On Friday, I drove to Santa Cruz with Lina. Our new nanny, Alla, was feeling sick and so I helped out a little in the morning and we didn’t leave at our arranged time, 8:30, instead leaving around 9:00. The drive was stunning, with a view of the redwoods on route I-17. We arrived in Santa Cruz without even using Lina’s GPS on her phone. I followed the signs to the Boardwalk but when we got there the streets were all one way and it was confusing. We also didn’t know the best place to park and we got ripped off at a parking lot costing $15 for the day (we later saw one for $5). But we were there. We were safe and we were parked. We made our way to the Boardwalk (which is a fair ground). It was 10:00 and everything was closed! We went onto the beach and took in the view. The day was cold and windy, but not freezing. We decided to walk along the pier and soon came across some of the many seals which inhabit the area. They were so awesome. The pier held various gift stores, surf shops and seafood restaurants. It was really nice. I bought a really beautiful shell in one of the stores, with a mother of pearl effect.
Next, we decided to visit the downtown area. On our way, we came across a marine museum and we entered for free. We learned about the area and found out about the underwater canyon, which I thought was cool. I was also sad to learn that it’s very rare these days to find whole shells on the beach and I remember finding shells as a child to take home. The area is home to whales and leather back turtles, as well as sea otters and seals. We left a nice comment and headed to downtown. We found an interesting café called, Saturn. The waiter was so friendly and it turned out that he was originally from England, though he moved to America when he was 8 because his father was in the military. Lina and I both had sandwiches and I got a yummy chocolate milkshake. The shakes here are just like drinking ice cream!
Afterwards, we walked along the cliffs to the lighthouse turned surf museum. We saw surfers, memorials for dead surfers, a sea otter and some brown pelicans! I was so happy that I finally saw pelicans here. Also, seeing a sea otter was a big deal because, not long ago, they were thought to have been wiped out after being hunted for their pelts. They are protected by the government today. The museum was very small but interesting, showing surfing life from the 30s to present day.
Then it was time for some fun at the fair. We spent $6 on one ride – the historical Giant Dipper, an old wooden rollercoaster. It was incredibly fun! It felt so fast and there were no breaks from the speed. Definitely a must-do if you visit Santa Cruz ever.
We spent some time at the fair and I got a henna tattoo of a gecko. My feet were hurting because I’d been wearing flip-flops all day and I wasn’t used to them, but I didn’t get any blisters. I was glad to get back to the car and change my shoes. We drove to Henry Cowell Redwoods state park. We took a short walk there before heading home. What a great day.