Saturday, September 4, 2010

Our Mystery Day Trippin' Part 1

Jim decided he wanted me to plan our mystery trip this week and surprise him. OK, then, I did my best. We are trying to break out of our mold and go to places (at least sometimes) that we haven't been before.

He also wanted me to start the trip as we have been, in a mom and pop type bakery. This is always a bit precarious as you just have to go by their website. The other thing we have learned is you need to call the place and make sure their website hasn't outlived the business.

The first stop of the day was Sweet Adeline's Bakery in Berkeley.

We tried this heated savory treat with spinach and brie and some other yummy things. Very good!

Then the lemon tort. Oh my, it was amazing! Jim's favorite pie filling is lemon so he was in love with this one! We like to share at the bakeries to save $ and calories. We did both get an iced Chai (whatever that is.) It was made from spices and milk with ice. Not too bad, the ice was the best part. We found out after the fact we were supposed to add sugar. We will never, ever catch up on pop culture. We are OK with that.

The temperature was already feeling HOT and it was before 9:00 am. Not a good sign. The place itself wasn't too exciting and the neighborhood was just a little dicey, but we were glad we discovered it. It is run by some young adults that looked like students and they were so friendly and nice.

Our next place that I entered into the GPS was The University of California Botanical Garden. We had both heard of it before but had never visited. This was a wonderful discovery. Jim absolutely loved it. I did too. The only negative thoughts I had were about the heat and bright bright sun that made taking photos very challenging.

It was our lucky day as we discovered since it was the first Thursday of the month it was free admission. I had read that you had to pay for parking but when we arrived there was a note on the parking structure saying their parking collection gizmo was broken so we were to enjoy the free parking. Normally not such a big deal but this month since they doubled dipped on our benefits deductions on Jim's paycheck without notice...we were pretty happy. Apparently this happens to the retired teachers on just the second check you get from the State of CA. That way you are paying ahead one month. Lovely how they don't mention it though until after the fact, huh?
The garden covers many acres of the Berkeley Hills and has specific gardens with plants from all over the world. We didn't recognize many of them but we enjoyed looking at them. They had some very exotic orchids and a lot of huge cactus plants that were bizarre like the one below. A lot of the care of the gardens is done by the UC students of botany and horticulture. Michelle, you would have loved this place.



The gardens are very hilly but the grading is good and the main paths throughout are paved for easy navigation even for the older set and little kids even wheelchairs on the main roads and you can see a lot from them. Off the main roads are these lovey, more natural paths.

This monolithic cactus must have been 20 feet tall.

The Asian gardens were so beautiful and peaceful; this pond was so pristine.

The deep purple irises were so lush and velvety looking.

The lily pads were so pretty and the pink and white blossoms so picturesque. The reflections on the water were lovely. I sat on a rock by this pond for a time while Jim explored places near by.

I love the fall leaves nestling here under the trees. Everything was lush and shady in the most comfortable spots. That old sun was beating down on us as the time approached 11:30 or so. We were right on my flexible timetable and Jim was loving the mystery of driving and not knowing where he was going.


I really love taking photos of flowers~probably because our unfenced yard does not protect the ones we try to grow from the deer herd. Even the bees seem friendly in a garden.


Gathering her Nectar


This tropical green house was so hot and humid but the beauty was too inviting to pass it by. Every leaf was dripping, it was like a steam room, but prettier.


This cactus was about the size of a car wheel and stood about 2 to 3 feet tall. I am not a big cactus lover but this was so ginormous that it was fascinating to look at. It was like peering into a giant artichoke!
Part of the garden is a section that is called the Mather Redwood Forest. It is not huge but the trees are so straight and tall and the shade they provided was much appreciated at the end of our tour. These coastal redwoods are not as old as the ones we saw last week in Muir Woods but they are majestic in their own right. We found a wooden bench to rest on and this was my view looking straight up to the tree tops. There is a really cool, rustic looking amphitheater in the center which would be a great fun for a play or family talent show. It is not that crowded we only saw two people in there until a group of a few students came in.


Paul Bunyan returns from his mini-hike in time for us to get in the car and head down to town. We passed the little ravine with the bridge on our way out of the forest and on to the car.


Don't forget...Every first Thursday is free, otherwise $7.00 entrance fee.

Driving down into Berkeley we saw another view of SF from high atop the mountain. In our neck of the woods all roads lead to the Mecca of the Bay Area, San Francisco.


I have learned some things about us during these weekly outings. I have never really liked camping or hiking much but I love to be outside, I love to spend alone time and walk with Jim. I love having moments like I did for quiet reflection while he explores around a little more than I like to...these types of places satisfy both of our needs perfectly. I can be a nature lover and enjoy God's beautiful creations without having to sleep on the ground, cohabitate with bugs, hike to restrooms and haul what I need on my back.

And he does not have to be boulder hopping and practicing his survival skills and living on drypack foods to enjoy being outside either. We have found our yin and yang on outdoor activities that we both enjoy! And he has complete freedom to go do the 'guy things' he loves with his friends and I can do what I love with my friends. Perfect!

He just went by, so I read that little paragraph to him..and he called me a

"Bench Barnacle"...really?

I beg your pardon! OK! I do cop to it but only to a point!


Part 2 tomorrow!

5 comments:

Connie said...

Okay, you talked me into it! I want to go!!! :)

Nellie's Cozy place said...

MORNING BENCH BARNACLE BONNIE, LOL
LOVED YOUR TOUR AND BET JIM LOVED BEING SURPRISED. IF I WERE YOU I WOULD BE AFRAID TO LET HIM SURPRISE YOU, OR YOU MIGHT END UP ON A WHITE WATER RAFTING TRIP!! LOL
THOSE GARDENS ARE JUST GORGEOUS.
I LOVE STUFF LIKE THAT TOO, BUT ONLY IN COOLER WEATHER.

THIS WAS A FUN POST, JIM AND I BOTH GOT A KICK OUT OF IT. I READ IT TO HIM, AND HE THOUGHT IT WAS CUTE ESPECIALLY THE BENCH BARNACLE.
CUTE!!
LOOKING FORWARD TO PART 2. DID YOU READ BECKY'S ETSY SHOP IS SUPPOSE TO OPEN TODAY!! LOOK FOR IT!!
I KEEP CHECKING BUT SO FAR NADA,
SHE SAID SOMETIME TODAY SHE WASN'T SURE WHEN.
HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND SWEETIE,
LOVE YA, NELLIE

LA Adams said...

Picture perfect! What a great day for both of you! I LOVE your pictures.

Julie Harward said...

What a fun day! And a great start at the bakery! I loved all the beautiful things in the garden there...how wonderful to spend such days together! :D

Marie said...

A Bench Barnacle!! Say it ain't so!! I'm afraid I'm with you on that one though. I like to just sit and observe sometimes as well! what lovely gardens you went to! Too bad it was so hot and sticky, but you still managed to enjoy it just the same! Wonderful day out! xxoo