Since sis has a car, we decided to leave Pacific Grove and Monterey and head out to Carmel. The first place we went is just a little past Carmel called Point Lobos State Park and Reserve. We went to the whaling cabin and museum and learned a little bit about the whaling that went on in the early part of the 20th century. Then we went to China Cove, and climbed on rocks, searched for sea shells, and pretended to be Ariel on a big rock . . . um, I mean, acted really mature and cool. Ahem.
After Point Lobos we headed over to the Carmel Mission. This was the second of like 15 or something Catholic missions along the California coast. It was first built by Junipero Serra in 1770, though he never saw it completed. By the early nineteenth century the mission had fallen into disrepair and squatters occupied the land. Sir Harry Someone-or-other (sorry I'm so bad with last names!) had taken it upon himself to reconstruct the missions, and he did so with the Carmel Mission. It was interesting for me to see the differences between a Catholic mission in the western US to an Anglican church in the UK. Um . . . yeah, I feel like I was headed somewhere with that, but I got nuttin'. It was also funny because we walked into the Basilica and there was holy water! And we saw a confessional! Yeah, never seen one of those before. I also learned what the beads on a rosary are for! I've always wondered.
There is a museum at the mission that details what life was like when the mission was in operation in the 19th century. They had a confessional there that they had built out of shipping crates. When they had things sent to them from the East, they asked for the best shipping crates because they needed the wood to make furniture. There wasn't any wood good enough. Padre Serra slept in a room that had a small desk and a bed that was just a wooden cot, without a mattress or padding. And there he died. I guess that sacrifice is important in being closer to God; I just don't think that he asks us to be uncomfortable our whole lives. While we were there the bells rung noon. The bells are rung by hand every hour.
After the mission we headed into Carmel-by-the-Sea. It's a nice little place with a small town feel. (Fact: high heels are not allowed in the city of Carmel.) No chain stores or restaurants are allowed. We got lunch at Nielson's Market and Deli, then we explored some of the shops. There were clothes shops, toy shops, consignment stores, a Jane Austen shop, garden and decor stores, and a candy shop. Plus tons that we didn't go into because it was chilly and we were getting tired.
Tonight Maddie and I cooked a frozen pizza and watched Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. We always tire ourselves out everyday, so we didn't feel guilty taking a little break. Afterward we rode the bikes down to a little ice cream shoppe where we split a little bowl or strawberry ice cream.
Tomorrow is our last full day in California. And we're going to just take it like it is.