Stopping in Carmel and San Luis Obispo

Our last two, quick stops on the way back from our NorCal trip was to Carmel first, and then to San Luis Obispo (SLO) in Central California.

Walking around in Carmel’s little shopping village, we noticed the vibe was a little more upscale than other California beach towns we’ve visited. We didn’t care so much for the shopping so we headed down to the beach. A lively scene with music blasting beneath the glaring sun, we stood among a crowd of beach dwellers. The scenery was nice but too cold to sunbathe even in my t-shirt dress. After some time, we headed back to the car and drove further south towards San Luis Obispo.

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We didn’t have a lot of time to spend in SLO, but we already knew after talking to Alice Keys that we no longer wanted to live there because we had learned there is a nuclear power plant in the vicinity. (This is a deal breaker for us.) Nevertheless, we figured we would give the place a glance and check it out because it was in the plan. We went to SLO’s historic downtown to have dinner and stroll around a bit.

Historic Downtown San Luis Obispo

We ate at Bliss Cafe, a fantastic organic vegan joint with an Indian influence to their food preparation and decor. We were hungry and still had a two and a half hour drive home. We yearned for something tasty and something that would keep us full for the rest of the night, so we each ordered oil-free burritos with salad. A great dining experience, it was probably the only star in our book for SLO.

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I guess we had this perfect vision of SLO because it’s dubbed as “The Happiest City in America”. And the fact that they have a no public-smoking law was huge for us. Apparently, this is not regulated. During our stroll, we encountered more people smoking in one block than anywhere else we’ve been to in California. We even saw someone smoking outside in a dining area, which is an uncommon sight in California. Furthermore, cigarette buds were littered all over the streets and it quickly reminded us of Paris. All of this, including the city’s close proximity to the nuclear power plant, didn’t sit too well with us, and we left knowing SLO is no longer on our list of possible places to live in the future.

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