Day 96-97: Paso Robles #2

To begin with, sorry for the massive delay in posts. We’re not currently in Peru and travelling has really stepped up a notch. I kid you not, we have barely enough time to go to the bathroom, let alone blog!

While we were in Paso Robles, we stayed with a very left-wing couple called “Steve” and “Matt”. They’d invested the best part of $200,000 into their home to make it fit for a B’n’B, and they were pretty much set up for life. They’d already hosted 800 groups of people, so by the time we came along, their establishment was a well oiled machine. We were one of three couples who stayed with them, the other two being a Dad and son from the UK and a married couple from Australia. We inevitably started talking about politics within ten minutes – remember that this was before the election. The hosts were adamant that Hillary was going to win, with a lot of pretty sound statistics to back it up. Both us and the other UK pair agreed, but the Aussies seemed less sure. They didn’t think we should have counted our chickens just yet, and I wish we’d listened to them!

For our second day, our hosts recommended that we visit Hearst Castle.

William Hearst was an eccentric millionaire, whose father came into fortune in his 40’s when he successfully found a massive batch of silver. His father very carefully gave Williams inheritance to a trustee, who would only give William what he needed and when. William was passionate about a patch of land in California, and was eventually granted the rights to own and build upon it at the beginning of the 20th century. He built one of the grandest and most luxurious buildings in California and invited some of the biggest names in Hollywood, such as Charlie Chaplin and the like (I can’t remember..).

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In it’s hay-day, Hearst had all manner of exotic animals, such as polar bears, at his place. He also had a very unique way of allotting time to each guest. Every evening, he would invite everyone into the dining hall for dinner. Each guest would find their names along this beautiful table.

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On your first night, you would find your name very close to Hearst and each night after, your name would be placed further and further away. When your name finally reached the end of the table, that was Hearst’s signal to you that you had maybe outstayed your welcome. If he liked you, however, you would be invited back.

He was passionate about the land the mansion was built upon, and was often heard saying that he would rather the building fell apart than have any of the trees burnt down. He lived by that principle by moving any trees that needed to be moved instead of cutting them down, which would have been much less costly. He also demanded that his guests stay out of their rooms as much as possible and enjoy themselves outside in the sunshine.

And now time for my Bad Tourist award. This one goes to a lovely couple who, after a five minute and very explicit lecture about leading/touching/sitting on anything other than the ground or the handrails, sat here for a full half hour. I’m getting better at my passive-aggressive behaviour though as they originally asked me to take a photo, and I said no. I was shaking with the adrenaline.

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Our next destination will be the end of our time in USA, North America and the Northern Hemisphere for a while! We figured we may as well go out with a bang and head to LA. If I don’t see Tom Hanks, I will be pissed!

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