First stop: Santa Cruz. I love the retro vibe the boardwalk has. The boys had some fun on the rides while I breathed in the fresh sea air.
Then a leisurely drive through Monterey to Carmel via 17 mile drive.
Doesn't Carmel have the whitest sand? The weather was perfect and the boys finally got to enjoy some beach time followed by an over night stay in the prettiest of coastal towns.
Unfortunately we only stayed in Carmel one night. I had waited until it was a bit late to book the trip and so there weren't that many rooms available. We ended up staying at the Comfort Inn which the boys dubbed The Discomfort Inn, as it was in need of a bit of a makeover despite costing over $200 a night. After that we drove down to Santa Barbara and spent a few days there exploring, hitting up the beach and generally soaking in the good life.
Here are the boys wearing their Santa Barbara Best, as I called it. Clothes from J. Crew that they wouldn't normally wear, but when on holiday…
By the way, we're staying at the Upham Hotel, which I couldn't recommend more. Yummy breakfasts and a managers reception with free wine and cheese that went on for hours (yes 3.5 to be precise) followed by milk and cookies. What hospitality and the rooms were cute too.
This is the pose Roman & Callum choose when I asked them to give each other a nice brotherly hug. Much like the shot below when they were wee babies. See Roman is always trying to strangle his younger brother. Should I be concerned?
We finally hit up the beach with shovels in hand.
Love those palm trees.
The boys took it in turns burying each other.
Love those freckles!
Then it was time for a spot of kite flying. Ready...
What's a trip to Santa Barbara without a ride on a Surrey with a fringe on top?
Next day, more beach time in Montecito. Didn't spot Oprah, but swore I saw Steadman driving a Bentley.
Doesn't Roman look like he belongs on the beach?
More kite flying, hoping the wind won't take Callum up too.
Wouldn't mind that house in the background.
Roman about to be gobbled up by a sand monster.
Is Damian's hair getting bigger, or is it just my imagination? Uh oh, look who's holding the kite strings, better watch out everybody.
The boys enjoyed getting their fortunes told by Zoltar on the pier, just like Big.
After four glorious and relaxing days it was time to leave, but not without a surprise visit to Disneyland first! Yes, we're full of the surprises for the kids. Did exactly the same thing 2 years ago.
On the drive down the coast we decided to see if we could spot any celebrities on the beach at Malibu. Not only didn't we spot any celebrities, we also didn't spot any beach! The sea came right up to the houses, weird.
We finally made it to Disney Land after getting stuck in the awful LA traffic which seems to be everywhere.
First stop: Toads Wild Adventure. Love the retro rides.
I like to think we're Disney experts this being our second time. So we managed to avoid all of the horrendous lines by getting fast passes and strategically planning our day. Still one day is not enough! I'd love to be able to meander down main street and pop into the little stores etc. Another time. We did manage to get in a canoe ride and some time on Tom Sawyer's Island which the boys loved.
Of course we did all the big rides, most twice. My favorite and I think everyone else's, Space Mountain. What a thrill! And it was nice to cool off on Splash Mountain.
And a trip to Disney isn't complete without a trip on It's a Small World. Love.
We arrived at the park at 7.30 a.m. and left at midnight, but not without a quick visit to the lego store in Disney Downtown where I assembled some characters. Recognize us?
Midnight and still going strong!
Ah, I'm exhausted just thinking about it. But guess what? Same thing the next day, just at California Adventures instead. My poor feet.
First ride: Tower of Terror! Poor Roman, I thought he was going to have a heart attack.
We then checked out the new Cars area. Super cool, but I tell you what, some people are crazy that they'd line up for 3 hours to go on the new Racers ride. Here's a little hint to get a fast past, if the rides are down, which it seemed that every ride was down at one point, politely have a word with the concierge or whoever the person is at the ride map and they may give you fast passes to come back later. Worked for us for California Screaming, Grizzly Gulch and even the new Racers. Can't believe how much time we saved by not having to line up.
Anyway, we were sad that because of our limited time we didn't have the luxury of lining up to meet the characters, apart from Donald. He was funny and cute. And if you're on the fence about taking your kiddies to Disneyland, do it while they still believe that the characters are real. This year I think the boys weren't as into meeting them as 2 years ago, which kinda quells some of that Disney magic but only a teeny bit, because it's still MAGICAL.
Favourite ride for I think everyone : California Screaming. So smooth, so thrilling and not at all puke inducing.
Bye, bye Disney and DCA. Till next time.
Now just a lovely 12 hour car ride across the hottest part of the country. But a last minute booking for the Ceasar's Palace broke up the journey. Las Vegas is hotttt. And I mean in temperature, because we're way too old to be thinking about the other meaning.
I didn't get any pictures of the pool at Cearsars, which is the best bit about the hotel, because I think my camera melted.
But we did manage to have a lovely lunch at my favorite restaurant in The Paris, Mon Ami Gabi.
And Roman lost his tooth, and got a free desert.
Love that flooring!
And then, more miles to drive home. Six hours later, we spotted this rainbow and knew we were in the Land of Zion.
And after 2200 miles we were home.