It was just under three hours and we saw sealions, seals, otters, risso dolphins, humpback whales and blue whales. After being on the boat for 5 minutes we saw our first whale so there’s no hanging about. Faye was free (3 and under), under 12 are $25 and adults $35. You will need a jacket or sweatshirt as its very breezy out there! And children have to wear life jackets. From Fishermen’s Wharf itself you can see sealions and seals swimming around.

Carmel is only a short drive away and is quite like Santa Barbara and Laguna Beach. Very pretty and well kept. It has a lovely beach that is popular despite being cold.

There is the ’17 mile drive’ between Monterey and Carmel. It’s $9.75 to enter and you get a map pointing out things along the way.

Now don’t judge me BUT we’ve eaten Denny’s takeout the last three nights! We’ve been so tired and not really wanted a sit down meal, so Denny’s it was. It’s a decent meal for under $10! We visited a few nice places for lunch whilst here; the Crepes of Brittany at Fishermen’s Wharf, which has been reviewed in the Lonely Planets guide on California – such good Crepes! Also Isabella’s at the end of Fishermen’s Wharf – good restaurant, nice food BUT on entering they gave me a copy of their ‘Children’s Policy’ (see photo), I found it quite funny!

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