Mendocino

The Mendocino coastline is craggy, and rugged, and breathtakingly beautiful. We first came into the small village of Mendocino – a hamlet of several streets lined with tidy, pastel-colored, century-old little houses. The town is for tourists, but not touristy, full of shops and little eateries, but not commercial. No t-shirts or cheap trinkets of any kind, no chain restaurants – only boutiques selling artisanal wares and cafes serving homemade food. The backyards of all these little houses are connected by flower gardens, and you can walk from one back door to another on tiny alleys amidst blooming bushes.
We had lunch in the backyard of one of these little shops with a view of an old church steeple peeking from one side, and a glimpse of one craggy coastal rock from the other.
We then walked to the coast and hiked along the edge of a vertical rock dropping down to the Pacific. This was actually a collection of coves and fjord-like inlets, with waves violently breaking on the rocks. A sandy beach down below is covered with tree trunks, polished by the sea to become perfectly shaped wooden dinosaur bones.
We spent the night at Glendeven Inn, a B&B south of the village. The grounds here are as lovely as the backyards of Mendocino – flower gardens perfectly arranged around few wooden houses. The living room of our building overlooks an enclosed pen with llamas strolling around the premises. I was somewhat disappointed with our room though – it overlooks not a garden, but a parking lot.
Breakfast was delivered to our room. The orange juice appeared to have been squeezed just a minute ago, but the single egg Benedict was served on the thinnest of crust with no accompaniment of any kind of a bread product. I don’t like my breakfast without a heavy ingestion of carbs, especially on vacation!
After breakfast, we went to the Russian Gulch National Park. We hiked through a forest of ferns and pine trees to a waterfall, rather puny but pretty owing to a huge rock supporting it and an arrangement of fallen trees underneath. En route, we had to retrieve a very expensive camera lens that fell and landed snuggly in a thicket of nettles. Poor old nettle is no match to poison ivy – stings badly, but only a short while. By the time we arrived at the fall, the pain was gone.
After that, we went to the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse dating to 1909, on the same stunning rugged stretch of the coast, and then onto the Glass Beach, so named because pebbles covering its surface are mixed with little pieces of colored glass. They sparkle green, amber, and blue in between the pebbles, like little precious stones, but their origin is far more prosaic.
In the fifties, this area was a dump, and these little gems are the remnants of glass bottles disposed off here along with other trash that did not survive the test of time. The sea polished the broken glass into perfectly shaped morsels and washed them ashore. There have been so many treasure hunters (mostly underaged:-)) that the depository is heavily picked over. I selected several bright little gems but left them behind after all. This area is another awesome rustic beauty – black cliffs jutting into the sea, lone rocks protruding through the water, algae and seaweed forming designs on the water surface, seagulls soaring above, and waves breaking over the rocks.
Back at the inn, we had complemetary afternoon wine (white only and too sweet) with a little appetizer (the freshest of salads and two canapes of fruit an cheese.)

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