I wake up rested in my comfortable bed at the Intercontinental the Clement hotel and soak up the wonderful view of Monterey Bay while enjoying a delicious breakfast before starting my day in one of the most famous aquariums in the world, the Monterey Bay Aquarium. After a very short walk, I arrive at the aquarium where I find hundreds of marine species that transport me to an unimaginable world. The otters call me immediately and I can’t stop smiling at their pirouettes; although the dives and jumps of the penguins are not far behind. The immense open sea tank is to be admired with its sharks, manta rays, sardines, tuna, and turtles. But it is in the jellyfish exhibition where my jaw drops at the magic of these creatures;
After the indoor exhibits, I go outside to see the turtle pond and look out over the shoreline where I can see a couple of sea lions happily playing in front of the visitors.
A bit of history and nature on the Fishermen’s Pier
In historic downtown, Monterey is the Custom House, California’s oldest government building, and the Fisherman’s Wharf. The whale watching tours depart from here; one of the wonders of Monterey Bay is that different species of these extraordinary animals can be seen year-round.
Taking a breather in Carmel-by-the-Sea
About fifteen minutes from the aquarium is Playa Carmel, where locals take long walks on the beach, surf, organize barbecues and picnics and enjoy spectacular sunsets. The sand here is perfect for building castles and it is no wonder that one of its most popular events is the Sand Castle Building Contest held every October. They definitely lead me to dream of buying a property to be able to walk along this beautiful beach every morning.
A few minutes from Carmel beach is Ocean Avenue full of art galleries, restaurants, and charming shopping malls. Walking through its streets Carmel Bakery catches my attention immediately. Its sideboard is a feast for the palate. Little Napoli Bistro is another characteristic restaurant of the place. Its pleasant atmosphere, delicious food, and excellent service leave a good taste in the mouth of any diner.
It is difficult to walk down Ocean Avenue without stopping at each of its stores. Local products, art, even shops specializing in products for fans of Jane Austen and Lewis Carroll’s Alice, are just a sample of what I found walking through these charming streets.
The various restaurants on the jetty definitely whet my appetite and I buy a delicious clam chowder at the famous Old Fisherman’s Grotto which I enjoy as I revel in the spectacular view of the twilight glow. It has been an incredible day filled with unforgettable moments and I can’t wait to see what other adventures Monterey County California will offer me.