Friday, November 6, 2015

A Sunny Morning in Santa Barbara [1/15]

When we decided to venture out into the United States, the idea came out of the notion that we had been traveling through Europe for a very long time now. Even though you will find amazing cities here in Europe, after a couple of years you'll want to explore something different. I suggested that we should do a road trip through California, Nevada and Arizona, and once we had everything in place our journey began. We had a one-stop flight from Belgrade, through Amsterdam until we eventually arrived at Los Angeles Airport (LAX) on October 18th.

The first stop on the first day of our USA Road Trip was in Santa Barbara, a lovely little city which is just a two hour drive away from Los Angeles. As we pulled into town we were immediately charmed by its flair and sights. Here you will find the Stearns Wharf, which is an old fashioned pier that offers restaurants, shops and many sightseeing spots. Of course the rest of the town is great as well. Let me share our experiences from the start of a long road trip down the Pacific Highway.



We arrived late in the evening in Santa Monica (which is near LAX Airport), and went straight to bed in the Santa Monica Motel. I didn't make a lot of pictures on that first night, just a couple of them, the next morning. The motel was fine but nothing special. We just needed a place to rest after a long journey to the US. We would later jokingly refer to this motel as the murder-murder-suicide motel, since it really turned out to be the least flattering accommodation of our stay. But LA and its surrounding cities are very expensive, so a moderate alternative had to be found.


We rented our car at Alamo Rent-a-Car at the LAX Airport through rentalcars.com, since they gave us the best rate, which included full insurance and a free GPS. We woke up very early on this first day, since we went to bed at 8pm the previous night. That's why we started our road trip refreshed and without any delay.




Arrival in Santa Barbara

We parked our car at the parking lot next to the Stearns Wharf pier, which was 2$ an hour. You can find cheaper parking on the pier itself, where the first 90 minutes are free.I should mention that we didn't arrive on the GPS recommended route, but rather on California Route 1, which is the so called Pacific Highway, a very picturesque road that goes along the Pacific ocean and that we traveled on for the first two days of our road trip. This road coincides in places with the newer Highway CA-101. If you follow California Route 1 you will arrive into Santa Barbara without needing any directions, since it goes through the city.

Visiting Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara

Stearns Wharf is located right in the harbor of Santa Barbara. When it was completed in 1872 it became the longest deep-water pier between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Named for its builder, local lumberman John P. Stearns, the wharf served the passenger and freight shipping needs of California's South Coast for over a quarter century. Before the wharf, passengers and cargo had to be rowed ashore. It's very quiet in the morning and you can enjoy a walk here and take in the scenery. Beware of the overpriced restaurants in this part of the city, there much better ones on shore.



I loved the maritime decors and designs here. You can find many colors on the pier, but they all go so well with each other. The sky was cloudy for a while but eventually the sun returned, and we would have lovely weather for the rest of the day.



Since it was early in the morning, there were not many people and tourists on the pier. This gave as on opportunity to look around the place and have it all to ourselves.





Breakfast in Santa Barbara

We went to Sambo's Restuarant in Santa Barbara for some breakfast. This was our first meal in the USA and we loved it. The only thing we had to get used to is that the prices on the menus (everywhere) didn't inlcude the tax, which varied from place to place and that you also had to tip. Here it was 10% put in some places the suggested tip went up to 25%. But the food was really good here.



I had a BLT sandwich which was so big that I couldn't even finish it. The others had a quesadilla filled with eggs and cheese that came with a side of guacamole, tomato salad, sour cream and various fruit. It was all so fresh and delicious.



We spent the rest of our time here walking the sidewalks and going to the beach. It was very enjoyable. Santa Barbara is very upscale in some parts. If you walk inland you will find many boutiques and high end shops, with expensive cars that roam the streets. This is why the city is usually skipped by people who are on a road trip. And while the city is admittedly expensive it's certainly worth exploring. 





Mission Santa Barbara

In addition to the city's cultural assets, several iconic destinations lie within the city's limits. Mission Santa Barbara, "The Queen of the Missions," is located on a rise about two miles (3 km) inland from the harbor, and is maintained as an active place of worship, sightseeing stop, and national historic landmark. Unfortunately we didn't have the time to visit it, even though we saw it while driving. We just had so much to finish up on this first day as you will soon see.



Our Road Trip Continues

We then kept driving further on California Route 1 towards Pismo Beach. The next part of the travel series will be from this little town which was truly amazing and had as all in awe. Until then here are some preview images from there.







For those interested here is a map of our complete road trip across the USA, all wonderful 3200 km/1988 miles of it. These are the places you can look forward to seeing in our travel series.





End of Part One
To be continued...

41 comments:

  1. Diese Erfahrung kann man wohl überall machen, lieber ab von den Tourismusmeilen etwas essen gehen, anosnsten wird es zu teuer^^ Tolle erste Eindrücke aus Santa Barbara, ein Ort den ich auch gerne mochte. Klasse auch dass ihr so früh die Gegend erkundet hat. Ich persönlich mag es ja lieber wenn die Orte noch ein wenig verschlafen wirken. Vor allem ist es immer schön um solch tolle Fotos zu machen.

    Mich schon auf die Fortsetzung freuend sende ich liebe Grüsse

    N☼va

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    1. Du hast recht, am Morgen war es immer am schönsten, weil auch gegen Abend mehr Leute ankommen. Aber diese kleinen Städte am Pacifik haben nie viel Besucher, immer eine überschaubare Masse.

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  2. Great photos. I'm looking forward to seeing you continue your road trip!
    Hope you'll come by http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/11/waiting-for-metro.html to link up.

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  3. I could almost feel the warmth. Lovely pictures, can't wait to see more.

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  4. There's some magic in your photos! I ....love them!

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  5. really awesome seaside places. the wharf photos make me crave seafood. :)

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    1. Us as well. We had it that same night.

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  6. Fantastic start to your road trip Mersad, the US probably couldn't get much more different from Europe oui :)

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    1. It really was different in every sense of the word. I think this trip gave us even more of an incentive to travel further and farther.

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  7. Now I want a quesadilla and some guacamole!

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    1. They were really delicious. Actaully any mexican place we ate in was fantastic.

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  8. Hello Mersad, I enjoy your visit to Santa Barbara and the beaches. Gorgeous photos. Looks like you all had a fun trip in California. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

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    1. Thank you Eileen. We did have a lot of fun, but it was also challenging. Actually as the road trip progresses the sights get better and better.

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  9. Wonderful photos, Mersad! What a beautiful place! :)

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  10. Das ist jetzt genauso wie ichs mir vorgestellt hab ;-D! Ein klassischer amerikanischer Küstenferienort und er ist schön! Hahaha....und ihr seid auch direkt beim Mexikaner gelandet. Das ist schon super da nicht wahr ;-)! GlG Anne

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    1. Das war zwar Zufall das wir beim Mexikaner gelandet sind aber trodtzdem ein glücklicher. :)

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  11. What an adventure! Great photos and looking forward to much more.

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  12. Terrific captures for the day, Mersad, as always!! A great adventure it is and a great place in the US to visit! I lived in the area some years ago, so I am familiar with the good, the bad, and the always beautiful!! I'm looking forward to more pics of your visit to the US!! Enjoy!!

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  13. Hallo Mersad,
    welcome home! :-)
    Wer kennt diese Küstenabschnitte, die mächtigen Holzmolen, diese Baywatchhäuschen, die Palmenreihen von Filmen nicht?? Ich war noch nie in Amerika, und irgendwie reizt mich das Land auch nicht so stark, daß ich da unbedingt hin müsste. Wenn ich irgendwie nur noch Urlaub und Geld hätte, dann würde ich da auch hinreisen, aber so, daß ich meine Urlaube sehr streng jährlich einplanen muß, sind mir noch immer viele andere Ziele viel weiter voraus auf meiner Liste.
    Liebe Grüße

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    1. Ja das dachte ich auch vor einer Zeit, bis ich nicht selber hingereist bin. Die Westküste ist mitunter der schönste Ort auf der Welt den ich bisher gesehen habe. Das wird aber in den kommenden Teilen deutlicher. Besonders im Norden von California.

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  14. I have been waiting with great anticipation to see your photos and travel comments about your recent trip here to the States, and I am so happy to see this first installment (though I plan to look at it all on your blog!) I went up the Rt. 1 Pacific Coast Highway myself when I was 13, when we had traveled cross-country by car and were headed to our new home in Concord, CA (near San Francisco). I remember how breathtakingly beautiful that drive was! I don't think I have ever stopped in Santa Barbara, and enjoyed your photos of this lovely coastal town very much! California dining IS expensive! Sorry. :-) Can't wait to see more....

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    1. Thank you Marie. In the end we did find great afforadble places to eat in California, but only because I went into full research mode beforehand. If you however don't plan ahead you could indeed be hit by the prices or not eat at all. We avoided fast food places and didn'y eat there almost at all.

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  15. I cannot wait to see the rest of this series. I am from the SF Bay Area and it's always refreshing to see how visitors view my world. I'm sure you have enjoyed Highway 1 from Sta. Barbara to San Francisco for the incredibly scenic drive.

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  16. Since I am a native Californian, the first things that come to my mind are often the OTHER things you could have seen, and places you could have gone to... Of course that would have increased your trip to 6 months..... :)

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    1. I'm sure you would find a way to keep us longer there. :) Keep in mind we did all of this in 15 days, and in the bigger cities like Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles we spent more days.

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  17. You made me want to visit Santa Monica. What a beautiful pier.

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  18. Have a wonderful trip. I haven't been to Santa Barbara for about 10 years, but your photos show that it hasn't changed much. I love the shots of the wharf!

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  19. Like others above it is fun to see your perspective of our home towns. (I'm from the LA area.) Your off too a great start...fun reading all you share and the photos are wonderful.

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  20. California is gorgeous! Glad you started there on your trip...nice choice!

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  21. How beautiful! It's been a few years since I've been home to the West Coast, and this makes me miss it terribly! I'm trying to talk the husband into an epic road trip that takes across the southwest, up through California and then back across through places like the Grand Canyon, etc. He's getting closer to being willing ;)

    (& you are right - menus in America are squirrely and tipping makes me crazy)

    thank you for sharing with us at Photo Friday!

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  22. Boy was this some awesome trip you had.Loved the beach scenes, well really i loved it all. Have a lovely weekend.

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  23. A wonderful post!! I live in S. CA, but it's been awhile since I've visited Santa Barbara. Your photos bring back some great memories and remind me it's time to visit again!!

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  24. I could never go there, but my gf did and loves the place...your pictures are amazing and make it look even more stunning than I imagined :)

    p.s. I love this - murder-murder-suicide motel! Hahaha...

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  25. Gosh, I would love to travel here. What a beautiful place.

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  26. Such beautiful pictures. We live in the Portland, Oregon area (further up the coast) and the views still amaze us. Thanks for taking us on your trip !!!

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  27. oh I enjoyed fences, fences everywhere with beautiful places .

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  28. Ah...California, It's so great you are enjoying our country. You've made me long to be on a beach somewhere but alas I'm afraid that won't happen any time soon. Settling in for hopefully a "mild" winter here.

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  29. Thank you for sharing the photos and the real story portions. I've been in California a few times in my life, but, except for 1969 - 1974 I've never lived there. But I've been in a few times to see dear friends and worship the Lord together. Bless you...

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  30. I'm glad you had a safe and enjoyable trip. This installment of your travelogue is wonderful and makes me look forward to future posts.

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  31. That was quite a big trip you took. I think I'm going to enjoy seeing all your photos. All these places are very familiar to me so I'm going to enjoy seeing it through your eyes.

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  32. Great photos as usual. You have us all spoiled with your wonderful travels. Looking forward to the rest of your trip in days to come.

    P.S. Re tipping in US. There has been a bit of news lately about how some restaurants are becoming no-tipping spots. Many people don't realize that wait staff in the majority of restaurants are paid very little - sometimes only $2 per hour - and the rest of their wages is based on tips. 20 percent is considered pretty standard everywhere I've ever traveled and I sometimes tip more for outstanding service (and I am not heavy in the pocketbook by any means).

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