My Trip to San Simeon, a pictorial essay, by Adriana Róze
David was all excited to prepare "hobo dinners." He got them all ready before the trip. The basic idea is that you wrap up a bunch of vegetables and meat and whatnot into aluminum foil and then place it into the coals of the fire to cook. Of course, his hobo dinners were mini works of art, and he referred to them as "browse," which you will only know if you know about Koko the gorilla.We drove north to San Simeon campground, just minutes from the Hearst Castle. Here is our little campground. It is right by the ocean. Oceanside camping is rather different from any forest camping I've done in the past. It was very foggy and cold cold cold. Here are the boys after our first freezing night, trying to warm up with cold cereal and doughnuts.We got to the Hearst Castle only to find that all tours were sold out. As we stood there looking pathetic and forlorn at the ticket attendant, she checked her computer and found that a group of three had cancelled last minute. We flew onto a bus and made our way up the hill. We went from being freezing by the coast to absolutely roasting on the hill. The tour guide told us that it can be a 30 degree difference. I got a sunburn on my head. *sniff*But it was worth it to see this, the Pool to End All Pools. Ridiculous, expansive, gorgeous. Our tourguide told us that once a year the parks employees get to bring some guests to swim in it. She also said that some members of the Hearst family were coming later that week to swim in the pool. Apparently the deal is this: the Hearst family donated the house to the state of California, but they left no endowment for it. So that's why the prices are so expensive to visit the place. The upkeep on the mansion is massive and they don't have much money to do it. So even though they no longer own it, they let the Hearst family come sometimes and use it because it's "good PR" and so that they'll consider giving them money. Sad. What, this? Oh this is just a guest room. Piffle.Sekhmet representing at the castle. Think it's a church? No, that's the house. I guess when I came to see this place, I had no idea it would be like this. I thought it would be garish and weird, and instead it's one huge work of art. California is so strange and fascinating.Wealth beyond imagining. And all for the purpose of partying. Billiard boys.Oh, I'm sorry, did I say the last pool was Mad Whack? I clearly hadn't seen the indoor pool yet, lined with solid gold. There was talk of adding a shark tank underneath the pool to make people feel they were swimming with sharks. Unbelievable. This place was really interesting. I definitely want to go back, preferably for the evening tours that they do in the fall. It's unfortunate that it's so expensive to see all the different parts of the place but at least I understand why now. It's a strange burden the park service has. Elephant seals on the beach, locked in the eternal epic struggle for alpha male. Boys locked in same struggle. The beautiful ocean near our campground. At night, the stars were bright and intense, with the Milky Way strong and clear. Each night I saw huge meteors shooting across the sky. We watched satellites floating by, and talked of many things, of shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings. Mainly, we talked of and ate s'mores.Sometimes in your life, you come across something, and you just can't believe your luck. This is one of those moments. We got to see the most fabulousest place ever, the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. It's really a sight to see. This photo does no justice to the pink tragedy that is this place. I can't wait to go back there and stay in one of the many amazing rooms, like the Caveman Room. So good.Finally, we stopped in Solvang, the most out of place, bizarre little town north of Santa Barbara. It's a full-on Danish village. We decided to go for it and sample the local fare, so we ate at a place called Bit O' Denmark and tried the uh...can't remember the name...meatballs and cabbage and danish and other stuff. It was surprisingly good. The bakeries were too tempting to handle, so it was time to leave.
We got home tired and dirty and bedraggled but happy happy happy. Camping is good. We must do more of it. This state is so vast and filled with peculiarities. I want to see it all.
I love it. You have to go back to Solvang and get some abelskivver. They are these little round pancakey/spongey things with strawberry sauce and powdered sugar. They are kind of like doughnut holes marinated in honey. Ridiculously good. Oh, and take me with you. tifanie | 07.09.06 - 5:42 pm | #
you had me at "browse"............. shawny | 07.10.06 - 3:28 am | #
Oh, we wanted some, but we underestimated the power of Danish meat. Bulp! d | 07.10.06 - 11:27 am | #
YEAH!!! We totally wanted to eat that aebleskiver stuff, but we were TOO FULL after the food. We must go back and check it out proper. Plus I MUST stay at Madonna Inn.
I thought of you, Tifanie, the whole time we were at the Hearst mansion because of your previous post on going there. a | Homepage | 07.10.06 - 11:47 am | #
Yay! It is such as strange place. I love the Sekmet best. I mean, who wouldn't want a giant statue of Bast's war-loving sister who drinks the blood of the fallen in front of their mansion? Me-ow. tifanie | 07.10.06 - 10:32 pm | #
Looks like you guys had a blast! I've passed the Hearst Castle at least 4 times or more but never stopped... If I ever find Umberto Eco's essay on the Madonna Inn (amongst other things), I'll send it your way. It's a v. interesting pov and also funny.
p.s. have soft spot for indoor turkish bath type pools. Mimi | 07.13.06 - 3:12 pm | #