Morro Bay - Hearst CastleJune 1, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C
Off early on the train again, and took the Coast Starlight (another great train name) from San Francisco (Oakland) to San Luis Obispo approximately 6 hours away. Had lunch on board with two ladies (who obviously lunch a lot). ‘You speak pretty good English to say you’re from Scotland’ declared one of them, a Hattie Jacques look alike. ‘I try my best’ I meekly replied.
When I disembarked, an ageing hippie at the bus stop, who seemed to have spent too many years in the sun and on the wacky backy, wanted to discuss President Trump’s forthcoming state visit to the UK. “I tell you something’ he declared emphatically, ‘I wouldn’t let that man anywhere near the King and Queen of England’. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that neither of these personages actually existed.
It was quite a walk from the Amtrak station to the town centre. A jolly-hockeysticks young woman offered me a lift in her rickshaw type of bicycle. ‘You’re in luck” she announced ‘I’m getting sponsored today so rides are free’. She gratefully accepted my tip though. Then I took the local bus to the coastal resort of Morro Bay 12 miles away and a bargain at $1.10 (senior fare). An lady on the bus who introduced herself as Marilyn chatted about the local attractions.
What a pretty town Morro Bay is, lined with seafood restaurants and with a huge rock, like Paddy’s Milestone, sitting just off the coast. I took a lovely walk right out to the Rock enjoying the wildlife - sea lions; sea otters lying on their backs and balancing their young on their tummies, and cute little ground squirrels looking for treats from visitors. Given the distance I had walked, I decided to take the tourist tram back to town. As I boarded, the female driver, sporting a hairstyle like the bride of Frankenstein, greeted me with ‘I know who you are - Marilyn told me - you’re Robert from Scotland’. Although I am sure it was meant as a friendly gesture, it creeped me out a little.
Next day I paid a visit to one of California’s top attractions - Hearst Castle at San Simeon. On the bus there I met 85 year old Hester whose nephew told me she was longest serving volunteer at the Castle. ‘She’s given 5000 hours’ he boasted. ‘It’s over 6000 now’ she corrected ‘and I am still waiting for my goddam 6000 hours pin!’ Nice to see such selfless dedication from a volunteer.
Hearst Castle is a fabulous place built by William Randolph Hearst, the publishing tycoon and movie producer. The venue for high society parties in the 20s and 30s, it was great to view the grand rooms, gardens and pools, and see film footage of the Hollywood stars who enjoyed hospitality there. Back to San Luis Obispo for an overnight before another early start tomorrow...Read more