Sprocketts by the Bay

Sprockett family adventures as California residents

Monterey, California

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Dan and I were feeling like we needed a little getaway and time to disconnect from the world and reconnect to each other, so we planned a weekend trip to Monterey, CA. We had both been there independently, but this would be our first visit together. We drove down on Saturday morning, giving our new car it’s first road trip. Our first stop was a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

In translation graduate school, my very first ever translation assignment was to fix a poor translation of materials done for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, so that sticks in my head in association with the aquarium. (Believe me, the lesson also stuck: hire translators who know what they’re doing and make sure to do it right the first time.) But that’s really about all I’ve known about it before going.

I can’t say I’ve ever been a big fan of aquariums, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium is really something different and a place I look forward to visiting again. Beyond its enormous size and impressive diversity of sea life, it found the right balance of information communication. There were little tidbits at each exhibit, enough to read and learn a few facts, but not so overwhelming that you felt like you needed to spend the entire day reading. Plus, they have a variety of short presentations in the auditorium that combine features of a mini academic lecture with video for when you need a little sit-down break and a chance to do a “deep dive” on a topic.

Jellyfish at the aquarium. Who knew there were so many different types of jellyfish?!

So many different types of jellyfish at the aquarium! They were so peaceful to watch as they floated through the water. The one of the far left is called an egg yolk jelly – the name fits, huh?

The picture in the bottom middle is an octopus playing with a purple toy.

The picture in the bottom middle is an octopus playing with a purple toy.

After the aquarium, we walked the quaint little street and shops by the aquarium and stopped for an afternoon Pinkberry before going to check into our hotel. Our hotel was just a short walk from the downtown boardwalk, so after settling in we headed that direction for dinner. The boardwalk is a bit like a smaller version of Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

Monterey Boardwalk

Monterey Boardwalk

Not seeing something that grabbed our attention on the boardwalk, we went back to the downtown drag and found a Chinese restaurant (with the worst plum wine I’ve tasted — it was far more Triaminic than wine, but enjoyable food).

The next day we took a little drive along the coast, stopping to explore Lover’s Point Park in the breezy sun.

Love the man in this picture...and the beach!

Love the man in this picture…and the beach!

We continued on to Asilomar Beach, a recommendation from my good friend Liz who used to live in the area, eating lunch while watching the wind crash the waves against the beach.

Waves crashing against the beach on a windy day at Asilomar Beach.

Waves crashing against the beach on a windy day at Asilomar Beach.

We spent the next 45 minutes walking along the beach, enjoying the scenery and time together, before heading home. It was such a pleasant weekend, although after the time there, I’m not sure I have ever actually been in Monterey before. I was sure I had been there for brunch, to kayak the bay, and to taste wine at a little place overlooking the water (all with Liz), but everything we saw was new to me. So now I’m questioning where in the world I visited when I thought I was in Monterey? I’m happy to report that Monterey was a lovely success, but it helps when you have the best travel companion in the world. Love you, Dan!

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