Romantical Weekend FAIL

Our second anniversary is on Wednesday.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any time off because my boss decided to go back east (I’ll rant about that in another post).  It ended up working out though, because DH is going to a conference all week, so our plans would have to have been put on hold anyway.

OK.  So I thought that I’d plan us a little romantical staycation.  I’d use one of our Groupons for a restaurant and get a hotel for the night nearby.  Then DH caught a cold.  He’s been sniffling, sneezing and has a sore throat since Thursday.  Poor DH.  But he was game to try for a romantical weekend anyway.

We dawdled our way down to the Ramada on Wildwood in Sunnyvale yesterday.  We went for a jog in the morning, visited a mall, went for lunch at a restaurant we hadn’t been to before, went to the fabric store and stopped at Santana Row.  We looked at the Telsa model they had there, I discovered Anthropologie (such a dangerous store) and bought a really cute dress with DH’s encouragement, we tried (and hated) Pinkberry, ate apple pie flavored gelato… and then drove for 20 more minutes to get to our hotel.

We arrived at a place that looked like the 70s hit the exterior (in a bad way) and never left.  It looked like the kind of place you’d see in those cop dramas where the hookers are found dead and the other residents “didn’t hear a thing.”  With trepidation, we entered the lobby filled with thumping music from the party in the attached ballroom.  The lobby was dark and felt dirty.  It was filled with kids running around and screaming.  Ugh.  Not romantic.

We went to our room.

There was a hillbilly outside his room hollering about some Texas team on the TV with his door wide open and a Styrofoam cooler on the chair nearby.  His room was next to ours.  On the other side of us was another person cleaning out a bedside commode in the landscaping.

We opened our door and immediately felt icky.  The furniture was old and decrepit.  The carpet was pulling away from the floor in many places and looked like it hadn’t been shampooed in recent history.  The walls were stained with who-knows-what. The lights weren’t bright enough to actually light the room.  The mini fridge and all of the drains were covered in rust.  The old-ass urine colored bathroom wall tiles had mold growing in the grout.  The bathroom floor had hair from the previous guest on it. The little binder that all rooms have with “helpful” things for guests inside had many things crossed out.

In short, it was gross.  It wasn’t to Ramada standards.  It wasn’t even to Motel 6 standards.  Ugh.

The restaurant was attached to the hotel and was just as bad.  We didn’t use our Groupon.  I’ll be asking for a refund.

I’ve never actually asked for a refund at a hotel before, but I did yesterday.  Actually, DH did.  I didn’t know how to put my disgust into words without being insulting.  And, you know what? The guy at the desk didn’t even bat an eye.  It was like he already knew how awful the hotel was.  He didn’t offer us an “upgraded” room or any complimentary anything.  He just said “I’m happy to cancel your reservation and ensure that you’re not charged for anything here.  You’ll need to call Expedia to get a full refund, though.”

Back to Santana Row we went.  We stopped for dinner at Hot Tamales, which was pretty good in spite of the waiter spilling my margarita on me and coughing on me.  The music was super loud… but then again we were right next to the band.

And then we came home.

So… our romantical weekend plans kinda failed, but we had fun anyway.  We decided that this was a weekend for new things and adventures.  We tried 2 restaurants we hadn’t been to before.  We played with a car that costs 3 times what I paid for mine when it was new and is meant for “driving around town.”  I found an awesome clothing store that I’m trying to figure out how to afford to shop there more often.  And best of all, I got to spend time with my husband.

Monterey and Hearst Castle

This weekend my husband and I went on a mini vacation to Monterey and Hearst Castle.  We’ve visited Monterey a few years ago and came back frustrated by the expensive… well, everything.  Food was expensive, drinks were expensive, all the stores had pricey products, and we were budget travelers.  This time around we were better prepared for the prices even though we figured out that the food prices were more than we’d spend at Disneyland!

We stayed at the Clarion on Munras in Monterey because it had an indoor heated pool, claimed to be close to Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row, and had a breakfast buffet every morning.  The door to our room had to be forced open and closed.  The shower head wasn’t attached to the pipe properly, and the bathroom fan was smaller than the hole cut for it in the ceiling.  The front desk staff were nice, the bed was decently comfortable, the water pressure was good and the temperature didn’t fluctuate.  It was an odd experience.  We also learned that “close” is a relative term.  I was looking for walking distance but they meant close as in a short drive.  Oh well, you live and you learn.

Fisherman's Wharf

Me at Fisherman's Wharf

We visited Fisherman’s Wharf our first night there.  It seemed pretty desolate, though.  Very few people were there – and it was a Friday night!  We wandered around to scope out some restaurants for dinner.  We weren’t hungry yet, so we thought we’d go back to the hotel and swim for a bit before coming back and trying out some promising locations.  Unfortunately we got lost on our return trip to Fisherman’s Wharf and ended up at Cannery Row.  There were a lot more people there, but it was still pretty quiet.  DH and I stood on the moonlit beach and watched the waves for a bit before heading back to our hotel to sleep.

Scenic View

On Saturday we drove out to Hearst Castle.  DH was such a trooper!  He drove down those winding roads with a patience I wouldn’t have possessed.  I can handle traffic any day of the week, but winding roads scare the heck out of me!  We stopped at a few places along the way to watch the coast, stretch our legs and get a break from the road.  The scenery was breathtaking!

Elephant Seals Sunning

Just before we hit Hearst Castle we stopped and saw the elephant seals.  I’d heard a lot about them and wanted to check them out.  They were a lot more active than I’d expected.  There were lots of babies.  The adults were bickering and posturing too.  It was fun to watch.

Roman Plunge at the Castle

Then we visited Hearst Castle and went on the “Experience Tour.”  It was interesting to hear about Hearst and his life, and to see all his stuff.  The decor was way to intricate and opulent for my tastes, but it there were a lot of pretty objects to admire.  I liked the pools the best out of the entire tour, and I’d love to come back and do the garden tour some time.  By the time we finished the tour I was “done” though.  I just wanted to be back at our hotel relaxing.  I remember a time when I would have kept going until I dropped, but now I hit a point and I can’t go on.  Does this mean I’m getting old?  Or am I just more in tune with my brain/body/emotions than I was when I was younger?  Either way we headed back to Monterey.

DH was kind enough to drive us back to our hotel too.  I’m so glad he did – I would’ve been a wreck by the time we got back if I’d been driving.  Along the way we discovered a mall so after a break back at the hotel we wandered around their mall for a bit.  When we finally got hungry, we had dinner at PF Chang’s and then went back to our hotel for more relaxation.

This morning was a sad morning – the end of our vacation.  To prolong it just a bit longer, we visited the Gilroy Outlet mall because I’d never been there before, and then went to Valley Faire Mall to use our Cheesecake Factory gift card.  Now we’re finally home, enjoying the quiet and reflecting on the time away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.

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