Greetings from San Jose airport. Flight delayed half an hour.
I just had a brilliant time in Santa Cruz, which I’d visited or crossed a few times before but never properly explored. This time I managed to stumble on some of the good things to see. What a town! First I stumbled on the municipal wharf, and walked out on it a little distance and admired the gaudy Seaside Attraction stuff off to one side, and also admired the gaudy Victorian house at the top of a hill off to the other side. I went to check out the Victorian house first – it’s an inn – and that took me to the road that goes along the cliff above the shore for some miles.
I parked immediately and started walking, and in a couple of minutes was rewarded with one of the best Victorian houses I’ve ever seen. It has a name, which is Epworth-by-the-sea. There are other good houses and the view from the cliff. I walked on a bit and found a statue to The Unknown Surfer, which made me nearly fall down laughing. That’s not really its name, but it is a statue to the surfer, and it is of a very stalwart, Steve Canyon type guy standing in front of a surfboard, wearing trunks. It is extremely funny and simply added to the delight of my morning. Then came the lighthouse – an extra lighthouse! thrown in for nothing! – and Lighthouse Field State Park, and the surfing museum inside the lighthouse and a plaque outside (it was long before opening time) that explained about three Hawai’ian princes who brought surfing to the US when they were at school here in the late 19th century. I didn’t know that, and it’s interesting.
Then lots more Cliff Drive until it ended at Natural Bridges State Park – which is rocks with holes carved in them by the surf. Then I went back in the same direction and visited the gaudy amusement park/boardwalk thing, which is fabulously kitschy and colorful and gorgeous. I loved it to bits. Plus there were more gaudy Victorian houses just up the hill from there. Who knew?! Not I. I think of Santa Cruz as modern and hip. I know nothing, nothing.
I started wondering why Santa Cruz is pronounced Santa Cruz, when all the other California Santas I can think of are not pronounced that way. Because Cruz is a monosyllable? That’s my guess, but I don’t know. Funny how Santa Cruz sounds quite nice while Holy Cross sounds horrible.