We left our wonderful house in Little River, CA (thank you Eckhart, Birdie, Jenna and VRBO) to head south for LA and then Barcelona. Down by a couple of boxes, the car was still packed to the doors. I gave up on the bird feeder–after the raccoon visit it was held together with fishing line. I’m not sure how items expand to fill a Prius. We were like clowns in a VW bug.

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Our first stop was the Centrella Inn in Pacific Grove (Monterey). The Centrella is a fabulous Victorian house B&B. I lay in bed admiring the complex light fixture with its pipes, glass shades and ornamental brass details. When I mentioned it at breakfast I was told that they are original to the house, early dual fuel lighting—the shades that curve upward were gaslights and the shades that curve down were electric. Can you imagine the work involved in installing these?

My chat with a woman at the desk led us to exchange stories of beach combing. She recommends the beach at the end of Tioga in Sand City. I wish I had time to stop in.
Our goal in stopping overnight in Monterey was to visit its world famous aquarium. It’s $39.50 for a regular admission ($34.50 for seniors over 65…), but lives up to its reputation.

 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

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 Guide books recommend planning at least three hours for a visit. We had to leave at noon or risk sitting all evening in LA traffic so we found a compromise. We only visited exhibits with live creatures, skipping all the video and photographic material (Sorry, exhibit developers). We may have seen all of them. We couldn’t spend time on the outdoor terrace where you can observe whatever is passing, including sea otters. I did pet an abalone at the touch tank, watch the keepers feed and do some training with the sea otters. It is a very wonderful place. Tore ourselves away at noon and headed for LA.
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Sea otter.
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I was about to pat the abalone.
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The aquarium also has a wide variety of seabirds. The tall bird center is an avocet.