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40 FOCUS - APRIL 2016 Jonathan van Bilsen is a photographer author and columnist and can be followed at town of Monterey. It was made famous by John Steinbeck in his novels of the recession using the Cannery Row land- mark as a setting for his famous novel by the same name. My next stop as you head south along the Pacific Highway route 1 was the picturesque town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. With no shortage of restaurants shops and wineries this coastal town is filled with culture and shopping opportunities. The gem of the area is definitely the 400 acre Point Lobos State Reserve with a rocky coastline sandy beaches and blue lagoons making this a nature lovers paradise. I continued south en-route to San Simeon driving past Big Sur and some of the most amazing vistas on earth. With the Santa Lucia Mountains on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west this area has been seen in hundreds of films because of its narrow somewhat treacherous driving along the coastal highway. The drive is safe as long as you stay within the speed limits and the scenic lookouts and usually spectacular weather make you want to stop at every turn to photograph and capture the postcard view. Another place which makes this adventure worthwhile is a visit to San Simeon and Hearst Castle the enormous estate of publisher William Randolph Hearst. When you en- ter the property you suddenly come face to face with deer zebra and a variety of wildlife at what was once the worlds largest private zoo. The ranch which Hearst inherited from his father covers 250000 acres with 40 km 25 miles of beautiful California coastline. The Castle is a bit of a misnomer but at 65000 square feet it is a magnificent mansion. The estate was the in- spiration for the famous Xanadu mansion in Orson Welles popular film Citizen Kane. A thorough tour will show you most of the Castles 56 bedrooms 61 bathrooms 19 sitting rooms 127 acres of gardens indoor and outdoor swimming pools tennis courts and a movie theatre. My favourite part of the entire estate is the Neptune swimming pool. Built in the 1920s this 30 metre 100 feet pool is the focal point of American opulence during the Art Deco era. The world may have been suffering from a reces- sion but inside the walls of Hearsts home there was no sign of any poverty. Hearst spent 6.5 million on the house and another 3.5 million on artwork to fill the place and that was during the recession the castle was built between 1919 and 1947. Today the property is valued at 200 million. You cannot drive the Pacific Highway without stopping at Hearst Castle in San Simeon but be sure to pre-book your tickets well in advance especially during the summer months when tourism is high. I continued trekking south to my next stop the Danish town of Solvang. Once you park your vehicle and walk to the town square it seems as if you have been transported to Scandinavia. Even the name means Sunny Field when translated from Danish. The city was first started in 1911 by a group of Danish immigrants and today it has been transformed into an extremely picturesque town built in the style of Denmark of old. There is a windmill and a replica of Copenhagens Round Tower or Rundetrn. There is even a reproduction of the Little Mermaid statue which serves as a tribute to Danish author Hans Christian Anderson. If you wish to avoid Los Angeles Santa Barbara is one of the loveliest cities in the South Western United States. Upscale houses and plenty of shopping districts make this a great end point for your adventure. Most people myself included continue on to L.A. with all its kitschy tourist hang- outs but thats another article. When it comes to timing I would suggest spending the first night in Carmel the second around San Simeon and the third half way to Santa Barbara. The scenery is unbelievable the sights are amazing and the adventure is breathtaking. Make a point to visit California the way it was meant to be seen. One of the beautiful pools at Hearst Castle. California continued from page 39 158 Casimir Street Port Perry 905-985-2268 MC TICO 4577532 Celebrity INFINITY Pacific Coastal Wine Cruise September 17-24 2017 Vancouver to Los Angeles Call today for details X