April 22nd, 2007

Kevin Standlee

Taking It Easy

Check-out time isn't until noon, and we didn't stir ourselves out until just before 9 to collect our included breakfast. Unlike some hotels that have such breakfasts, we're allowed to take it back to the room. (I remember how bemused I was at the Holiday Inn Express Moreno Valley when we were told "You can't take food out of the dining area." That's yet another reason never to stay in that particular HIX ever again.) This meant we could kick back and watch a Heineken Cup rugby semi-final before having to get cleaned up and checked out of the room. Then we plan to head back down toward the Aquarium (we do, after all, have a second day's admission on our tickets). We'll probably start back for home a bit after lunch. We do, after all, have some work to get done this evening: Coit Carpet Cleaners are scheduled for tomorrow for the annual required-by-the-management steam-cleaning, so we need to get as much stuff off the floor as possible.
Kreegah Bundalo


After checking out of the hotel room, we trekked back downtown and over to Cannery Row, where we stopped for cafe mochas at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop, and then went back to the Aquarium for our second day of admission. This time, we mainly looked at otters. The new otter exhibit focuses on freshwater otters, while the main building has their famous sea otters. The otters are so cute! I could watch them for hours, but we weren't planning on spending the whole day. Instead, we walked a ways down toward Pacific Grove and back on the trail, then stopped for lunch at Louie Linguini's, where, as it happens, we sat directly above where we'd sat for the mochas earlier that day. In both cases, we watched small children get soaked by the surf and seagulls wait for food to fall from the restaurants above.

After lunch, it was back up the path, with stops to watch sea otters in the marina and harbor seals working hard at basking in the sun in the cove next to the old Fisherman's Wharf. We then stopped at a British foods shop on the Alvarado Mall, where we bought some good cheese. Finally it was back to the van, which we'd left parked at the hotel, and we hit the road back to the Bay Area.

It's not a long drive back, but with the sun and the exercise, I found myself having to work hard to stay awake, so I stopped part-way along to get a Coke, and we also had to get some groceries before finally getting home around 7 PM. An early night tonight is indicated, I think.

Overall, this was a really nice weekend. I would recommend the Casa Munras hotel as long as you don't mind the walk (about 2 miles or so to the Aquarium, but it is convenient to Downtown and the Fisherman's Wharf area). It looks like it will be somewhat nicer once the current renovations are complete. The rooms are a little small compared to what I'm used to, but the beds are nice. You can stay at other places for less -- the Travelodge across the street was about $40/night less; OTOH our room included two tickets to the Aquarium -- but the hotel staff here seemed very attentive and I'd stay here again if the opportunity presents itself.