Spending our time untethering the mind, getting the fidgets out, exploring the in-between ideas, and learning kintsugi.

Mi Casa, Hearst Castle at San Simeon

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Touristy? Oh yes …

After years of struggling with the idea of going to Hearst Castle, we finally took the plunge one weekend. It was really a gorgeous weekend last summer but it could very well have been this summer. Some things don’t change in a year and the  spectacular journey along route 1 from San Francisco to San Simeon is one. Chances are, you will often get stuck behind cars going 15 miles below the speed limit behind nervous drivers who are perhaps more used to the straight roads of middle America. Use these temporary periods of slowdown to enjoy the blue ocean, rolling hills, and fog laden promontories even more. The journey is as much a part of the experience as the castle itself.

After nearly two decades in US, I am still impressed by road signs that guides travelers to safe “scenic overlooks”.  Having grown up in India, I am of course no stranger to the alternate experience of traveling without such signs. Imagine this typical alternate scenario – you will no doubt screech to a sudden halt when you see something scenic, park the car in a relatively precarious spot, then walk up and down a stretch of several hundreds of yards to find the perfect photogenic spot, scare the other passing cars who will inevitably stop to check out what you got and so on and so forth. Even more comforting are the roadsides that guide you to “rest areas”. I won’t go into the graphic details of the alternate situation in this case. My only wish is that there were some picnic spots along the way, the campsites along the route are inevitably full to the brim.

The castle tourism is run very professionally. Buses running on a schedule take you from the well maintained base camp to the castle on the top of the hill.  The view on the ride is that of rolling brown hills and the blue ocean. The castle campus is very well manicured. The rooms are large and stuffed with furniture, sculpture and paintings. Nothing “fine art” about the art but it is all very grand in terms of scale. It was built to impress and it manages to do so even now. It won’t be hard to imagine the place come alive with Hollywood stars gathering here for a weekend soiree.

Overall, in spite of my misgivings about this tourist attraction, I have to say that we had a good time. If you are up for a longish day trip or an overnight trip, combine with a trip to Mission San Antonio de Padua. For a slideshow, click here.

Written by Som

August 31, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Posted in California, USA

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. […] came as a surprise. I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting, perhaps a smaller version of Hearst Castle? Instead what you get is a poetry of light and shades, buttery wood,  organic shapes and strangely […]

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