The coast of California

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We drove on Highway 1 along the Pacific coast by thick fog. This weather phenomenon was and is extremely surprising to us, because in the summer is a cooling blanket of fog over the Pacific and the coast, while inland temperatures rise to 35 to 40 degrees Celsius. The thermometer jumped within 2-3 km of downright cool 16 degrees on hot 38 degrees and again when we switched back between the coastal road and the highway.

The sea-monster of San Simeon

Shortly before San Simeon we discovered on the coast a large colony of sea lions lying on the beach. It was not just 10 pieces but must have been at least 100 animals. Noam begging for a stopover to the animals to observe. Somewhat unexpectedly arrived several miles later, a huge parking lot and we soon realized that we were not the only ones who wanted to watch this spectacle. A volunteer told us that here on 51 square kilometers per year around 15,000 elephant seals rest before hunting again in the Pacific for fish. These elephant seals were much larger than the seals which we had otherwise seen on the coast. The cops were partly over 5 meters long and difficult according to the information panel on 3 tonnes. Moreover us the huge eyes of these behemoths fell on. The voluntary park rangers explained that they need good eyes, because the elephant seal hunt their food (fish and jellyfish) usually in 200 to 600 meters deep. Pride told us the Ranger also that even elephant seals were sighted at depths of 2000 meters. Noam was so impressed that we stayed near the colony and the next morning the same again drove to the colony.

A visit in Denmark (Solvang)

On the way to Santa Barbara we ate in a large park our lunch. Again and again we were approached by friendly older pedestrians on our European license plates. All passers-baked cakes with them and we soon realized that there was a bigger pensioners meeting nearby. While our children frolicked in the playground we watched this retiree group proudly a Danish and an American Flag hoisted in the park. The travel guide Lonely Planet informed us that Solvang is a Danish emigrant village that inspires Kitsch fans with windmills and bakeries as in Wonderland. Of course we do not want to miss and were equally enthusiastic. The town was decked out for tourism up to the last corner and the pedestrian walkways were lined with small shops that offered all sorts Danish craftsmanship. We enjoyed the culinary delights and enjoyed ourselves on the menu card. The restaurant had namely in addition to the food and the wine list even a doggie menu card. So we ordered for Emma a turkey breast – but without side dishes.

At Pia and Wes (Santa Barbara)

With full stomachs we headed towards Santa Barbara. We were all on the reunion with Pia and Wes, the slightly above Santa Barbara have a big house overlooking the Pacific Ocean and have kindly invited us. We parked our Carthago front of their home and were excited by the prospect. Pia and Wes welcomed us warmly and invited us to have dinner together with her son Sam and his family a. Sam and Jen also have 2 kids with Noam and Jala became friends quickly. While the children play raged through the house and the garden we enjoyed talking with parents Pia, Wes, Jen and Sam. Here we liked it and we felt like in paradise. Again and again arose over the next few days opportunities for in-depth discussions and we learned during this time a lot about life (in the US).

In the first days we explored the city center of Santa Barbara, splashing on the beach and went to the zoo. We fell downright in this wonderful place and the people who live here.Heike found out on the Internet that in the coming week a surf camp for children aged 5-15 years will take place. The registration on the Internet was easy and Noam could hardly wait until it finally was arrested Monday. We did not have to drive every day with the Caravan on the Beach, we rented for a week a small Nissan. Thus, the preparation for the surf camp was not quite finished. Wes – an experienced surfer and good teacher – taught Noam and Stefan already on the living room floor and drove the two young surfers in a nearby surf shop around for a suitable surf board to look out for Noam. Since we do not yet found the right board, we drove the next day with the whole family in a trendy surf shop on the beach. There was everything the surfer heart desired. We quickly found a clever neoprene suit (wetsuit) for Noam and because Jala was also infected by surfing Beetle, there was also a wetsuit for the little angel – of course in pink. Now they were ready for the surf camp.

Surf Camp

In the morning at 9am all surf students met at the beach house. Noam’s surf instructors met each Clichee. The hair was bleached by the saltwater and the sun burned his face brown and a tight T-shirt emphasized his muscular Adonis body. After a short ride in a proper bay with beautiful waves subjected to all their wetsuits and jumped with the boards in the Pacific. Every now and then gave the instructors instructions or loosened the day with games on the beach. The kids enjoyed the beautiful day on the beach. They settled on their boards in the sea drift, dug in the sand, collecting crabs or splashing in the waves. The days vanished in the speed of light and a common pizza chat with cake on Friday capped a memorable week.

Noam’s Birthday

Another highlight in Santa Barbara was Noam’s sixth birthday. Long Noam had been looking forward to and on June 18 it was finally time. We surprised the birthday girl with a chocolate cake-breakfast and a map of godmother Pitti. The godfather sign up via email with an original video montage from Switzerland and soon via WhatsApp called the grandparents from Switzerland and grandparents from Germany to. And finally, after a long wait – could Noam unpack and assemble his own surfboard. That’s not all. In the evening, all the neighborhood children and their parents met for the actual birthday party. In addition to fine Vegi-burgers there were delicious chocolate and cheesecake with berries and of course lots of great gifts. This birthday was memorable for all of us and we are grateful for Pia and Wes, who were a great help in the preparations and implementation. You are great! Full many thanks!

The forest fire

During the weeks when Wes and Pia there was a big forest fire in the mountains of Santa Barbara. During several days the firefighters fought with helicopters and bombing aircraft against the spread of flames. Over the mountains and the Pacific hung dense clouds of smoke and fine ash dust could settle slowly on our Carthago from. Wes followed the development of fires on the Internet and was sporadically with the fire brigade by radio contact. We had ultimately very lucky, because the large fire could at least be curbed and wildfire just above her house was quickly discovered and immediately opposed by the fire department. Despite this alarming situation, we felt at Pia and Wes at all times, because they and we were well spread for a possible evacuation. It was and is how natural and tranquility deal for us admirable people in California with these forces of nature. We had met people who had already left their home. They went about their everyday things by worrying more about the fruit plants on their land as their house.

Despite great drought, water shortage, and permanent fire danger – for us is and remains Santa Barbara a wonderful paradise with a quality of life that has no equal. The beautiful nature with the Pacific and the green forests that pleasant Mediterranean temperatures (all year round) and the sunny disposition of the people fascinate us.

After these two wonderful weeks in Santa Barbara, we moved further south, because soon we wanted Aunt Pitti in reception take at the airport in San Diego to spend with her two wonderful weeks.