After spending a night in Malibu, we headed towards Santa Barbara. Remember the soap opera called Santa Barbara? It was very popular in post-Soviet Estonia (as were a whole bunch of other Latin & American soaps) and that pretty much defined the whole place for us. Once we got to Santa Barbara, we drove through the town and just knew that we wanted to stay there – it seemed to have an amazing atmosphere. So we headed to a coffee shop to get online and find a place to stay. We quickly realised that we had arrived as the Old Spanish Days festival was about to start that weekend, so everything was either fully booked or way over our budget, like glamping for $200 per night. Luckily, someone told us about a campsite 40 minutes outside Santa Barbara in Los Padres National Forest. We arrived at Rancho Oso RV and Campground absolutely exhausted from driving, paid more than we would’ve liked to (but luckily not $200), although at the end, we were quite happy to find a place to sleep.
After pitching our tent we explored the area. It seemed like a hikers dream with tons of trails and a swimming pool to cool down in at the end of the day. The people camping in the site were a rather strange mix on that night: some drunk ladies, a family with a very whiny child, and a nice family to the other side of us. I dragged Triin to the basketball court – even though I can’t really play – and we ended up “shooting hoops” and basically running after the ball; I was happy. Sometimes after driving around for so long and also having the stress of trying to find a place to stay, the best thing is to get some exercise.
After a good night’s sleep we drove back to Santa Barbara determined to find a place to stay. You know sometimes when something goes wrong, but turned out to be so right?? I took the wrong way back and basically just ended up taking a much longer route back to Santa Barbara, but then stumbled across this amazing town called Solvang. It’s a Danish inspired town with Danish buildings, restaurants and bakeries. It was such an amazing town to walk and get to know, my Danish friend in London, Maibritt, was absolutely inundated with What’s App photos of Solvang.
In the end we found a place to stay in Santa Barbara on Airbnb and it turned out to be such a random flat – basically it was a man cave with minimal amounts of furniture, the smell of Axe body spray everywhere, and a huge jar of Whey Protein on top of the fridge.We left our things there and quickly took an Uber to the town’s Funk Zone which is the hipster artist wine and microbrewery are of the town. It’s basically the few blocks between the beach and a highway that separates the area from the centre of town. Because of that, it’s considered ‘cheaper’ and hence the abundance of little bars, cafes, wine bars and microbreweries- go figure! Think Shoreditch in London or Telliskivi Loomelinnak in Tallinn. We ended up going to three wine bars for tastings and even managed to fit in a beer tasting, a very productive day indeed.
After, we had our beloved sushi (I’m starting to think we have a sushi addiction problem), we walked around as the town seemed to be filling up to it’s capacity as the Old Spanish Days Festival was starting. As we were strolling along we came across a cinema and discovering that the new Jason Bourne movie was about to start, randomly decided to watch the movie. (It wasn’t that great – the plot is pretty much non-existent and, even though Matt is back, the directors seem to be just riding the wave of ‘they’re coming to getcha!’ which gets quite boring after a while). However, it was good to get away from the crowds for a while. Afterwards, we walked around the centre of Santa Barbara some more, checked out people throwing weird decorated eggs with tinsel inside at each other, enjoyed the music, and walked home. The streets feel very safe and it was really fun walking through residential streets and take in all the different homes, manicured gardens and the obvious well-offness of the whole place.
The next morning we had a quick breakfast in town and then took to the road again. Next stop was going to be a campsite anywhere north along the Pacific Coast Highway near Hearst Castle in San Simeon which, according to quite a few people, was supposed to be amazing!