Monterey, California

We only had few hours in Monterrey. Being a city that is known for its fishing industry and aquarium, we had our activities all planned out. Lonely planet wasn't giving us too much insider knowledge except the fact that the main pier is overrated and way too touristy and we should try out that other pier the Municipal Wharf II which is only a short walk east from Fisherman's.
So we did. We took it all in -- fishermen sitting in camp seats waiting for a lucky catch, kids running around, street artists work on canvases and of course, that special odor of authentic piers. Later we strolled around Cannery Row, walked into a store now and then and did some people watching. At the end of Cannery Row is the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. We walked into the aquarium and suddenly found ourselves in the middle of it all: an enormous place at the city's former sardine cannery. Filled with exotic red corals, living mussels, big and small colorfull fishes and the cutest of all attractions: sea otters. They were pure entertainment. Dancing in the water, it felt like they were on some kind of recreational drug to be so quick and hyper. It was great though. Every section of the aquarium had its attractions accompanied by facts and figures. We could have spend all day there but decided to make it a quick tour only. We walked back on Cannery Row and looked for a good place to eat when we came across a shop that sold Turkish rugs and tableware. We walked in searching for the shop's owner and hoping that he was a Turkish man himself- which turns out he is. Surprisingly he pointed to the most crowded restaurant on cannery Row when asked where the best fish is served. He made sure to offer us Turkish tea and thus proving that no matter how far away from home this social gesture stays alive.

We went to the Fish Hopper and ordered poached pear and seared scallop salad, fish and chips and Ice tea. The salad was off season but still very delicious! Scallops just go so well with fresh fruits and especially with poached pear. It was a surprise to me how much I liked scallops - I have never had them before. The view from our table was fantastic and occasionally a seagull stopped by to stare.

Although it was a short day trip Monterey was a great place for my mum and I to stop by on our roadtrip through the Golden State. Thinking of this day I can almost smell the city and taste the great meals we had. Next stop on our California Trip: Carmel-by-the-sea!


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