photo of the day (san francisco day 10)
I don’t know about the kids but Zki and I had decided that our last 2 days of fun in California would be much more relaxed with lots less running around and a lot more kicking back than we had done in the first part of our vacation. Zki wasn’t feeling all that great and we all needed to just be able to find our own levels of “chill.” The hotel had a lovely little breakfast room and Zki and I walked over for some coffee and muffins. We sat for a bit while the kids slept in and read the paper and slowly drank our coffee before heading back to the room to get everyone up and around for our last day in town. I hadn’t packed enough for the whole trip since we were in CA for 2 extra days plus a travel day so we took a drive over to a nearby mall so I could get Clare something to wear. After spewing blackberries on one whole outfit down to her undies, wearing one pair of pants into the ocean and the other almost every other day, I needed to get her a pair of pants and a tee shirt or two.
The mall trip didn’t take very long but by the time we got back and parked by the hotel to drop off our packages, it was time for lunch. We walked over to a place we had seen on 6th and Mission called the Little Swiss Cafe. Didn’t look like much from the outside, but once we got inside the place was a little gem.
All around the room we we were seated in was a mural of the four seasons in the Netherlands. It was a lovely mural and if you didn’t look closely at it or for too long you wouldn’t notice the quirky little images hidden in the changing landscape. There were characters from movies like Shrek and Fiona sitting in the water, the three blind mice, the penguin from Happy Feet, and Remy from Ratatouille. Then there were just silly images like a group of sheep standing in front of a stop sign, a boy waving a red cape in front of a sheep like a bull fighter, and a seal sticking it’s head out from the ice in the canal in winter. I think I saw Mahatma Gandhi sitting by the water in the summer scene. Then there were tromp de l’oiel images as well like a nail that looked real and a package of sugar that looked as if someone had left it balanced on the edge of the painting. You can see details of some of the paintings at the artist’s website: André Balyon
The food was simple and good and inexpensive which in Carmel is definitely a rarity. The kids and I had a great time looking at the paintings and I think Zki would have enjoyed it more if he had been feeling better.
After lunch Zki wanted to take a nap and the kids and I decided to do some shopping and then head for the beach. We walked around town and picked up some last minute gifts for Mary Beth and the kids. Then we walked down the hill from the hotel to the beach and back up again so the kids could get their bathing suits on and brave the Pacific Ocean water. I swear it was warm the first time we got down to the beach but when we got back after they had changed into their suits it was chilly again. But they were determined to go despite the fact that I encouraged them to just wade a bit and walk with me for awhile.
Nick had a good time frolicking in the waves until a real good one knocked him down and dragged him through the sand a bit. That’s when he decided he was cold and had enough so he walked back to the hotel. Clare and I stayed behind on the beach.
We turned Clare into a mermaid with a tail made of sand and then set out on a walk down the beach. We didn’t get far when Clare met a couple of boys close to her age working on an intricate sandcastle. We stopped to admire it and while the kids began to play together, I chatted with their grandmother and watched the pelicans diving into the water.
I was so enjoying talking to Jenny and her son that Clare and I spent way more time at the beach than I expected we would. Clare and Jenny’s grandson, Sam, are about the same age and they seemed to really enjoy each other’s company so we both enjoyed letting them play together in the water. Jenny is an artist and her son-in-law is a photographer and they are both very good at what they do. I love all of Jenny’s work but I am very drawn to her landscapes. Here is her website: Jenny Hopkinson and her son-in-law’s: Dan Sullivan
After exchanging cards, Clare and I left and headed back to the hotel to clean up and find a place for dinner. One of the downsides of staying in Carmel is that everything is so expensive. I finally found a reasonably price Mexican place 10 minutes outside of Carmel-by-the-sea in Carmel Valley. It was a nice enough place and we sat outside on the patio by a large fireplace so it wasn’t so bad even though the night was chilly. The kids really liked it, it was right up their alley and I think Zki appreciated not having to shell out quite as much for dinner.
After dinner it was time to head back to the hotel and pack for our trip home and get a decent night sleep before we headed our early towards the airport. I don’t know about the rest of the family but I’m ready to go home. see my puppies and sleep in my own bed! We will be busy once we get there but it’s time to head home.