The view from our bedroom is towards the mountains that tower over the coast here in Santa Barbara. The forecast for the day is more hot, hot,hot so we decide to take a ride up to the ridge road that follows the very top contours of the hills. We take in the Santa Barbara Mission on the way and as I have a weird fascination for these Jesuit places of conversion I take a short tour inside while Marilyn stays on the lawns outside enjoying the views of the Pacific below and the temperature that is now hitting 80 degrees.
There is no doubt that the Mission is a masterpiece of architecture and the art and decor is a tribute to these early pioneers but I am saddened again by the story of the annihilation of an indigenous race who were not recognised as worthy of any rights until 1924. By then the local Native Tribes had been all but decimated. This had not been the intended outcome of the original Jesuit settlers who, it seems , had integrated well with the Natives and found eager converts in return for the latest Spanish technologies and a faith system that adhered fairly closely to the local beliefs.
We leave the Mission behind and drive slowly up the winding road towards the summit of the hill behind Santa Barbara. It is amazing how ingeniously folk have built their homes up here. The reward for their labour is a view across the bay North and South for hundreds of miles. And of course some welcome cooling breezes.
We climb and climb and Marilyn controls here natural fear of heights very well. Once in the Cevenne I had to lay her down on the back seat under a blanket because she was so petrified of the narrow roads and sheer drops. Today’s drive even has me sweating in places but we eventually reach the pass without any hysterics from either of us. We are rewarded with views out to the coast overlooking Santa Barbara to the West and back over the blueish mountains that stretch in folds to the East. We can see for miles and miles and miles as someone once sang. And it takes the breath away. There is something about being up high that draws me back to hills as a preference any day.
And then we descend back to the coast at Carpenteria where yet again we get a sunset, this time at a seal sanctuary beach. The harbour seals are thriving here and they amuse us with their scratchings and bickering and the way they lie on their backs and rush in and out of the sea unable to make up their mind where they want to be.
The lady in the GPS sends us briefly the wrong way back to the hotel and we realise that this is our last night in the States. Tomorrow we fly to Fiji and mysteriously will lose a whole day, leaving here on thursday and arriving there on Saturday and never experiencing friday at all! I would love someone to explain all that ‘date line’ stuff to me in words I will understand.
Suffice to say there will be a gap in the blog for Friday 6th Jan that I will never be able to fill as I will never have experienced that particular day at all. Weird.