July 30, 2006
Vacation blog: the coast
Although we journeyed inland several times to see waterfalls, caves, rare plants, tall trees, and a deep blue lake, we’ve spent most of our week moving south along the coast, stopping to stare down at the waves from far above or to hike down to a rocky beach or sandy cove. The weather kept changing, sometime a fog so thick we could barely see the rocks and waves, and the next minute, sunshine so bright that we stripped off clothing to feel the heat against our skin.
With-a-Why looking at rocks on the first morning of our trip.
The mood inside the rental car was equally quick to change as we argued and negotiated about where to go and what to do next, trying to accommodate six different people of different ages and interests. We stopped in a city with a famous orange bridge that was completely obscured by fog to eat lunch and gaze at a prison island that is apparently featured on some skateboarding video game my kids have played. We drove down the crookedest street in the world, looked at the boats in the harbor, and watched street performers. Boy in Black liked the beat-box artist who sat with a microphone outside a cafe while With-a-Why’s favorite was the man who hid behind tree branches and jumped out to scare people walking past. My daughter insisted that we needed to bring back presents for our extras so we spent one afternoon wandering through the shops of a coastal town, weaving our way underneath the yellow and green umbrellas and bright red awnings of outdoor cafes and past kiosks filled with cut flowers for sale.
But no matter what we did, we kept returning to the coast. And always, when I saw the ocean, I wanted to get near enough to smell the moist wind, hear the waves crashing, and feel the rush of water against my ankles. At every vista point, every dirt road, every place we could possibly park the rental car, I tried to convince my family that we needed to stop and explore. In one harbor, we saw seals and otters playing in the water. In another cove, we climbed down to the beach to find a wedding taking place, a whole group of men in ironed shirts and women in dresses that blew in the wind, a cluster of formally dressed people, most of whom had trouble climbing out of the cove because their footwear was totally inappropriate for hiking. In some coves we found surfers, all clad in black, bobbing in the water as they waited for the next big wave.
But at many of the beaches, especially on the mornings of deep fog, we were the only people for miles, free to wade in the water, listen to waves smashing against rock, run through the surf, nap in the sand, or simply sit and stare out at the ocean.
My daughter walking the beach on the last day of our trip.
Posted by jo(e)